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Two very different honey bees?  RSS feed

 
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So we've got a bumper crop of blackberries coming and I was watching the bees go to work on the blossoms when I noticed that there were two very distinct kinds of bees.

The smaller darker ones are faster at each flower and seem to avoid the lighter colored bees. If they accidentally end up on the same flower the darker bee quickly leaves. I was wondering if people maybe thought they were a wild variety?

There are about 3 times as many light colored bees as dark ones on the bushes.

Thanks
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Smaller darker bee
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[Thumbnail for 20180604_165456.jpg]
Lighter bigger bee
 
pollinator
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Both appear to be wild.
 
garden master
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There are several types? breeds? varieties? of honey bees. Off the top of my head there are...
Russian
Carolinian
Buckfast
Caucasian
And likely more. The different types are different colors. Often 'wild colonies' are bees who decided there was not enough room in their box, and up and escaped.

I kept Russians. They are reported to be more territorial and are dark in color.

edit: Your pictures finally loaded.
My Russians were even darker!
 
Penny McLoughlin
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Cool. What makes you think that both of them appear wild?
 
Mike Barkley
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The best answer is all bees are wild.

Apis mellifera aka honeybees could be considered domestic. As Joylynn said there are many apis mellifera varieties. Italian is another that comes to mind. The ones in pix simply don't look like any I've ever encountered. Nothing I can pinpoint ... not fuzzy enough legs ... weird colors ... proportions a little off? They very well could be "honeybees" or could be one of thousands of other "wild" varieties. At least you have bees & blackberries. Must be doing something right:)
 
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I like Mike's answer about wild bees, all bees are wild, we can put them into a situation we want for our use of their work, but they are not tamed.

The only "dangerous" honey bees are the Africanized and these are spreading through the USA.
Most of the honeybees that are in kept hives tend to come from the European strains, fuzzy, light in color and not aggressive.
There are South American strains that are darker and the Russian strains are very dark in color.

On my land I've noticed tree hives of at least three different strains of bees, one is green tinted on the light bands but is shaped like a European honey bee, I haven't attempted to capture one for identification.
We also have just about every specie of wasp and hornet that come around or build their nests on our land including a monster ground dweller whose stinger looks like a #12 needle.
Needless to say, being allergic enough that one sting from any could be a death event for me, I leave them to do as they desire to do.

I love our resident honey bees, they have run into me and just move on to go about their business.
 
pollinator
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:a monster ground dweller whose stinger looks like a #12 needle.



Could be "Cicada Killer" Sphecius speciosus
 
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The two types of honeybees are: Mellifera and Cerana Indica

 
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Maxene Dee wrote:The two types of honeybees are: Mellifera and Cerana Indica



Not relevant to this post - both bees pictured are Apis Mellifera, the European honey bee.

There is a large amount of colour variation in honey bees, largely because of the international trade in bees which have caused different local strains to interbreed. There is no such thing as a “pure” strain of bee anymore, and anyone telling you there is is probably trying to sell you something!

Even within a single hive there can be a large range in colours, based on the genetics of the different drones the Queen has mated with.
 
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