Anyone using caucasians in their top bar hives
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    33

    Default Anyone using caucasians in their top bar hives

    I've just replaced the queen in one of my hives with a Caucasian. The old queen was an Italian. The primary reason I got a Caucasian was that at the time I ordered none of the Italian breeders were responding to my inquiries, possibly because I only needed one queen or they simply didn't have any and couldn't be arsed responding to me.

    Anyway - I have since read that Caucasians, being big propolis producers, are not prolific wax producers. If this is in fact the case I guess they are not well suited to top bar beekeeping where we run foundationless and remove the comb as part of processing (ie crush it) with the bees having to rebuild each time. Do any of you have experience in using Caucasians in your top bar or warre hives and have you found this wax producing comparison to be true? I guess I'll find out myself in due course - though am very interested in the experience of this group in this area to know what to expect.

    Cheers

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    DuPage County Illinois
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: Anyone using caucasians in their top bar hives

    I don't have experience in a tbh but they produce plenty of wax.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: Anyone using caucasians in their top bar hives

    Thanks Buzz - that is good. Only read it in one place - albeit one that held itself out as being quite authoritative. Cheers

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Crown Point, NY, USA
    Posts
    333

    Default Re: Anyone using caucasians in their top bar hives

    Have had Caucasian bees and a few TBH's. But never Caucasians in TBH's. However I'm certain Caucasian bees will be just fine in tbh's or warre hives. Just a different box makes no difference to the bees. Good quality stock of bees with disease/ parasites under control with food and pollen will do well in many different containers. Race of bee won't make much difference if you take care of those. Not sure if the propolis will be an issue for you, with a few hives no big deal with many hives might become a hassle to work with. But wouldn't worry to much about wax production.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: Anyone using caucasians in their top bar hives

    Installed the Caucasian queen into one of my top bars 10 days ago. Went through the hive this morning to make sure she'd been released from her cage and accepted by the colony. The empty bar on which I banded the cage was almost fully built out with comb and the queen was on that bar wandering around. A beautiful almost fully black queen, which is a massive contrast to the Italian bees that remain in the hive at this point from the previous queen. Will try for a photo next time - was not a priority today. I spotted eggs on any one of the more outside bars so happy she is laying. The only concern I have is that there must be a flow on and the colony at putting honey in all the new combs and in much of the old, giving the queen little options for laying. My buggers new see to want to finish off what they have started as I have ample combs towards the outside ends which are only 3/4 full of honey. Concerned the shortage of laying space might prompt the colony to swarm. Have placed a couple of empties in the brood area which will hopefully be built out quickly and used by the queen for laying, as well as a couple further out which can be built out for honey if the bees so desire. Italian coming next week for me to replace queen in my second top bar. Replacing the queens because the colonies have become angry as in recent months which takes the fun away a bit.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    2,178

    Default Re: Anyone using caucasians in their top bar hives

    I always make sure to pop an empty bar between drawn brood comb in the spring to head off swarming. Depending on how quickly they are drawning the comb, that could be one or two empty bars a week into the brood nest (but not right next to each other). I also make sure they have some empty bars on the ends near the honey stores, but invariably, I find they draw out the empties in the brood nest immediately.

    A couple weeks of popping an empty or two into the brood nest and you should see the queen beating the forager bees to the empty cells.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    33

    Default Re: Anyone using caucasians in their top bar hives

    Cheers Ruthie - yep I spread out the empties to ensure the cluster can still manage the temps and also to give the bees a good guide either side for their new combs. The new queen has at least shown signs of finding and using any empty cell, so hopefully as you say she will make the most of any newly drawn comb getting there before the foragers :-)

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