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Thread: Opinions wanted

  1. #1
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    Default Opinions wanted

    I have several friends and acquaintances who are putting one or two hives in their back yards in a suburban/urban area.

    They keep asking me where to get gentle bees.

    I have told them it is the queen that will be the prime determination of how gentle the bees will be in a hive and if they get bees that are not gentle enough we can re-queen their hive later.

    My question for all of you is, based on your own experiences, who are some of the queen suppliers who consistently provide the most gentle queens?

    And, are there other factors that you have seen that cause bees to become more gentle or more mean?

    Thanks!
    Paul
    Paul Andersen

  2. #2
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    Koehnen's Cordovan Italians are extremely gentle and beautiful as well. They would be perfect for an application such as you describe.
    Working bees in bad weather, too early or too late in the day, being opened too often, not being gentle when handling the frames, jarring their box, being predated by skunks at night; these types of things will make them crankier than otherwise. In general, Cordovans are a good bee for those wanting to spend a lot of time observing. They are light colored so easy to find on the comb. They are very tolerant of intrusions and can be inspected easily but I think lawn mowers or other machinery would still put them on edge.
    Sheri

  3. #3
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    Conroe, Texas, USA
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    Koehnen's Cordovan Italians are extremely gentle and beautiful as well. They would be perfect for an application such as you describe.
    I will second that, The Cordovans are a very gental bee. I have checked mine with no smoke at all, I did it today just to see how they would behave.

    They build up really fast too in the spring.
    Mike

  4. #4
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    Fat/Beeman (aka Dixie Bee Supply) has very gentle bees based on reputation and two queen I got from him. I never really needed to use smoke on them unless it was bad weather.

    Pendell's Apiary sells Cordovan Italians. I have only had one hive, but it has been pretty gentle. It did have about a 2 week spell when it was grumpy, but it has settled down. It has never been the type of hive that would sting neighbors, only me during and inspection. Usually I don't smoke this hive.

  5. #5
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    Koehnens.
    Another supplier with gentle bees is Terry Hester in Georgia. He sells on ebay as birsnbees60 or something like that. I haven't had as many of his as I have the Koehnens, but they have all been really gentle as well as hygenic.

  6. #6
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    I agree with Sherri. but i just picked up some bees from a little town up north that seem to be purdy gentle too...... he he he......

    Roland

  7. #7
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    Roland, lol, we tell them to be on their best behavior when we send them out. I am glad they're behaving, but I always say 80 percent of a bee's gentleness comes from the way they are handled. You must have just charmed the sting right out of them.
    Sheri

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    I agree with Sherri. but i just picked up some bees from a little town up north that seem to be purdy gentle too...... he he he......

    Roland

  8. #8
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    I purchased 3 packages from Terry Hester last year and 4 this year. They seem to be gentle most of the time. But like most ladies they all have their days...
    De Colores,
    Ken

  9. #9
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    but I always say 80 percent of a bee's gentleness comes from the way they are handled. You must have just charmed the sting right out of them.
    Yeah, they're so glad to get away from Sheri beating on them that anything you can dish out doesn't even bother them.

  10. #10
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    , now CP that just wasn't very nice! And totally uncalled for! And mean And...humph! California likes to think it has happy cows but we know we have happy bees in Wisconsin. No beating required.

    Quote Originally Posted by cow pollinater View Post
    Yeah, they're so glad to get away from Sheri beating on them that anything you can dish out doesn't even bother them.

  11. #11
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    Yeah, I've heard all about John and Sheri... Their bees don't sting and neither do they.

  12. #12
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    Well, thanks CP, that's better,....I think. Our bees have their days...they can sting all right, especially when they have to get up too early on a cold morning and are expected to go to work, sort of like how I feel right now. A brisk 30 degrees here this morning, brrrrrrr. We need to load a few singles up for a brand new beekeeper, he better not have any wardrobe malfunctions wehen he goes to unload them in a couple hours, lol.

    I am surprised no one has specifically mentiond NWCarniolans. (I think this is what Don runs?)
    Aren't they a very gentle bee?
    Sheri

  13. #13
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    I'm in the same situation you are in. My biggest worry is the neighbors.

    I picked up a single deep from John and Sheri, and so far, I have to say that these bees are extremely gentle.

    We watch them from very close to their hive entrance. They just go about their business and ignore you.

    Last weekend, my neighbor was 20 yards from the hive with a leaf blower and they totally ignored him. Not even a head but.

    I've yet to test out the lawn mower around them!

    Here they are http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifq6g5wCa1k You can click "HD" to watch them in HD.

    Ken
    Last edited by c10250; 04-22-2009 at 07:08 AM.

  14. #14
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    Don't think I've ever had them, except by chance maybe. How are the Cordovans for wintering in comparison to N W Carniolans? Do they require a larger store of wintering honey (Italian genes) than the Carniolans? Am very pleased with the gentleness of my NWC hives but the two might make an interesting mix. Would appreciate opinions.

  15. #15
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    Ken, what a nice location you have for your bees! I am glad they went to such a nice home. It is also nice to see them on video. <sigh> I can say "I knew them back then", before they were movie stars.
    I am glad they are gentle but no promises once you break out the gas engines.

    Cedar Hill, the Cordovans do winter in a larger cluster than the Carnies, and need more feed, maybe even much more.
    Cordovans are basically Italians selected for color. We have found them gentler than our mutt Italian stock, which are pretty gentle.
    Sheri

  16. #16
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    Sheri wrote: "Cedar Hill, the Cordovans do winter in a larger cluster than the Carnies, and need more feed, maybe even much more. "

    Thank you. Will wait - as interesting as the idea sounds, prefer keeping the most honey possible, which the Carnies allow. And it sounds as if I might have to split earlier ( in the cold ) than at present. Thanks again.

  17. #17
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    Default Carniolans

    I like the dark bees. They are also very gentle and kind of quiet if no big flow. From what I've seen, they definitely are less disposed to robbing than Italians, and this can affect a whole apiarys' temperament.

  18. #18
    Join Date
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    Default Gental Bees

    I bought 4 of Koehnen's Cordovan Italians about a month ago and hives calmed down significantly.

    Have three more coming Friday

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