Re: Bee bloodline recommendations
Whether you use Italians, Carniolans, Russians, or Caucasians is best decided by looking at your local climate and see which brood cycle matches yours best.
Italians - build huge colonies, overwinter with huge colonies, have a moderate swarming tendency, are adapted to either one long nectar flow or else a spring flow followed by a fall flow. IMO, the disadvantages of Italians for the average small beekeeper outweigh the advantages.
Carniolans - Build huge colonies in spring, overwinter with small to medium size colonies, have a strong swarming tendency, are adapted to a heavy spring flow with little of no fall flow.
Russians - Build moderate to strong colonies, react strongly to pollen dearth by cutting brood rearing, have a very strong swarming tendency, are best adapted to areas with continuous nectar all summer and fall.
Caucasians - Start slowly in spring then build large colonies in the fall, have a moderate to strong swarming tendency, are best adapted to areas with a huge fall flow, are excessive propolis collectors.
Look closely at the Buckfast bees available from Dansk. You might prefer them over the others. http://www.danskfarms.com/
If you want to go treatment free, start with stock that is currently treatment free. Carpenter Apiaries and Beeweaver are two that have stock available. This thread has a listing of treatment free options. http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...eders-for-2012
I am currently using queens that are have some Apis Mellifera Mellifera, Buckfast, Italian, and Russian genetics. They are highly mite tolerant and have not been treated for varroa in 8 years.
DarJones - 45 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell