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  1. #1

    Question

    i have heard that the russia bees are the best is this true?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    oneonta al.
    Posts
    812

    Smile

    Is the chevy the best or Ford maybe Dodge,just to make a point,It is the same with bees, some likes the Russian's,some the Italian's-the Carniolans7 the list go's on & on .as far as the best bee there is not one catagory of the best.I heard a well known Dr: at a speech I attained at a Univ, one time say a bee is a bee, although I disagree with him, I think some breeds do better in different parts of the country than other's.everyone to his or her on like's mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    brown county,indiana,usa
    Posts
    571

    Post

    you have to consider your priorities.do you want the best honey producer?,the gentlest?,the most disease resistant?,the one best suited for your climate?russians are popular now because some have shown that they are more resistant to varroa mites.they also winter pretty well.some people think they are more aggressive( i haven't noticed that to be true),some russians seem to build alot of queen cells.overall i think people agree they are a good bee.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,616

    Post

    If any of them weren't good no one would raise them. One line of thought is that the darker races of bees live naturally in northern climates and the lighter races live in more southern climates so the darker ones do better in the cold. I've never raised the darker ones and I live and most always have lived, in the a nothern climate. I think they are all fine. The criteria for bees used to be: Gentle, productive, resistant to Foulbrood. Now the biggest criteria is survival. Meaning Tracheal mite and Varroa mite resistant. This is supposed to be one of the Russian advantages.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,502

    Post

    >> have heard that the russia bees are the best is this true?

    Best as in what? I assume you mean for mite resistance. That we don't know yet 100%. There is alot more you have to consider when buying stock. Dont consentrate on one trait.

    Ian

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,081

    Post

    You can take an apiary of ten hives of any breed, and the production, swarm frequency, mite tolerance, wintering capability, etc., will be different from one hive to the next. I do not think most beekeepers intentionally split/promote from thier own stock, and just order out of a magazine most of the time.
    Each beekeeper should be familiar with queen production and selection. I'm weak in this area myself but think that the industry would benefit from selection of survivors.
    I say this and have asked questions concerning feral bee capture, and the like, because I would like to dream that bee desease and mite problems will be solved one day by genetics. I hate the cost of chemicals versus profitability, and hate to think I'll carry a fogger around forever.

    Does anyone have reliable info on Russians. It seems like the rush to russians have quieted over the past couple of years. Does this indicate anything?

    This is not to start anything with M. Bush, but people will produce what others are willing to buy. "Good" has nothing to do with it most of the time. Thats why you should never believe anything in a mag, but should seek independent, reliable, sources. Such as M. Bush's advise and others.

    I personally think a beekeepers ability goes farther in success than any strain could possible go. At least at this point.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,616

    Post

    >This is not to start anything with M. Bush, but people will produce what others are willing to buy. "Good" has nothing to do with it most of the time. Thats why you should never believe anything in a mag, but should seek independent, reliable, sources. Such as M. Bush's advise and others.

    I'm not sure where you think this might start something. I think most queen producers that stay in business are raising fairly good queens or people would not go back to them.

    My opinion of the Russian queens is that I've only had one, it did ok, but I don't have a large enough experience to have an opinion beyond that.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,616

    Post

    I suppose your underlying question isn’t if Russian bees are best, but what is the best bee for a beginner?

    First, let’s keep in mind that you can change breeds of bee by merely requeening. It’s not like you have to start over. If you have an Italian hive and want Russian, you just order a Russian queen and follow standard methods to requeen.
    http://www.beesource.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/000461.html is a discussion of package bees and queens and prices. There are lots of breeders listed there and on http://www.beesource.com/suppliers/usbees.htm .

    I think the differences are minor between races but some do have significance.

    Gentleness. They tell me the Caucasians are gentler than the Italians. This may be true. Most of the Italians and Buckfasts I’ve had have been as gentle as I can imagine. The Caucasians also propolize more (glue things together). Maybe this is a good trait, since propolis is an antibacterial agent, but it is a pain sometimes when there is a lot of sticking everything together. Some people call Cardovans a breed, when actually they are a coloration. But since the bees they are calling Cardovans are all from the same original stock and they have been bred to be very gentle, they are also a very gentle bee, by all accounts I’ve heard. A nice trait for a beginner.

    Swarming. Certainly the darker bees (Caucasian, Carnolians) are more prone to swarm. Since this is one of the most important things to manage and one of the more difficult ones for newbies, this is a disadvantage. Some will say you just run an unlimited brood nest. I think this is a good idea, or at least have three deeps for them, but then you have to look through three boxes to find the queen. When you are inexperienced at finding a queen anyway, it makes it more difficult. When you are better at it, it may be irrelevant.

    Productivity. It is nice to get large harvests, but most important the bees have to be able to produce honey and gather pollen in order to succeed and survive. Most of the breeds for sale have been selectively bred for this. Still it varies from queen to queen and hive to hive. All in all the Italians have always had the reputation for productivity over the darker bees. There is some controversy on this in colder climates because the darker bees will fly when the weather is cooler than the Italians will. The only bees that have really not been selectively bred for productivity and gentleness are the survivor feral breeds. This includes the Harbos (SMaRt or SMR) and the Russians. They were picked because they survived the mites in the wild and are now being bred for other traits, but mostly for survival. This makes them less predictable on things like gentleness and productivity because the Italians etc. that have been bred for centuries for these traits are going to be more consistent.

    There are other traits that bees are bred for. Fast spring build up. Fast drop off of winter population. Frugality of stores etc.

    I can’t say what’s the best for a beginner but you won’t go too far wrong with a nice gentle Italian. From everything I hear of the Cardovans they sound even gentler. Also the Cardovan queens are easy to spot even if they are not marked. A nice trait for a beginner. I’ve been pretty happy with first generation Buckfasts, but I have had the next generation turn vicious on me. Not a good thing to face when you are a beginner.

    I’m still saying I think you’ll do fine with any of them and you can change your mind when you requeen.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Fairhaven, MA
    Posts
    14

    Cool

    My first hive which was Italians died. They were beautiful and gentle. I am getting another Italian Package in a couple of weeks. I have order a Russian nuc for May from a RI Beekeeper who has a government grant to study Russians. I wanted to try Russians hoping they would winter better. One Beekeeper in our club swears by Carniolans. Another got a Russian hive, liked it so much that he requeened with Russians saying the first hive really took off the second year. I will be able to compare the two hives, but one is a package and another a nuc, which should affect how they do. I have the email address of the RI apriary, if anyone is interested, northernbee@earthlink.net.

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