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  1. #21
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    May 2009
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    Flora,IL
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    Comparing to another yard location for me is a problem. I have some yards that have better forage and less competition than others. just keep that in mind when comparing.

  2. #22
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    Dec 2012
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    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    LIKE I SAID After you have a clue go for it. But how many hopeless tangles result from beginners immediately going foundationless. I stand by what I said.
    Well, just a data point. I'm a beginner, I went completely foundationless, and with a couple of minor exceptions, everything went well.

    newcomb2.jpg
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  3. #23
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    Dec 2012
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    One thing I find really hard to believe is that local adaptation doesn't matter with bees.

    Every other organism that is farmed does better if locally adapted, from cattle to corn. I can't see any reason bees would be different from everything else in the world.

    And in fact, there seems to be research to suggest the value of local adaptation. I Googled "bees local adaptation" and got plenty of hits.

    I'm just a beginner, but even I can think of a number of ways local adaptation might influence the course of a colony's development. For example, a southern queen might brood up too early in the north, leading to weakening of the colony when the bees try to protect brood in a late cold snap. The timing of nectar flows is different in different locations-- a queen from stock adapted to local conditions might reasonably be expected to outperform a queen from an area with entirely different nectar flows. Certainly I have read of different races of bees having different cluster sizes and thus different wintering success.

    There could be lots of reasons for this, other than adaptation, but a local nuc did far better than any other source of bees for me.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  4. #24
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Richland Iowa USA
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    189

    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    In my quest to understand why I lost the southern queens I also did a lot of reading.. One of the things I saw was that they do not digest the pollens of northern areas as well, and vice versa... Northern bees dont do as well in the south for the same reasons.. A lot was written about bacteria and fementing and why it didnt work as well in the different climates.. most of which went over my head.
    I looked up a lot, and read a lot.. but NOTHING I saw was scientifically PROVEN with well documented research.. On the other hand... you have beeks that seem to be doing well bringing Hawaiian queens to Canada... Seeing a bee in a hula skirt in Canada is a lot more convincing than something written on paper by an obscure researcher......
    Some things you just have to knuckle down and prove for yourself.
    www.outyard.weebly.com 8 yrs aiding 40+ hives 3 yrs personal. 40+ of my own now (T, TF Goal) Zone 5a

  5. #25
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    May 2009
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    the "theories" and google searches abound...... and most are written by people pushing to sell "Local" queens..... It unfortunate that in order to sell their product, they have to put forth garbage. Local queens are fine, but its usually late in the season before they are ready.
    The queen does not eat pollen... shes never leaves the hive... and GA or CA in march is about the same as most other places in May. yes food sources are different. In most places much BETTER.

    The differences in Races are genetic issues and do tend to matter. although anymore there are not many pure races left. most are mutts and a lot of teh traits are more queen dependant than genetic anymore.(my opinion)

  6. #26
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,751

    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    >One of the outfight myths is that southern queens and packages can't hack in in the north. Sounds good at the bee meeting, but doesn't hold up in both serious thought, or real world experience.

    Three articles on the same study:
    http://www.howardcountybeekeepers.or...arted-colonies
    http://mainebeekeepers.org/the-bee-l...-bee-colonies/
    http://www.nesare.org/State-Programs...ter-hardy-bees

    http://www.americanbeejournal.com/si.../79414_828.htm
    "Beekeepers who have success with new colonies tend to be those who are using locally produced queen bees installed into colonies that were produced from local bees, those that survived winter or periods of extreme stress. Any step toward localization of genetic stock and bees tends to move the beekeeper to a higher level of success. Various state programs have clearly shown the value of local bees, local queens, and local training as a method of ensuring better results in the colony."--Dr. Larry Connor (emphasis mine)
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #27
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    May 2013
    Location
    Richland Iowa USA
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    hmm... interesting reading/video.....
    Thank you Michael.

    Summary of 2009 and 2010 SARE results

    The northern-raised nucleus colonies and the packages that were requeened with northern queens demonstrated approximately twice the survival rate of the conventionally raised packages. The increase in survival in our project was stunning. I had expected that requeening packages with northern-raised queens would make some improvement in survival rates, but I didn’t expect that requeened packages would have the same likeliness of winter survival as a northern-raised nucleus colony.


    In the third link/video they say conventional packages had a 43% rating, the northern had 83% and 90% when requeened with northern queens...

    I didnt do any studies etc.. and in fact at 43% they did better than I did with 0% of the southern packages surviving... though i had no where near their number. I think (thinking again) if I were to take more stringent measures WITH the southern bees, rather than overwintering them the same as I do the local, feral, and northern bees, that i might have more success... In my small apiary that IS possible, but as I move toward my eventual goal it will be harder to micro manage northern/southern with different methods...

    I do wonder why requeening made any difference at all? After a few weeks the bees in the hive would BE the new queens offspring, so should not (in my opinion) be any different than northern packages, but it does at least back up my method of requeening the packages when northern queens do become available.
    I do have more southern queens ordered, so we will see how they do NEXT winter.
    www.outyard.weebly.com 8 yrs aiding 40+ hives 3 yrs personal. 40+ of my own now (T, TF Goal) Zone 5a

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    Now, now Michael. You know those guys are just going after that sweet sweet grant money. Or alternatively, have been bought off by the immensely powerful local queen industry lobby..

    But seriously, gm... how can you believe that genetics makes a difference in terms of bee race, but doesn't in terms of individual queens? I'm just not following your thinking.

    If you're a northern beekeeper, southern bees are better than no bees at all. It seems likely that you can immediately start bringing in local genetics by making splits from that stock and open mating queens, Some southern bees are better than others-- I've seen a fair amount of discussion on taking BeeWeaver resistant bees north with some success, but the stories often seem to involve better success once the BeeWeaver queens have been superceded by more localized stock.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  9. #29
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    May 2009
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    Flora,IL
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    But seriously, gm... how can you believe that genetics makes a difference in terms of bee race, but doesn't in terms of individual queens? I'm just not following your thinking.

    Don't quite understand your question there...??


    Its information...But I see its one season, and no honey collection data?? it also appears to be 3 reports on exactly the same data......
    I won't reference others works, just mine. All I can say. I run 100-200 hives a year. I would love to find a trick... so far I hear all kinds of answers... but when tested, they fail. My local survivor queens from last year, while they did survive, I got 0 honey from them.....thats a 0 from 17 survivors..... But hey there alive right???

  10. #30
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    Sep 2008
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    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
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    1,319

    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    The best queens I ever bought came from Canada, and the worst from New York. I have had excellent queens from Louisiana and queens from Texas that I killed and replaced after 3 months. You can get dingbats from all sections of the U.S., and weather can have detrimental effects on production, but where the bees are produced matters little if they are produced properly.

    Genetics are very important, and the health of the producers operation is important, but what I think matters most is the skill of the person producing the queens. Skill and the desire to send out only the best possible product. If a producer culled the runt cells and allowed virgins to lay in the nucs for 3 or 4 weeks, all the queens would perform better.

    Beekeepers are to blame also. Lack of experience and the desire to start colonies in the early spring causes many problems for beginning beekeepers. We have little patience and want it now instead of planning for next year. Hobby beekeepers should build strong colonies one year and manage for honey the second year. Beekeepers that earn their living with their bees need to develop their own queen programs to fit in with their areas and style of keeping.

    It is like gmcharlie says, we all want to find a trick. The problem is, there is no trick. There is just hard work and skills learned.
    37 years - 25 colonies - IPM disciple - naturally skeptic

  11. #31
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    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    Why would a southern queen brood too early in a northern climate? Brooding is triggered more by environmental factors than genetics I would think. No one mentions resistances to pathogens either. Pathogens are localized as well creating separate biotypes and perhaps it's more of the viruses etc... just affect them more once they're out of their historical area.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Hamilton, Alabama
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    1,232

    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    Why would a southern queen brood too early in a northern climate? Brooding is triggered more by environmental factors than genetics I would think.
    Brood development is genetic as proven by the multiple geographic races of honeybee. If you look closely at the 28 recognized geographic races, you will see that the defining difference between the races is always the brood development cycle and timing.

    Survival requirements in the deep south such as Florida are far different from requirements in New York and still more differences in Montana.

    Florida requires a queen with a Mediterranean brood development cycle. This is an early spring brood expansion followed by reduced but still heavy egg laying in mid-summer then another brood peak in late fall. Wintering is less important because cleansing flights are possible all winter. Brood production has to be near continuous for 9 to 10 months of the year. This brood development pattern is most typical of French bees which are a strain of Apis Mellifera Mellifera or of Italian bees.

    New York requires a modified brood cycle with a spring peak followed shortly by a fall peak. There is very little time in between the peaks. Some areas in North Eastern states have a huge fall flow which means the requirement for biggest brood peak is not in the spring. A modified Mediterranean brood cycle or even a fall brood cycle are most adapted to this pattern. Wintering ability is far more important because bees can be confined to the hive for several months with severe cold temperatures and no cleansing flights. Carniolan or Caucasian bees would more closely match these patterns.

    Montana requires a single huge brood peak that lasts between 2 and 3 months. Wintering ability is far more important because of extreme low temps and very long confinement times. Only a few strains of Apis Mellifera Mellifera are adapted to this climate. Unfortunately, no such strains as the native bees of Finland are available in the U.S. I might add that these type bees have the most explosive spring development imaginable. No Italian or Carniolan is even close to the way these bees develop when the first pollen becomes available in early spring.

    So what causes all the complaints about southern bees vs northern climates? It really gets down to Italian derived bees. Italians have a Mediterranean brood cycle but with two critical differences. The first is that they start aggressive brood development as soon as pollen is available in early spring. The second is that they continue the heavy spring brood development all summer long with huge colonies even at times when little or no nectar is available. They taper down brood development in late fall but typically go into winter with a cluster 3 or 4 times bigger than comparable Carniolan colonies. These huge clusters consume more honey over winter, yet survive less effectively than better adapted bees.

