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  1. #1
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    Default Russian bee breed????

    what type of breed are the russian bees? Some say they are carniolan and some say they are caucasians. I also saw somewhere in the net that they are another subspecies and in other places that they are a hybrid of different subspecies taken to russia from different places and adapted to that area..........anyone knows what breed are they actually?

  2. #2
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    my understanding is they are not a specific breed just certain bee that performed well under a lot of varroa pressure in russia were evaluated and brought back and bred and they call them russians because that is were they came from. or as I would call them mutts

  3. #3
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    The best sources that I can recall seeing put the Russians into Apis mellifera carnica, Carniolan honey bees.

  4. #4
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    I concur with Kieck, they are Carniolan. They winter better then any bee you've ever seen.

  5. #5
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    Default The Russian honeybee from the Primorsky Krai

    Here is one source that states that they resemble the dark Carniolan strain.
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jump to: navigation, search
    The Russian honeybee from the Primorsky Krai, a region in the southern extreme of the Russian Far East, belongs to the species Apis mellifera.

    The Russian honeybee has evolved traits of resistance to natural mites owing to heavy selection pressures. It has lived for more than 150 years in a region that is home to the varroa mite and the tracheal mites (Acarapis woodi).

    In 1997, the USDA's Honeybee Breeding, Genetics & Physiology Laboratory in Baton Rouge, Louisiana imported [1]Russian bees to North America.

    The Russian bees resemble the dark Carniolan strain. They use less propolis than typical Italian honey bees. They are not prone to sting. The bees show exceptional winter hardiness, hibernating in small winter clusters, and produce a high nectar haul per bee. They are more apt to building queen cells throughout the brood season and may have a higher tendency to swarm.
    Regards,
    Ernie
    Ernie
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  6. #6
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    Default

    So it seems that the russian bees are the closest to the original carniolan bee which has not gone through human selection. It show all the characters described about the carniolan bees before all the human selection took place.

    Good to see that atleast in some places the carniolans are still going through natual selection and are still in its pure form.

    If we had left our bees without treatment of any kind for atleast 3 to 4 years, today we would not have had a problem with varroa. All the non resistant and non tolerant stock would have been eliminated and we would have had a very good varroa tolerant stock.

    Its true that we would have lost a lot of bees in that 3 to 4 years but the remaining stock would have built up very fast with lot of resources available and today we would not have had to select for varroa tolerance as our first criteria.

    This can be achived even now with a little sacrifice of loosing a few bad hives and let the nature take care of things for the next few years.

    just a thought of mine...............

  7. #7
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    there is a good thread on you idea called live and let die I think

  8. #8
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    So are the russians more like what would of been the old world carni's?

    Camp
    As wonderful as this life is, there are days I really look forward to the next. :)

  9. #9
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    I think a little more background might be useful on this topic.

    Apis mellifera is not native to eastern Asia, including eastern Russia. The reason that they have adapted, as quoted above, over the last 150 years give or take is because they were deliberately taken to the Primorsky Krai by beekeepers. Those beekeepers had to get their bees from somewhere, and most sources that I've seen claim that the bees taken east on the Trans-Siberian Railroad to Primorsky Krai were likely Apis mellifera carnica.

    Based on that information, Russian bees seem to be the descendents of Carniolan bees. That would make them Carniolan, too, unless they have differentiated to the point that they constitute a novel subspecies. None of the systematists working on bees has given a subspecific name to "Russian" bees, as far as I've been able to find. That would still leave them in the same subspecies as their ancestors.

  10. #10
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    Default

    Here's some info on this subject. We had Ed Levi, state bee inspector for Arkansas, come to talk to our bee club a couple of years ago. Actually, he has talked the last 2 years and is coming back again. Ed has travelled the world teaching and observing beekeepers. One of the many places he went was Armenia and the surrounding areas.

    His story, which I don't think he claims to know as the gospel truth is basically this:

    The Russian bees are from the extreme East part of Russian/southern Siberia. Bees were imported to that area when railroads/transportation/development was extended to that area. When that happened, bees were taken from the area around Armenia/southern Russia to the eastern frontier. They have been doing there thing there for 100 years or so. They were exposed to varroa long ago, and built up some resistance by natural selection. The Armenian statement was something to the effect that "We gave them bees, and in return they gave us varroa mites."

    So the Russian bees are not really Carnies, but they started out as being from somewhere sort of close to there and then did there own thing.

    If any of that is true, and it may not be.

