Russians & Heat
I was informed by a local beek that Russians do not do well in hot areas, that they "shut down and won't restart like Italians do". Any truth to this?? Anyone keeping Russians in a hot spot and how are they doing?? BTW we are in the 100's now.:mad:
My Russians seem to be doing fine with the heat. They are a little slower than the Italians. Then again, I did not give them any foundation to work with. They love propolize everything...heavily. Of course, that does include the small hive beetles. They are more high strung than the Italians as well. In fact, they are still bringing in the pollen and nectar. We have the high 90's to the 100's here. Flight school was in session today. They are about to get their medium over their deep tomorrow. That should stir things up.
I live in Indiana. Earlier this year I requeen some hives with Russians. They have lagged behind every other hive, and have not even begun to produce anything. All my other production hives have produced between 50-75lbs, and the Russians are still filling the second deep. At this rate I don't think they will produce anything, only enough to get them through the winter. If I were you, I'd go with Carnie or VSH. VSH is compariable to Russians in mite resistance, but they produce lots of honey, and have a better temperment.
Thx for the replys!! I have many things to ponder...:confused:
My 2 cents on Russians vs. Italians In Oklahoma
I have 5 hives and 3 are currently Russians. I'm also in Oklahoma, so we have the same heat. Last year I started with 2 Russian hives.
I do think that Russians shut down more when it gets hot. However, I do not think that it is the heat. Instead, I think that when there is a dearth, the Russian queens simply stop laying eggs. They also overwinter on a MUCH smaller cluster than Italians. However, that's not all that bad, given that there probably is not much nectar to be had in Oklahoma in August. Even in wet conditions like we've been having, its still hot and dry in August.
Their frugalness is both good and bad. They use less stores when times are tough, and they overwinter better for that reason. Also, I think that even if Russians produce less honey on average, the beekeeper could rob them harder and it would be a wash. Based on my hives last year, I think that Russians probably can overwinter on a single deep in Oklahoma, particularly if you feed them a little in Feb. They would certainly do fine with a deep and medium over winter.
Based on last year's experience, my main gripe with Russians is that they were slow to build comb. However, the Russians I got this year (3 hives) did not have that problem and have drawn comb just fine.
My other concern about Russians is that they do not take full advantage of early nectar flows. I have one hive that is right in the middle of Tulsa, at my house. At that location, there is lots of nectar to be had in March-April, due to many fruit trees and early blooming plants that people have in town. I think I could have a booming Italian hive by mid-April. Based on my experience, my Russian hives probably do not catch up to Italians until about May 1. It could be that Italians are better for honey production if you have an early flow. If you are in a rural location in Oklahoma, June is probably your primary flow, and I doubt Italians have any advantage. If you happen to have a lot of early nectar sources, I think you may miss out on some honey with Russians, simply because they don't yet have a sufficient population. In other words, Russians don't get out of the brood rearing mode and into the honey storing mode until later in the year.
I personally now have 3 russian hives, one Italian hive and one hive that is from a swarm where the bees are dark. I intended to requeen the feral hive with an Italian queen because we have a love-hate relatinhship (they love to sting me and I hate them). It is in a yard where I want to compare Russian and Italians, and I will be happy to share what learn if I ever get that far.
I live in town on the south side of OKC so I am strongly leaning towards Italians....I can get a nuc of Russians next week but I am not sure I want to feed them for the rest of the summer. Thx for the info and it would be awesome if you shared more comparison stuff with us!
Russian Bee Facts
The russian bees are more frugal in the winter time conserving stores. They do some headbutting but are not trying to sting, they are just letting you know that you are in their space. They take different management skills than most other bees.They make alot of false queen cells which is nothing to worry about. They do not swarm more than any other race of bee. They like to have alot of room for brood building. They build up rapidly in the spring as soon as the pollen starts coming in and the queens shut down in periods of dearth, They also shut down a little early in the fall. They can carry heavier loads of mites than most other bees. But they are somewhat more mite resistant than most bees.
got this from a friend of mine site, he is a USDA Russian Queen Breeder, I work with him raising and selling queens.