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Thread: Apis mellifera mellifera does it better

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    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    Default Apis mellifera mellifera does it better

    Interesting paper mentioned on the IBRA Facebook page today.

    Years ago I spent a summer visiting a non-treater in Stirlingshire who had local Amm and Buckfast lines surviving Varroa for many years (5 by the time we lost touch, I hear he has withdrawn from beekeeping due to ill health). Dennis Anderson came to see them at one point. It seemed to me that his Buckfast-leaning lines were hygienic (good at clearing out infested brood) but when taken back to my apiary they didn't control Varroa well. His darker stocks seemed a lot better at keeping mites down and grooming and biting seemed to be a part of that. Anyway, read on ....

    https://www.facebook.com/IBRAssociat...type=3&theater

    Carnie, Caucasians, dark natives and carnie x capensis hybrids - Amm was the best at grooming.

    The researchers found that most worker bees do not tolerate the mite on their bodies. The most intense reaction was observed in A. m. mellifera worker bees, with as many as 98% of worker bees in this group making an attempt to remove mites. The different lines varied greatly in their abilities to remove mites. In most trials, worker bees showed at least three different defensive reactions, and the authors concluded that A. m. mellifera shows the strongest grooming behaviour of all bees used in the experiment.

    The full paper: “Grooming behaviour by worker bees of various subspecies of honey bees to remove Varroa destructor mites” by Beata Bąk and Jerzy Wilde (sadly not free to view) can be found here: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00218839.2016.1147791

    Last edited by gavin; 15-04-2016 at 09:48 PM.

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    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gavin View Post
    ...

    Carnie, Caucasians, dark natives and carnie x capensis hybrids - Amm was the best at grooming. ...
    Interesting about Amm being best groomers, Gavin - but what alarms me is the information about carnie x capensis hybrids. Do they have capensis in Poland!? Aren't they scared of a repeat of the 1956 fiasco of importing scutellata to Brazil?

    A few years ago I spoke to an academic researcher who wrote a well-known guide book about beekeeping in South Africa. He told me a bit about capensis, and the havoc it caused when an idiot took capensis over the mountains into the scutellata country further north. They produce (as I'm sure you all know) female queens by thelotoky (Celia Davis also mentions this) but I think this man also told me that the resultant queens are infertile. Anyway, the scutellata colony is ultimately doomed. To me it sounded like a worse problem than our problems with varroa.

    And now we have capensis in Poland?

    Kitta
    Last edited by Mellifera Crofter; 16-04-2016 at 07:47 AM.

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    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mellifera Crofter View Post
    And now we have capensis in Poland?
    ... and Polish packages coming in to Aberdeenshire via your local bee farmer, although I doubt they are bringing in *that* sort of thing. I haven't read the original paper yet so I don't know the details of the work with the capensis cross.

    G.

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    Yes, they should keep their thylokoky in their pants!

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    Senior Member prakel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mellifera Crofter View Post
    what alarms me is the information about carnie x capensis hybrids. Do they have capensis in Poland?
    There's a very short report here:

    We have had A. capensis bees in Poland for several years. The Cape colonies were in an apiary together with Italian, Carniolan, Caucasian and Middle European bee colonies. No invasion of normal European queenright colonies occurred. However, problems occurred with queen rearing colonies. Capensis workers invaded such colonies. Queen cells were destroyed and Capensis workers started to lay eggs.

    Invasion of Capensis bee by J. Woyke 1995

    https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rc...f5GJUA7zw5yHBw

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    Senior Member prakel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gavin View Post
    Interesting paper mentioned on the IBRA Facebook page today.....

    The full paper: “Grooming behaviour by worker bees of various subspecies of honey bees to remove Varroa destructor mites” by Beata Bąk and Jerzy Wilde (sadly not free to view) can be found here: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/...9.2016.1147791[/I]
    There's an older paper, looking at hygienic behaviour, by the same authors which came to a similar conclusion:

    Comparison of Hygienic Behaviour Between Five Honey Bee Breeding Lines by Bak et al 2010

    http://www.jas.org.pl/pdf/219?filena...4_2_2010_2.pdf
    Last edited by prakel; 16-04-2016 at 11:07 AM.

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    Senior Member Mellifera Crofter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gavin View Post
    ... and Polish packages coming in to Aberdeenshire via your local bee farmer, although I doubt they are bringing in *that* sort of thing. ...
    I was thinking of him! Nice chap though.

    Quote Originally Posted by prakel View Post
    There's a very short report here:
    That copy of an email is dated 1995, and even at that stage he said Poland has had capensis for a few years - so, maybe he is right in saying that scutellata queens are responsible for their own hardship in that scutellata queen pheremones are too weak to suppress the worker ovaries of capensis, and that the same thing only happens in weak European honey bee colonies such as in nucleus colonies - that's if I understand him correctly (I think his English is more mangled than mine):

    Thus the race of invaded bee must be an important factor. Queen substance of A. scutellata may not, and of other races may suppress the development of ovaries in invading Capensis worker bees.
    I still think it's a spine-chillingly stupid thing to have done - to import capensis to Poland. I hope they stay there. Ps - no, I hope there's no future for them there or anywhere else in Europe. They belong in the fynbos.

    Kitta

    PPS - Oh ... Which local bee farmer? Do you mean our own C4U? C4U? I trust him! But there's another bee farmer - a Polish chap. He only arrived in Aberdeenshire a few years ago and imports packages from Poland.
    K
    Last edited by Mellifera Crofter; 16-04-2016 at 04:27 PM.

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    Very old stuff. None of my Poles know anything about it and have never heard of or seen any issues at all, and these are the beekeeping college educated ones.

    The paper seems to jump continents without saying so as where in Poland would you find capensis invading scutellata whilst working on the aloes?

    Non story if you ask me.

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    Senior Member prakel's Avatar
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    I don't see any ambiguity between the first paragraph which clearly claims to refer to a research apiary in Poland; the second transitory paragraph and the final reference to capensis in it's natural environment. Non story is about right as it's a reference to a controlled research project but in reply to Kitta's comment, if true, it gives a historical confirmation from an internationally repspected scientist, that they did/do have capensis in Poland. Taking things at face value I don't personally see a problem, in fact if anything it appears to demonstrate a high level of control over several decades.

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    I knew Copernicus was Polish but thought he died a while back

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