Author Topic: AHB AGAIN UGGGGGH !!!!!!!  (Read 4214 times)

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Offline Cracker

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AHB AGAIN UGGGGGH !!!!!!!
« on: April 06, 2014, 04:23:13 pm »
 Last year I had one of my colonies go full blown AHB,and they went after me mowing,then when I retreated to the house,I walked(actually ran)past the chicken coop and they found and killed 2 of the 4 chickens before I could suit up to go rescue them.I ended up having to destroy the hive by recommendation of my state bee inspector.
  This Spring I noticed bees starting to become increasingly more and more aggressive while we were planting the Spring veggie garden over the past few weeks.Once you've experienced AHB you know the tell tale signs to look for,like bees(and not just 1 or 2,I mean a dozen or more) traveling up to 100 ft. from the hives,with one intent and that's trying relentlessly sting you with absolutely no provocation.I knew for sure last week when mowing because the bees normally never get upset when I mow behind the hives,and this time they poured out of the 2 hives(just like a year ago)luckily I was suited up because they came at me in hordes on the other side of the yard over 100ft away 2 weeks before when mowing.
  So I again called the bee inspector who told me it would be 2 to 3 weeks before she could come out and take samples(which I feel was going to be a waste of time)she did this time give me an possible alternative solution to killing the hives,and that was to try a method she's had success with requeening AHB.I was a little reluctant at first then listened to what she had to say.
 She told me to first make the colonies queenless,and also eliminate all drones and drone cells I find(which I've alredy done last week.Then 4 days later go back and check for any queen cells forming and kill anymore drones I find as well as eliminating all queen cells,and then requeen a day later.I went through them today)and they of course had started dozens of queen cells some of which were already capped.This way they have no way to start anymore queen cells.
  Tomorrow I have 4 new queens ordered with my queen supplier and will requeen the 2 suspected AHB hives,and also my other 2 hives that are ok and not in the least aggressive.I hope this works because down here in Florida we are in the middle of our Spring flow,but I seriously doubt I'll get any honey from the 2 AHB hives.
  I post the progress as it goes.
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Offline Slowmodem

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Re: AHB AGAIN UGGGGGH !!!!!!!
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2014, 05:10:18 pm »
This will be an interesting thread to keep up with!  Thanks for keeping us updated!   ;)
Greg Whitehead
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Gypsi

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Re: AHB AGAIN UGGGGGH !!!!!!!
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2014, 06:29:17 pm »
Requeening works. I battled them here in 2012. Over time, through generations, bees in North Texas acquire some AHB DNA.  The 2012 queen in the hot hive has doubtless been replaced by at least a daughter if not a granddaughter and a great granddaughter, and each of those mated with local drones, which outside of my small apiary could mean any old bee.

I've got queens on order, and tree surgery on hold due to risk to tree workers. My big elm is close to splitting, I might let them cable it tomorrow if they can do it early in the morning. Stalker bees got my helper and I last Monday. No provacation, no mowing, walking 20 ft from hive

Offline Cracker

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Re: AHB AGAIN UGGGGGH !!!!!!!
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2014, 06:44:28 pm »
Thanks for the info Gypsi,good to know at least there's a chance to save them.I can put up with the leftover AHB's for a few weeks until the less aggressive ones start taking over.
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Offline blueblood

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Re: AHB AGAIN UGGGGGH !!!!!!!
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2014, 08:06:32 pm »
Darn Cracker, sorry.  That sounds like hard work picking out all the drones and their cells.

Offline rrog13

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Re: AHB AGAIN UGGGGGH !!!!!!!
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2014, 10:06:49 pm »
Pinching the AHB queens during the flow ……wouldn’t this actually help increase honey stores since there’ll be a period of time where stores won’t be consumed by brood?  When the hives go full blown AHB, is this due to usurpation or is it a gradual occurrence?

Interesting post.

Offline apisbees

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Re: AHB AGAIN UGGGGGH !!!!!!!
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2014, 04:32:43 am »
As I understand the aggression comes from the drones the queen mates with, so a swarmed or superseded colony will have a virgin mating with the area drones that can be highly African. Also African colonies have been observed invading and taking over colonies that have European queens.
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Offline tbonekel

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Re: AHB AGAIN UGGGGGH !!!!!!!
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2014, 07:49:19 am »
This is very interesting. I was wondering, can it work the other way around? For instance, if all my hives are gentle and they are making tons of drones, could a AHB virgin queen somewhere nearby mate with one of my drones and have offspring a little more docile? If that's the case, we need more beekeepers, stat!

Offline Cracker

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Re: AHB AGAIN UGGGGGH !!!!!!!
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2014, 08:36:43 am »
Pinching the AHB queens during the flow ……wouldn’t this actually help increase honey stores since there’ll be a period of time where stores won’t be consumed by brood?  When the hives go full blown AHB, is this due to usurpation or is it a gradual occurrence?

Interesting post.

 rrog13 this time and last year both were gradual occurrences.And both suspected colonies don't have much stores at all,so I already missed half the flow so far.Maybe if there build up quick enough I'll get a small crop of honey if I'm lucky.


