Best bee strain for KY?
Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1

    Default Best bee strain for KY?

    Which bee strain does best in Kentucky (Lexington area)? I've raised bees once before for a year in Texas (didn't turn out great...) so I am still a beginner. I want bees that are resistant to varroa but produce honey well. I'm thinking Buckfast, BWeaver, or Russians (I hear they're aggressive?). Any suggestions?

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    2,575

    Default Re: Best bee strain for KY?

    Quote Originally Posted by KYBeek View Post
    Any suggestions?
    Local feral or local managed treatment free bees. If I was starting to keep bees in your area, I would call folks who do bee removals to ask if they are treatment free and do they sell nucleus colonies.
    David Matlock

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Greenville, NC, USA
    Posts
    198

    Default Re: Best bee strain for KY?

    Any bees that you can keep alive and manage swarming; are the best. Use local bees and queens.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Posts
    424

    Default Re: Best bee strain for KY?

    Saskatraz
    NCSBA Certified Beekeeper - my Youtube Vlog
    https://www.youtube.com/c/BackyardBeesNC

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Boaz, KY, USA
    Posts
    1,564

    Default Re: Best bee strain for KY?

    Quote Originally Posted by KYBeek View Post
    Which bee strain does best in Kentucky (Lexington area)? I've raised bees once before for a year in Texas (didn't turn out great...) so I am still a beginner. I want bees that are resistant to varroa but produce honey well. I'm thinking Buckfast, BWeaver, or Russians (I hear they're aggressive?). Any suggestions?
    KYBeek:

    Welcome to Beesource!

    I live in the far Western end of our fair Commonwealth, but in your location I would suggest touching base with Ms. Dorothey Morgan.

    She is the President of the Kentucky Queen Breeders Association and they have frequent presentations at Kentucky State University:

    http://kyqueenbreeders.com/pres-dorothy-morgan/

    Beyond that, I have had the best success thus far generally following the advice that Riverderwent gave you, namely catching/hiving swarms and trap-outs.

    Best of success to you, and I look forward to hearing how your beekeeping effort goes.

    Russ
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,496

    Default Re: Best bee strain for KY?

    Quote Originally Posted by ifixoldhouses View Post
    Saskatraz
    In my area (which is So WI) there was a batch of Saska queens/packages sold a couple of years ago.
    A lot that material all ended up dead, per the local chatter.
    Whatever it was - it was largely junk.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Posts
    424

    Default Re: Best bee strain for KY?

    The only real Saskatraz come from Oliveraz honey bees in California, anything else may have been shipped to some other supplier and setting around a long time, or it's an F2 or 25% Saskatraz. I got ten queens shipped from OHB and they are doing great so far. We'll see how they do this spring, catch it on my channel.
    NCSBA Certified Beekeeper - my Youtube Vlog
    https://www.youtube.com/c/BackyardBeesNC

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    Posts
    662

    Default Re: Best bee strain for KY?

    There's no silver bullet. Raise your own queens.

  10. #9

    Default

    I live in east ky and I manage quite a few colonies and everything I have are mutt bees they come from cut outs swarm captures and are are open bred I think the best bee is one that comes from local stalk and FYI all my bees are aggressive but produce a bunch of honey

  11. #10

    Default

    Thanks everyone! I think I will get my bees from locally captured swarms. The Saskatraz bees sound interesting - does anyone have more experience with it?

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    1,740

    Default Re: Best bee strain for KY?

    Quote Originally Posted by ifixoldhouses View Post
    The only real Saskatraz come from Oliveraz honey bees in California,
    I suspect Albert would beg to differ as he is the breeder and provides the stock that goes to Oliveraz for production.

    http://www.saskatraz.com/pages/availability.htm

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Posts
    424

    Default Re: Best bee strain for KY?

    The only real Saskatraz you can get in the USA then.
    NCSBA Certified Beekeeper - my Youtube Vlog
    https://www.youtube.com/c/BackyardBeesNC

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Warren County, NJ, USA
    Posts
    555

    Default Re: Best bee strain for KY?

    what you get from oliveraz is saskatraz hybrids. oliverez imports a dozen or so saskatraz queens from robertson (lots of paperwork to cross this border with live bees) and uses them as breeders. these daughters are open mated in california and is what oliveraz sells. genetic makeup of workers is then 50% saskatraz and 50% whatever (good diversity). queens grafted from saska hybrids are only 1/4 saskatraz. the drones of saskatraz hybrids however are 100% saskatraz. remember, drones dont have fathers.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Warren County, NJ, USA
    Posts
    555

    Default Re: Best bee strain for KY?

    to kinda answer your original question, the SASKATRAZ HYBRID queens i got produce as well as any other queen i have bought, but they are quite gentle. i think beekeeper management plays a larger role in honey production than the genetics of the bee. and all bees need treatment. i lived that TF life for far too long...

