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Thread: All fur coat and no knickers ...

  1. #1
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    Default All fur coat and no knickers ...

    "All fur coat and no knickers ..." - a common enough expression which actually has nothing to do with call girls, but which is generally taken to mean "full of show, but with no substance underneath".

    Well - that's the expression which came to my mind this afternoon after visiting the SICAMM site. Like BIBBA, they seem very good at forming committees, stating objectives, writing reports, arranging conferences and so on ... but when it comes to actually supplying a few bees - it seems that all of these organisations are sadly lacking.

    My bees are black - well, mostly black - there are the odd one or two gingery ones which stick out like a white man in Harlem, but whether this 'blackness' is based on AMM genes, who knows for sure ? And so I've decided to re-queen the whole apiary, using some Welsh Blacks I've manage to source, to at least get the genetics onto a known footing - but I'd much rather buy a couple of guaranteed-to-be-as-near-as-possible-to-AMM-queens, and start from that position instead.

    I'd have thought that these grand sounding organisations would be making AMM stock readily available, perhaps even at subsidised prices ... ?

    LJ

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little_John View Post
    And so I've decided to re-queen the whole apiary, using some Welsh Blacks I've manage to source, to at least get the genetics onto a known footing -

    I'd have thought that these grand sounding organisations would be making AMM stock readily available, perhaps even at subsidised prices ... ?

    LJ
    May I ask where you've sourced Welsh blacks from, pm if you'd prefer

    The thing is with SICAMM and BIBBA is that they've not set out to provide stock or be some sort of shop for AMM, what they do well though is provide connections to like minded souls so that a little exchange of materials can go on.

  3. #3

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    Surely requeening your whole apiary will wipe out a line of locally adapted bees with what sounds like a fair percentage of amm genetic material there.

    A wider amm genetic pool, even with a wee smattering of other genetics, seems far superior to me than a tiny yet entirely pure stock?

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  4. #4
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    A Welsh Black is a cow. Welsh Amm are Welsh native bees. I sometimes wonder if Welsh Black is used to describe bees raised in Wales that happen to be black. A friend bought some once and when we tested the wings they seemed to have a lot of carniolan in them.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by brothermoo View Post
    Surely requeening your whole apiary will wipe out a line of locally adapted bees with what sounds like a fair percentage of amm genetic material there.

    A wider amm genetic pool, even with a wee smattering of other genetics, seems far superior to me than a tiny yet entirely pure stock?

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    Spot on! There is a very real danger of us loosing lots of valuable genetic material if, in the pursuit of the holly grail of purity, we end up mostly propagating Galtee or Colansay genetics.

  6. #6
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    What's wrong with Colonsay genetics ? - lack of availability perhaps.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by GRIZZLY View Post
    What's wrong with Colonsay genetics ? - lack of availability perhaps.
    Nothing as such, its just that my interest in native bees is that when they are locally adapted I believe they offer the best option for sustainable yet profitable beekeeping. I dont see that Amm bees from Scotland, Ireland, France or Norway are going to be any more adapted to my West Wales conditions than carniolans or buckfasts. If every area has champions of their own local variety of Amm then it promises a healthy and diverse gene pool for future generations to work with, all of us going for the same pure Amm bees, however good they are, will leave an impoverished gene pool.

  8. #8

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    With respect MBC I disagree. You're assuming that every area has their own local variety of AMM. If bees in an area are AMM who's to say it's the original local variety? Jon will point you to a video of French AMM being installed in Aberdeenshire in the 1930s. If those made it into the Maud strain which is not impossible then they'll form part of the Colonsay gene pool as well (please correct me if I'm wrong but I believe some of the Colonsay bees originated in Bernard's Maud strain). With all of the bee imports and bee movements I think we live in a world of very fluid bee genetics.

    I have no qualms about sourcing AMM breeding stock from outwith my area as there is none present in my area (ALL of the beekeepers that I know of (and there aren't a lot of us so I know almost everyone) in this area have bees brought in from outside). My line in the sand is that I'd stop short at bringing it in from mainland Europe but Colonsay or Galtee are fine with me. And give me those over Carnies and Buckies every time. Bees with their origins in our northern and western parts of Europe will win out over more exotic strains every time in my opinion.

  9. #9

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    I think good pure stock is vital drumgerry and I believe that what mbc was saying is that everyone just shouldn't rush out and buy these pure bred queens to replace our own good stock or else we will be narrowing the pool.

    Galtee queens have a big part to play here in Ireland but it is good to hear about Jon and the guys heading to Donegal to get some fresh Amm stock to bring into the mix. There isn't to big a difference in climate across Ireland but still a local bee which has great qualities shouldn't just be stamped out due to a little variance on drawwing etc

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  10. #10

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    Totally agree with you on the small variances Brothermoo - there'd be plenty to work with there and certainly no need to get rid. But again that assumes that you have stock which is largely AMM - not everybody does and around here it's been a free for all for a long time(and still is).

    I was disagreeing also with the statement that Carnies and Buckies would be just as good as responsibly brought in AMM. Having had stocks based on all of those the advantages to me of AMM in my climate are painfully obvious. Maybe it's that I'm a few hundred miles north of most of you and in an area with generally very harsh winters and otherwise marginal beekeeping conditions.

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