I would like to introduce some different genes into my apiaries by ordering some russian, all-american, or another. Most of my bees are from the same breeder and after some recent posts, introducing other queens would be good. I'm sure that through swarms, buying some other beekeepers hives, etc, that there is a good mix. But I'm wondering if it is anything like dogs. Pure breeds have alot shorter lifespans than the mutt mixbreed.
So my question is, what queen strain is good, or does it even matter, when doing splits and requeening. Are there any introduction problems? I'm doing about 50 splits this spring from mainly italian stock.
And, does anybody have a good reccomendation for russians on the east coast?
Here's what I have:
Mostly ferals from swarms.
Some Nothern raised Italians (from Ontairo) from www.beeworks.com
Some Russians from Walter T. Kelly (I think these come from Hardeman's in Georgia phone 912-583-2710. I have order them from Hardemans and from Walter Kelly before and got good service either way.
I have some Carniolians, which acutally did the best for me. They came in a package that the local beekeeper supplier (Honey Bee World) had brought in from California. I don't know who the breeder was. I think I'll get some more this next year.
I have a few Cordovans from McCary.
In the past I have had All Americans, Harbos, and Buckfasts from B. Weaver, but since I had some go really vicious on me, I'm hesitant to try it again. I raised the Buckfasts for 20 years or so and really liked them. They were very productive, genle, and hardy.
>>I'm wondering if it is anything like dogs. Pure breeds have alot shorter lifespans than the mutt mixbreed.
This is usually not a problem, unless you are in a remote and isolated spot. Drones congragate in sites from miles around, and as long as you have neighbouring beekeepers close by, your gene pool should be diverse. If you are really concerned about it, drone colonies are an option, but usually only commercial queen breeders need them.
Russians are notorious for introduction problems. Tom Glenn has done alot of research on it and attributes it to a different pheromone strength or something along those lines. The only way I have had real good takes when introducing them is to put her under a screen but that is a pain in the butt. Once you get russians established introducing another russian queen is not such a headache.
Dont personally know anyone out your way that has russians for sale. Im sure there is someone. From what I have seen so far, they seem to mix good with some drones and poor with others. My current opinion is that they seem to cross nice on the first generation with domestic italian stock and you end up with at least an average production queen. Then again if you are just looking for some different genetic material it will matter less where the queens come from as the drones will carry all russian if the mother was pure but they may not be what you are hoping for as far as a production queen. Right now Im leaning towards purchasing some pure russian production queens come spring to compare to their crossed counterparts.
I haven't had problems with introducing Russian queens into hives of predominately Italians. As evidenced by photos on my Yahoo profile page; I've been asked several times by observant beekeepers that have noticed the dark queen but yellow worker bees (Italians). I do tend to put the queen cage in for two to three days before I pull the cork out - just to slow the introduction a little. But I've not had any noticeable trouble along those lines. I have noticed an introduction problem with Buckfast queens, however.