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Thread: Buckfast Bees

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Claremont, NH, USA
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    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    Well, I don't know if they have AHB genes in them or not. In the past I got some hot bees, which is why I stopped using them until last year. As I said, I bought two packages from R. Weaver, because I remember them as being very strong hives, and I wanted a couple for comparison. They overwintered fine but have just been okay this season, not great, as in years past. They have not been particularly aggressive, either last year or this year.

    Today, I went out to requeen them with some Sooper Yooper queens from Zia Queenbee. I figured I should do it before they raised their own new queens, since I've read that the next generation can be pretty mean. I expected the process to be kind of rough with bees all over me. I should mention today was sunny, low humidity, temps in the high 70's. And I have a head cold. The first hive I opened was very calm. This hive had appeared to be dwindling, but recently I saw signs of more bees at the entrance. I found frame after frame of eggs, new brood and capped brood. Very nice pattern. Calm bees. Could not find the queen. Broke down three deeps and had them spread out all over, but could not find her. Since her pattern was so nice, and since the bees seemed calmer than last year (kind of runny, so maybe she mated with one of my Russian drones), I closed them back up and used some of their frames to start a nuc with their Sooper Yooper queen.

    In the other hive, the stronger of the two, I found no eggs or fresh brood, only a few late cells left to hatch. The bees were calm, although they got more ticked by the time I finished breaking everything down. They COULD have a new, virgin queen, but I found no signs of queen cells, either. So, I gave them a new queen and closed them up.

    Summing up my experience today, I have to say that I found my Texas-sourced Buckfast bees to be amazingly calm, especially considering one hive had requeened itself and the other appeared to be queenless.

    I have the remaining new queens (3) going in nucs as back-ups. But, overall, I am surprised and pleased with the temperament of these Buckfast hives. If the one that requeened itself stays calm, overwinters and survives in my no-treatment yard (which I did not expect, another reason I wanted to requeen them), then they may be keepers. Time will tell.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

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  3. #22
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    Dec 2008
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    syracuse n.y.
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    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    installed 20 texas queens about 10 years ago, were the meanest nastyiest bees I had ever seen, had some near a field, now none of these were second generation straight from texas. the farmer tried to mow the field, he asked me what the hell kind of bees they were they chased him and his equipment out of the field. took me 5 years to get the genes out of all my hives. If i had to have bees like this I would give them up. they were so bad I would bring extra socks to stuff inside my underwear for extra protection, along with double about anything else I could get on, the potential insurance liabiality's should have kept me up at night. But my arthritis was never better, there stings were harder than any honey bee I have ever had, runny and like runnians, wouldn't accept italian queens that's why it was so hard to get rid of them.

    loved them to death mike

    when I had to move them, my buddy wouldn't help, more stingers than I could count, I could go on and on and on but I'm in to good a mood to remember them.

  4. #23
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    Apr 2009
    Location
    Racine, Wisconsin, USA
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    113

    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    I'll be fixing my hot hive issue Wednesday the 12th. With a new queen from Canada. Thanks AR Beekeeper.

    Omer
    "Can't never did do nothin'" Grandma Heltsley

  5. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    CAMARILLO, California, USA
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    3,649

    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    the buckfast was mean as the devil!

    Yes, and they were back in 1972!
    I had to help out a friend with his 10 BF's because he could not work them. We re-queened them with Homer Parks's Italians.
    He later tried 6 of the Pelican State queens and they would fly up and sting at any shadow like your hands over the hive.
    Recently he ordered queens from me, droped the order and got some queens, cheap ones, out of Texas. All 10 of the Texas queens that were put into divides died out by November. They would not build up in our area.
    He was a great believer in his FGMO fogger.
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  6. #25
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    Aug 2008
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    Claremont, NH, USA
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    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    I should mention that I got those two packages last year expecting them to be pretty hot, but knowing that in the past they built up quickly and were strong hives. I figured they would get my rejuvenated yard off to a quick start, and then I could requeen them later in the year. I did get a super of honey off of one hive, after letting them build up into three deeps, so they were pretty strong. They were calm enough that I left them until this year.

    BUT, I think it is something of a roll of the dice as to what one might get these days. With this roll I got lucky. I don't plan to try my luck again. My goal is to start raising my own queens and only add from stock that has a good reputation for survivability and gentleness.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  7. #26
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    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ennis, TX USA
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    5,113

    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    I have never dealt with Rweaver. Bweaver does not offer the “Buckfast” or the “All Stars” anymore. Their queens are now a combo of the All Star, Buckfast, BeeSMaRt. Rweaver shows to still offer the Buckfast. Which is kind of strange since their operation are basically right next to each other, but I guess their breeding yards could be at much further apart. All that being said I refer back to Tom’s statement being an accurate one.

