I was reading a couple of interesting reports today about genetic studies conducted on the feral bee population. According to these documents, the bees commonly found as ferals in our state have a lot of Spanish/North African genetics in their background - remnants of the importation of Apis Mellifera Intermissa/Apis Mellifera Iberica way back years ago. (the Spanish brought them over)
I can see it as most of the ferals I see in removals are dark with orange banding, much like the Spanish and North african bee.
Who'd of thought? Kind of makes the whole AHB thing a bit redundant when you think about it. We already had them.
I find this extremely interesting- can you link to the reports?
As I pointed out on beesource forums, I am very surprised at the lack of subspecies queens available in the US. The Apis Mellifera saharensis bee (or the Elgon hybrid) would seem to be perfect for our area, yet there is little to no research into alternatives to the current subspecies.
Incidentally, I spoke with the State Entomologist, and she said that if you send in a sample of dead bees suspected as AHBs, they will test them, I believe with a DNA assay.
Really, I would love to send some bee samples in. I run across strange ferals all the time, that are obviously not escapees from someone's hive. The studies I mentioned were from the University of Arkansa, I believe. Done by a biologist who eventually moved on to work for Monsanto or something of that nature. Her last name was Magnus, I believe. I will see If I can find them I know the USDA published it a few years back.
Here is what Dr. Sutherland, the NM State Entomologist sent me:
"FYI---should you have a run in with hostile bees and manage to collect some (live or dead will work; put the sample in a vial of rubbing alcohol---70%) or have a colony that’s ‘acting funny’---get a sample of worker bees (just a half dozen will do) and send it through your county agent or to me directly, fill in the ‘collecting information’ (name, date, location, the problem?) and I’ll send it off for determination. Genetic analysis is the way to go---not guesswork. So far, no charge for that ID."
I'll remember that. I run into hostile hives every so often. I mean hostile as in being attacked by 200 or more guards at once, not just a couple of head butters. However, these hives remain in the small minority.