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Author Topic: Russians... advice needed/wanted  (Read 2573 times)
dfizer
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« on: November 27, 2012, 10:49:37 PM »

Hello -

Recently, I attended a presentation about Russian bees and was very intrigued by their positives in cold weather climates and mite resistance.  I think that I may attempt to remove my existing queens and requeen with Russian queens.   

Do any of you have experience in starting a Russian colony or introducing a Russian queen to an existing colony?  IS this even possible or would be other strain of bee immediately kill the Russian queen?  I know I would have to remove the existing queen - therefore any advice for finding her?  My queens are not marked so with several thousand bees in the hive in the spring my guess is that it may be difficult to locate the queen.  Any advice for how to accomplish this?  I assume she would be where the majority of the bees are and near the most recent brood...

I am seriously considering this so please let me know your thoughts - good idea / bad idea and why... 

Finski - what strain if bee to you use?  They seem to be very cold weather hardy... but then again it may be just superior beekeeping practices.

David
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Finski
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« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2012, 11:09:16 PM »

We use here Italian, Carniolan and Buckfast

I do not know if any use for example Russian. I can bye them here but their nursing style is complex and it is not mite free.

Carniolan are most popular in north. Italian depends on what is its origin. Both are nursed near polar circle.

Queen breeder here try all kind of races and make crossings.

Last summer I bought Italians from 2 places. Another has 500 hives and another over 1000 hives.
This way I compare my own stock and prevent inbreeding.  Inbreeding problems are easy to come in small yard.

When I bye new queens, they are not all good. There is no guarantee about queens what they are.

.I kept 10 years carniolans and they were too bad to swarm. I returned to Italians.

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BlueBee
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« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2012, 11:45:34 PM »

Take it from a bad bee keeper; Italians and Carniolans do just fine in cold climates.  I have not tried the Russian bees. 

It is tough to find the queen in a large colony.  I only spot her about 60% of the time.  She’ll usually be on one of the inner frames roaming around brood cells, but nothing is for certain.  Raising a nuc or two is a good way to hone your eyes to spot her.
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Finski
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« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2012, 12:10:35 AM »

It is tough to find the queen in a large colony.  .


It is not difficult to find queen. Of course if you give much smoke, the queen run away from its usual place.

In a big hive queen is in a brood box. You see a consended patch of bees and it is there.

My friend never see a queen. I wonder what he is looking


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Joe D
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« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2012, 12:37:13 AM »

I have a Cordovan/ russian cross queen.  I had a hive back in the spring that became queenless, a beek I know about 40 miles away sells a few queens, I bought her from him.  He talks highly of his Russians and Cordovans.  So far she has been doing real well at filling the hive with bees.  I will probably replace my other hives with queens of this breeding.



Joe
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Finski
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« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2012, 01:29:31 AM »

.

Cordovan is a special colored Italian. It has no dark bands.

Italian strains are tens.

When my queens have been crossed with some other race, I can see a huge hybrid vigor.

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Jim 134
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« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2012, 06:06:17 AM »

Hello -

Recently, I attended a presentation about Russian bees and was very intrigued by their positives in cold weather climates and mite resistance.  I think that I may attempt to remove my existing queens and requeen with Russian queens.    

Do any of you have experience in starting a Russian colony or introducing a Russian queen to an existing colony?  IS this even possible or would be other strain of bee immediately kill the Russian queen?  I know I would have to remove the existing queen - therefore any advice for finding her?  My queens are not marked so with several thousand bees in the hive in the spring my guess is that it may be difficult to locate the queen.  Any advice for how to accomplish this?  I assume she would be where the majority of the bees are and near the most recent brood...

I am seriously considering this so please let me know your thoughts - good idea / bad idea and why...  

Finski - what strain if bee to you use?  They seem to be very cold weather hardy... but then again it may be just superior beekeeping practices.

David


This is the Russian queen Breeder in MA. Dan Conlon, South Deerfield, Massachusetts 01373
It looks like Dan will become a Certified Member of Russian Honey Bee Breeders Association, in or about June of 2013
Hope this help you out

http://www.warmcolorsapiary.com/
http://www.warmcolorsapiary.com/Documents/PackageManagement07.pdf   Look at Pg 3
http://www.russianbreeders.org/members.html


    BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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"Tell me and I'll forget,show me and I may  remember,involve me and I'll understand"
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"The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways."
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Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA. http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/
oliver
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« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2012, 08:19:13 AM »

