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Thread: Bee breeds?

  1. #1
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    Hi All!

    I'm going to be setting up a hive in the spring, and wanted to get some suggestions on what type of bees to get. I've been looking at midnights and buckfasts. I've heard though, that some buckfasts go mean after the first generation. I've got a 3 yr old that I really want to grow up not being afraid of the bees daddy keeps you know? I'm looking for a breed that is fairly consistantly gentle. any suggestions?

    -Ryan

    [This message has been edited by hearthfire (edited June 27, 2003).]

  2. #2
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    Smile

    In the south,Italian's would be my choice.now that is just MY choice they seem to do well in the south,I sure do love my Cordovans,>>>>Mark

  3. #3
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    hearthfire,

    Check out the discussion from yesterday and you'll find information on hybrid bees.
    http://www.beesource.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000653.html

    Personally, I would completely avoid hybrid bees, particularly if you're new to beekeeping and plan on keeping bees at your home or somewhere children can be injured. There are many breeds of bees that are quite gentle; Caucasians for example are very docile and the Cordovans appear the have a big following. I've just purchased Cordovans in an attempt to rid myself of very agressive hybrid bees.

    Best of luck!



    [This message has been edited by AstroBee (edited June 27, 2003).]

  4. #4
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    BTW. Technically they tell me that Buckfasts are not hybrids. From my experience, though, they still seem to act like hybrids.

    In most cases of hybrids the next generation has some major flaws not present in the hybrid queen. These would be (although not technically a hybrid) Buckfasts, Midnites (these are a hybrid caucasian), Starlines (these are a hybrid Italian). These hybrids are remarkable in the first generation. The Midnites and Starlines are very gentle and very good producers. And these qualities are very predictable in that first generation. I have had plain Italians from Walter T. Kelly (I think they actually came from Hardeman Apiaries 912-583-2710) and All American Italians from B. Weaver that were just as gentle and productive without the next generation falling off like that. And most of them had those qualities, but occasionaly one does not.

    I haven't had a Cordovan queen, but I got five packages this spring that were all Cordovan workers. They were gentle and hard working and very strikingly beautiful.

  5. #5
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    Jonquière, Quebec (ABOVE 48th parallel North!!)
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    Wink

    Hi

    does somebody know where to find pictures of the different races of bees that we have in North America on the web ?

    Thank you

    Hugo

  6. #6
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    I'd choose some nice caucasian bees for gentleness. Carnies are OK too and some italian strains are nice too. Avoid the complex hybrids.

    Clay

  7. #7
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    South Mississippi
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    Cool

    Go Cordovans!!!

  8. #8
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    I second your statement cochran500!
    They are fast to build up and build comb fast and look the best. And they produce honey the first year. At least mine have so far.

    Joseph

  9. #9
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    does somebody know where to find pictures of the different races of bees that we have in North America on the web ?

    Hugo,
    An easy way to find pictures of bees on the web is to go to google click images then type in the type of bee you are looking for you can get quite a bit of photos that way.
    Joseph

  10. #10
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    awww....come on, hybrid vigor is fun!

  11. #11
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    vigor.... intersting word. My buckfasts last summer definitely had vigor. My grandpa would have called it spit and vinegar.

  12. #12
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    American Buckfast sure does have that reputation for getting mean on later generations. Mean to the point that I have wanted to kill many of them off.

    I'm curious if they experience the same thing across the pond with them? I believe Brother Adam would intentionally cross the various breeding lines within Buckfast in order to get the positive traits of hybrid vigor.

  13. #13
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    My thanks for all your replies! I think I'll start reading up on Cordovans and caucasions. As nice as the hybrids sound, I really don't want the personality change thing... the last thing I need is a bunch of bipolar bees!

    Thanks again!
    -Ryan

  14. #14
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    My only experience with buckfast was a number of years ago ,I bought 20 or so from Weavers.They were dark conservative bees.I hate dark conservative bees!The next year I grafted a bunch of cells from the two best and let them mate with yellow Italian drones.The hybrids were very productive and not a bit mean.As usual I lost track of them ,but they are out there somewhere.....
    ---Mike

  15. #15
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    I kept Buckfasts off and on for decades and this last year was the first time they went vicious on me. I often raised queens with no problems. But I'm not the only one with the experience of them going vicious. I think this is a recent trait, but I can't say how recent, except that I hadn't run into it befor.

  16. #16
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    I've been doing some reading on caucasians, and have heard that they make a lot of propolis. Is that hard to deal with? Also looking at cordovans, I'm reading that they are of the italian race, with a recessive gene that gives them their unique color. is that accurate? between two gentle bee breeds, I think I would rather not deal with a ton of propolis.

    Ideally, I want a hive that won't swarm excessively, fairly gentle, and will give me some honey and some wax.

    Thanks!
    -Ryan

  17. #17
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    I have heard the same about Buckfast hybrids.Just speculating ,but could be some African genes have slipped in.

  18. #18
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    >I've been doing some reading on caucasians, and have heard that they make a lot of propolis. Is that hard to deal with?

    Your gloves get so sticky you can't let go of things. But other than that... Keep in mind that alot of the bee loses in recent times have been from viruses etc. carried by the mites. Propolis is known to kill viruses and bacteria. Maybe a lot of propolis is a GOOD thing. Also the lids never blow off (at least not the inner covers)

    >Also looking at cordovans, I'm reading that they are of the italian race, with a recessive gene that gives them their unique color. is that accurate?

    By definition cordovan is only a color and can occur in any race. As far as I know the only cordovans for sale are Italians with this color trait.

    >between two gentle bee breeds, I think I would rather not deal with a ton of propolis.
    Ideally, I want a hive that won't swarm excessively, fairly gentle, and will give me some honey and some wax.

    Caucasians are more swarmy than Italians (or Cordovan Italians) and they make more propolis. It's not the hard brittle propolis like you usually think of from Italians. It's more gooey. It's not that big of a problem. The Caucasians are generally more gentle than Italians. The Cordovans just happen to be from the same strain and it was a gentle strain of Italians. I'm not sure how much difference you would notice between the two.

    >LoggerMike: I have heard the same about Buckfast hybrids.Just speculating ,but could be some African genes have slipped in.

    They certainly acted like all the descriptions I had heard of Africanized bees. They would come pouring out of the hive after me before I even opene it up.


    [This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited June 30, 2003).]

  19. #19
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    Please, save yourself a little trouble, if you are going to do one hive, try to do two. Unless you have someone close by that you can share with, two hives are really the way to go for a beginner.

  20. #20
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    WHat's the advantage of starting with two hives as opposed to starting with one and setting up a second for the first swarm?

    [This message has been edited by hearthfire (edited June 30, 2003).]

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