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  1. #1
    dtwilliamson Guest

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    I'm very ignorant on the difference between the russian queens and the italian and carolinian (sp?) queens. Could some one tell me the difference benefits/drawbacks or point me to a source of reference? I have always used italian queens! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,386

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    I think they are all fine and have more similarities than differences, but here's my take:

    Italian:
    Good producers. Usually pretty calm. Prone to robbing and drifting.

    Russian:
    Fair producers. Usually more prone to trying to head butt you but not more prone to sting. Not as prone to robbing or drifting as Italians, but still will to some extent. Some say they are more prone to swarm. I haven't noticed it. The reason for breeding them here is they have been surviving Varroa in their native country for a very long time.

    Carniolan:
    Supposedly a bit more calm than either of the above. Mine seem about the same, but are perfectly nice to deal with. Supposedly not as productive as the Italians, but that has not been my experience. Supposedly more prone to swarm, but that has also not been my experience.

    I have all three and like all three. I think you will be happy with any of them. If you want more production I'd go with the Carni's or the Italians. If you want more mite resistance I'd go with the Russians or the New World Carniolans.


  3. #3
    dtwilliamson Guest

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    Thanks! That was a big help.... I'll stick with the Italians this year and when I get additional hives I may experiment a bit.

  4. #4

    Arrow

    I'll add my two cents.
    --
    At the present time, based on a wide variety of postings and reading many different individual's "take" on the Russians, I'm inclined to think this race is highly variable, both as to it's good points and it's less desirable traits. My own experience is more like MBs (that is, generally positive). Some of this variability may be due to less than honorable breeders advertising, "Russians" - when, in fact, they have something far removed (at least from the USDA's release) due mainly to cross-breeding and being multiple generations away from the initial government releases.
    --
    Now don't get me wrong, I'm a big proponent of genetic mite resistance and I think the Russians hold a great deal of hope for us becoming "chemical free" with regard to controlling or eliminating the Varroa problem. However, I'm not sure this particular race is the best for other things that you may have high on your list of desirable traits (i.e., large honey production, no swarming or robbing, or temperament, as an example).
    --
    Since I'm not into massive amounts of honey production - I'm mainly a hobbyst "experimenter" - I can afford the challenges of raising Russians and trying to get their Varroa resistance genetics spread around. I'm not sure I'd recommend them (at least at the present time) for a brand new beekeeper. However, IF you were a real hard-core "green peacer" and didn't want to use any chemicals, then I think they'd be your best choice.
    I use some USDA Russian offspring and Caucasians (from a different part of Russia). I've got bees that are very gentle and good honey producers AND I'm four years "chemical free" (with no hive losses). I still take swarm calls and collect a few swarms each spring but I requeen them (this is mainly for "insurance" against the AHB problem we have in our area).

  5. #5

    Post

    So which bee breed do you think is better overall? WHY? .... just like to get some more opinions

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    mountain home, ar, usa
    Posts
    378

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    I'm not sure there IS a better overall bee race. The question you have to ask yourself is, what is important to YOU? I have to agree with the previous assessment of the three races mentioned.

    If you are just after honey production and don't mind an occational chemical application- Italian is the way to go. But I don't mind a slight reduction in honey yield to go chemical-free, which is why I use Russian. If you are into pollination, carniolan & russians build up faster in the spring (even though they may winter smaller), so they may be the way to go. I've seen that both russian and carniolan are unaffected by trachea mites, whereas italians can be wiped out by them. But will a swarm ruin your year (having only one or two hives)? Better take that into account. I don't mind swarmy bees... just today I collected a monster swarm (from one of my colonies)- and was glad to get it. Wax production- russian is probably the lowest wax producer of the three... but I have patience. So... just depends on what you're needing. I'm just glad to have so many options now.

  7. #7

    Post

    Thanks for the reply.

  8. #8

    Post

    Does anyone here keep more than one breed of bees in the same yard, and requeen to keep the strain "pure." Or just let them interbreed? I started out with russian hives and still have them. I wonder if some other "breed" would be better suited for me, but i would like to stay with what i have as well. Plus the other types of bees are more available than the russians.

  9. #9

    Post

    btt

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,386

    Post

    >Does anyone here keep more than one breed of bees in the same yard, and requeen to keep the strain "pure." Or just let them interbreed?

    I just let them interbreed. I bought some with characteristics I wanted. Russians, for mite resistance, feral bees for mite resitance, Carniolians for good production, wintering and some mite resitance. Some Cordovans, because they are cute.

    >I started out with russian hives and still have them. I wonder if some other "breed" would be better suited for me, but i would like to stay with what i have as well. Plus the other types of bees are more available than the russians.

    I like all of them. My favorite for years was Buckfasts. I also had Italians from time to time and now have the Russians and Carniolans. And feral swarms from time to time.

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