Second year for 2 russian colonies,seem to consume less in the winter, start earlier in the spring, but these slacked off in hot weather. They were ahead of the others earlier so it evened out. Intend to stay with them for a while..dl
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dfizer
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« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2012, 09:17:32 AM »



This is the Russian queen Breeder in MA. Dan Conlon, South Deerfield, Massachusetts 01373
It looks like Dan will become a Certified Member of Russian Honey Bee Breeders Association, in or about June of 2013
Hope this help you out

http://www.warmcolorsapiary.com/
http://www.warmcolorsapiary.com/Documents/PackageManagement07.pdf   Look at Pg 3
http://www.russianbreeders.org/members.html


    BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
[/quote]

Hello Jim
This is the person who gave the presentation that got me so interested in converting to Russians.  He seemed very knowledgeable and advocated the Russians quite strongly however everyone will advocate what they are selling and what they believe in.  It kind of seemed a little too good to be true... a bee that consumes less during winter, is somewhat mite resistant, and is a good producer... what more could I want here in the cold climate.

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Jim 134
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« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2012, 01:21:17 PM »

      First of all I have keep bees in North Center MA. for over 50 years and IMOH I like dark bees. Now I have mutts but I have use and like Carniolan and Buckfast And I do not like Italian with I have kept for 10+ years or so. I may try some Russian queens this year.

And yes I have been to Ballston Spa, New York
Did you see this:
http://www.warmcolorsapiary.com/Documents/SareRussian.pdf

http://www.warmcolorsapiary.com/Documents/RussianManagement07.pdf

Did you see Dan IS sell #3 package of bees with Russian hybrid Queen for 2013          
You can find the: Order Form on the web site.
              


       BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley



« Last Edit: November 28, 2012, 02:06:37 PM by Jim 134 » Logged

"Tell me and I'll forget,show me and I may  remember,involve me and I'll understand"
        Chinese Proverb

"The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways."
 John F. Kennedy
Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA. http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/
dfizer
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« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2012, 03:21:29 PM »

Glad to see that you know where little old Ballston Spa NY is.  It is really a small charming kind of town just south of Saratoga Springs and about 30 mins north of Albany. 

I did see that he had packages of bees for sale with Russian queens and I'll probably buy those to replace any colonies that don't make it through the winter.  Since I'm kind of a glass is half full type of person and I would like to assume that all colonies make it - if that's the case, do you think it's wise to re-queen the existing colonies with Russian queens?  I think they will be available sometime in June.  At that point our colonies are hitting full stride so to requeen may set them back a bit...  Thoughts? 

If its advisable to requeen in June, what is the process to follow?

Thanks for the information.

David
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Jim 134
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« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2012, 05:50:57 PM »

IMHO if you are going to Order a package(s) of bees you need to do at now Dan all way sell out around Jan.1 or so.

  

      BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley  
« Last Edit: November 29, 2012, 02:57:01 PM by Jim 134 » Logged

"Tell me and I'll forget,show me and I may  remember,involve me and I'll understand"
        Chinese Proverb

"The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways."
 John F. Kennedy
Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA. http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/
RHBee
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« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2012, 04:50:28 AM »

Do any of you have experience in starting a Russian colony or introducing a Russian queen to an existing colony?


Yes, I'm have attempted once and was successful.

IS this even possible or would be other strain of bee immediately kill the Russian queen?


Yes it is possible and Yes if the Russian queen is direct released or released to soon she will be rejected (killed).

I think that I may attempt to remove my existing queens and requeen with Russian queens.   



I'm with you. This was my first year with bees. I started studying about bees and lurking on this site 2 years ago. I still have SO much to learn. I have found that reading and learning can't be compared with experience.

So, all that being said. I started the year with 1 package of 4.9mm small bees, 1 nuc of Italians and, 1 nuc of Russians. I wanted to evaluate all the different information that I had read first hand. I observed that the Russians were less effected by the mites than the Italians. My Italian hive had greater population, so much so that I had to split. My Italian hives are very gentile and are great honey producers but, the mites reproduced so fast that before I knew it I saw bees with deformed wings. With out wasting everyones time with further explanation, I have decided to go with strictly Russian stock next year.
Ok, David from what I have read bees are very race sensitive and it is harder to introduce a queen into a colony if she is not the same breed. I found a site, http://www.revisrussians.com/ , that does a great job explaining how to introduce a Russian queen. I followed their recommendations to the letter and it worked. I purchased my Russian queen from this same place very late in the year and installed her in a colony that I am attempting to get thru the winter.

My plan is to raise my replacement queens for next year from her colony if she performs well and survives.

