22 Jun 2012

 Michael's Fallacy #2:  Feral bees are bad

"... feral bees are unproductive, swarmy and of bad disposition.   
I've heard this often repeated - this or other disreputable things.  Feral bees probably were at one time but lately have not been, bred for disposition.  I've removed and caught many.  Same are mean.  Some are quite nice.  Some are nervous but not mean.  Some are calm.  These traits I have found easy to find in feral bees and easy to breed for.  Just keep the good ones and re-queen the bad ones.  From my experience they are often more productive because they are more attuned to your climate and build up at the appropriate time to make a good crop.  As far as "swarmy" I think all bees are swarmy.  This is how they reproduce.  I have not had any problems controlling swarming in any kind of bees."
 If you look at feral (wild) bees with a permaculture attitude in mind, you will see colonies that survived on their own, no beekeeper to assist.  These surely are the strongest and most resilient ones - the ones best suited for your location, your flora and your climate.  These are the ones that the laws of nature found most suitable for the place.  They are unlikely to be a sickly ones - out in the big outdoors sickly creatures perish.  These would be the toughest and most resilient ones.  Swarms from such feral colonies should be considered a valuable resource.  They may turn out to be mean and nasty, but this is just the luck of the draw.  Still, they seem worth giving them a go - you never know, you collect a feral swarm and it may turn out to be a  "Black Caviar of bees".  Worth trying, IMO.

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