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Thread: Buckfast Bees

  1. #1
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    Apr 2009
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    Racine, Wisconsin, USA
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    Default Buckfast Bees

    Went up and checked my hives yesterday. The 5 with carni's were laid back and easy to work, the russian/yugo hive were even laid back, the buckfast was mean as the devil!
    I went into the top brood box and all was good then when I moved down into the next brood and touched the first frame the girls went crazy and never calmed down as I went through the frames. Smoked em and sprayed them with syrup and didn't even slow them down.
    I got stung and one even went 40 feet and popped my wife in the forhead!

    After I put the Buckfast queen in the hive I read on this forum the they would not recommend buckfast for new beeks. If they're all like those that are in my hive I don't see why anyone would want them in their bee yard.

    I'll be requeening with a NWC.
    "Can't never did do nothin'" Grandma Heltsley

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Cedar Rapids Ia. USA
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    15

    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    Buckfast bees need to be requeened every year. My teacher was a buckfast man. He requeened every year. Buckfast bees tend to get mean after the first year........Poprivet.....Dave Cook
    David K Cook

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
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    1,245

    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    I have colonies of Buckfast that have superseded their queens for the last 5 years and they can be worked with no smoke and no vail. If you want good Buckfast buy from the queen breeders in Canada.

  4. #4
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    Apr 2009
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    Racine, Wisconsin, USA
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    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    I saw a youtube video showing how gentle the Buckfast bees are, I can only wish my were as gentle as those in the video. I think it was a Canadian beek in the video.
    I looked into Canadian suppliers and I didn't want to pay the import fee from Canada so I went with a supplier in Texas. Lesson learned! Oh well it's my first year as a beek and what better way to learn than experiance. Maybe next year when I have more hives I'll give the Canadian Buckfast a try. I have to say they have filled three deep brood boxes and I haven't found a swarm or supercedure cell, yet. Just hate to work around them mean girls when there are nice girls a few steps away!
    AR Beekeeper if you have a supplier of GENTLE buckfast in Canada could you e-mail me the contact information.
    Thanks all for your input.
    Omer
    Last edited by Bizzybee; 08-05-2009 at 03:50 AM. Reason: remove quote
    "Can't never did do nothin'" Grandma Heltsley

  5. #5
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    Feb 2009
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    Pigeon Falls, WI
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    2,527

    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    Apple Farmer,
    Do you think maybe the rain and lack of "nectar flow" we've had lately could have caused them to be a "little" meaner. I had cells shipped from FL this year and it was done on short notice so I told David Miksa(miksahf@aol.com or 352-429-3447) to send what he could. When they arrived the cell holder said "Buckfast". I called him to see if that was what they were and he told me "Canadian(Ontario) Buckfast". So far they have all been very gentle but they are still in 5 frame deep nucs.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Claremont, NH, USA
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    783

    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    I used Buckfast from Texas a lot years ago, but stopped, when I got some bees that were a little too hot for my taste. Tried a couple of packages last year, which have overwintered and are doing just okay, not great, this year. Last year they were my strongest performers. They are not particularly mean, but not nearly as gentle as my MH. We've had a LOT of rain up here, so, other than my Russians, no one is bringing in very much nectar. I have Russian/mutt queens on order and plan to requeen the Buckfast hives this week or next before they supercede and get really mean.

    A dearth of nectar can make any hive mean and a healthy, queenright nuc will usually be pretty gentle. But, there are ALWAYS exceptions.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montesano, Washington
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    54

    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    A fellow beek told me that buckfast are gentle till one of two things happen.
    1. they make a new queen and she some how breeds with Italin drone. Makes for a bad combo.
    2 if your nectar flow has stopped they get angry easy.
    personaly I would stay away from them. legend has it that the monk from buckfast cross bred bees from all over the place and mixed genes with the AHB. how true that is is anyones guess? But that when a queen mates with a Italin drone it brings out the african gene. again urban legend but sound cool.

  8. #8
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    Apr 2009
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    Racine, Wisconsin, USA
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    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Beeslave View Post
    Apple Farmer,
    Do you think maybe the rain and lack of "nectar flow" we've had lately could have caused them to be a "little" meaner. I had cells shipped from FL this year and it was done on short notice so I told David Miksa(miksahf@aol.com or 352-429-3447) to send what he could. When they arrived the cell holder said "Buckfast". I called him to see if that was what they were and he told me "Canadian(Ontario) Buckfast". So far they have all been very gentle but they are still in 5 frame deep nucs.
    We haven't had more than a drop or two of rain here since July 1. We have a lot of white clover and white dutch clover that the bees have been working I'm sure that it would be better for nectar flow if we had some ran sure would help with size for my apples and pears!
    Thanks for Daves number I'll keep him in my list of suppliers. May give him a call next year, if I decide to try buckfast again.

    bnatural: sorry to hear you had the same experiance with Texas buckfast as I did. Really hoped for a excellent honey producer that was gentle and over wintered well.
    "Can't never did do nothin'" Grandma Heltsley

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Tarrant Co., TX
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    54

