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Author Topic: What kind of bees did you run this year? Were you happy with them? Why?  (Read 3890 times)
twb
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« on: October 21, 2007, 08:56:44 AM »

I used all Italian hybrids, artificially inseminated, from California.  They were very gentle and a pleasure to work(usually Smiley).  I am considering ordering a couple of packages to cover possible winter losses or increase hive numbers.  Thinking about something hygeinic or mite resistant.
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TWB
Shawn
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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2007, 04:33:06 PM »

I made a post as what was the best bee to get for starters and I got a lot of responces. It all depends on who you talk to and if they are selling, what are they selling. Even though I do not have my bees yet I am going to get a 5 frame Nuc of russians for my hive and my son is going to get a package of carnolians without a queen and we are going to put a Goldline queen with them. I have read lots about the Russians but I believe you can learn more by reading posts from people that have actually had them. I also read an article that says if you are wanting comb honey then you should go with Itilian Bees. Not sure if that is true but that is what it said. So that is my two cents worth.
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Robo
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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2007, 05:03:46 PM »

The true test will be how they winter.   I find local bred bees to be far superior to bees that I have shipped in.  I have been breeding feral survivor stock into mine and am very pleased with the performance.
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Mici
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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2007, 05:27:23 PM »

all the books i have handeled so far, and sites i have read in my language, describe Carnis as a superior race. gentlest, fly in adverse weather conditions, hardy, big yields, low overwintering costs (small number to overwinter-eat less), good mite "resistence" and so on and on. the only downside is the swarmy nature.

then again, Carnis=Slovenians so...the evaluation in books and stuff might be just a bit subjective Smiley
i am however pleased with them, and would not trade them
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2007, 08:07:30 PM »

Buy your packages and/or queens from as local as possible or from an area with weather as much like yours as possible.  Survivor traits is a must.  Local bees are adapted to the local conditions.  One of the problems experienced by those buying bees imported from Australia is that they are warm weather bees without exposure to varroa; consequently the Aussy bees have a high hive loss rate in the US.  They are very good bees otherwise.  25 years ago that wouldn't have been a problem, but since the varroa invasion it's problematic. 

For those reasons I buy my queens from Olympic Apiary in Port Angeles, WA.  They are survivor stock with demonstrated hygenic behavior. That is for my area or with those having weather conditions very similar to Western Washington.  I would recommend them to anybody living in Oregan, Wahington, or British Columbia or even someone in New York or Pennsylvania.
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Moonshae
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« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2007, 09:55:31 PM »

I have 4 hives of Italians. Two started from packages, and two nucs started with frames from those and new Italian queens added. So far, I'm happy, but without a winter behind them, I'm holding my breath. I've seen some dark bees around, and I'm hoping to entice a swarm of them to come on in when Spring rolls around. I'd be happy to raise some queens from that stock and requeen the other hives with them. Regardless, if my bees make it through the winter, I'll be happy enough with them. Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2007, 10:21:54 PM »

According to the rules in Florida I have AHB because unmarked queens must be AHB.

Nicest AHB evar!

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2007, 11:12:58 PM »

According to the rules in Florida I have AHB because unmarked queens must be AHB.

Nicest AHB evar!

Sincerely,
Brendhan

Florida has the most absurd position I can imagine on AHB vs EHB.  The absence of a marked queen requiring distruction, or at least requeening, of the hive is ludicrious.  I can see it if they can prove it-but that's the key, they should be required to prove the bes are AHB before they can take action--sounds like a cause loking for a good attorney.

I see the same mind frame all over.  Instead of barring weapons from airplanes imagine what would happen to a hijacker or terroriest if just some of the people on board had the means to fight back.  The more you are dependent on someone/government the more they can manifpulate you.
 Maybe this post belongs on the Dark Side but miss-use of power yanks my chain.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2007, 07:51:40 AM »

Local feral survivors.  Mine did as well as everyone else's, which is good under the circumstances...
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bassman1977
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« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2007, 09:31:30 AM »

Carnies and Italians.  They were both great.  I never had Carnies prior to this year and was impressed by how docile they are (not saying the Italians aren't docile).  I might look into the Minnesota Hygienics for next year.  I am increasing to 20 hives for next year.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2007, 10:29:16 PM »

This year I had Italians, Carniolans (which I gave to my brother), Russia, & Minnesota Hygenic in my apiary.
The Minnesota Hygenic were by far the hotest bees in the yard.
Of the different strains the Italians were pretty much what I expected, a good calm productive bee. The Carrniolans were quicker to build up, very calm, but didn't hit the high production of the Italian, it's a nice bee to have.  The Russians are very calm, even calmer than the Carniolans, seemed to sustain work at a higher rate the the Carniolans but not as much as the Italians.  The Minnesota Hygenics quickly superceded the queen, did wierd things in comb building (They were the only bees on foundation and I had to keep tearing it out and making them do it over), where hot on good days and hotter on so-so days, and I had to force them into a 2nd box.

