Re: Aggressive Bees
Beepro, I'm going to disagree with you on this one. Genetics is undoubtedly the key word here, but not necessarily consistent, even within a strain. My brother and I purchased 3 packages of Italians last year, and then split those into 6 by season end. we also purchased a couple of Carni queens and while one did not make it, the second one took. We now have mixed breed with Italian/Carni mix. The initial Italians we received from California, were extremely docile and nice. The Carni's were even more docile and nice. Now the mix is at least as nice as the original Italians that we received. So our experience contradicts your observation above.
Originally Posted by beepro
Having said that, however, I am very much aware that within the Italian breed, I have seen a full spectrum of attitude from very nearly African mean all the way down to my current extremely docile and nice. So my point is that a sweeping observation, even within a pure strain, may not be totally valid. Just yesterday, I had an inspection from our Utah State Dept. of Agriculture and Food Entomologist. We went through my 6 hives pretty thoroughly, and as usual, I wore only a pair of standard work gloves. In the 3 hours we spent, I finally got stung once in the last 5 minutes of the inspection, and I frequently can inspect most of my hives all the way to the bottom, without getting a single sting. I certainly understand that I am currently spoiled nearly rotten with my Italian/Carni mix, but that is really the point for this O.P.
The other comments thus far are true. Hives will behave differently throughout the year depending on flows, temps and health, but overall, if they are largely mean, then you can certainly re-queen with nicer strains to improve your conditions. I live on an acre, but we can walk or mow or be anywhere in the yard with zero issues with my bees. My apiary is in the far corner away from neighbors, but I walk in and around it frequently and even work and inspect my bees with no protection at all, on a regular basis. We made queens this year, so I was into nucs, on many occasions twice a day, with no gloves, veil or any protection. While this really isn't that typical, it certainly is a reality, and can serve as an example of what can be achieved.
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