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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    3

    Post

    Hello Everyone,

    This year I purchased a "Russian" breeder queen. These bees are quite different in many respects from the assorted races of bees available in the US. They are a small, dark bee with many of the characteristics traditionally ascribed to the Caucasians in the previous posts.

    They can produce large numbers of excellent queen cells and were amoung my best honey producers. They carry 1/50th the varroa mite load of my Italians and Carniolians and are unusually gentle and quiet on the combs.

    I was concerned with their smaller cluster size going into winter but my recent inspection indicates that the bees are long lived and have survived the worst winter in the last 5 years(central Wyoming)in great shape.

    This stock could be an excellent choice to try if you are looking for a dark bee in the US.

    Best Wishes
    Dennis Murrell


  2. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
    Posts
    397

    Post

    Hi Dennis

    You are so right! They are a small bee and of Caucasian background from Russia. Now to keep them smaller, try some 4.9mm foundation similar in size from the area they originally came from, and breed them up and rock and roll. sounds like you got an excellent start on something.

    Chow

    Dee

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

    Post

    Hi Dennis,


    This year I purchased a "Russian" breeder queen. These bees are quite different in many respects from the assorted races of bees available in the US. They are a small, dark bee with many of the characteristics traditionally ascribed to the Caucasians in the previous posts.

    reply:

    I'm glad to here these bees are different than those that are commercially available. Haven't heard anyone say much about the Russian queens. You state that they are a small bee. I would be interested in their cell size if you would care to share that info. Also how they differ in characteristics than the caucasians.


    They can produce large numbers of excellent queen cells and were amoung my best honey producers. They carry 1/50th the varroa mite load of my Italians and Carniolians and are unusually gentle and quiet on the combs.

    reply:

    Low numbers of mites are good. If Dee Lusby's is correct and I believe so. My carnies will be in the same boat in 2-3 years. However I may just try some Russian queens but using Dee's methods. I will nolonger be breeding for a pure race just black/ gray bees that have traditional characteristics as mentioned in previous posts.

    I suspect from the few reports I have heard on the russian queens that these smaller queens are trying to be introduced onto comb that have to large of a cell size. This may be leading to much of the problems I have been hearing about. Such as poor acceptance and supercedure. Just my thoughts.

    Regards

    Clay


  4. #24
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    20

    Post

    Interesting, I'd also heard of some problems with Russian queen acceptance but hadn't heard any attributions as to the cause. I went ahead and got some with my starter packages anyway to see what they are like. I'll keep everyone posted on cell-size once they've built a couple generations of natural comb. How are they at drawing out comb compared to other races you've tried? Be interesting to see if it's tendancy toward smallness would make it so they could adapt to 4.9 faster.

    -Don

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    3

    Post

    Hi Don and Clayton,
    Another interesting observation of the Russian bees is their tendency to always have what appears to be a couple of supercedure cups on several frames in the center of the broodnest. These will be empty, but will be maintained and rebuilt thoughout the active season.

    My overall success with rearing and mating Russian queens was about 75%. This was low but not unacceptable for Wyoming during the latter part of May.

    Introduction was another matter as my US bees didn't like the Russian queens at all. About 30% were superceded after several weeks.

    Another batch of mated queens was reintroduced and acceptance was normal. The presence of newly emerged Russian workers were probably the major factor during the second round of introductions.

    These bees are hygenic and I observed the brood cleansing and purging behavior descibed by Dee Lusby when the first Russian workers emerged.

    These bees are very different from our US stock. I think most of the problems with mating and queen introductions are due to these differences. It appears this bee has many of the characteristics of the darker European races. They might not initially be an easy bee to run, but the diffences could well worth it.

    At the end of this season I decided to overwinter several Russian nucs and use them for downsizing next spring but didn't have time to raise any of my own queens. I ordered several and received the worst looking queens I have ever seen! They appeared like unmated virgins that had been stored in a queen bank for quite some time. One was smaller than the workers she was caged with! I didn't expect these queens to make it and they didn't. I hope this was not typical of the quality of the Russian queens distributed.

    The Russian bees are from the Primorsky region of Russia. The National Geographic had an article on that area recently and it reminded me of Wyoming and points farther north. These bees could be an excellent starting point for a dark bee adapted to a nothern latitude.

    This next season I will have plenty of Russian drones available for mating and will be retrogressing a few hives with 900 cell foundation readily available from Dadant.

    Best Wishes
    Dennis


  6. #26
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
    Posts
    397

    Post

    Small Cell foundation sold by Dadant 10 years ago was called 900 and was 5.0mm size and will not control secondary diseases and is why we went to 4.9mm size. Also our colonies lived with the mites but would not produce much surplus for sales with the Dadant 900 foundation they sold then.

    Why don't you try some of the 4.9 foundtion that is smaller?

    Dee

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    20

    Post

    Dee, I was curious, after getting getting your bees successful for a number of years on the 4.9 foundation, have you tried taking a batch and de-regressing them back to 5.0 or 5.2 and seeing if they get sick again? I forget the name of the guy who said you prove causative relationship between a proposed agent and a disease by removing the agent to cause the disease to go away, and then re-introduce the agent and cause the disease the disease to re-appear. Just something else you might use to show that it's not the environment or the bee-breeding that's primarily responsible but even with those two held constant in a successful system, enlarging the foundation increases the frequency of disease.

    -Don

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, United States
    Posts
    397

    Post

    Don,

    You wrote,

    *Dee, I was curious, after getting getting your bees successful for a number of years on the 4.9 foundation, have you tried taking a batch and de-regressing them back to 5.0 or 5.2 and seeing if they get sick again? I forget the name of the guy who said you prove causative relationship between a proposed agent and a disease by removing the agent to cause the disease to go away, and then re-introduce the agent and cause the disease the disease to re-appear. Just something else you might use to show that it's not the environment or the bee-breeding that's primarily responsible but even with those two held constant in a successful system, enlarging the foundation increases the frequency of disease.

    Reply:

    Interesting you should write the above Don. While we ourselves have not done this, as it happens I am President of the Southern Arizona Beekeepers Associaiton and my husband its Secretry for many years. In that capacity we have helped my local beekeepers to obtain bees.

    What makes it relative to your post is, those taking bees we give them and putting them on the size we are using are surviving and growing their businesses back, while those beekeepers putting the bees unto the bigger sizes are having problems, always having to replace dead and dying sick bees with disease and parasitic mites.

    Consequently, each spring now we hold free workshops Feb thru April on milling (making), wiring, using 4.9 foundation (how to regress in field), and club member numbers are growing again as the guys gain more bees.

    Now we are helping the local 4-H leader teach the new members biological beekeeping from the start so they won't have problems when they get older.

    Next free workshop is next week by the way for February.

    Glad you mentioned what you did! Please keep commenting, like to read your thoughts and POV along with that of others. If you look here also Clay and Dennis and Robert have said some very good stuff.

    Regards

    Dee

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