What is your opinion on: (a) I bought a nuc in April, have since extracted, but still have a ross round super on the hive- should I wait until the ross round is filled before medicating? For treatment, I have only used grease patties, and the sbb, when and what should I used to medicate/treat them? (b)when is the best time to requeen? (c) what do you think is the best race of bee for a backyard beekeeper? (my main concerns are disease control, calmness, honey production and low swarming)
>What is your opinion on: (a) I bought a nuc in April, have since extracted, but still have a ross round super on the hive- should I wait until the ross round is filled before medicating?
Never use any medication (Apistan, Check Mite, Essential oils etc.) while there are any kind of supers on the hive.
>For treatment, I have only used grease patties, and the sbb, when and what should I used to medicate/treat them?
This is a personal choice you have to make. There are many of us trying to NOT use chemicals in the hive. FGMO and Small cell are the two biggest groups of people who are using non chemical methods. Both of these seem to be effective on both Tracheal and Varroa mites. Some people use Check Mite or Apistan for the Varroa. Grease patties and menthol are popular for the Tracheal mites.
In the end, the most important thing is to do drop tests or sugar or ether roll tests to monitor the Varroa infestations to see if what you are using works. There are reports of all of these methods failing at times. Particularly the Apistan. It's hard to monitor the tracheal mite infestation because you can't see them without a microscope.
>(b)when is the best time to requeen?
Another thing that is personal preference. A lot of people like to requeen in the spring. This is to make sure the queen going into the honey flow is young and fertile. Some requeen in the fall, so that they have a good strong queen to get through the winter and start the spring buildup. I often do one or the other depending on the state of the queen and the hive. I'm probably more fond of the fall. But I think more people are fond of the spring.
>(c) what do you think is the best race of bee for a backyard beekeeper? (my main concerns are disease control, calmness, honey production and low swarming)
Again, it is personal opinion. You are in the south and one way of thinking is that the yellow races do better there. Italians, Cordovans (Really yellow Italians) are popular. The Cordovans are known to be quite calm.
The Caucasian and Carniolans are known for being calmer but more swarmy. In spite of all of that if calmness is a big issue and swarming is not as big of an issue I'd go for the Caucasian or Carniolans.
You have to decide what you like. If it was me and I lived in Georgia, I'd probably go for the Cordovans.
Thank you Michael, I want to split my current hive into two in the fall. I want to requeen with a cordovan and a buckfast in the fall. I currently have Italians. How should I go about spliting and requeening. Is there anythin I should start doing now?
>I want to split my current hive into two in the fall.
Why fall? I don't live in Gerogia and have never raised bees there, but I certainly wouldn't do that here. Now is a good time to split so the split has time to build up for winter.
>I want to requeen with a cordovan and a buckfast in the fall.
If you do the split now, you could requeen and do a split at the same time.
I have had buckfasts off and on for many years. Until recently I'd say I was very happy with them. I'm not sure how they would do in Georgai, but here they built up rapidly in the spring. Made huge crops of honey. Were nice and calm.
Until this last summer I got a lot of late swarms and they all went "killer" on me. They were the most vicious bees I've ever seen. They would hunt me down hundreds of yards from the hives and sting me hours after I worked them. When opening the hives, they would pour out hitting me like a hail storm and the air reeked of the banana smelling alarm pheromone. I don't know what happened to them but they fit the description of "killer bees" to a tee.
If you want assurances of calm, gentle bees, I don't think I'd do the Buckfasts. The first generation seem to do well but the next generation queens from all of my Buckfast hives last year got vicious. I'm not talking about a little hot. vicious is the only word I know that would describe it.
>I currently have Italians. How should I go about spliting and requeening. Is there anything I should start doing now?
Other than, as I said, I think now would be a better time to split them, nothing to do now.
When you want to split the thing to keep in mind is that you want the hive arranged as it was only split in two.
