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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Randolph, NC, USA
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    92

    Default Alternative Subspecies in North Carolina (other than Italian)

    Hi all! I'm looking to find up to 4 packaged or nucs, or even just queens other than Italians in north carolina. I'd rather not have to ship these, and I'm willing to drive an hour or two (or more if I can figure out the logistics of keeping them alive and minimal stress during transit) to get them. I would rather not ship, but if I have to....

    I'm particularly interested in Buckfast, but all american or carnies seem like good options as well, in that order.


    Anyway, If anyone can help me out, I would greatly appreciate it!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,714

    Default Re: Alternative Subspecies in North Carolina (other than Italian)

    Russian queens and nucs in Marion NC:
    http://www.revisrussians.com/Products.html
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Randolph, NC, USA
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Alternative Subspecies in North Carolina (other than Italian)

    Thanks! Im worried about Russians swarming alot, or being agressive. I know buckfast can be agressive, but mainly if from the south. Do you have any experience with russians? My local "mentor" if you will says he hates them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,714

    Default Re: Alternative Subspecies in North Carolina (other than Italian)

    I have no experience with Russian bees. I have italians from Arnold in Knoxville, plus a feral(?) (mutt?) swarm that moved into one of my swarm traps last spring. (Hoping for more swarms this year!)

    At one time I considered buying Russians from Long Creek in Parrottsville TN , only a few miles down the road (now out of business). In the course of researching the business reputation of Long Creek, I came across Beesource. Fortunately, I never sent money to Long Creek.

    My suggestion is to get whatever bees you can. Later, If you decide you really want a particular flavor, you can just requeen the hive with your specific flavor. You will find it easier to find specific queen vendors by ordering earlier in the season, and shipping queens is easier and more practical than shipping nucs.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Alternative Subspecies in North Carolina (other than Italian)

    I don't know his current availability, but Larry Tate in Winston-Salem has carnies and local survivor mutts.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    goldsboro nc USA
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    98

    Default Re: Alternative Subspecies in North Carolina (other than Italian)

    Just curious but why don't you want italians?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Randolph, NC, USA
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Alternative Subspecies in North Carolina (other than Italian)

    Thanks for the replies everyone, sorry I've been so slow to respond, it's spring and that means I'm busy on the farm!


    As for why, well, in all honesty, it boils down to my very amateur idea that something is up with the Italians. I suspect this may in part be due to some sort of loss of genetic vigor, from over breeding. or, perhaps major suppliers of Italians are doing something wrong. Ive read alot of different stories, and the math says (most likely due to shear numbers of people raising italians, rather than any sort of issue, a probability thing) italians are doing worse than some other species in various aspects.

    So, in part, I would like to find another subspecies that does well in my area. Later, down the road, I could possibly breed in positive traits from subspecies-"x" with italians.

    Secondly, it seems, at least in my area, that there are hardly any other subspecies available. If I were to sell nucs and packages (part of my 5 year biz plan) I could fill a niche market with specialty subspecies.

    I also like the idea of experiencing different behavior patterns and the like. For instance, if memory serves me correctly after a long hard day, Carnies tend to make propolis (or was it wax?, seriously long day!) in abundance. It would be fun to play around with that, particularly propolise, from a financial standpoint as well as genetic (resistance to XXX) study. I.E. Is coating their hives with so much wax or propolis helping them fight off pests? or helping overwinter by sealing off cracks and such for temperature regulation etc..etc...

