Bees; have I lost my mind?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by East Texas Pine Rooter, Jan 17, 2004.

  1. East Texas Pine Rooter

    East Texas Pine Rooter Well-Known Member

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    :no: Years ago I had some bees. I enjoyed working with them, but moved, and had to give them up before I could enjoy my efforts of getting any honey. I just purchased a small farm, and my son, away in college, said lets buy some package bees for our fruit trees, and future garden spot. I am worrying about attracting the africanized killer bees. We now have them in our area, zone 8 in East Texas. Can someone help me. All I have in the way of equiptment is a empty hive box. I'm still young at heart. :yeeha:
     
  2. Oregonsparkie

    Oregonsparkie Well-Known Member

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    I would give it a try. What a wonderful experience raising bees. Something I have always wanted to do.

    I would not worry about the africanized bees. Just keep a close watch on the hives and if you think you have them then contact your local agricultural department about killing the bees. You can always buy new bees.
     

  3. RANDEL

    RANDEL Well-Known Member

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    i've always been interested to keep a few bees, but afeared at the same time. will africanized bees take over a healthy hive?!
     
  4. Oregonsparkie

    Oregonsparkie Well-Known Member

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    Randel,

    What if they do? Just keep a close eye on the hives and destroy the bees if they do. You always start over with new bees.
     
  5. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Or, you COULD re-queen every now and then with a mated queen ordered from up north. Since the genetics of a hive are determined by the queen and the drones she has mated with, that really ought to do it, I think. There are no africanized bees up north, yet.
     
  6. Oregonsparkie

    Oregonsparkie Well-Known Member

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    Excellent idea Terri,

    I have not thought about re-queening. Have you done this before (not neccessarily to africanize bees of course)
     
  7. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    OH!

    I should explain that africanized bees take over a hive by mating with a virgin queen.

    The hive gets too crowded or the queen gets too old, and the bees decide to swarm and the old queen goes with them. They leave behind some of the bees and a few queen cells. When the young queens hatch, they fight over who keeps the hive. The victorious queen flies off and mates. Once she has mated, she is done with sex for good.

    If she mates with africanized males, she will produce africanized offspring for the rest of her life. If she has only mated with non-africanized males, she will lay good eggs for the rest of her life.

    If an africanized hive is requeened, the offspring will then reflect the new queen and her mates, and in 6 weeks when the africanized bees die of old age the hive will no longer be africanized.

    If you like, you can order marked queens so that you can tell by looking at her if the queen has been replaced or not.
     
  8. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    No, I HAVEN'T requeened yet. I am a beginning beekeeper. I have had one hive once, and I am looking forward to starting again this spring. ;)
     
  9. East Texas Pine Rooter

    East Texas Pine Rooter Well-Known Member

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    How do beekeepers raise queens, from there good queens to put in new hives, and know that they have a good queen
     
  10. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    "How do beekeepers raise queens, from there good queens to put in new hives, and know that they have a good queen"

    Yep. That is a problem where there are africanized bees.

    Some southern queen producers are going to artificial insemination.

    The problem is, the queens only mate on the wing and a fair amount of distance off of the ground. I don't remember how high: perhaps 20 feet or so?

    If the conditions are not to her liking, she will stay near the ground and there will be no action.

    My bee teacher put a virgin queen in a litle cage on a kite. Once the kite got a bit up, the local drones showed up. He then reeled in the kite, and when the queen got close to the ground all of the drones left.

    Bees are VERY particular. :eek:
     
  11. mysticokra

    mysticokra Well-Known Member

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  12. rainesridgefarm

    rainesridgefarm Well-Known Member

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    you could requeen every year. A great place to read up on beekeeping is

    www.beesource.com

    then go to the exchange.

    1200 beekeepers all compairing notes and helping each other.