I know I would have to remove the existing queen - therefore any advice for finding her?  My queens are not marked so with several thousand bees in the hive in the spring my guess is that it may be difficult to locate the queen.  Any advice for how to accomplish this?  I assume she would be where the majority of the bees are and near the most recent brood... 


When I picked up one of my nucs I heard the experienced beekeeper tell his helper "to find the queen go where the brood is". This has worked for me about 50% to 60% of the time. I think that finding the queen in a big colony is hard for anyone. If I have to really find the queen in a colony next year I'm gonna reduce the population that I have to sort thru. If the colony is in a single brood box and I spend more than 30min trying to find the queen I'm gonna split into 2 nucs with a queen excluder between them. I'll come back in 4 days find the new eggs and start the search fresh. Finski is right a lot of smoke makes the queen run. When trying to find the queen less is more. And, when you do find her mark her with the most vivid contrast color you can find. I'm not going to worry about having the correct year color on my queens but they will be marked with some color that makes them really stand out.

I hope I haven't been to windy and I hope this helps.
Ray
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Ray
dfizer
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« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2012, 11:32:03 AM »

Outstanding post... thank you.  I am going to re-queen this year with Russians and will follow the directions to the tee as well.  Are the Russians more agressive?  I really don't mind just more curious than anything. 

Good luck and please let me know if you have anything else that would help make the transition go smoother.

Best regards

David
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RHBee
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« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2012, 01:05:22 PM »

Are the Russians more agressive?  I really don't mind just more curious than anything. 


I have not found the Russian bees to be any more aggressive than the Italians.
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Ray
bailey
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« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2012, 07:29:34 PM »

russians i had were mean as hell
bailey
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RHBee
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« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2012, 08:14:26 PM »

russians i had were mean as hell
bailey

Really? I have my hives in my back yard. I havn't noticed any agression problems. Where did you get your colony? I got my nuc from Porter Honey Farm in Easly SC. I got my last queen from Ray Revis in Marion NC.
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Ray
Jim 134
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« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2012, 08:42:17 PM »


Really? I have my hives in my back yard. I havn't noticed any agression problems. Where did you get your colony? I got my nuc from Porter Honey Farm in Easly SC. I got my last queen from Ray Revis in Marion NC.



I see Ray Revis is a Certified Member of Russian Honeybee Breeders Association

http://www.russianbreeders.org/members.html
            



           BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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"Tell me and I'll forget,show me and I may  remember,involve me and I'll understand"
        Chinese Proverb

"The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways."
 John F. Kennedy
Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA. http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/
RHBee
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« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2012, 10:31:49 PM »

I see Ray Revis is a Certified Member of Russian Honeybee Breeders Association

http://www.russianbreeders.org/members.html
           
       BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley


Yes he is. I got great and prompt service from him. I was amazed that he got my queen to me as quickly as he did. I really didn't expect him to have any left. He even shipped w/o prepayment. I didn't know people did that sort of thing anymore. I saw where he got some negative posts on another forum but my experience was all positive.
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Ray
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« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2012, 08:24:46 PM »

I started out with 2) Italian packages in April and bought 2) Russians nucs from Ray Revis in June.  Ray's a great guy... I spent about half a day with him.  None of my hives produced much honey due to a late start and a hot dry summer.  I didn't harvest any honey but left what they made for their winter stores.  I had 1) Italian and 1) Russian come down heavy with mites.  Treated w/ Formic Acid and knocked them back for the winter.  I weigh and graph my hives every week.  The Italians are really consuming their stores while the Russians are being very frugal.  About the end of September, the Russians became very, very aggressive while the Italians, not so much.  So far, it appears to me that the Italians work harder than the Russians when there is nectar to be found, but this has been an unusual summer for us.
 I believe one of my Italians has requeened and mated with a Russian drone.  Over half of them seem to be very dark in color and look very much like a Russian while the other Italian hive is still yellow.  If this is true, then the hybrid hive may be the best of both worlds.  I'm very anxious to see how all my girls will do during a flow...I haven't seen that yet as this is my first year.  I've got to get them thru the winter first.  Ray told me I will have to be on my toes around March as the Russians build up a lot faster than the other breeds and they tend to swarm more as well.  The Russians almost always have Queen cells or cups visible and this is normal.  They will not allow them to develop unless one is needed and I never remove them when I see them.  It is their way.
So far I have enjoyed watching the differences in the 2 breeds...I like them both.  Come next June I will probably know which is the better breed.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2012, 08:36:09 PM by Belewsboy » Logged
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