  11. #11
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    they do favor carnies but I believe evolution could have made them a line them selves (not knowing what line or crosses they are), like the squirrels on each sides of the grand canyon they say they came from the same line of squirrels but they look and act different but in the end they are the same squirrel. why would someone think bee's couldn't be the same way, they evolve and adapted to their environment. I have bee's today that aren't Russian that handle mite like nothing is wrong, I do no mite count or and kind of treatments (not even small cell) and my bee's do fine, there are a lot of folks that do this and have done this for years and most still buy from the big producers, us small time queen rearers do sale queens but not like the big producers do, sometimes we can only handle so many orders but there are more and more each year to sale untreated queen stock, we are out there and the number grows, not fast but still grows! I help raise Russian breeder queens, they do fine! I have not cross them into my survivor stock yet but might try just to see what I get, I dont really worry about mites anymore, just temperment and honey production, and good comb building is there also but has not been a problem
    Ted

  12. #12
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    Just to clarify: to date, the Russian bees do not have a distinct subspecies (or "race") name. While they may have some different traits, they still seem to be considered the same subspecies as their ancestors.

    New World Carniolans would be a similar sort of line. While some of their traits differ from the ancestral subspecies, those differences are not great enough to justify assigning a different subspecific name.

  13. #13
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    I did come across some information in an unrelated research article that might shed some light on the origins of the Russian bees.

    The bees in the area where the Russian bees were likely exported to Primorsky Krai belong to the subspecies Apis mellifera mellifera. All of the bees examined for the systematic study from the western, former-Soviet republics belonged to A. m. mellifera. Based on that information, I think it's very possible that Russian bees are not descendents of Carniolans, but are of "German" bees.

  14. #14
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    That's interesting considering the name that the brown bee came to be by (the stinging flies) to native americans. And apparently retained that quality until their loss here in the states. Must have been many changes to the bees along the way in breeding. The russians I have had and have are some of the gentlest bees I've seen. Not doubting what you've found and that it can't be done. Just interesting.

    Did you hang onto the link where you found the information?
    "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill

  15. #15

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    I remember once upon a time reading the morphology on the russians, I believe that they were made up of 3 primary races, the most dominate race being the Macedonian race, there was some Carniolan in them, but it was a minor part of their makeup.

  16. #16
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    So they are closely related to carniolans, because macedonian race was considered as an ecotype of carniolans and later changed into a supspecies. So it seems they are like a mix of different bees related to the carniolan race.

    Surely they will show all the characterisitcs written about the carniolans before the selective breeding by humans took place.

    its good to preserve these gentetics, because the gene pool will be so vast in these bees for sure. Untouched by humans and gone through natural selection for a long time is not common these days.

  17. #17
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    I don't know that I'd make those assumptions about Russian bees. First, I don't know how many hives were taken east on the Trans Siberian Railroad. If that number was relatively small, the gene pool would be small. The gene pool is likely limited by any standards because of the founder effects associated with moving a limited number of hives. Secondly, Russian bees have been managed by humans in Primorsky Krai. Russian beekeepers didn't take them east and turn them loose just to see what might happen. Selection obviously has affected Russian bees, but it's been roughly 150 years, managed by beekeepers, and based on a small initial group of bees imported into eastern Russia.

  18. #18
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    The bees did not go through any modern selection through a specialised queen breeder. A group of bee keepers locally selecting for the best performing and surviving stock will not be that intense as modern selection which includes II and selective queen rearing, which infact reduces the gene pool a lot.

    Even if the bee keepers took a few 100 hives to Primorsky Krai from different places which did not go through the intense selection pressure from humans, they will have a very vast gene pool in them, which will been still present in those bees.

  19. #19
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    OK, I'll state up front that I do not know how the selective pressure of picking only the best colonies might compare to selection using instrument insemination and selective queen rearing, but I would wager that I could at least equal the selective pressure of II and selective rearing just by picking only the best colonies if I tried. :-)

    Don't think that "natural selection" cannot put greater selective pressure on a population than "artificial selection." And don't think that "artificial selection" cannot put greater selective pressure on a population than "natural selection." The issue really becomes measuring that selection.

    And a few hundred hives (which I doubt that that many went east, but the number may have been that great or greater) does not really constitute a vast gene pool, in my opinion. Some American beekeepers are complaining about the lack of diversity in bees in North America despite far more importations from far more locations over far more years and without the assumed intense selective pressure (Varroa) that Russian bees would have faced over the last 100 to 150 years. If they didn't face that selective pressure, they wouldn't show adaptations to Varroa.

  20. #20
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    i dont think anyone can equal the selective pressure of II with selecting the best performing colony.

    natural selection gives a hive all its optons available to survive.

    A few 100 hives can have a very vast gene pool if it has only gone through natural selection, because a queen can mate with upto 20 drones and when they come from an unselected population, they can create a vast gene pool.

    In US there were only a few hives brought initially and everytime a queen or hive was imported it has gone through human selection which does reduce the gene pool. There is a further heavy and intense selective pressure by the queen breeders to what ever stock is left in the US. A queen breeder only selects for a few characters which he or she finds important. where as natural selection is a totally different. Natural selection always preserves as mmuch genetics as possible, making it slow but much effective and efficient that human selection.

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