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Does anybody out there keep Asian honeybees (Apis cerana)?

 
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normC
New Bee


Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 4
Location: mountains of Fujian, China

PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 3:08 am    Post subject: Does anybody out there keep Asian honeybees (Apis cerana)? Reply with quote

Hi, newbie here. I went through the topics in last couple of days and I 100% agree with all who say - start with local mutts. In my case it is mostly for two reasons - 1) mite resistance, 2) my foraging options ( My first hive will be on a fully forested west facing mountainside surrounded by 300+ acres of pineforest, some wild grassed areas, possibly some rice fields). Although I could get Italiens, I don't think they would like the area too much Confused .
The only publication, I know of, talking about Asian/Oriental bees is VITA and those guys suggest to scale down the hive size from 40-60 litters to half. So that's where my scream for help is coming from.
Trying to get my TBH build and ready to go for the end of March.
And one more thing - Merry Christmas to you all !!!
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andy pearce
Silver Bee


Joined: 30 Aug 2009
Posts: 663
Location: UK, East Sussex, Brighton

PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you get on you tube and search 'traditional Japanese beekeeping' you get onto 'mituro36's set of videos about keeping Apis cerana japonica in the traditional way. These are very interesting and this type of hive is being tested with European bees by some people on this forum.

I do not know what sub species of Apis cerana you have but I think this is well worth a look. This is bee keeping without the problems caused by Varroa (the mite evolved with the Asian honey bee so the behaviour is of low level parasitism rather than the destruction caused when it jumped to the European honey bee) or Vespa velutina....the Asian predatory wasp (Asian Hornet) which is already in Europe and heading our way. The Asian honey bee has strategies to cope with this by luring the wasp inside the hive and balling it....overheating it by smothering it to death...the European honey bees tend to rush out to attack and get killed. Again there are you tube videos showing both scenarios. Again I do not know what has gone the other way....from the European honey bees to the native honey bees...I am thinking of the foulbroods and nosema etc.

I have absolutely no idea of the type of beekeeping and with what species is done in China as a whole but would very much like to hear about what is the way it is done in your area.
A
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1581
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2014 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Norm and welcome. Good advice from Andy there. I can only add that we did have a member in Hong Kong I think a few years ago but he hasn't been active recently and he was trying to keep apis cerana in horizontal TBHs. I think, from memory, some of the problems he was encountering were that brood was distributed throughout the hive and as you say, the colonies are smaller, so a vertical hive like the Japanese hive may be a better option.

Unfortunately we had an administrative error a few months ago and lost a lot of older posts, so I am not sure if the member from Hong Kong's posts are still available.

Good luck with your bee keeping venture in that part of the world and keep us posted on how it goes. The terrain and forage sounds ideal for bees.

Best wishes

Barbara
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biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1055
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2014 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lesster Leow is on here somewhere - I'm sure he mentioned keeping A. cerana in a TBH.
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normC
New Bee


Joined: 19 Dec 2014
Posts: 4
Location: mountains of Fujian, China

PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2014 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you guys. I have a little trouble getting access to those youtube videos (go figure Wink ), but I will watch them and choose couple of options.
I'll sure keep you posted on my progress.
Thanks again, Norm
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andy pearce
Silver Bee


Joined: 30 Aug 2009
Posts: 663
Location: UK, East Sussex, Brighton

PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a link to his youtube page....there is much in English if you search the videos and a link to a website at the top right.

https://www.youtube.com/user/mituro36

A
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Adam Rose
Silver Bee


Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 586
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I have read, everything about Apis Cerana is a little smaller than for melifera : the size of the bee, the natural colony size, the distance between the combs, and their flying range. These smaller dimensions would have to be take into account in any hive.

I have read that the most significant difference is that Cerena queens only lay brood into fresh comb, unlike Melifera that will re-use the same brood nest comb over and over again. This would affect your management practices in any design of hive. It explains why traditional beekeeping with Cerena in Japan uses a "stack of boxes" where the brood is always near the bottom and the honey at the top. Then you harvest at the top and add a box at the bottom, which provides more space for fresh brood comb to be built at the bottom. I imagine that if you used a HTBH you would have to do something similar and have some strategy in place to deal with "getting to the end" of the HTBH.

One of the advantages of HTBH with melifera is that it gets rid of the need for any heavy lifting, with heavy supers and things like that. I would imagine that this is less of a factor with Cerana just because the colony is smaller and therefore not as heavy. I have seen videos where one beekeeper lifts the whole stack of boxes up in order to get another box in at the bottom, so it can't be that heavy. Contrast for example what you have to do with Warre's and melifera, where either you need two people or people make a hive lift.
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