    So why do we have such a prevalence of Italian derived bees in the U.S.? It gets down to economics. Italians have a brood cycle that is conducive to almond pollination. Take a close look at the millions of colonies trucked to California each February and see how many are Carniolan or other races than Italian. When commercial beekeepers move on to their next location, they need bees that are still full of brood. Guess what, Italians are pretty much the only bees with strong traits for continuous brooding.

    So in reply to your statement, it is an interplay between genetics and environment with genetics holding the upper hand.
    DarJones - 45 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    Well stated Fusion....

  14. #34
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    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    another good post, thanks dar.

    the mutts i have that were derived from local ferals show the bimodal brooding. they start brooding on the early pollen in january and february, peaking in april just before the main flow. they shut down (sometimes completely) by the end of june, and start back up mid august or so. average winter cluster size is about 5 deep frames.

    as an aside, i took the stethoscope out to the yard for a listen yesterday and i've got good cluster roar in 18/19 hives. six of those are in single five frame nucs, to which i plan to add a second story soon using frames of honey and pollen from 1/19 weak colony plus some other frames i've got in the freezer.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  15. #35
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    Dec 2012
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    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    Very good post, dar.

    I suppose that this genetic influence on brooding cycles is a reason why many who have succeeded at keeping bees without treatment report their initial success hinged on capturing feral swarms. It makes sense that survivors are best adapted to the local conditions.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  16. #36
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    Dec 2008
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    I may be crazy, but the success of 3-5 year beekeepers, after initial failures, can be explained by the bees adapting to the beekeeper. The beekeeper has tried different strains/forms of bees, and stops testing when they find the "good" ones, be it packages, nucs, or swarms. Are the successful bees better, or just a better match for the methods that the beekeeper used?

    We have successfully overwintered Cordovan bees in Wisconsin. They gather MUCH more honey(read that as MONEY) that regular Italians. They must be handled differently, put to bed FULL, and will reward you with booming hives early in the year. It is all about management style. Every bees want a little something different. Improvise, adapt, overcome.

    SS1 - with respect, maybe you should try some different methods to work with the southern queens. "T'is best to not have a "One trick Pony"

    Crazy Roland

  17. #37
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    May 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    Fusion, you provided a great point, but it still points to environmental factors triggering brooding and how the different races manage stores or respond to decreased resource availability is genetic but that has nothing to do about brooding too early, just sloppy managemen of stores which we all know Italians are not very thrifty. I guess Roland kind of hit on it too, you gotta manage your bees the way they need to be managed and not just blindly trudge along.
    Last edited by JRG13; 12-01-2013 at 06:28 PM.

  18. #38
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    Feb 2012
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    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    I think the SARE project shows as much about early queens v later queens as N. v S. Would the results have been the same with southern peak flow raised queens? Local raised is also often on flow raised.

    Seen a lot of southern Navy people take to the snow, lot who wanted to go home, sometimes (January) I wanted to go with them.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  19. #39
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    May 2013
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    Richland Iowa USA
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    189

    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    Agreed Roland;
    I mentioned that earlier in one of the posts.. They had PLENTY of stores, so the problem wasnt that they didnt have it, the problem was that they didnt MOVE on those slightly warmer days. Insulating better may have let them warm up enough to do that.. but thats where I have the dilema.
    It is easier to get cold hardy bees that my method works well with as opposed to building insulating boxes for those hives, and then splitting and propagating bees that I have to struggle harder with to keep alive...
    As stated... I will see if a different supplier's queens will hold up better. It MAY WELL be that its a genetic issue with the bees I had, and these new queens will do fine..

    I know many beeks that dont even wrap their hives. REFUSE to in fact. They go into winter exactly like they went through the summer. If they die.. the hives that didnt get split to replace them. At least I insulate the top cover and wrap. I dont want to have to have a lot of extra insulation etc to deal with when I have 40 -- 80 -- or even 100 hives to prepare each fall..
    www.outyard.weebly.com 8 yrs aiding 40+ hives 3 yrs personal. 40+ of my own now (T, TF Goal) Zone 5a

  20. #40
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    Dec 2008
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    Default Re: Packages vs Nucs vs Prime Swarms

    SS1, I agree that I have seen Italians not move when it warms and starve, but often they have been slightly depopulated for some reason, and have a smaller cluster than the ones that can move. The more populace Italians do not seem to have as much problem moving around. The key seems to be, get 'em big, Keep 'em big, and feed 'em more than you think they need. a Carniolian hive can out accelerate an Italian, but the Italian may have too big of a head start for them to catch up. Like in the Harry Potter series(my son's watched it), the wand chooses the wizard. The bee that survives for you is the one that has best adapted to your methods.

    Do you use an upper entrance in Winter?

    Crazy Roland

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