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Thread: Is there a native honey bee

  1. #31
    Senior Member prakel's Avatar
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    This would appear to be a more worthwhile biography if you're interested in Brother Adam:

    https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rc...49093890,d.bGs

  2. #32
    Senior Member prakel's Avatar
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    Having just glanced at some of the early posts in this thread the following came to mind (it may be of historic interest to some):

    The British Black

    This is a black bee with faint bands of white hair on the abdominal segments. It is a moot point whether this bee should be written of in the past or present tense. If this bee has been allowed to die out, it is a matter that reflects no credit to British Apiculture. Prior to the advent of the I.OW. disease, it had been condemned for being insufficiently prolific and for it's rather excitable behaviour when under manipulation. While, it is granted, the fecundity of this race was below that of other races, it by no means follows that that was a disqualification. From whom came the condemnation on account of it's want of prolificness? Not from the average bee-keeper, who was quite content with the bee in that respect. The climate of Britain is not such as to demand a very prolific bee; what is necessary being a bee that builds up early in the season; and this trait we had in the old British Black.

    If intsead of importing bees of almost every race under the sun, we had endeavoured to improve the native bee, it is probable that we should never have had the sad and expensive eperience of the I.O.W. dusease. The British Black had characteristics that were eminently suitable to the changeable climate of our country. It never bred out of season, and was very conservative in the use of it's stores, always looking forward to the bad seasons which are far more frequent than good ones. That it had it's faults is admitted. But so had other domestic stock, whose faults in the hands of capable British stock-breeders were eliminated: their good points developed and their economic value much increased. The same results could have been achieved in the case of the native bee. It was hardy; wintered well; did not swarm excessively; withstood dampness and various epidemics; was docile when pure; industrious and strong on the wing, and it's sections were unsurpassable.

    When the disease known as I.O.W. vistited this country, the bees in this country were found to be very susceptible, and the British Black was condemned as being more susceptible to that disease than any other race.

    The fact, however, that fresh importations of bees fell victims almost immediately to that disease, should make us pause in the condemnation of the native. That there should have been a greater number of British Black stocks affected is only to be expected, since stocks of that race were in a great majority. But apart from these considerations, it is to be regretted that after the abatement of that scourge no definite action ws taken to discover whether any pure British Blacks were still in existence: for had there been any, their existence would have been conclusive evidence of the possession of both a robust constitution and a high degree of immunity. Such a bee would have been invaluable and worthy of retention.

    Practical Bee-Breeding by A. Gilman 1928

  3. #33
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    Indeed and if that effort had been made by selective breeding then the whole picture would now be very different. But... it was not. The burning question is where do we go from here and how?

    PH

  4. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poly Hive View Post
    Indeed and if that effort had been made by selective breeding then the whole picture would now be very different. But... it was not. The burning question is where do we go from here and how?

    PH
    Now there is a thorny question for you. Very much depends on the agenda of the person you are asking. Wide spectrum of desires out there, and going with one ideal means everyone else's gets to some extent compromised.

    So the burning question Pete, is 'what is the question?'

    I know Gavin tried to tease out the questions and the answers in his Scottish govt survey and report, but while there were some patterns emerged on what people wanted, it was still a very mixed picture.

    What was clear was that there was a general acceptance that their stock could do with a BIT of improving, but the overall picture was not the complete disaster that many seem to think. It was a relatively sensible overall impression.

  5. #35
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    Well for what it is worth here is my take.

    I have had what was as far as could be tested for at the time, 1990's circa, Amm. Now some were pretty good and some were pretty bad. However by selection for calmness and supercedure I got to the point where some 60% supercedewd on the heather and some 40% needed swarm treatments. I had reasonable takes with at times some 3 tons from a season and near always two from some 60 stocks. so roughly 75 lbs or so. However they were not so great at wintering and losses could be quite high.

    Whilst down south I had the pleasure of the Alpine Carniolians which were very quiet, wintered well and were reasonably productive in my area which did not have heather. I cannot cite numbers for them as I ran for comb honey but can say one colony on a lime flow did 230 lbs. They wintered well and I pretty much gave up on using a smoker even on the third generation. The problem though was they were determined swarmers but once this was over come they were frankly a delight to work with.

    I think they are good on heather as the big boys who depend on it have pretty much changed over to this bee.

    So indeed what is the question? Which way do we go and how?

    PH

  6. #36
    Senior Member Adam's Avatar
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    Tonight at 7 pm Countryfile has, apparently, a piece on AMM and the first ever nature reserve for them.

  7. #37

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    Thanks for that info, Adam.

  8. #38
    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    This is what they say on the website:

    Ellie is on the Rame Peninsula - Cornwall's 'forgotten corner' - and visits Mount Edgcumbe, where the UK's first ever native dark honeybee reserve has just opened.
    So, is Scotland no longer part of the UK?!

    Kitta

  9. #39

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    Those workers did not look like blacks.

  10. #40

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    You have to remember how these colonies are built up. Hybrid nucs created to take AMM queens? The colony they inspected was little more than a nucleus itself, I have a colony of AMM with possibly more bees and they were made up at the end of July. I admit, it was unfortunate that they kept cutting to that same entrance shot and the clearly banded bees.

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