Errata dada

July 18, 2006

Perhaps I should just start tagging posts that aren’t false, given the seemingly endless stream of lies, half-truths and pure fiction that fill these pages. The latest bit of faux fact fun I posted was my surmise that the feral colony of bees that I captured were Apis cerana. The Beekeeper spells it out:

Unless you live in the tropics of asia, you won’t get Apis cerana. YOU DON’T WANT TO GET APIS CERANA! Those are the bees that varroa mites came from, and probably a dozen others will come from. Also, they wouldn’t use standard equipment, as, their cell size is about 2 millimeters smaller. Those bees undoubtably swarmed from a ferral colony and, it has been found that after varroa desimated so many colonies, those that survived in the wild were usually a bit darker than the italians. Oh, and, by the way, the first bees to be officically imported into the US were the german honeybee, Apis mellifera mellifera. These bees are comparable to the africanized bees beekeepers in the south (like me) are having to worry about. It wasn’t untill the 1860s that Lorenzo Lorain Langstroth (the name should sound familiar…he invented thet movable frame hive!) that italian bees came to the US.

00goddess also pointed me towards a great web site, Bush Bees, that has info on the care and feeding of feral bees (as well as some pics of what they look like…an awful lots like my dark-banded newcomers).

The Bush Bees site also had some fascinating reading on Natural Cell Size. Apparently, modern beekeeping has artificially increased the cell size in comb in the hopes that it will lead to larger honey yields (because it means less space is spent on walls and more on storage). Large bees, produced by large cells, can only create large cells.

However, Bush argues convincingly (if a bit opaquely) that these larger cells are more difficult for the bees to scour of Varroa, and thus lead to less healthy hives (as well as take longer to create and thus consume more bee resources). He suggests “regressing” them to smaller sizes over generations.

I, for one, wish that the bizarrely large houses being built to the edge of the property lines in my neighborhood would regress to something a bit more modest and sightly, but perhaps I digress.

Also, I plan on suggesting to Michelle that we name our first born Mellifera Mellifera Schwartz (Mel for short). Please use the comment section to log your votes of support.

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