My analysis, though limited to 1 year of comparrison, is that if you what high honey yield--go with the tried and true Italians--this is a bee you can never go wrong having.  The Carniolans and Russians were pretty much a toss-up though I developed a personal favorite slanted towards the Russians.  Both are good bee, the best choice if you are in an area where temperment might be the deciding factor, and when not experiencing a dearth should produce a reasonable harvest.  The Minnesota Hygenics I found tempermental and contrary, these bees take a little work and are not 1 I would recommend to the 1st year beekeeper.

That's my accessment, make your own decission.
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« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2007, 10:58:51 PM »

   One feral colony Two winters good and very productive as well as calm.

Two Russians with a winter and good production also very calm.  They do explode in the spring though.  Three colonies, CCD survivors, from a breeder in the state; one struggling the other two have plenty of excess honey.


Two hives of I Don't Have a Clue What They Are!  Both plenty of honey to pull and very calm. 

     Except the one new colony, all are robust and bringing in nectar and pollen.  The one weak is taking in syrup but not touching protein sub patties. 
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Old Timer
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« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2007, 03:26:13 PM »

i've had the same bees for years. almost all of hives originated from wild colonies.
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pdmattox
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« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2007, 05:53:36 PM »

well I started out with Italians and alowed open mating in a ahb zone and the end result is that I now have africanized hybirds but they do very well here.  ( I do find that the mail man just throws the mail out towards the mail box now instead of stoping to put it in. evil  Not realy they are no meaner than the italians that were marked.)
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twb
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« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2007, 10:01:29 PM »

I really liked the mailman visual there pdm.  Good for a laugh.

It is interesting all the varieties being used.  If you let them open mate do you weaken the gene pool after a couple of years in a row of allowing this for the same hive?

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"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."  Proverbs 16:24

Sincerely,
TWB
CBEE
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« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2007, 02:26:48 PM »

Well, When I orderd my bees the guy asked what kind I wanted.so I asked what kind do you have? He replied.. Italians. So I said OK I would like to order some Italian bees pleease.. grin  So I ended up with Italians and will get some experience with them before trying other kinds.
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UtahBees
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« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2007, 02:36:02 PM »

I have Italians that were hived this year in April from a 3lb package. I believe they came from Georgia.

They've been very docile - I got stung once this year by them, and that was yesterday as I was consolidating frames for winter. They're a beautiful color and hard workers. I hope they'll survive alright during the winter. I've done my best to prepare them, and want to see how they do naturally.

Regards,

Scott
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trapperbob
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« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2007, 05:01:20 PM »

Italians are what I have because by the time that I decided to order thats what was avalable. but the season coming up I'm going to order three 3 3lb packages of carnis because I think they will do better in the topbar hives I've built. Not to say I had problems with the Italians they were great but they seem to build up to big for winter and carnis down size and eat less. After that I may get caucasions the next season just for the experiance.
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Shawn
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« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2007, 05:09:51 PM »

Good question! Maybe this should be another post but how would you prevent open air mating? I know if you buy a queen and she is clipped then she is not going to be open aired. If you get or obtain a queen that is not clipped then houw would you know what she is mating with? I guess I dont even know how many times she is needed to be mated with to keep laying eggs.
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pdmattox
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« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2007, 05:39:17 PM »

Good question! Maybe this should be another post but how would you prevent open air mating? I know if you buy a queen and she is clipped then she is not going to be open aired. If you get or obtain a queen that is not clipped then houw would you know what she is mating with? I guess I dont even know how many times she is needed to be mated with to keep laying eggs.

most people that are buying queens are buying mated queens. If you are buying cells to put in the hive they will mate after they emerge with what drones are in the area presumably your stock. Open mated mean that they were not artificaly insemenated like some breeders do. The above statments are to the best of my knowlage and others on here are sure to chime in and correct me where i am wrong.
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BeeHopper
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« Reply #20 on: October 24, 2007, 05:56:52 PM »

2006: Buckfast
2007: Italians - I started 6 new hives this year with 6 three pound packages which resulted in a quick build up and very prolific hives. Four of the six gave me honey this year ( 115 x 1 lb. bottles of Wildflower Honey ). We'll see how they will overwinter  Smiley
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #21 on: October 24, 2007, 08:50:15 PM »

>how would you prevent open air mating?

