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.