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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,592

    Default USDA production Russians... any opinions?

    I was thinking about picking up a couple of Charlie Harper's Russian production queens. Is there anyone in the Northeast who has experience with the USDA Russians?
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Monongahela, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    78

    Default Russian queens

    My experience with russians was not very good. As many have found out the russian queens are extremely hard to introduce. June of 2007 I ordered 6 queens from Long Creek and introduced them into 3 frame divides. Four were immediately superceded. One of the remaining two had a very high mite load and did not survive the winter. The last queen is almost two years old and overwintering in a really small cluster. Hopefully she will survive the rest of the winter.
    If you are considering trying the russians, have your queens marked. That way you can tell if they have superceded her. Try not to inspect the colony for at least two weeks after introduction.
    For the time being, I'm going to stick with my mutt carni's and italian's. If you try the russian's, keep us informed of your progress. Hope you have a great year.
    Al

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Near Harpers Ferry, WV
    Posts
    72

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Alf57 View Post
    The last queen is almost two years old and overwintering in a really small cluster. Hopefully she will survive the rest of the winter.
    I was fretting about the cluster size of my Russians that I installed last year and the lady at Walter T Kelley said that the typical overwinter cluster size for Russians was between softball and volleyball. I am halfway between that.

    Now that the bees are flying, and I can begin to feed them, I suspect that they will build up quickly. It's the hope, anyway.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    hamburg, new york, usa
    Posts
    440

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Alf57 View Post
    One of the remaining two had a very high mite load and did not survive the winter. The last queen is almost two years old and overwintering in a really small cluster. Hopefully she will survive the rest of the winter.
    I doubt you had Russian bees.
    I had nothing but the most pleasant experience with Russian bees. They are so resistant to mites and so gentle.

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