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Thread: Apiary vicinity mating

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    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    Default Apiary vicinity mating

    An interesting discussion on AVM split off from 'Today's News'.

    Quote Originally Posted by mbc View Post
    I think it comes across very plausibly when he's talking, perhaps less so in writing.
    My point about strains of bee was that the bulk of what is written and the research is done on bees which are unfamiliar to me and which have been transplanted into different areas, it must colour the conclusions somewhat.
    Possibly. I see a lot of Apiary vicinity mating and there are plenty of people who don't accept that it happens. In Tom Seeley's videos the bees look like Ligustica.
    Last edited by gavin; 12-05-2015 at 08:55 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    Possibly. I see a lot of Apiary vicinity mating and there are plenty of people who don't accept that it happens.
    Do you think that AVM is definitely a trait which can be ascribed to certain strains/races of honey bee or might it be as much (or more) an opportunistic result of larger apiaries rather than, as Cooper implied, something special?
    Last edited by prakel; 03-05-2015 at 12:52 PM.

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    Senior Member busybeephilip's Avatar
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    I have seen this AVM thing too. sometimes ends up with the queen surrounded in a small cluster of bees in the grass or nearby branch. I have only seen this where queens have flown from apideas never from a full hive, presumably if it were from a full hive ie 5 frame nuc, then it would look like a normal swarm, the only swarms ive observed returning to a box is where the Q has been clipped.

    So why is this mainly observed from apideas ? I still think that there is an element of absconding happening here, I've not observed masses of drones chasing a queen in the vicinity of the apairy site where AVM is taking place so this makes me wonder what is really happening

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    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prakel View Post
    Do you think that AVM is definitely a trait which can be ascribed to certain strains/races of honey bee or might it be as much (or more) an opportunistic result of larger apiaries rather than, as Cooper implied, something special?
    Pete L says that he sees it too with his Buckfast. I am skeptical of a lot of the Beo Cooper writing. He wrote to an agenda the same way as Brother Adam. Two sides of the same coin.

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    Senior Member prakel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    Pete L says that he sees it too with his Buckfast. I am skeptical of a lot of the Beo Cooper writing. He wrote to an agenda the same way as Brother Adam. Two sides of the same coin.
    So, assuming you're right and Cooper was wrong on this it's looking like it may well be nothing more than the result of concentrating lots of colonies and/or virgins in a small area.

    I am well aware that this statement may be disputed, for it has long been an accepted theory that virgin queens mate with drones high up in the air and at considerable distances from their hives. I do not now think this is really the case, at all events in breeding apiaries where there are large numbers of drones ready to give chase to every virgin when she flies. I think that in such situations the young queens are normally mated within quite a short distance of the hives and usually at no great height.

    'Honey Farming' by R.O.B Manley
    Then of course there's busybeephillip's hypothesis that there's an absconding component to AVM. Anyone have any further thoughts/observations on this?

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    Smaller mating units are more likely to cause avm as the virgins are hassled out to mate sooner than they are old be from a more confident unit and so the virgin is less ready for lift off to break the immediate drone atmosphere of her apiary,,,maybe.

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    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    I have seen it from a full hive at Minnowburn where we have the association apiary.
    I was working with the bees and I saw the mating swarm in the air. The queen landed on a post and the bees settled around her.
    There were no apideas there at the time and when I checked there was a colony with an open supersedure cell.
    I think this happens from full colonies but is far more obvious when you have 100 apideas sitting together when 20 or 30 queens might take a mating flight on the same day. Hard to miss under these circumstances. I have seen it at 4 different sites including my own garden so it is not some quirky coincidence with a congregation area.

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    Senior Member busybeephilip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbc View Post
    Smaller mating units are more likely to cause avm as the virgins are hassled out to mate sooner than they are old be from a more confident unit and so the virgin is less ready for lift off to break the immediate drone atmosphere of her apiary,,,maybe.
    The immature virgin theory ..... could be but virgins are very active and jumpy from a young age. If AVM was a very common event and related to Amm then queens with small clusters on bees landing wherever would also be a very common event resulting in the loss of a great many queens being unable, for whatever reason, to return to their colonies. In a large/medium mating apairy the result would be mayhem but this has never been shown to be a problem in large commercial operations otherwise we would have heard a lot more about it. Is there any evidence for these small clusters from (IMO absconding) apideas to decamp and return to the apidea ? or do scouts look for a new home.... This could explain losses of queens during mating. Logically, if queens are reared from material with AVM traits then this may result in an increased risk of queens being lost then this trait is not a good one for the survival of a colony and may also encourage inbreeding

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    Senior Member busybeephilip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    I have seen it from a full hive at Minnowburn where we have the association apiary.
    I was working with the bees and I saw the mating swarm in the air. The queen landed on a post and the bees settled around her.
    ............ I checked there was a colony with an open supersedure cell.
    So the colony had already swarmed with original queen or original queen was removed or died, first queen to hatch heads out with a cast, remaing cells hatch and head the colony ?

    Maybe you distracted the swarm/mating swarm from returning to their hive? It does not make sense for them not to return to the hive if this is part of a mating event

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    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    I didn't know where the queen had come from and I collected her with the bees in a spare apidea. It was the next day I found the hive with the open supersedure cell.
    I probably wrecked a perfectly good supersedure.
    Funny enough, that colony went on for another year before superseding again. I found both queens laying together. The queen was in her 4th year at that point.
    I mark and clip all my queens so if I find an unmarked queen in a colony it must have superseded or swarmed.

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