    Again, I'm new to apiculture, these are just my newbeek thoughts that go through my head.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    benton ky
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Alternative Subspecies in North Carolina (other than Italian)

    Ok I'm new also, but I have a couple of thoughts.I grew up on a beef farm and learner a lot about livestock. Back in the 70"s we had some incidences that cost us a crop of cavles. That taught me a lot ofthings. One is ask lots of questions of anyone that's done stuff with the animals you want- temperament, ect. I currently need to learn to handle the bees, know that any manipulation outside of what you have been told is with some risk. The more extreme the manulipulation the greater the risk to the animals.use animals that other farmers use. In the 70's Rockefeller introduced Santa gertrudis to the US.- they were different thán Hereford, Angus. Breeding stock is expensive: crossing them wiry local stock can improve your stock but crossed may not recoup your investment. Raising purebred animals is even more expensive as you have to buy enough female to justify the male. What I'm getting at is you may have a good idea, but as far back on the learning curve that the likelyhood of failure is so great. If you want to succede understand to handle diease - U of Michigan has done reasearch on nosema ; u of Maryland on chemical control of hive beetles. My $.02

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Randolph, NC, USA
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Alternative Subspecies in North Carolina (other than Italian)

    Quote Originally Posted by David Cassity View Post
    Ok I'm new also, but I have a couple of thoughts.I grew up on a beef farm and learner a lot about livestock. Back in the 70"s we had some incidences that cost us a crop of cavles. That taught me a lot ofthings. One is ask lots of questions of anyone that's done stuff with the animals you want- temperament, ect. I currently need to learn to handle the bees, know that any manipulation outside of what you have been told is with some risk. The more extreme the manulipulation the greater the risk to the animals.use animals that other farmers use. In the 70's Rockefeller introduced Santa gertrudis to the US.- they were different thán Hereford, Angus. Breeding stock is expensive: crossing them wiry local stock can improve your stock but crossed may not recoup your investment. Raising purebred animals is even more expensive as you have to buy enough female to justify the male. What I'm getting at is you may have a good idea, but as far back on the learning curve that the likelyhood of failure is so great. If you want to succede understand to handle diease - U of Michigan has done reasearch on nosema ; u of Maryland on chemical control of hive beetles. My $.02

    Thank you for your extremely thoughtful response. Your opinion merits much thought and consideration! I'm sorry, again, for such a delay in response, so much going on on the farm, and finals for college coming up as well!

    While I respect your opinion, and honestly taking it into consideration, I would like to point out that I am trying to achieve a more chemical free apiary.

    We don't treat our chickens, but we don't try to have to many in one small area, pushing the carrying capacity of the area. I grow alot of different plants, always have, I loose alot, but over time, I'm getting good breeding stock. I don't over breed the "weak" ones that fall victim to leaf miners, aphids and other maladies. Eventually, I plan to do this with bees.

    Cows, you have experience with them. With my limited knowledge, I have come to the personal conclusion that alot of these diseases and such that affect us (mad cow) and the cows themselves are in part, if not mostly due to unhealthy environments. Pushing the limits of the land. Monoculture. Imagine the adverse health effects of living in our own filth. I see animals and plants the same.

    I don't want to be dependent on these chemicals, instead I would rather collect, or breed stock that handles these maladies better. In terms of humans, some mutations help with this, such as sickle cell and malaria resistance. Between good stock, and healthy practices, good crop/animal/insect rotation, I believe I (and others) can get off the chemical train. I'm looking for a sustainable, long term solution. I do not see using chemical treatments as either, or really even healthy. However, I do understand sometimes they may need to be used. Such as the same with antibiotics. It's not to be handed out like candy, but used sparingly.

    I hope I didnt come across as argumentative or disrespectful, just trying to give my semi-naive and semi- uneducated opinion, in order to spark conversation so that beeks everywhere can draw their own conclusions based on a wide variety of philosophies, opinions, experience, and knowledge.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Forsyth, North Carolina
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Alternative Subspecies in North Carolina (other than Italian)

