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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA USA
    Posts
    119

    Post

    Today was our New Jersey Beekeeper's Association picnic/barbecue.

    Strangely enough the topic of bees and beekeeping came up. Someone mentioned that he had a hive that was mean "but they sure produce honey!"

    Thinking of the comments I've read on this board, I mentioned that requeening with a gentle queen could calm the hive down and make them more manageable.

    At that someone chimed in, "They might be nicer but they won't produce near as much honey."

    Hmmm.... is it true that the meaner the hive, the more honey you get? could that make "meanness" a desirable trait?

    What are your thoughts on this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Medford Lakes,NJ,USA
    Posts
    94

    Cool

    It was a great picnic, auction, barbeque, and the pool. Having a mean hive is definitely not a desirable trait to breed for. My gentle hives produce more than my agitated hives do. Usually the agitation is a stress signal for me to manage those hives because of problems. Steve

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,458

    Post

    Mean bees are often robbers. Quite often their hives are heavy with the work of your other gentle bees.

    My theory is that mean bees are not worth the trouble.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    michigan
    Posts
    393

    Post

    There has always been a theory that mean hives tend to be better producers. The thought has been something to the effect that the colony carried both hoarding and protection genes.

    Steve Taber is the only one that I know of that has done any formal research on it and his conclusion was that there is no link between temper and production. He always advocated culling out the mean ones and finding a gentler, producing colony.

    You can find both mean and gentle hives that are producers but to me it seems to lean more in favor of the ugly ones. In many cases, it is an issue of hybrid vigor and the increased defensiveness which comes with it. In the end, meanness is a relative concept.....what you consider mean and what I consider mean can be two different things. I tend to put up with a fairly high level of aggressiveness....upto a point.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA USA
    Posts
    119

    Post

    I tend to agree with the rest of you about having mild hives -- after all I started beekeeping for enjoyment and getting honey is a bonus.

    Trading information back and forth like we did at the barbecue can be useful but also misleading.

    Too bad I didn't have enough personal experience to keep the debate open. I wonder how many others started feeling doubtful like me.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    parker county, tx
    Posts
    7,923

    Post

    I have a hive that would be considered "mean", but they are tough bees that survived at least five years without any tending by beekeepers, so the main reason I let them be is because they are disease and pest resistant. I don't have to baby them and worry about them the way I do my other hives. These bees are extremely industrious, but I don't think I would consider them necessarily more productive. They are about on even par with my oldest and strongest gentler hive as far a honey production goes, but then they started out with less numbers going into the season, so maybe they are more productive than I realize. Regardless, I don't mess with them much because I have a certain reverence for their natural survival capabilities, and I primarily started beekeeping for garden pollination.

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