As I understand the aggression comes from the drones the queen mates with, so a swarmed or superseded colony will have a virgin mating with the area drones that can be highly African. Also African colonies have been observed invading and taking over colonies that have European queens.

Apis I think this started last year a couple of months after I killed the AHB colony,and did a walk away split.I may have shot myself in the foot doing so if there were AHB still around  and the virgin queen in one of the splits mated with a left over AHB drone.I haven't noticed any swarms this year so that could've happened without my knowledge.Anything is possible with bees.
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Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: AHB AGAIN UGGGGGH !!!!!!!
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2014, 09:13:36 am »

   I think part of the problem is the mating of the virgin queen.  If you think about it, it isn't so hard to understand.
   Your queen mates with ten drones as an example. Only ONE of those drones was AHB.
   So now.. on average, you have 9 European bees, and one AHB cross..  In a colony with 40,000 bees in it that translates to 4000 bees that still harken back to the AHB traits.   Don't know about you but 4000 bees would be enough to run me off.

     I have "read" that A hive in TN was tested for AHB because it was aggressive, and found to have 15% AHB.. does that mean genetics or 15% of the workers were AHB as I mentioned in the example above? If it is just the genetics that doesn't bode well for being capable of dumming down the genetics and calming them down over time.....
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Gypsi

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Re: AHB AGAIN UGGGGGH !!!!!!!
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2014, 10:38:19 am »
The African drones are faster but the AHB in Texas are NOT as aggressive as they were 20 years ago. We need more beekeepers... to dilute the DNA

Offline Cracker

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Re: AHB AGAIN UGGGGGH !!!!!!!
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2014, 04:34:32 pm »

   I think part of the problem is the mating of the virgin queen.  If you think about it, it isn't so hard to understand.
   Your queen mates with ten drones as an example. Only ONE of those drones was AHB.
   So now.. on average, you have 9 European bees, and one AHB cross..  In a colony with 40,000 bees in it that translates to 4000 bees that still harken back to the AHB traits.   Don't know about you but 4000 bees would be enough to run me off.

     I have "read" that A hive in TN was tested for AHB because it was aggressive, and found to have 15% AHB.. does that mean genetics or 15% of the workers were AHB as I mentioned in the example above? If it is just the genetics that doesn't bode well for being capable of dumming down the genetics and calming them down over time.....

  Lazybkpr I think you nailed it on all points,I agree it was probably a leftover AHB drone that could've migrated to another colony before I eradicated the AHB colony last year.And if just one mated with the virgin queen from the "walk away" split I did that ended up without the queen 2 months later,they could have been well on their way to superseding that colony.Last year after testing the AHB hive I had the Bee  inspector stated I had 70% AHB  in that hive,prompting them to tell me destroy the colony or we will.Those were the ones that attacked and killed 2 of my 4 chickens
 The present aggressive colonies are not that bad(YET).
  As far as diluting the genetics with a less aggressive line of queens I'm not that knowledgeable when it comes to that,but I hope that that it's true that it does make later generations less aggressive.
 Good post definitely food for thought.

 Also earlier today I installed new queens  in all 4 of my hivesI'll check this weekend to see how that went,and will post the results.
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Offline Cracker

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Re: AHB AGAIN UGGGGGH !!!!!!!
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2014, 07:54:20 am »
 Update,now the County extension office,and the county code enforcement are now involved,thanks to a neighbor(one I don't get along with of course) that was mowing and got stung.The county Extension office called the State Bee Inspector,which in turn called me,and have scheduled the Bee inspector to come out Mon.4/14 to assess the situation.The inspector also said it would be wise to have a barrier in between the colonies and the property line if the colonies were closer than 15 ft. of the property line(which they are)and have it in place when she arrives at 7:30 am on Mon.So I put up 24 ft. of cypress fence between the colonies and my property line.
 What a mess this is turning out to be,I wish now I would have chosen to eradicate the suspected AHB colonies instead of trying to requeen them.
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Offline Lburou

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Re: AHB AGAIN UGGGGGH !!!!!!!
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2014, 08:23:39 am »
Good luck with your situation. 

A couple notes containing my take on a situation like yours.  First if I had two hives that were not a problem, I might not requeen them at this point.  Secondly, splitting a suspected AHB hive helps the requeening process, and, the subsequent 6 weeks until the 'new genes' show dominance in your hives.  You might consider splitting suspected AHB hives and leaving the other two alone until there is reasons to monkey with them.

I've had small swarms take over small mating Nucs.  I killed the queens and froze the brood in those hives.  I saw four of those softball sized aggressor swarms last Fall.  Three went into my mating Nucs, one was not where I could get at it.

Just a couple thoughts.  Again, good luck  :)
Lee_Burough

Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: AHB AGAIN UGGGGGH !!!!!!!
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2014, 09:25:30 am »
Man....  I am glad most folks around here are mellow, or I'd have been jailed/killed a LONG time ago.
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