  16. #15
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee
    Posts
    1,462

    Default Re: Best bee strain for KY?

    Bweavers are way too hot. Maybe some are not but I have talked to dozens over the years who have reported being chased to the creek due to those bees. I was given a hive by a local guy who said they were africanized bee weavers. I didn't believe him until I opened the hive. I do now.

    I liked the 30 USDA russians I bought several years back. They are a little hotter than my carnis and Italians but they were still good bees. Not immune to mites (just like any bee) The buckfast queens are one of the few strains I haven't tried. Though I hear there is alot of "Buckfast" lines that shouldn't even be allowed to call themselves that.

    IMO the best kind of queens for most areas is the ones that are raised right and kept right. Often the new beekeeper looks for the magic queen that does not exist. (I know from doing that myself.) There are many who claim they have found the perfect bee. Those queens that need no treatment and produce larger crops than anyone else. If their bees perish it is always some other malady or spray (never varroa). Boy, I wish I could go back and kick my younger self for listening to that and attempting to duplicate it.

    Local queens can help but I have to say I have purchased some queens from totally different climates and they were rockstars. I have also purchased queens in my state and in Kentucky that were not worth the time much less the money I put into them. Local is nice but it is often overrated. Give me a well-selected strain from a provider that raises young queens in proper conditions in an area with plenty of drones for quality mating and I can show you the honey no matter what state it is from.

    Do I prefer my own queens? Absolutely. However, my queens are great due to the records, the culling, and all the other work that is put into them, not just because they are local.

    Great queens, dead mites, and good nutrition.
    Feeding early patties. https://youtu.be/bUDd3vk7bgY

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    1,740

    Default Re: Best bee strain for KY?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee's Bees LLC View Post
    Often the new beekeeper looks for the magic queen that does not exist. (I know from doing that myself.)
    I think we all went thru that stage when first starting out. I know when we were in our first couple years with bees we honestly believed if we just got our hands on a treatment free small cell vsh queen from a feral swarm, all of our problems with bees would be solved. There are a lot of folks still peddling that kind of kool-aid online, and plenty of folks lining up to drink it still.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Warren County, NJ, USA
    Posts
    555

    Default Re: Best bee strain for KY?

    Quote Originally Posted by grozzie2 View Post
    I think we all went thru that stage when first starting out. I know when we were in our first couple years with bees we honestly believed if we just got our hands on a treatment free small cell vsh queen from a feral swarm, all of our problems with bees would be solved. There are a lot of folks still peddling that kind of kool-aid online, and plenty of folks lining up to drink it still.
    agree. steep learning curve, heh? if it were that easy...

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Bergen County, NJ
    Posts
    907

    Default Re: Best bee strain for KY?

    When I started out, I was EXACTLY in the same boat. I spent lot of time researching different "strains" of honey bees. I reached out to all kinda queen producers including the official Russian Queen Producers association. I was hell bent on acquiring the "BEST" queen bee that nature invented.

    After 6 months of that, it slowly occurred to me that honey production, varroa problems, survival was not JUST up to the breed and that once the queen swarms, the next generation was going to be whatever it will be.

    So I got two nucs from our local association. I knew they came from georgia. And one from a local "Carniolan" supplier. The carniolan queen perished soon after. I spent first 6 months with very hands-on approach, split them to 4 hives, caught few swarms and learned to do oxalic acid. In the middle of summer, when queens were plenty in the market, I purchased two queens from Sam Comfort up in NY.

    I think I purchased two more queens from Sam a year later. Learned to raise queens next year. Never purchased bees again.

    I am hobbyist, sell few nucs every year to thin the herd and keep my queen rearing hobby active.

    In summary, my humble advise is to get what you can from a local supplier, without costing an arm and a leg. Learn to grow and split. Go into winter with more hives than you want. And go from there.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,304

    Default Re: Best bee strain for KY?

    Six weeks in on this thread but the advice here is right on the money. Experiment with different strains once you have bees. You may find you are quite happy with what you already have. The best strain of bees for your area are freebees. These are the swarms you catch and learn to keep alive. My apiary is built around a swarm I caught several years ago. I have added new genetic material from other local beekeepers and additional swarms. I see no reason to chase after a particular line that somebody 1000 miles away says is the best bee ever. Learn to create the "sustainable apiary" and it really won't matter what kind of bee you have.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •