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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,295

    Post

    I just finished raising 4 Cordovan Italian queens from mother queens that appear to be pure mated (their workers and the 4 virgin queens are all Cordovan colored). Two of these virgin queens are in full-size hives and two are in nucs (I introduced them by inserting mature queen cells). I am fairly confident they will only have local drones to mate with so their workers should appear pretty much like my other local bees and only their drones should all show Cordovan coloring.

    My local bees have always been fairly nervous types, running on the combs and queens hiding, sometimes somewhat defensive (especially between flows), the new colonies of Cordovan Italians are quite a contrast. I open their hives, no smoke, none fly up to greet me. I lift their combs and they are practically immobile. I can work my way through the hive and the queen is even calmly laying away (simple to locate). What a delight. Next year I will see if they can produce and tolerate the mites like my local bees.

    To produce some open mated Cordovan queens is a test I'm doing to see how the "Mutts" can produce and what other traits they will keep from their mothers. At least the queens are still a beautiful golden color. The fact that their workers won't be should make finding the queens, when desired, even easier.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,361

    Post

    If I was a honey bee in Tuscon I'd be nervous too. Is your area africanized? If yes there is no way I'd be open mating queens. If no I would monitor the stock and local stock closely. We have been crossbreeding Buckfast with Cordovans for a few years and what a great stock. Wall to wall brood packed below wide bands of honey in the brood nest.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,295

    Post

    I've heard some people say we are Africanized in my area, others disagree. I believe I've noticed some possible AHB traits in some of my bees, but they've only been somewhat agressive whenever their is a dearth of available forage. As I've mentioned they are too nervous (running on the combs while being examined), and the queens usually hide; those are the traits I have found the Cordovan Italians do not have (they remain calm and the queens just continue about their business).

    Until now all my bees were splits from the same captured feral colony, where the queenless portions were allowed to raise their own queens. I've been doing this since about April 1997. I've never lost a colony and I've never used any chemical (natural or synthetic) for mites or any other pest/disease.

    These Cordovan Italians are the first time, in the past 8 years, that I've changed my stock by requeening a few colonies with outside queens. I first put together some nucs and then introduced the Cordovan queens to the nucs, then I spent several hours searching out and capturing the queens from each hive I wished to requeen, this was the hardest part of the chore. Just-in-case, I kept the old queens caged and left one in each of the nucs with a frame of nurse bees after removing the new queens and 4 frames from each nuc to combine using the newspaper method. This worked fine, by the next day the new queens had merged with their hives and continue laying without any problems at all.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,525

    Post

    Mr. C, do you really doubt that Tucson is AHB country? I thought that was established. Just ask your neighborhood fire department. What part of Tucson are you in?

    If these are AHB hives you're requeening, watch for more than one queen. I would look for acceptance before I punctured the candy.

    Good luck.

    Hawk
    KC0YXI

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,295

    Post

    I'm sure that AHBs exist, but not so sure they are the scourge the media make them out to be. Remember many of the reported "killer bee" stinging incidents, after they are tested, turn out to be non-AHB.

    I do doubt the veracity of FABIS vs DNA/mDNA. I doubt that AHB has wiped out and replaced all feral EHB. I doubt that all AHB are vicious --- killer bees. I suspect that pressure to eliminate this trait is making progress.

    Consider: if AHB were as defensive as advertised why would you need any other "identification" to determine this? For instance, if AHB had "taken over" any of my hives these past 8+ years, then why haven't they become "hot"? (in years past I've had "hot" EHB colonies) By contrast these are quite manageable (besides being runny and queen's hide), but they are only "agressive" between flows, when queenless, or when it's raining, etc.

    Since this ongoing media event called AHB, stinging events "of any kind" have become front page news.

    And don't overlook other factors: people, especially older retirees, have been pouring into the Tucson area for a very long time now. Housing developments are being created between fields of crops and into the desert and foothills. One of the fastest growing population areas is southern Arizona from Phoenix south. More people = more interaction with nature.

    What part of Tucson are you in?
    I have an apiary at my home in the Picture Rocks area of Northwest Tucson and another apiary 18 miles farther Northwest in Marana.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,525

    Post

    Good luck with your open mating tests. Let us know how it works. I think Joel is stuck on II. But if Open Mating can work for you, go for it.

    You have some hot territory. I've been to Marana.

    Hawk
    KC0YXI

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,295

    Post

    So far I have managed to produce 4 Cordovan Italian queens that are nice golden yellow and are open mated. 2 are heading full colonies and 2 are in nucs. It is still too soon to what their temperaments will be. Until now these colonies haven't had "hot" temperaments but they have been nervous and runny, I hope this changes that behavior while not increasing the defensiveness.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

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