Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 35
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Ridgeway, VA , USA
    Posts
    72

    Post

    Could some of you who are using Russian
    queens give me some insite on why you
    use them? What do you like about them?
    Thanks, Duane.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    mountain home, ar, usa
    Posts
    378

    Post

    I have russians specifically for mite resistence. I don't want to spend the $$ on chemicals to put in hives, nor do I want to spend the time doing that.

    Russians probably don't build up wax as quickly as some other races, but they build up quickly in the spring and they winter well. It's a good low-maintenance bee. I've got a couple hives that may not make it due to mites (out of 100 hives), but I'll take that. Better than relying on chemicals.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,080

    Post

    Slow build-up in the spring so maybe not so good for pollination.

    Will not have as much honey as say italians early in the year, but they rebound nicely and at the end of the summer will have as much as the italians. So maybe it should depend on the honey flow and what type of honey your after.

    They don't shut down like the italians come the middle of summer. This is when they catch up with other types.

    They winter with a smaller cluster and are very frugal with resources. They will come through when, if looking at an italian, you know they would die. The russians will make it and surprise you.

    They are not overly-aggressive as some suggest. I do find them to be worked with a little more smoke and they are "flighty". But I have also found that a hive with a little more aggressive posture, and defend more than normal, also handle and take care of the mites more.

    The queen is harder to find than a plump fat italian, so for those who must "see" the queen at every hive inspection, you should mark her. (Or you can realize that seeing fresh eggs is just as good)


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

    Post

    ive culled out every russian, hybrid and anything that might be related to them. i cant stand them plain and simple. they do have a few good qualities but they are far outweighed by a zillion negatives as far as im concerned. at this point, i would consider the use of them to be one of the worst things ive done in the last few years.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Frankfort, Kentucky
    Posts
    399

    Post

    Wow Wineman

    What are some of their bad points?

    Rob

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,142

    Post

    I find they are a bit defensive, but in odd ways. They tend to head butt a lot and follow you further but they don't sting any more or less. They are watchful guards, but the ones I had weren't “runny” (tending to run around on the comb where you can’t find the queen or work with them well). Swarminess and productivity are a bit more unpredictable. Traits are not well fixed. Some people have complained about them being hot, so I'm sure some were. Some have complained about runniness. Again, some probably were, but the ones I've had weren't. But then I've had Italians that were a bit hot or swarmy etc.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Frankfort, Kentucky
    Posts
    399

    Post

    Ok, I wanted to give them a chance again. In CA I had my fair share of working with them. Yesterday my wife Stella was really badly chewed by them. Admittedly only one hive of three but still, hurt my wife and you are history.

    We want to raise queens, and bees that Beekeepers can enjoy working with.


    ------------------
    If a job is worth doing - Then do it well

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,142

    Post

    I've noticed that most often if you remove a queen from a hot hive that has other traits you want to keep they will raise a new queen and be quite gentle. Of course if they are really VISCIOUS I requeen altogether.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Frankfort, Kentucky
    Posts
    399

    Post

    Mike

    I did actually graft from her yesterday. So I may try one of her daughters. I am also going to be grafting from the survivor that I got from you; she is doing well so far.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    michigan
    Posts
    393

    Post

    ive had some pure russians but substanitally more hybrids. However, only from about 5 lines and only a couple hundred queens but heres a quick list of some traits....depends on your perspective whether you think they are bad or good traits and whether you could try to invest the time to pull out or supress some of them.

    (1) winter stuff----one of the smaller winter clusters ive ever seen. shut down brood early and start late which gives them real frugal consumption of stores. no problems on winter survival that i saw

    (2) spring---the spring buildup seems highly sensitive to pollen coming in. seemed unresponsive to any syrup feeding. slowest of any of my different lines to be ready for spring pollination...in fact were not ready at all. but ones that i know of wintered in the south are ok when trucked back up north.

    (3) later spring------swarm, swarm, swarm. in fact this trait seems to be their very existence. its the carnica to an extreme. all of life is centered on raising bees and leaving and its not just a spring thing. its a year round concept with them. ive seen nothing that works on an overall scale to stop it either. to put it in perspective, once they are thinking of going you can knock them down to a single or even a 5 frame nuc and give them all the room in the world. they will build all that room right back up and then go. i never saw the swarming urge go away. and when they leave, they all leave....no one is home.

    (4) tied to that swarming thing, they demand alot of space which they waste. they chimmney honey up two or three frames in every super but never fill anything.

    (5) when they arent swarming they are superceding. and not just raising cells and tearing down....i have bees that have that trait. my experience is that they build cells and kill queens and build some more cells and kill another queen.....its a vicious cycle which ive seen in others with lots of carnica too.

    (6) heres a biggy for me....lack of honey production. as a whole compared to my other bees, they never could cut it. the best russians made it to the point that i call average but they never went above that. and i generally believe in culling everything at or below average.

    (7) mites----they have low mite counts. i know of folks keeping pure ones for many years without treatment but i think about 2 years was my threshold with the hybrids. if mites are your only concern, they probably are a good ipm approach but i dont think you can go forever without treatment with them.

    (8) final blow....every attempt that i tried of using russian drones for matings failed pretty bad with my bees. results seemed to be that everything looked like a russian when it was done. daughters from great mothers turned to junk and it seemed to be a slippery slope.


    i probably could go on and on....if you got a specific question let me know.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,933

    Post

    I pulled this thread up to try and get some more Russian info. I have been using Russian Hybrids for a few years and will be buying some Russian-Italians in a couple of weeks. I'm thinking about if I should stick with them. My experience with other strains of bees were during the early years of beekeeping learning curve, so its hard for me to compare these bees with past strains. I'll probably requeen at least one hive with a NWC this fall to compare.

