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  1. #21
    Join Date
    May 2013
    paulding Georgia USA

    Default Re: Still unsure about what type of bees?

    In Georgia the Italians are popular and they do well in our warmer winters, but if I lived up north I would try the carnolians. They have a reputaion of over-wintering better in colder climates. I would suggest starting with 2 langstroth hives then after some experience you may wish to try something different. Good luck and have fun.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Springfield, Ohio, USA

    Default Re: Still unsure about what type of bees?

    After some (a lot of) deliberation, I decided to order Carniolans for my first hives. Since they tend to reduce to a smaller cluster in the winter, I figured that this would help with survivability. I had hoped to avoid excessive propolis but living adjacent to a large woods meant that all the sap was there for the taking.

    Now, just because I bought Carniolans, that doesn't mean that they stayed that way. One of the queens was superseded during the early summer and the resulting queen, once mated, produced bees that looked a lot more like the feral bees I had been seeing before the carnis came along. Fast forward to this spring, and I have a rather diverse-looking bunch of bees. The feral bees in my area now look more Carniolan. The drones were busy, it would seem!

    I guess that my point is that no matter what type of bee you get, you'll learn the basics with them and they will change over time. All bees can be grumpy and all bees can be gentle.
    Pete. New 2013, 7 hives, zone 6a
    To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Erie, PA

    Default Re: Still unsure about what type of bees?

    I've tried a few different bees over the past few years. They ones I've enjoyed the most have been Ontario Buckfast. Living along the area aroundLake Erie in Pennsylvania has meant some pretty tough winters so the hardiness was something I was looking for.

    I initially tried some Russian bees to compliment the Italians I had. The Russian were indeed very hardy, one colony even surviving the winter after a bear attack in late November. However, the guard bees from the Russian colonies would sometimes follow me more than a 100 yards away from the hives and I found them to be a bit protective of sharing their honey. This could be the particular colonies or the drought that summer, but after getting zinged in the head a least once a month when well away from the beeyard I gave up on them.

    The Carniolans I have been very good and quite docile, but the Ontario Buckfast I got were much more productive this last year and even more gentle. I even had one new Buckfast colony I started from a Nuc that needed 4 supers added before the goldenrod flow began. Generally though the Buckfast colonies productivity has been good, but a little less than my Italians. The Buckfasts have also been a bit better for Varroa, though they seem to have a harder time with hive beetles than the Carniolans or Italians.

    In the end it's really up to the traits you want, but I would also recommend starting with 2 colonies for winter survival and going with Nucs if possible. I've had much better success with that route with getting the colony to get through the winters in my area.


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