If you pay attention to the brood nest you'll see that the outside frames are honey and pollen and the center frames are brood. You want to arrange things the same way in both parts of the split. With the honey and pollen on the outside and the brood in the center. If you want to face them both to the old location the populations tend to be fairly even, but you should check them and if one has a lot more bees swap the two locations. If you want to take one of the splits somwhere else, I'd brush the bees off of some brood frames from the old part into the new split so there are some young nurse bees. That way when the foragers go back to the old hive (which they will) the new one won't suffer too much.
There is much written elsewhere about splits on this board and in books.
I have check in google and don't seem to find a a lot of breeders with cordovans, the one's that do sell are either extremely expensive (Glenn) or you have to buy at least 50 (Buckeye). Do you know who may sell individual cordovans?
I totally agree with Michael on the hybrid bee issue. Personally, I don't have a great deal of experience to draw from, but my Starline hybrids went vicious in one season, not just mean either - vicious. One of my other hives are Caucasian - very docile bees a real joy to work, but they swarmed once their first year. Currently trying to requeen with Cordovans.
Best of luck.
I do not subscribe to requeening every year. But perhaps there is some truth/advantages of requeening every year if a particular queen strain/hive goes vicious after one year.
GAbee - Do you normally wait till fall to split and requeen. I do not know the requirements for winter prep in the south. It just hit me odd about splitting at that time. Do you have enough reserves?
To be honest I have never split before. I asked some of the locals at the beekeepers association and they said I could split til september, since winters are pretty mild here and there is a significant (albeit small) nectar flow during the fall. Worst case scenario, if reserves are small, you winter feed on warm days.
Notwithstanding, I think I'll follow Michael's advice and split ASAP. I'll probably do it as soon as I get the queens in.
It think it is a HUGE advantage to be able to have warm days to feed in the winter. I cannot count on very many. I can only count on the stores on hand when winter hits.
I'm not far from you. I agree with the other guys about splitting now up until Sep. Unless you are in the mtns where there is some sourwood, the flows around ATL are pretty slim now anyway. You will probably need to feed the split unless you have some honey frames you can donate to the new colony. This will allow time for the split to build before fall. My past experience with making splits in sept is that time is not on your side as far as getting the population/stores built up for overwintering.
I requeened 10 hives with Buckfast last fall and have to wear my heavy armor into the beeyard where I used to wear shorts, teeshirt and veil (I don't like stings in the face). They are bit by bit being busted down and requeened. Most of the Buckfasts are open mated in Texas in known Africanized areas. A freind of mine warned me about that shortly after I installed them. Good riddance I say. Carnolians are my favorite bee, however they have a propensity to want to swarm more.
Mr. McCary can probably fix you up with some Cordovan queens. His number is Mccary Apiaries(601-648-2747). He is in MS. You will need to call after 8:00 PM.
I'm new to all this, just now starting to investigate beekeeping and thinking about getting hives for next spring.
I just checked the price of Cordovan queens from Glenn apiaries. $75.00 for one Cordovan queen!! That seems incredibly high, especially given regular Italians from Rossmans are only $15.00... Are these queens really that much more special? To requeen every year with a $75.00 queen seems to me to make the cost to high to be worth raising bees at all!
The $75.00 queens from Glenn is a breeder Queen.It's just not proven ,There 250.00 queen's is proven,As cochran stated above McCary has queen's that is from there proven stock.>>>>Mark
I believe that these queens are artifically inseminated. Thats why the price!
I believe Mr McCary is getting around $9.00 for a queen right now if picked up, dont know about the shipping price.
I just bought ten from McCary for $7 each (bulk price).
M.Bush: I'm sure you will like the cordovan's.also did you get to talk to Mr: mcCary at any length? Iphoned him the other night to fined out how much I owed him & talked for 3 hr's.I learn from him ever time I talk to him.
As I understand this is your 1st cordovan's.right?.I sure hope you enjoy.>>>>mark
I didn't talk to Mr. McCary. I think I talked breifly to Mrs. McCary. I bought some packages this year that had Cordovan workers shipped in them. They were gentle and beautiful. It's why I decided to try them.