    I have 4 hives from bweaver. All 4 are boomers and very gentle.
    Chuck Norris has a grizzly bear carpet in his room. The bear isn't dead it is just afraid to move.

  8. #27
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    Jun 2009
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    Triad area, NC, USA
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    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    Wow -- who would have thought that a Christian Monk would have made a devil of a bee!
    "When you see a honey bee in your yard, thank a beekeeper!"

  9. #28
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    Aug 2008
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    Claremont, NH, USA
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    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    Brother Adams' weren't/aren't. He has been dead for several years, and I think it has more to do with drift from his original path, either by the effect of AHB on the breeding population in that part of Texas, or just by a change in breeding practices. Folks on this forum report that Buckfast bees from Canada are gentle as advertised. Buckfast is a licensed brand, not sure who does or doesn't have the right to use the term anymore. Regardless, they are a cross of several subspecies and do not breed true. Hence, the comments about second generation being meaner than first gen.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  10. #29
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    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
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    2,998

    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    The original Buckfast bees as selected by Brother Adam were superbly gentle. It is true that in crosses with other races, they often became unmanageable. As earlier stated, the bees coming out of Texas have had problems in recent years. They are breeding for mite tolerance and other improved genetics. The Buckfast are no longer pure.

    As an aside, about 1990, Weaver was able to import some pure Buckfast breeding stock from Brother Adam. The queens I got that year were among the best I've ever had. The colonies were boiling over with bees and swarming tendency was almost non-existent. They were just a little bit hotter than I like, but nothing to get excited over. Sadly, these bees were totally susceptible to Varroa and died out in 1994.


    Does anyone have a source of Buckfast bees in Canada other than

    http://www.fergusonapiaries.on.ca/


    DarJones
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  11. #30
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    Dec 2006
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    Sparta, Tennessee
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    2,150

    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by USCBeeMan View Post
    "...Texas is known for AHBs. Who is to say without doing DNA checks on every queen that some of them are not mating with AHB drones?..."
    A thought I have have had from time to time, which has affected my ordering methodology.

  12. #31
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    May 2009
    Location
    Anderson County, Texas
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    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    I purchased (started this year with) 2 colonies mid March. These colonies were alleged to be Buckfast queens out of rweaver's stock. These colonies were actually 2 deep, and socked full of bees and had just been split. First colony had an rweaver "Buckfast" queen, and the second examined split colony had only queen cells (side of the split w/o the queen). The owner, my daughter and me worked these colonies without gloves or veils although they were lightly smoked. We worked these colonies about dusk and it eventually got to dark to see so I didn't check anymore. I wanted my colonies with queens so I purchased the 1 with a queen (which I got home without a queen, apparently killed in transport), and another different split (which I did not examine) that had another queen. This second split with a queen we did not have time to check because of lack of light. This was from deep Southeast Texas, close to the Woodville area bordering the Big Thicket, which is known to have Africanized colonies. I eventually requeened the second colony with a queen believing it was Africanized. We loaded them in the dark and the one's that didn't get blocked in were everywhere and aggressive. I suspect that many alleged "Buckfast" queens that have been determined to be vicious are actually supercedure queens.
    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

  13. #32
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    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,748

    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    >If they're all like those that are in my hive I don't see why anyone would want them in their bee yard.

    I don't. But I never had any that mean until 2001...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  14. #33
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    Jan 2010
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    2

    Angry Re: Buckfast Bees - No excuse for ignorance

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthWest_bee_guy View Post
    ... legend has it that the monk from buckfast cross bred bees from all over the place ... urban legend ...
    I found this post a while ago and the memory of its ignorance has so upset me I've had to comeback and register with this forum to write a reply.