    Here are some observations I have had that I am wondering if they are attributed to Russian genetics. It should be noted I was using plastic foundation.

    1. lots of comb connections between frames on all sides edges and bottom.
    2. Very hard to get them to draw the plastic frames correctly
    3. lots and lots of propolis, things are glued together very well. I could collect lots of it to sell. (could be a good thing)

    another question is, has anyone used russians in natural comb langstroth hives? With all the crazy comb they have built with the plastic I'm wondering how they will do on empty frames.

    My bees also swarm, swarm, swarm
    I can't really dispute any of the negatives that wineman pointed out when I had the opportunity to observe the trait.
    I've also overwintered some very small colonies, but fed them all winter.

    does anyone have some really good things to say about the Russian hybrids?
    I'll be asking a Russian queen breeder here in Knoxville what he likes about the Russians when I pick mine up. I'll post his remarks.

    Thanks

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Troy, NY USA
    Posts
    37

    Post

    As a first time beekeeper when was trying to decide what kind of bee would be best. I called the Jester Bee Co in AK, an apiary that only raises russian queens, he recommended them because they are very low maintenance and for all other good reasons, like winter well, mite resistance. All the good things mentioned in other replies posted here. I don't have any reason to think he was 'making a sale'
    My one hive has been qeeeless for a few weeks now, (queen ordered; should get here today) and is still very calm nice to handle. So far I don't know where people get the idea about russians bieng more defensive. I like them.

    http://www.jesterbee.com/About_Us.html

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,933

    Post

    My Russians are aggressive, but a guy at my local bee club's arent. I guess the aggressiveness is a mixed bag. Of course my Russians aren't necessarily russian, they are muts from Russians a few years ago so I don't know what I have. They do exhibit behaviors similar to descriptions of russians I have heard. Perhaps I will know more about what I have when I get my Russian/Italians? I'm suspecting they should be less aggressive. Clearly some breeders like them or they wouldn't have them. There are a few people here who sell primarily russian strains and also use them.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Green Lane, PA
    Posts
    839

    Post

    I have four different types of bees(Italians, Russians, West Virginia Hybrids, and NWC). I haven't noticed any real difference between them in terms of aggressiveness. I don't use gloves, and sometimes I don't use smoke.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Odessa, Missouri
    Posts
    629

    Post

    Interesting comments!
    After three full seasons with the Russians from three different breeders I find the bees about the same.

    Aggressive does not bother me as i keep bees in rural areas but the Russians are certainly not as aggressive as my Italians can be.

    I do not like the small winter clusters but have found a way to get around the small clusters by moving the Russians onto a heavy fall flow. Last year I tried fall Heartsease (1,000 acres appox. which looked like a pink carpet) and another location of a couple hundred acres of planted sunflowers. I had to feed the bees while on sunflowers as they were packing in plenty of pollen but little nectar. Way it is some years with planted sunflowers in our area.

    They do not produce honey like my Italian lines but do as well as my NWC.

    Swarming is a management problem in my opinion. I have very little swarming.

    I now prefer a hybrid I am using over the Russian/Russian.

    I have got Russian bees going on four years untreated. No signs of PMS but they carry a varroa load in fall which seems to drop on its own over the winter. Around 17-49 varroa drop in 24 hours in September with low 20's being the norm.
    2-4 drop in March/April.
    The hives with the lowest mite counts produce the most propolis. Don't know how fits in but my observation.
    Bob Harrison

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,142

    Post

    >The hives with the lowest mite counts produce the most propolis.

    "Fly" paper, maybe?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Odessa, Missouri
    Posts
    629

    Post

    Don't know why but Dann Purvis (Purvis Brothers Apiaries) has observed the same thing. Possibly nothing or maybe something to look at.


    "What we don't know is so vast it makes what we do know seem absurd" Bob Harrison
    Bob Harrison

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Farmington, New Mexico
    Posts
    6,574

    Post

    I bought 10 Russian nucs this spring. I wondered if they were inferior to begin with, nonetheless some of the comments above tend to match my experience;

    Slow buildup
    Killing queens/superceding/building queen cells constantly
    Lots of bridge comb and propolis
    Not overly agressive but not gentle by any means

    With any luck this 105F heat will kill them all and I'll never know how they winter. Part of this is my fault, but compared to my mutts they're no fun.
    Nobody ruins my day without my permission, and I refuse to grant it...

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,142

    Post

    Dee Lusby and Bill Gafford have made that same observation.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Southern Oregon
    Posts
    1,162

    Post

    Some more thoughts on Russians

    I love my Russian hybrids, for Almond pollination, honey production, mite resistance and general fecundity. I can split a strong colony coming out of the Almonds up to three or four times in the spring and still take a great honey crop on each split. In my area, some protein in early January seems to be extremely stimulative and the small winter cluster will explode by February. I believe the small winter cluster is an extremely valuable asset, in terms of stores and Varroa control. For those having bad luck with the Russian types; it may be a factor of acclimatization. It took me over three years of heavy selection pressure before I was willing to abandon most other stocks. What works well in one area my not be initially suitable in another. Propagate from the best of the best and over time the results should be great.
    JBJ
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads