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Author Topic: What kind of bee is best for a beginer?  (Read 2331 times)
Apis629
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« on: May 10, 2005, 04:46:55 PM »

I am, as a beginner hoping to soon keep bees, lacking experience to determine which type of bee would be good for me to work with.  I would, being in Florida, need something that can show some resistence to Varroa mites.  Or maybe finding something with resistance to varroa mites is like "...trying to breed sheep resistent to wolves."  I have read that Russian strains as well as Carniolans have some resistence to Varroa destructor by removing the infected larva.  Obviously, cold hardiness isn't a problem down here so I'm sure I can work with many strains exept Italian.   I found out in my first attempted year of beekeeping (7 months) that Italians face Varroa mites like lambs to the slughter.  Basicly, I just want a second opinion on what type of bee would fit this criteria.  Thankyou for the replies!
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Miss Chick-a-BEE
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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2005, 04:54:59 PM »

Getting something that's more resistant to the mites is smart, but saying that Italians are "prone" to mites isn't exactly true. I have two hives of Italians, in central Georgia, and have not as yet had a mite problem. I've had them through two years, but only treated them with mite medicine once. I did that medicine in the first winter, because I thought I had to do it twice a year whether I see mites or not. I hadn't seen mites, but just medicated just because. Still have no mites, and it's been 18 months since that medication.
Sometimes I feel just plain blessed, with everyone else troubled by mites on a regular basis. Some may say I'm stupid for not treating for mites even if I see no problem. But anyway..... I have not seen any mites, and do not plan to medicate until I see mites.

Beth
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2005, 05:14:41 PM »

All the bees I've seen if you don't do something different that what is normally done and if you don't monitor to see if it's working you will lose them to the Varroa eventually.  Some of the more resitant strains may last longer.

There are a lot of alternatives as to what to do.  There are several alternatives as to how to monitor.

Not see mites on your bees means nothing.  Not seeing any on ucapped drone is pretty promising.  Not seeing any natural drop on a sticky board or a tray under a SBB is promising.  Not seeing any in a sugar roll is promising.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Horns Pure Honey
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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2005, 05:20:40 PM »

Everyone has there own favorite but Italians are the most common and some of the nicest to mess around with. Cheesy
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Ryan Horn
Apis629
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« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2005, 06:42:04 PM »

Sorry for my steriotypical view of Italians.  I suppose that given the fact that they're most popular and apperantly, in Michael's case, resistant to mites without very much medicating I guess they're the bee for me.  Thanks for the replies.
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Horns Pure Honey
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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2005, 07:40:38 PM »

Thats ok. You could try Buckfast. They are strong and work like crazy. The only problem I have heard about is if they swarm the word hot cant even describe them. Cheesy
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Ryan Horn
Apis629
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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2005, 08:14:54 PM »

Well given I don't feel like being stung more than I have to I think I'll go with Italians over Buckfast.
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Horns Pure Honey
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« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2005, 11:00:15 PM »

Truely I can say buckfast is a good be, I am working a friends hive of them now. They work super hard and build comb lightning fast. All I am saying is I rather torch the swarm if I found it in my yard. Cheesy
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Ryan Horn
Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2005, 11:28:56 PM »

One problem with Italians and mites is Italians rear a lot of brood.  As one person said "they are brood rearing fools".  Since this is where the Varroa reproduce this may be part of the perception that they are not reistant to Varroa.  But you need brood, of course.

You have to learn to monitor and control the mites or your bees will die from the Varroa.  No matter what kind of bees you get.  You don't have to use chemical solutions, but you HAVE to do something different from just keeping bees by standard practices and you HAVE to monitor to see if you need to use something and to tell if it is working, if you want to keep your bees alive in the long run.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Apis629
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« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2005, 12:18:29 AM »

Ok so then by monitor I take it that you mean to do "Sugar Shake" tests.  Check inserts on screened bottom boards and inspect the drone comb by terring it open with an uncapping fork.  Anything else I should know.  I'm hoping to "dive-in" and take a shot in the next 2-3 weeks.  In about four weeks there should be a good Jacaranda honeyflow here.
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Lesli
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« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2005, 06:08:50 AM »

That's about it, Apis. I did all three last year; I found it hard to distinguish mites from hive debris on a board, but opening drone brrod gave me a better "view" of the mites. Once I had seen one for sure, then it became easier to spot. (I still needed those bought a magnifying glass, though!)
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2005, 10:03:17 AM »

>Ok so then by monitor I take it that you mean to do "Sugar Shake" tests. Check inserts on screened bottom boards and inspect the drone comb by terring it open with an uncapping fork.

Those are the main methods I use.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Joseph Clemens
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« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2005, 02:35:19 AM »

I've seen mites on my bees once in awhile (I'm always keeping an eye out). I haven't lost a colony to mites or disease since I've been keeping bees here in Tucson, more than 8 years now. I've never used any pesticide or essential oil treatment of any kind. I'm pretty sure I saw a few cells of chalk brood about 6 years ago. That's the only honeybee disease I've ever seen in my own bees. Only in the last three years have I even began migrating my bees to small-cell. They are not yet all on small-cell. I am currently constructing my first SBB so I can see how many mites are dropping.

2004-2005 was an unusual winter. It was very mild and moist. All my colonies built up exceedingly well. By February all the colonies were extremely populous yet very light on stores. I did not feed them, I don't like giving them "sugar or HFCS". Even colonies of 6 or more supers were overall very light in weight. I noticed this when I moved 5 of 10 from one apiary to another location. I band clamped them together and used a hand truck to load them on my pickup. They were relatively "light as a feather". However, even without feeding they managed to bring in enough to keep themselves going until the flows began. They soon filled all the empty space they had in each hive and I am building medium 6-5/8" supers as quick as I can to give them more space.
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Joseph Clemens
Beekeeping since 1964
10+ years in Tucson, Arizona
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No chemicals -- no treatments of any kind, EVER.
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