    The Buckfast bee and Brother Adam are well documented. NorthWest_bee_guy and anyone can read up on Brother Adam. Brother Adam not only spent over 50 years working and learning about bees, but he also attempted to pass his knowledge on in a couple of books (in more than one language). His writting is very direct and authorative and if NorthWest_bee_guy and anyone else took the time to read one of his books it would be a good use of time.
    At minimum you can verify the history of the buckfast bee at:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckfast_bee and
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Kehrle

    But I recommend that for the price of a couple of evenings you read:
    - Beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey (Paperback)
    (Amazon are quoting silly prices for this book take a look at:
    International Bee Research Association (based in the UK) http://www.ibrastore.org.uk/
    and Northern Bee books http://www.groovycart.co.uk/cart.php?c=533 )

    As for
    Quote Originally Posted by NorthWest_bee_guy View Post
    ... buckfast are gentle till ... make a new queen and she ... breeds with Italin drone. Makes for a bad combo ... ... when a queen mates with a Italin drone it brings out the african gene ..."
    When you have read about Brother Adam's rigorous methods concerning queen breeding and particulary the effects of crossing strains documented at the back of Beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey, get a copy of:
    Brother Adam in search of the best strains of bees
    This book is not such an easy read, but it documents his search for bees and the results of different crosses and his analysis of different strains. And will give you an understanding of why the different crosses result in very different results.

    There is no urban legend here just 50+ years of rigous German style scientific study by a man who had the resources and energy to be one of the contributors to our knowledge of bees.

  15. #34
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Boalsburg, PA
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    68

    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    I see many have already said what I'm going to but....If you got bees marked "Buckfast" in this country the chances are they AREN'T! Especially the Buckfast stock out of Texas. Like others have said they usually turn aggressive their second year/or when they make a new queen. Best but for good Buckfast stock is getting a queen out of Canada.

  16. #35
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    Jul 2010
    Location
    Monroe, Utah, USA
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    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    Buckfast bees? I ordered 120 carnolian queen cells but through some mix up, I received Buckfast. Like a fool, I put the cells in the hives late last summer instead of returning them. Huge mistake... They are the meanest most aggressive I've ever seen. I hate them with a passion. And don't think for a minute that their aggression is only directed towards humans. They kill other hives and rob their honey regularly. If I had the money, I'd burn every hive of them I have.
    Last edited by Barry; 12-13-2010 at 09:37 AM. Reason: profanity

  17. #36
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    Sep 2010
    Location
    Medford, New Jersey, USA
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    100

    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    I'm just new to beekeeping, so I'm not an expert by any stretch. We inherited 1 hive of Italian mutts, and researched other types of bees to expand our beeyard. While doing all the reading on the different types of bees, one thing that stuck out about the Buckfast was you need to have a 'certified' (so to speak) Buckfast queen to get the buckfast qualities. If they supercede or requeen themselves, the resulting hive will be mean and hot. That was too much for our experience level, so we've decided on more Italians at this point. Just my 2 cents worth.
    Chris

  18. #37
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    Apr 2006
    Location
    buffalo junction, virginia
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    379

    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    Howdy glad to see some things about the buckfast bee i wanted to try some this spring and i contacted R.Weaver and was told they could not get any more seman from the people they use to get it from in England so thier bees are mostly Italains not buckfast. I also contacted a gentleman from douglas farms and he gets his bees from canada but he was to get back with me and i never heard anything from him till this day. I would love to find someone here that get queens from canada i would get a couple to try out.


    THOMAS

  19. #38
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    Jan 2010
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    Vincent, Alabama, USA
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    254

    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    Wish I had seen this thread before I ordered Buckfasts from RWeaver .... oh, well: I guess I have some lessons to learn this Spring.
    Last edited by markmaster; 12-13-2010 at 01:22 PM.

  20. #39
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    Feb 2009
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    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Buckfast Bees

    Hinting on my original statement about Buckfast/AHB bees from Texas. How in the world can 1 county in the whole state of Texas be marked as not AHB infested?

    If they can build fences high enough and far enough to keep out these bees then there shouldn't be any problems with keeping out illegals!!!

    Guess there are some stupid or very well paid people with some federal or state agency that decides that the map color for that county is white!
    De Colores,
    Ken

  21. #40
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    Feb 2014
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    Viper Perry County KY USA
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    Smile Re: Buckfast Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by NC-Bee-Dude View Post
    I am glad I read this thread.

    I was reading all these glowing comments on queen seller's websites, words like, "wonderful, marvelous, magnificent, gentle," blah, blah, blah.

    Then I read on some other website, it was somewhere down south, this guy had a hive of Buckfast bees so hot that they would get stung when they got in sight of the hive.

    I already decided then that I would be a little reluctant to go with that breed.

    I think this thread is the icing on the cake.
    I would not rule out Buckfast. In my case they are the only bees I have been able to keep alive for more than a season. Buckfast from Texas were delivered in May and filled hive by July. Robbed them one time and left plenty for them to overwinter. This has been our coldest winter in years and every day it is above 45 degrees they are out and about.

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