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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Dover, New Hampshire, USA
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    19

    Lightbulb Varroa - are they more an issue with Italian bees?

    I'm new to all this and don't really know what I'm talking about, but have an inquisitive mind and just wanted to start a discussion.


    From what I've heard, Italians (and some other races I'm sure) tend to raise brood all year long (including during the winter), while other races such as Carniolans will stop during the winter time.


    My thought is that since varroa reproduce in brood, a race of bee which is constantly producing brood is less adapted toward dealing with varroa than one which stops at least for the winter.


    Has anyone raised Italians along with a non-hygienic race that naturally stops their brood production during a dearth? How do they compare in terms of varroa counts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
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    2,497

    Default Re: Varroa - are they more an issue with Italian bees?

    Not sure where you heard that italians continue to raise brood during winter....they shut down in winter just like other bees...though it is later than Carnis or Russians and they tend to start earlier and build up faster in the spring initially. Bees if left natuarlly will try and adapt to a heavy mite load...mainly by swarming. This causes the queen to shut down, ceases brood production and then they swarm to escape the mites in the hive. I would imagine that Russians would be the best as what you were aiming at since they winter in small clusters, build up slow, shut down quickly during a darth...but on the other side of the coin, they produce less honey...so there is a trade off...as with everything.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Dover, New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Varroa - are they more an issue with Italian bees?

    Hmm, well I guess this doesn't specifically say they do it all winter, just that they do it after the honey flow stops : http://www.beekeepingstarterkit.com/page/1317490



    I do want to get my hand on some Russians at some point. I'm more keeping bees because I like bees than because I like honey :-) I've heard conflicting reports on how aggressive Russians are though - some people have said they like to head but, but others have said they aren't any more aggressive than Italians. I guess it depends on the particular queen you get?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Edwards, Ms, USA
    Posts
    59

    Default Re: Varroa - are they more an issue with Italian bees?

    Unhdurde you have heard some correct things. My Italians lay almost year around. They only shut down for about 2 weeks around Christmas. Now where you live they may shutdown longer. All bee have hygenic behavior toward mites. I would recommend carni over russian any day. Italians would just do fine in your climate. I would recommend getting a low percentage VSH carni/italian mix. Russians also get aggressive when mixed with other strains such as italian. They have high swarm rates so you would have to requeen often to keep pure stock. Russians also kill themselves off by overloading the brood chamber with honey for insulation for hard winters. Well there is only one place in the US where they function properly. Thats the tundra of Alaska. Hope this helps. Phillip

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brandon, MS USA
    Posts
    1,585

    Default Re: Varroa - are they more an issue with Italian bees?

    Actually it depends more so on how Many queens you get... primorsky are selected for gentleness, so the majority of PURE primorsky queens will produce gentle hives... HOWEVER... if you do not go All the way Russian, you will find yourself in a "hot spot" as soon as the Russians swarm and the new queen mates with whatever other drones you have in the yard AND the area... this mix is what makes for the mean colonies and the third gen is worse than the second... this is why primorsky breeders are required to keep ONLY pure primorsky and must have at least a certain number of hives in order to out breed the surrounding areas... Italians are on the lower end of the varroa resistance race, but its mainly because we have all been selecting away from swarming tendencies... so that excludes one of the most effective aspects of resistance... Carniolans are more prone to swarm naturally than italians, but less prone than primorsky by far... they also do not lay as steadily as italians, but they do lay faster during a flow... if the mite presence is high during this time, it actually raises the risk of a complete loss... genetics are your first step towards resistance, but long term management must follow... with hard work and consistent record keeping, you will get past mites just fine no matter which strain you choose... the initial decision of what strain will help you decide which management methods to focus on... I recommend sticking with one strain unless you have multiple locations and the time to devote to managing each one differently.

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