Hi All,What kind of bees do you have and why that kind ? We have buckfast and Cordovan Italian now.
We have them because,THE BUCKFAST BEE
At Buckfast Abbey in Devon, England, Brother Adam's primary aim was to breed a bee with high resistance to tracheal mites. When he had accomplished that, he began incorporating good traits he found in various races of bees during his extensive travels. He developed a bee which was gentle, had highly fecund queens, were high honey producers with a low swarming tendency, and were good wintering bees with a low consumption of stores. We are continuing to improve this strain (Pictured is Br. Adam at home in Buckfast Abbey).
An excellent choice for the Northern States and the East Coast Region.
During a two year test of six stocks of bees at the University of Minnesota, the Buckfast ranked:
Nosema in Queens - none
Acceptance - BEST (100%)
Spring Buildup - BEST
Gentleness - very gentle (second just behind Midnites)
Swarming Tendency - very low (ranked second)
Propolizing - slight (All Buckfast colonies)
Longevity of Queens - TIED FOR BEST (87% after 16 months)
Wintering - TIED FOR BEST
HONEY PRODUCTION - BEST (during two years). For details see the February, March, and April 1982 issues of American Bee Journal.
In Addition to these tests results we have observed the following:
Housekeeping - Buckfast bees keep a clean, neat hive. This helps them to resist diseases of the brood.
Adaptation - These bees do well anywhere, but are especially well adapted to areas having damp, cold winters.
Compatibility - Buckfast Queens cross well with other breeds.
Color - Variable. The bees have a tendency toward a general dark Italian appearance.
Italians have been exclusively light-colored Cordovans ever since. They have many fine qualities: the queens are very prolific, known for their rapid spring buildup, and they are very gentle.
Color: Abdomen has brown and yellow bands. Among different strains of Italian bees there are three different colors: Leather; bright yellow (golden); and very pale yellow (Cordovan).
Size: The bodies are smaller and their overhairs shorter than those of the darker honeybee races
Tongue length: 6.3 to 6.6 mm
Mean Cubital index: 2.2 to 2.5
 Disease Resistance
There is no clear evidence that ligustica are any more resistant to acarine mites than the Northern dark bee. They also appear to be less tolerant of Nosema than Northern dark bees. They are unable to retain faeces in the gut for long periods and require more frequent cleaning flights than the dark bees. They are affected by the parasitic varroa mite, Tracheal Mites, and the bacterial diseases European Foulbrood, American Foul Brood, Chalkbrood and other diseases of the honey bee.
shows strong disposition to breeding and very prolific
excellent housekeeper (which some scientists think might be a factor in disease resistance)
uses little propolis
superb comb builders
covers the honey with brilliant white cappings
shows lower swarming tendency than other Western honey bee races
for areas with continuous nectar flow and favorable weather throughout the summer
 not beneficial
more prone to drifting and robbing than the other principal races of Europe.
Often the strong brood rearing disposition and resulting large food consumption in late winter or early spring causes spring dwindling and hence slow or tardy spring development
brood rearing starts late and lasts long into late Summer or Autumn, irrespective of nectar flow
tends to forage over shorter distances than either carnica or mellifera, and may therefore be less effective in poorer nectar flows.
apparently lacks the ability to ripen heather honey before sealing.
for cool maritime regions
for areas with strong spring flow
for areas with periods of dearth of nectar in the summer
Italian honey bees bearding outside the hive entranceIt has a reputation for gentleness, but hybrids with the darker races can be especially vicious.
 Selective breeding
Breeders of Italian bees as well as other honey bee races look for certain beneficial characteristics. Depending on the breeding goal one or more of the following characteristics will be emphasized.
Gentleness or excitability
Resistance to various diseases and the tracheal mite plus the Varroa mite
Early spring buildup in population
Not prone to excess swarming
Ripens honey rapidly
Honeycomb cappings are white
Minimal use of propolis
Availability and queen cost