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Thread: types of bees

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Bethlehem CT.
    Posts
    44

    Question

    I'm sorry, I'm sure this has been asked a thousand times but is there a website that is up to date as to the different types of bees and thier personalites? I've been reading different books and they talk about the 3 main types (italions etc..) but haven't found anything really on say russians and hybreed bees.
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,084

    Post

    Up to date? I suppose the older books don't have anything about the Russians, but otherwise they are all pretty much up to date.

    The problem with saying what the Russians are like is that they seem unpredictable. Some are quite gentle, some are quite hot. Most are something in between.

    MOST of the Russians I've had do more head butting and follow me further, but less stinging than a hot Italian hive that would follow me that far. Their production is also a bit unpredictble, but all averaged out I would expect less honey from them.

    I'm raising queens from a feral queen (perhaps she's not feral now that I have her in a hive?) and they also have some of the unpredictabilty as far as temperament. I had one hive that was too hot to handle and had to be requeened. Most are nice and calm. But they are more predictable as far as being frugal and building up at the right times and cutting back for winter.

    Of the commercial breeds, I like the Carniolans a lot. Also the Caucasians if you don't mind the sticky propolis. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    If I lived further South I might like the Italians better. Their only fault here is they aren't as frugal. They don't have as good of instincts on when to raise brood and when to cut back for the winter. They are gentle enough (mostly) and productive enough. But they eat up a lot of the stores they collect.

    The Buckfasts I used to get (from 1974 to 2001) were quite frugal, did well in the winters here and were very productive and very gentle. Then I got four of them that were all WAY to hot to handle. I haven't tried them again.

    Having said all of this, I will say the differences from one hive to the other of the same race are quite often more dramatic than the differences being attributed to race.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    mountain home, ar, usa
    Posts
    378

    Post

    I must admit that I'm biased toward the russian race, but only because it fits my operation best. I don't use any chemicals in my hives, so I need the russian extra aggression to fend off v-mites (and they are not affected by t-mites from what I've seen). They probably swarm a little more than other races, but for me this is a positive, because this means I just increased my hive numbers, and got a new queen for my old hive. They are said to supercedure more often (again good for me... free new queens). They build up real fast in the spring, but over-winter with fewer bees (less consumption). And, if that's not enough, they are said to be more aggressive against the small hive beetle. I don't know this for a fact, since we don't have SHB yet, but it makes sense due to there behavior towards v-mites.

    The one italian hive that I had died this last fall from yellow jacket invasion. The NWC hives that I had mostly died off, as did my buckfast, but my russians seem to be more hardy. Again, this is what works best for me, as I don't mind possible sacrifices in honey production for these benefits.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    5

    Post

    I’ve tried the Russian Queen before but had a problem with the bees accepting her.

    I would like to increase my numbers and I was wondering what Queen would be best to use.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    5

    Post

    I’ve tried the Russian Queen before but had a problem with the bees accepting her.

    I would like to increase my numbers and I was wondering what Queen would be best to use.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Lula, Ga. USA
    Posts
    33

    Post

    I have a Russian Hive and so far they have displayed the head butting manners that Michael Bush talked about. They are somewhat unpredictable, one day they are gental and the next they are too hot and in hot pursuit of you. But for their house keeping skills they are excellent. I guess if you can stand a hot head every now an then I would run with the Russians myself.

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