    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    I thought one of my Italian queens was failing and replaced her with a Buckfast I ordered from a company here in Texas. I thought I would try the Buckfast since they are supposed to be more resiliant to mites and build up faster. (It seemed my Italian was lethargic). When I received the Buckfast queen, I thought I got ripped off since she was marked with white paint. I assume that means she was raised in 2006, but since I am a newbie, I didn't say anything. She seems to be laying well, but not building up as fast as I hoped.
    My other two Italian hives seem as mean as the Buckfast hive when I work them on a hot day. When it is hot, they all are sticking their heads out of the frames and watching my hands. I have to use a lot of smoke. I will find out more about their temperment when it starts cooling off in a couple of months.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
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    1,398

    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    I am not saying that there is anything wrong with your bees or that the company in Texas sells anything but great bees. BUT..............Texas is known for AHBs. Who is to say without doing DNA checks on every queen that some of them are not mating with AHB drones?

    Just a thought.........not even a real stong opinion.
    De Colores,
    Ken

  11. #11
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    May 2008
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    Fresno California USA
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    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    The only thing Buckfast out of South Texas any more is the rubber stamp on the cages.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Huntington, West Virginia, USA
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    438

    Exclamation Re: Buckfast Bees

    The meanest bees I ever worked in 20 years were Buckfast out of Texas i bought 2 years ago. Some of the nicest, gentlest, most productive bees I've ever worked are Canadian Buckfast that I have been getting the last 3 summers from Ferguson Apiaries. Pay the extra bucks and get some bees that are nice to work with -- not hot bees no matter what their race. -Danno

  13. #13
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    Jan 2005
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    Southern Oregon
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    1,162

    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    Open mated queens in known AHB territory can be an invitation for hot bees.
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  14. #14
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    Nov 2008
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    Grand Rapids, Ohio
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    Thumbs down Re: Buckfast Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom G. Laury View Post
    The only thing Buckfast out of South Texas any more is the rubber stamp on the cages.
    I though I was the only one that knew that secret.

    Buckfast out of Texas is a mix breed with Africanized. One year I bought a lot of buckfast queens from a big queen producer in Texas. 80% drone layer and the rest was so mean that I killed all of those queens. Sorry I never bought another Texas queen again. Cost me thousands that year.

    30 years as a comm. beekeeper, and if anyone asked me I would have to say. "NO TO BUCKFAST QUEENS"

  15. #15
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    Dec 2007
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    Tulare County, CA USA
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    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by JBJ View Post
    Open mated queens in known AHB territory can be an invitation for hot bees.
    Officially that area isn't confirmed AHB if I read the map correctly. The only reason I ever checked the map was because the bees I bought from that area were meaner than a banty rooster and there were a whole lot more of them to fight.
    I kind of have to wonder just what it takes to keep an area like that officially AHB free...
    But I do have a strong hunch.

  16. #16
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    Apr 2009
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    Racine, Wisconsin, USA
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    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by The Honey Householder View Post
    I though I was the only one that knew that secret.

    Buckfast out of Texas is a mix breed with Africanized. One year I bought a lot of buckfast queens from a big queen producer in Texas. 80% drone layer and the rest was so mean that I killed all of those queens. Sorry I never bought another Texas queen again. Cost me thousands that year.

    30 years as a comm. beekeeper, and if anyone asked me I would have to say. "NO TO BUCKFAST QUEENS"
    THH, Is that a no to all buckfast or no to Texas buckfast? I agree with never a Texas Buckfast again! Have you tried Canadian Buckfast?
    I just started keeping bees this year and plan on doing it for sometime too come. I want to give different breeds a try to see for myself their traits and how well they fit into our operation.
    "Can't never did do nothin'" Grandma Heltsley

  17. #17
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    lake geneva wi
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    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by cow pollinater View Post
    Officially that area isn't confirmed AHB if I read the map correctly.
    I kind of have to wonder just what it takes to keep an area like that officially AHB free...
    But I do have a strong hunch.
    That map is a bit lacking in reporting the true situation of AHB in the south thats for sure. Very political. A product we really need is a fast AHB test kit based on DNA. You can't visually id them and even the so called fast tests invlove rigorous morphological measurements then a statistical crunch, experts only. Not exactly like a do it yourself pregnancy test for example.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    ... or alternatively we could teach those mean bees to read a map.
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  19. #19
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    Jun 2009
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    Triad area, NC, USA
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    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    I am glad I read this thread.

    I was reading all these glowing comments on queen seller's websites, words like, "wonderful, marvelous, magnificent, gentle," blah, blah, blah.

    Then I read on some other website, it was somewhere down south, this guy had a hive of Buckfast bees so hot that they would get stung when they got in sight of the hive.

    I already decided then that I would be a little reluctant to go with that breed.

    I think this thread is the icing on the cake.
    "When you see a honey bee in your yard, thank a beekeeper!"

  20. #20
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    Jun 2009
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    Waukesha County, Wisconsin, USA
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    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by NC-Bee-Dude View Post
    I already decided then that I would be a little reluctant to go with that breed.
    As well as any open mated breed from the AHB Belt. It makes no sense to me to bring in undesirable traits, only to have to requeen with northern stock to set things straight.

    BB
    Last edited by Bizzybee; 08-05-2009 at 03:52 AM.

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