Pros of localized bees
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  1. #1
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    Default Pros of localized bees

    February, nights in the 30s, SE Iowa, and I've got two swarms I captured last year that raised their own queens. Both have nearly two boxes full of bees. Next to my PKG's from last year with very small clusters, I have to give a big plus one for local bees. Anyone trying to expand their operation, swarms are one of the best and cheapest ways. IMO

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Pros of localized bees


  4. #3
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    Default Re: Pros of localized bees

    Couldn't agree more

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Pros of localized bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Learning2Bee View Post
    February, nights in the 30s, SE Iowa, and I've got two swarms I captured last year that raised their own queens. Both have nearly two boxes full of bees. Next to my PKG's from last year with very small clusters, I have to give a big plus one for local bees. Anyone trying to expand their operation, swarms are one of the best and cheapest ways. IMO
    Not arguing or trying to start anything, but how do you know that the swarm didn't come from a package? Or overwintered package? Just asking.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Pros of localized bees

    One huge bonus with swarms is the cost. Packages - $120, nucs - $150, swarms are basically free.

  7. #6
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    Catskills, Delaware Cty, New York, USA
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    Default Re: Pros of localized bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Learning2Bee View Post
    February, nights in the 30s, SE Iowa, and I've got two swarms I captured last year that raised their own queens. Both have nearly two boxes full of bees. Next to my PKG's from last year with very small clusters, I have to give a big plus one for local bees. Anyone trying to expand their operation, swarms are one of the best and cheapest ways. IMO
    That is great; it shows you what a new queen will do for a hive for overwintering.
    Proverbs 16:24

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Pros of localized bees

    All of my hives are from swarms. So far 11 out of 12 have made it through this winter. I am going to have to look for an out yard this spring because my backyard is getting too full and I can't say "no" when I get a call to remove a swarm. I am not sure why people resort to purchasing bees.
    Honey Badger Don't Care ಠ_ಠ ~=[,,_,,]:3

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Pros of localized bees

    I bought Pkg's my first year, and they did surprisingly well and are alive to this day. But they aren't half as good as my swarms. Plus, the going rate around me is $130. And if your a newby that can't make your own frames and boxes you'll almost be investing $1000 in two beehives.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Pros of localized bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Learning2Bee View Post
    I bought Pkg's my first year, and they did surprisingly well and are alive to this day. But they aren't half as good as my swarms. Plus, the going rate around me is $130. And if your a newby that can't make your own frames and boxes you'll almost be investing $1000 in two beehives.

    Just so we're clear, in the spring of 2016 you bought 2 packages of bees, and you also captured 2 swarms in 2016, right? When you say in regards to packages: "they aren't half as good as my swarms". What criteria are you using to compare the two groups (2 colonies in each group)? From what you've posted, it seems that you're basing this only on hive populations at this point in the season, right? Please tell us more (besides cost and current cluster size) what makes your swarm captures superior. Who was the source of your package bees and what type of queens were provided?
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Pros of localized bees

    Well, I've been beekeeping on my own since 2015. The Pkg's I've been referring to are Kona's Carniolan hybrid which I bought in 2015. Im basing my opinions of off Honey Production, Queen productivity, winter strength, and spring buildup.

    The swarms I'm referring to are two swarms I caught in 2015.

    The swarms both have queens that lay very solid brood patterns. The pkgs have a decent pattern, spotty at times.

    The swarms seem more adapted to the climate, on days when my pkgs aren't flying at all the swarms will be flying very much.

    The honey production is about the same. It just seems takes the Pkg's a little more feed to get established.

    These are just my personal experiences. I've only been beekeeping since 2015. (other then a hands on mentorship) Feel free to disagree. In fact, I'd love to hear your experiences. Have a good day!

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Pros of localized bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Learning2Bee View Post
    Feel free to disagree.
    I'm not trying to poke holes in your story, but just trying to better understand the details behind it. That said, some of your comments reference classic Carniolan traits, which was why I was asking the type of package queens you have. Given this, it makes the comparison between the two groups a bit like apples to oranges. For example, I wouldn't expect a Carniolan colony to winter with a large cluster, and if hygienic, I wouldn't expect a completely solid brood pattern either. However, I would expect Carniolan bees to be well-suited for your area, certainly much better than Italian bees.

    Good luck with with the rest of winter and hopefully you'll have 100% survival and provide future updates on how these two strains evolve for you.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Pros of localized bees

    I 100% agree with you. My Carniolans are exhibiting their traits perfectly. And where you're located everything g is completely different in the world of bees. But what really sets swarms and most "real" local bees asidenis the price. The price of catching a swarm isn't much. Granted, a lot of swarms will probably be a neighboring beeks PKG, but even then it's free.

