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  1. #1
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    Apr 2011
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    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
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    Default What kind of Queen? Florida

    I'm thinking of getting some different queens to try out.
    Add a little diversity to my Italian bees.
    What does everyone suggest?
    Sunkist ? Hawaiian ? Cordovan ?

  2. #2
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    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
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    Default Re: What kind of Queen? Florida

    How about Russell's Sunkist Cordovan?
    Does anyone have any experience with them in Florida?

  3. #3
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    Jan 2010
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    Alachua County, FL, USA
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    Default Re: What kind of Queen? Florida

    Give Miksa a call East of you in Groveland. I think he has 7 or 9 choices for you -- Russian, Buckfast, Belgian Buckfast, Carnolian VSH, Aurea (Cordovan), Italian and Karnica.
    Miksa Honey Farms, 13404 Honeycomb Rd, Groveland, FL 34736, (352) 429-3447, Miksahf@aol.com
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  4. #4
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    Apr 2011
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    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
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    Default Re: What kind of Queen? Florida

    What are your thoughts on the Aurea?
    A quick search suggest they are gentle, quick building with large brood nest and heavy store consumers.
    Do you think they are a good match for our environment?

  5. #5
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    May 2009
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    Palm Bay, FL, USA
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    2,297

    Default Re: What kind of Queen? Florida

    Firstly; Cordovan is not a species or subspecies. It's only a color variation. See Glenn Apiaries website for an explanation. You can have Cordovan Italians, Cordovan Buckfast, Cordovan Anything. I've used Italians from GA, HI, FL, CA, MS, TX with good results in our climate. Russians did not work out for me. Carniolans are cold country bees. I believe the Aureas are also Italians. I've bought a bunch of cells from Dave Miksa; good bees, good people to deal with. Bob Harvey has some excellent queens and cells also and advertises on this site. Kevin Jester, Jester Bee Co.; last year had some awesome performing Cordovan Italians. I have maybe 20-30 hives with Sunkist queens, no complaints and will order a couple of their breeders this year! Most of mine are queens we raised from Glenn Apiaries breeders, specifically Hygenic Italians. I buy cells from other breeders to keep good diversity in our drone supply. Italian bees come closest to being from a climate similar to ours in FL and have always worked best for me.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: What kind of Queen? Florida

    Latshaw and Douglas are Cordovan breeders/rearers.
    http://www.douglasfarm.com/honeybeebreeds.htm
    Cordovan is a recessive trait. Aurea are the Italian Cordovan.
    The Cordovan genetic trait was used to study AHB at USDA ARS. The picture of the dark bee next to the light bee are Cordovan Italian and Africanized.
    http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2007/070209.htm
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  7. #7
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    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
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    Default Re: What kind of Queen? Florida

    Thank you guys very much for your replies.

    I'm getting into an area where I'm in need of education and need to proceed with caution.
    I'm not unhappy with the queens I have but dont really have enough experience to judge thier performance. Much of the banter on the internet about specific queen line performance needs to be qualified and is in some ways not objective. Assessments from a keeper 3 states away that tried a few of one type of queen for one year isn't as helpful as your input.

    I'm interested in the Cordovan trait as a tool to help me measure my success in introducing them. My plan is to use 2 small yards of 10 hives each ( about 1 mile apart) and requeen 5 hives each. The old hives will have all capped drone brood destroyed as they produce it. Once I have drones from the new queens I'll graft and open mate new queens. I don't want to requeen everything with something different it kind of feels like "throwing the baby out with the bath water". I like to keep my mistakes small at the risk of smaller improvements.

    What do you think of my plans?

  8. #8
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    Alachua County, FL, USA
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    Default Re: What kind of Queen? Florida

    The Cordovan trait will quickly tell you when queens have been superceded or mated with dominant sub-species. The ARS study is a prime example.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  9. #9
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    Apr 2011
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    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
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    Default Re: What kind of Queen? Florida

    Thanks for the photos.
    I know the official line is " you can't tell AHB by looking at them"
    That said having a Cordovan trait in my bees would give me a good idea
    where my queens are mating and how much feral or outside breeding is
    going on.

    I have hives that have requeened themselves three times in a year and who really
    know what drones they mated with? They still act like my bees but of course some
    throw different colored bees.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL, USA
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    Default Re: What kind of Queen? Florida

    You will have the exact same problem if you switch to all Cordovan colored queens. The only way to control the mating process, unless using instrumental insemination, is to have totally isolated yards and with all the bees, feral and managed, in FL you are not going to find an isolated location. In addition, since the Cordovan trait is recessive it goes away fast. I've had mostly normal Italian colored bees result from the Cordovan queens we've brought in. To get Cordovan colored workers the Cordovan queen must mate with Cordovan drones; since she can mate with up to 25-30 drones what are the chances she'll luck onto even one Cordovan drone, much less all the drones she mates with? Your five drone mothers in each yard just will not provide enough drones to affect the matings. BTW, studies have shown that virgins do not usually mate with drones from the same hive or drones from the same yard because the queens fly much farther in search of a suitable drone congregation area. This is nature's way of guaranteeing diversity and lessening the chance of inbreeding. You can find a suggested mating yard setup on the Russian Queen Breeder Assoc. website. Generally, the drone mothers should be spaced in several yards around the mating yard and at a 1/2-3/4 mile radius away from the mating hives.

  11. #11
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    Apr 2011
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    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
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    Default Re: What kind of Queen? Florida

    Thinking about it more this might be a better project for early in the season next year.
    The logistics will be easier if I start fresh with splits and Nucs. I just need to figure out how to get and maintain the stock I decide on so that my hives are ready to build up fast at the first hint of spring.

    I think the areas I have to use are better choices than others and I will just have to try my best to saturate with drones. If I can just create a situation where the local drone population is a little better than what I have I'll be happy.

    If there is anyone keeping bees very near Weeki Wachee and would like to share info shoot me a PM or email @ mnbbeck@yahoo. C o m . I think I have a fair idea what's in the area???

    Fishy,
    Maybe I'll just skip the Italian bee idea and try Russian/Primorsky queens. Can I keep a few hives in each of your yards? Hehehe!

    Thanks to both of you for your suggestions

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL, USA
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    Default Re: What kind of Queen? Florida

    Long as you stay on the west coast you can try all the Russian(bees from Hell) you want!

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