The only reason to is if you're doing II (Instrumental Insemination).  Then you'd II the queen and then clip her or just confine her until she is laying.

> I know if you buy a queen and she is clipped then she is not going to be open aired.

If she's mated and was laying she won't mate again.

>If you get or obtain a queen that is not clipped then houw would you know what she is mating with?

Well, she's done mating, so that's irrelevant, but what she HAS mated with is important, but probably she was open mated or you paid way too much for her.  Smiley

> guess I dont even know how many times she is needed to be mated with to keep laying eggs.

She will mate during only one period of her life over the space of only one to three days.  She will not mate again after that.  She will lay until she is superseded or she dies.

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Michael Bush
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genesbees
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« Reply #22 on: October 24, 2007, 08:51:03 PM »

I tried several new varieties this year:

2 pkgs of B. Weaver BeeSMaRt

2 Nucs of Russian

2 Nucs of Carniolan

1 pkg Carniolan

I ended up with 1 strong BeeSMaRt hive, 2 reasonably strong Carniolan, 0 Russian (they absconded), and 9 non AHB ferals, some are of Italian (A. m. ligustica) origin and some are of Egyptian (A. m. lamarkii) origin.

The BeeSMaRt seem to put up a lot of honey but also are kind of like Italians (brood raising fools).  Their temperament is a little more aggressive than Italians but by no means hot (I work them in a veil, t-shirt and no gloves).  They have handled the SHB very well and I have not seen any mites on them (although I am sure they are there).  I ended up combining one struggling BeeSMaRt package with a struggling Carniolan package, the Carniolan queen took over and it became a pretty strong Carniolan colony.

The Carniolan do not put up quite as much honey, but they are really a joy to work, the most docile of any I have come across.  I really like their coloration too.  One nuc absconded shortly after I put them in a 10-frame hive body.  They handled the SHB quite well but I did notice a few mites.  The mite load was quite low so they seem to be holding their own so far, time will tell.

Don't think I will try the Russians again, they were quite "flighty" when I worked them and both colonies built up well during the main flow but they eventually absconded for no readily apparent reason.  They were there one day raising brood and bringing in lots of nectar and pollen and then were gone the next.

The ferals are a real mixed bag.  Some are quite calm and others are more like the BeeSMaRt in temperament, all of them are not bad to work (veil, t-shirt and no gloves).  Most seem to raise lots of brood but also seem to put up quite a bit of stores as well.  They all handle the SHB very well and I have not seen any mites (again I am sure there are some).  If they make it through till spring, I will have a better evaluation of them next year.

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« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2007, 05:46:33 AM »

i have italians and carniolans from kona, hawaii and i'm very happy with them.  i got a batch of italians from australia and all i have to say is NEVER AGAIN.  they're mean, lousy layers, easily superceeded, poor pollen gatherers and i didn't get any surplus honey from them.
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Gail Di Matteo
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« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2007, 07:40:57 PM »

I started with three Russian nucs this spring. They were gentle, easy to work with. Most times I only went into the hives with a smoker. I fed them for about two weeks in the spring, thats it. They built up very quickly and they worked very hard; I pulled a medium honey super off the first week of October! Not that I have any comparison, but all in all, I am very pleased.

Gail
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Shawn
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« Reply #25 on: October 25, 2007, 09:23:49 PM »

Gail,

You were the first to really talk about the Russians. Did anyone else have Russians and how did they do?
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #26 on: October 25, 2007, 09:44:11 PM »

Check out my earlier reply #10.  It broke down my assessment of the different type of bees I had in my apiary this year, Russians were included.
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Eshu
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« Reply #27 on: October 26, 2007, 11:44:20 AM »

I started with two nucs of russian/carniolan mutts.  They did well considering it was a lousy year here.  The flows were small and brief.  Other beeks in the area with established hives didn't get a surplus either... The nucs were from Don Fatbeeman. 
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