    Thanks for the great conversation!

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Pros of localized bees

    People have different luck with either or. I think some areas don't see swarms very often. Others might be worried about things like AHB. For here, if you drop your name in somewhere you will never get a call just because of how saturated the market is (at least from my experience). Traps or bust.

    Also they might have a supplier that's bringing them in good gentics. I got into swarm chasing because of the cost reduction for bees. How feral they are is in question. How hardy and productive they been so far, has been most favorable.
    Last edited by Reef Resiner; 02-13-2017 at 02:42 PM.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Pros of localized bees

    I live in an area that isn't exactly known for beekeeping (eastern Kansas). There are not a lot of beekeepers and the Craigslist is saturated with ads for free swarm removal. But what I have found out is that if you don't answer the calls in a timely manner, they will call the next name on the list and you won't catch a lot of swarms. I keep all my gear in my truck during swarm season and am always ready to go. I also leave a card with my info because swarms tend to show up in the same places year after year. My advice to new beekeepers is to catch as many swarms as possible, build up several colonies, and learn beekeeping (catching swarms is a great way to learn a whole lot of things that you wouldn't otherwise find out by tending hives). Then when you are proficient, go ahead and plunk down wads of money for hybrid queens if you want to. Otherwise you will end up like a typical beginner that spends a lot of money, have their colonies with expensive queens die, and give up after a couple of years because they keep having to buy new new queens/nucs/packages. Also it is hard to control your own swarms when you start out so chances are you are going to lose all the fancy queens that you bought within a years time.
    Honey Badger Don't Care ಠ_ಠ ~=[,,_,,]:3

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Pros of localized bees

    Personaly in my books there is little to suggest that swarms are localized, ,, having adapted to there enviroment over many generations baring the possibility of having a local breeder nearby who has been working a line of bees for years, swarms are a crap shoot of what you may get and there success is directly related to the management put in to them in some circumstances it is possible some people are more attentive to there swarms just due to the romance of catching a swarm. , but again odds are many swarms are not localized . Fact of the matter the biggest advantage swarms can offer over packages is the possibility of having near 100% nurse bees allowing rapid wax drawing when feed alowing the potential for exceptional buildup . of course each after swarm will have fewer and fewer nurse bees as thay are unavailable from the origonal colony .hence smaller after swarms may preform worse than packages thats assuming each is equally healthy
    That said,,, localized "locally adapted " most likely from a line of bees that have been worked for years will be adapted to the enviroment and have continued through the thick and thin of it offering a proven track record suggesting any serious issues are unlikly environmental but management

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Pros of localized bees

    Quote Originally Posted by birddog View Post
    Personaly in my books there is little to suggest that swarms are localized,
    It was not my intention to insinuate that a swarm of bees is localized. I agree.
    Although it does appear to be what I said. Thanks for pointing that out!

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Pros of localized bees

    Quote Originally Posted by birddog View Post
    Personaly in my books.....
    No offense, but that intro makes me really laugh.
    Honey Badger Don't Care ಠ_ಠ ~=[,,_,,]:3

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Pros of localized bees

    30 hives, TF six years, have never bought a single bee. Sold a dozen hives last year, will likely sell more this year.

    Like my friend Nabber all my bees originated from swarm captures or cutouts.

    Love it when people pay me to take their bees.


    Don

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Pros of localized bees

    Quote Originally Posted by D Semple View Post
    30 hives, TF six years, have never bought a single bee. Sold a dozen hives last year, will likely sell more this year.

    Like my friend Nabber all my bees originated from swarm captures or cutouts.

    Love it when people pay me to take their bees.


    Don
    Still not doing as good as ol' Ace, but the at least I don't pay for bees anymore. Now if I could just find some of that free wood that is lying on the side of the road and off-set the cost of my table saw, I would start to recoup some of those dimes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    It is the only hobby that I know of where you literally do not have to spend one dime to get into.

    How did your hives make it through this winter? Mine are doing very well.
    Honey Badger Don't Care ಠ_ಠ ~=[,,_,,]:3

  21. #20
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    Chardon, Ohio
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    Default Re: Pros of localized bees

    Seems to be a pretty big difference between southern and northern ferals. The feral swarms I have gotten have been absolute junk. No significant mite tolerance. So swarmy they went to the trees if the colony got built up to the point there was some hope of making a small honey crop like anything over ten frames of bees. Had one swarm in the middle of September that was only six or seven frames. Riddled with DWV. I only get swarms now as a public relations/community service effort. I take them home, kill the queen and dump them on the ground to bum into what ever hive they want to bum into. The truth is it is less work to raise a new queen and start a new hive from my own bees than it is to go get a swarm anyhow. I have never bought bees. I do buy II queens and occasionally open mated queens to test.

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