This thread is being started for my Friend Clayton.
I have been reading back through the old literature looking for yellowbee characteristics for you these past few days.I hope some of what I have found is of benefit for you.
This is from American Bee Journal,1922, page 113, concerning, color of Italians:
'Italian bees in Italy are quite regular, but on the average show less bright yellow than the American-bred, selected yellow Italians. The leather color is more of an Italian quality than the bright yellow, the latter being nearer to the Cyprian.'
Characteristics gleaned from ABJ,1927, page 492 concerning Italian bees:
Italians are quieter on the combs than Carniolans...Italians build up slower than Carniolans and thus swarm later in the season a week or two later...Italians do not fly as far as Carniolans, but when a source of honey is located inside a mile or two, the Italians are the fastest and most persistent workers over Carniolans...Italians will gather from anything that yields honey in the fall...They do well on short, intense honeyflows...They have not learned to rob like the black races.
Gleaned from American Bee Journal, 1932, page 201:
Concerning comb honey: A colony of Italians of similar strength to Caucasians and under similar circumstances would hve occupied the entire super and instead of filling half the sections, complete and into a marketable condition would have had the entire lot of sections partly finished.
Italian queens are less easily introduced than Caucasian queens.
Italian bees also stand less crowding and are more prone to swarming than caucasians.
From ABJ, 1932, page 405:
The three-banded, leather-colored Italian bees are uniform in color, bred true to form,color and habits.Propolis is only used to fill cracks, not to be piled up in great chunks for a surplus.If handled as bees should be, that are very gentle and as near a non-swarming race of bees as is possible to find.
(It is noted that they have a drone problem)If you have pure stock you will know what they are going to do next. Unlike some other races, the drone problem is solved by the use of full sheets of foundation.
Will they rob? Yes, they will rob if the beekeepers is careless about leaving honey lay around when there is no honeyflow.
It is only natural for human beings to like the beautiful. Liking things beautiful at the expense of the useful was the main cause of the leather-colored bees being nearly discarded in favor of bees with a bright yellow color- the goldens with five yellow bands, the bright Italian with three very bright yellow bands. Then there are the goldens(so claimed) with from 3 - 5 yellow bands mostly just all mixed up stuff. The mother of these three varieties of Italian bees is the three-banded or leather-colored bee, the pure original Italian, the old-style natural bee that was not bred for color. (It is written here,'The queen breeder is not so much to blame for sticking yellow on the Italian. The public demanded it)
As I understand it, the leather color, used to describe the original Italian, means raw leather, not finished leather. I would describe the Italian bees as having three dull yellow bands, with two dull grey bands of hair on the two lower segments. The under part of the abdomen is ribbed with about 1/2 of a dull brown and the other half a dull yellow, terminating at the end in almost solid brown.
From ABJ, 1933,page 436:
Spring dwindling or 'delayed winterloss' is very common with Italians. Italians consume far more stores during winter than do caucasians.
From ABJ,1940, page 215:
The Italian bee is not at home in the vold region of North America, especially in the province of Quebec.Italian bees are in the process of adaptation rather than in the process of naturalization...Other dominant characters indicate that the Caucasian is basically resistant to American foulbrood, a disease to which the yellow bee is particularly susceptible.
From ABJ,1942,page 450:
I have often watched the caucasian bees making their way into the Italian hives to rob long before the Italians are even stiring...Caucasians do fly in slightly colder weather,...accounts for the fact that they usually get a full super of surplus honey to an average of a half super for the Italians in the combined early flows.
From ABJ,1951, page 58:
The Italians kill their drones earlier in the season than common (black) bees do.
The three anterior abdominal rings are golden yellow in front, and very dark behind; thus giving the three-banded appearance so much admired in these bees. The yellow color of the queen and workers varies not a little.Often we find them very dark, or leather-colored, and again, a beautiful bright-yellow.
The bees in the hive should all have three yellow bands.
The Italian bee is a thoroughbred - not a pure bee.
The Italian bee apparently derives its popularity in this country to a fortunate series of circumstances rather than from a greater merit over any other race of bees. The first bees in this country were the common black and in the search for a better bee after the invention of the movable comb hive the first race used was the Italian. An additional point may be made of the avialability of the races at the time the Italian bee became popular. In those early years 1861 - 1900 the home of the caucasian bee and the carniolan bee were comparatively inaccessible regions.The country of Italy was more civilized, more accessible, easier to obtain bees from. The path of least resistance was the easiest path to follow-thus the Italian bee.
Well, Clayton, I hope the above helps. As you can probably see, the Italians are not necessarily better, just pretty and easy to get.(my POV here)
So, how would you list the characteristics?
Comments on the above?
Here is a list for Italians:
1.bright yellow to leather color 3-5 bands
2.build up slower
3.short range foragers, yet good foragers
4.stand less crowding
5.gentle and quiet on combs
6.not prone to excessive swarming
8.spring dwindling is common
9.consume more winter stores
Let's discuss traditional methods of queen rearing. And how it would work today since some things have changed.