Whats your favorite race of bee????
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  1. #1
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    Default Whats your favorite race of bee????

    For those new to beekeeping and even those old Vets like myself what is your favorite race to work? Which race gathers honey better?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Whats your favorite race of bee????

    I like my swarm mutts, and their locally-mated daughters and granddaughters, best.

    Nancy

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Whats your favorite race of bee????

    +1 with Nancy, I find local mutts are hard to beat.
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Whats your favorite race of bee????

    My favorite is local mutts. They survive the winter here best. Italians are certainly good producers during a flow, but they are not frugal when there is no flow so they burn a lot of honey too. They don't make the best winter decisions. The Carniolans and Russians make good wintering choices.

    http://bushfarms.com/beesraces.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Whats your favorite race of bee????

    My choice came about by elimination, as I hate (with a vengeance) AMM - at least the ones we have around here; and I'm none to keen on Italians, because they're greedy, prone to drifting and robbing, and don't know when to stop rearing brood in the Autumn (Fall) ...

    So - that just leaves Carnies and Buckfast and, like the others, I'm pretty content with my Carnie/ once-upon-a-time-Buckfast cross, which are now well and truly mutts.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Whats your favorite race of bee????

    When replacing queens, for whatever the reason (age related, splits, nucs) I purchase Russian or Carniolan to assist the genetics of the areas Drone pool. I also like local mutts and hopefully the R and C genetics stay in the area.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Whats your favorite race of bee????

    Strachan NWC, hands down.

    Crazy Roland

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Whats your favorite race of bee????

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    Strachan NWC, hands down.

    Crazy Roland
    Can you elaborate. Ive bought a couple strachen but i think i didnt think to highly of them. Its been a few years things could have changed. But all i can remember is they were very calm. But didnt make the chicago winter. When others did. This year i bought 4 pkgs. 1 Italian, 2 saskatraz and 1 package from wolf bees, they are a mix of all 3. Italian, carni and Russian.
    My Italians came march 27th and they are doing great. My saskatraz come next week along with the package from wolf bees. All hives installed on 6 full comb frames and they can draw out 4. I am making 2 or 3 splits into nucs and i have 1 vp carni, 1 vp Italian and 1 ankle biter coming early june. I think ill have a decent mix of genetics by yrs end. I said id never have Italian but i kinda like them. Gunna be a busy year.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Whats your favorite race of bee????

    You have to search for the "Good" genes in the Strachan. They have the ability to explode from a fist size cluster to surpass the 3 lb packages that where performing well. No other Carniolans from other sources had that gene. It is not apparent at first, you have to search for it in the gene pool they provide. You may not have had enough queens from them to get your drones to carry the genes. Try ALL of your queens in the yard from them, and then evaluate the daughters.

    Crazy Roalnd

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Whats your favorite race of bee????

    Roland has it. Breed from the best. But the "best" for Roland would not do very well here where I live. Bees adapt to the climate where they are being kept. This adaptation is heritable so selecting from the best producers in an area for a few years will show fast changes.

    I've had Caucasian, Carniolan, Italian, Mellifera (the old dutch mutts common in the Southeast), Russians (they are a mix-match of breeds), Buckfast, and a few others long forgotten. It is easier to say which I would never have again. Caucasians and pure Italians are on the never again list because the one gathers overwhelming amounts of propolis and the other is a wastrel in my climate. Carniolans are somewhat viable but have problems with fall flows common in this area. Their brood cycle is adapted to a spring flow which aligns with another trait they show of swarming. Russians swarm excessively and rarely make enough honey to be profitable. Buckfast are very well adapted to my climate producing honey with relatively little effort but are generally susceptible to varroa. The bees I am keeping currently have a mix of Italian, Buckfast, and Mellifera genetics with a few colonies derived from a BWeaver queen i.e. a bit of africanized genetics. They are highly resistant to varroa and somewhat resistant to hive beetles.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Whats your favorite race of bee????

    Also the local mutts. The Italians are so greedy with the food they eat that it really bothers me. They are on the verge of starvation every spring. Carnis are great and build up in my area just in time to get a great maple harvest most years. I also really like the queens from Olympic Wilderness Apiaries. They are as close to local mutts as I can get without raising them myself. Extremely frugal in winter with tiny clusters. Their website states that they can be a bit aggressive (I have never noticed it) and they are a bit pricey. They also build up really fast in spring and are super tough with our very wet winters. The queens I am now raising are from their stock.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Whats your favorite race of bee????

    Quote Originally Posted by dudelt View Post
    Also the local mutts. The Italians are so greedy with the food they eat that it really bothers me. They are on the verge of starvation every spring. Carnis are great and build up in my area just in time to get a great maple harvest most years. I also really like the queens from Olympic Wilderness Apiaries. They are as close to local mutts as I can get without raising them myself. Extremely frugal in winter with tiny clusters. Their website states that they can be a bit aggressive (I have never noticed it) and they are a bit pricey. They also build up really fast in spring and are super tough with our very wet winters. The queens I am now raising are from their stock.
    I called them today. They said they are only selling breeder queens no production queens. I zm bery interested in that one myself.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Whats your favorite race of bee????

    Any thing that can over winter those will be my first queens for grafting. saw my first pollen today April 16

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Whats your favorite race of bee????

    All mutts here now. Best queen I've got is a carni-mutt. She just came out of her third winter and her colony is booming. Very gentle daughters. I want to graft from her, but as of 8 days ago she was the only one who had any drone brood. Since she is who I'm going to graft from I culled her drones. Hope the others are getting going by now, but I haven't looked because of rain.
    Zone 6B

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Whats your favorite race of bee????

    Well out of the 4 packages and the 4 queens i buy for my splits. I will have a good mix of genetics hopefully next year i can come up with a good mutt to brag about.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Whats your favorite race of bee????

    Quote Originally Posted by Billboard View Post
    Well out of the 4 packages and the 4 queens i buy for my splits. I will have a good mix of genetics hopefully next year i can come up with a good mutt to brag about.
    I've been doing walkaway splits a few years now just started grafting last year. this spring I have a good number of hives to choose from going to do three different queens on the first graft.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Whats your favorite race of bee????

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan the bee guy View Post
    I've been doing walkaway splits a few years now just started grafting last year. this spring I have a good number of hives to choose from going to do three different queens on the first graft.
    Nice!!!! Thats one thing i have not tried yet. Raise my own queens. Its just quicker to buy a queen. But thats starting to get expensive now. Between work and my 3 hobbies i just dont have time. But next year im going to get squared away and maybe do less with one of my other hobbies so i can raise a few of my own.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Whats your favorite race of bee????

    Quote Originally Posted by Billboard View Post
    Nice!!!! Thats one thing i have not tried yet. Raise my own queens. Its just quicker to buy a queen. But thats starting to get expensive now. Between work and my 3 hobbies i just dont have time. But next year im going to get squared away and maybe do less with one of my other hobbies so i can raise a few of my own.
    Once you start grafting you'll kick yourself for not doing it earlier

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Whats your favorite race of bee????

    I started grafting two years ago. The carnage was terrible at first. I still suck at it, but if I graft enough a few take. I've only got four mating nucs (Barnyard bee style) and four regular nucs. I need one nuc to set up as a cell starter, and two of them are currently in use as a 5x5. So I couldn't handle the extras even if I was better at grafting. I did order a Mann Lake Pro-nuc just to check it out as its cheap, I should have it any day now.

    I was hoping to sell some nucs and maybe start to offset some of the hobby costs, but with this crazy spring I still don't have drones so its going to be late. Next step I guess is to make some more nucs and overwinter summer queens.
    Zone 6B

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Whats your favorite race of bee????

    I like my mutts too but some are a little hotter than others. Most appear to be a Caucasian mix but enough of the local drone genes have diluted them somewhat with Italian or something. My drones are starting to show a little yellow in them. For the most part they are a darker bee, some almost black. Queens are black to a dark maroon. Absolutely no orange. They produce an insane amount of propolis, and have wet cappings on the honey. That is a drawback for selling comb honey where people want those pretty white dry capping. Nice thing is they shut off the brood in mid October, but start back up in late January here. Another nice thing is until they begin brooding up,they do not eat much. I did feed all winter but that was because several hives were light on capped stores and pollen.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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