    GuyDurden,

    Did you find your alternative stock? I think I kind of see things similar to what you describe in your posts. I also have the character trait of just plain contrariness--I don't generally like to make my choices based on what everyone else is doing. I know that folks will use the argument that others have gone before and done the hard work of finding the best breed and therefore I can trust that their experience is a teacher that I should listen to. But basically, it is not really the experiences of these earlier beekeepers that I would be listening to, it would be their judgements. For those who have tried several different races of honey bees, these judgements are not to be discounted, but there is no teacher like your own experiences. For me, the judgements from expert beekeepers are just a starting point.
    I think that one of the worst things that have happened to agriculture is standardization. It is great when one farmer shares successful information with others--what breed of this or that animal has brought him the best success and what seed produces the best tasting fruits or the highest yields. But as agriculture becomes standardized and everyone is using the same seed/stock from the same seed producer/breeder, genetic variability suffers and then all stock suffers--you end up breeding weakness into the plant/animal and making them vulnerable to pests and disease. Then you start relying on treatments for this or that. I am not saying anything that has not already been said, but one final note. If you keep bees, even if you never by Italian queens and don't raise your own queens, you will likely end up getting experience with Italian bees. In NC (probably the entire USA) when any of your Carniolan or Russian hives superceeds a queen or when a swarm issues from one of your hives, the new queens which open mate will end up having some Italian genetics--over a few times, you will likely have a lot of Italian genetics in those hives.
    GuyDurden, I respect your resolve to further genetic diversity and use chemicals a little as possible. I will echo Ribbit's lead to Tate Apiaries in Winston-Salem. Larry and Janice are really nice folks to work with--they are very helpful. I checked their website recently and it says that they are not taking new orders right now, but to check with them a little later. I am partial to the Carniolans, but would like to try many other breeds.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: Alternative Subspecies in North Carolina (other than Italian)

    "All Americans" are Italians... just Weaver's version of them.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Forsyth, North Carolina
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Alternative Subspecies in North Carolina (other than Italian)

    I didn't even realize that there was a company calling a strain of honey bees "All American."
    I just read "all American" as GuyDurden meaning surviving feral mutt queens raised from swarms caught in the back woods somewhere with the possibility of having a mix of genetics ("old" genes going back to strains imported first as well as more recently) and maybe a few hundred years of natural selection to help them be more acclimatized to particular areas in the USA. But now that I know there are queens Weaver calls "All Americas" I am wondering if this Weaver strain is what GuyDurden is referring to?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Anderson, South Carolina, USA
    Posts
    108

    Default Re: Alternative Subspecies in North Carolina (other than Italian)

    We're trying to do the same. I know that Italians are more docile but, to me that also means "less hardy" (not always true I grant you). My best friend and I run bees on my family's farm (http://www.walkercenturyfarms.com/). He lost 4 Italian hives but his Russian hive did very well (that was this past winter). He has found that the Russian's will "investigate" you more but they were not all that "aggressive". We have 3 Russian Nucs on order. And, we are also getting away from using chemicals. If you followed my link you will see we raise grassfed/grassfinished beef and part of this is not using hormones or anti-biotics. I tell customers that if a cow is sick I will treat them, I just won't sell the meat (we eat that ourselves but, we don't get many sick cows).

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Belews Creek, NC, USA
    Posts
    338

    Default Re: Alternative Subspecies in North Carolina (other than Italian)

    I bought 2 nucs from the North Carolina Russian breeder referred to in an earlier post. They overwintered well. They swarmed well too, but I was not on top of things. My Italians swarmed as well. The Russians were somewhat aggressive in the early fall, but most bees are. Personally I like Russians. But good luck in contacting that breeder. I tried all early spring to contact him for some queens, but would never return my call. Ordered one from Kelley's and will be releasing her today. We'll see how she does.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee, USA.
    Posts
    397

    Default Re: Alternative Subspecies in North Carolina (other than Italian)

    When buying stock it is always good to buy bees that have a good history of mite resistence not from someone who sells bees and claims, but from someone who sells honey, pollinates crops, and sells bees on the side. If he can keep treatment free and do all those things he has some good bees worth having.

    It truly is a challenge tyyhese days to determine who has quality stock. As you probably noticed in the forums standard packaged Italian bees are about as tough as cotton balls. Last time I purchased packages I had a sixty percent supersedure rate within 3 weeks....bad. (20 packages)

    Better 2 good hives than 10 bad ones. less money, and you can take two good hives and turn them into ten in no time.

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