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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Any northern states beekeepers using Beeweaver Queens? I'm more interested in recent or current experiences than 10 years ago. They claim to be much calmer now. We are considering about 20 of them and any thoughts or advice would be helpful.

Jim
 

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Well, I am not up north, but I have bought two queens this year from them and they are the most gentile of all hives I have. Great pattern.
 

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Hopefully I can report next year, I am getting one in early June along with another beek who is trying 5 (we will see how it builds up and fairs the winter).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
An important point would be their overwintering ability. My interest comes from looking for bees that may be able to survive varroa without chemical treatment, while I see various VSH lines being promoted I can't seem to find any currently for sale due to the cold spring in the North. Beeweaver seems to have taken a very proactive approach to the problem with a long term view, I'm just looking for feedback from anyone with cold weather experience with their stock.

Jim
 

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Not North, but high west. Front range Colo. My experience - fair acceptance, calm, very good producer, winters well. Mite resistant. Going strong, untreated, into the 3rd year.

I just ordered two more, hoping at least one will take.
 

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Hi there
I don't want to say anything bad about the Weavers, or their bees. I bought 8 last year and requeened everything. By mid summer they were testy and by fall they were mean. They built into huge hives, made tons of honey, but did not survive winter.

When I say mean, I am used to working hives in a tee shirt, no matter how strong they are. With these bees, once they were strong and pure Weaver stock, I had to put on coveralls. They keep nailing me over and over. They admit the bees are part African, how could they not be?

Weavers offers to replace queens that produce hives that are uncontrollable, that don't respond to smoke, etc. so I think they are used to getting complaints of this sort. I bought some more this year, so I haven't given up. This year I am running half and half to see if there is a difference, aside from the testiness, which I expect.
 

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Any thoughts on why they didn't make it through the winter?
Well, yes. I actually have two bee yards, one at my house and one about 15 miles away. The one at my house is sheltered and the other one is pretty much out in the open. The other bees didn't die, they came through a brutal NY state winter OK. Not great but OK. Mine at my house all failed. The unsheltered hives were very dry inside, maybe that helped them. The place at my house is somewhat darker, damper, etc. On the other hand, it could be the African blood that caused them to fail, I don't know. The others are run of the mill "Italians."
 

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I just killed my b weaver queen. I never had a hive so mean! I've had hives I've been scared of but this one was worse. I gave her about 6 weeks and finally killed her. All other b weaver queens have been good. They were bought last year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I just killed my b weaver queen. I never had a hive so mean! I've had hives I've been scared of but this one was worse. I gave her about 6 weeks and finally killed her. All other b weaver queens have been good. They were bought last year.
A couple of questions if that's ok. You say you gave her about 6 weeks, did you requeen a hive with her or was it a package or nuc?

Also you say that " all other b weaver queens from last year are good" ,how many of your hives have b weaver queens?

Did you contact them about the hot one?

Jim
 

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I am interested in hearing any more experiences folks have had with the new B Weavers. I was contemplating starting a couple of nucleus colonies with their queens.

I got my start in keeping honey bees with two packages from the Weavers before the brothers split up - I bought an All American and a Buckfast package - it was 1996 and the varroa mite and africanized bees were barely known in the US at the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks to everyone who offered imput on this thread. We are going forward with a 20 queen evaluation, if it goes very well or very bad I'll post it.

Jim
 

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Being in the same state, I'll be interested to see how they overwinter for you. Please keep us posted in the future.
 

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I've had Bee Weavers in Maine and my over all sense is that they are pretty good bees. They are not leave alone bees - they need management and inspections just like other bees. Whatever you do to prepare your bees for winter they will need as well. I found them to occasionally be "testy" if the weather or forage conditions were off; the fellow from the state inspected them without gloves.

My one observation was that they did not seem to gather enough pollen in the fall to brood up in the spring. This could have been easily dealt with by providing pollen sub - but I was trying to leave them on their own as much as possible and did not give pollen sub in the spring.

We had an unusually hard winter here - Zone 4 temps in Zone 5A - and I lost 3 of 4 BW colonies and 2 4 over 4 nucs. The one colony that survived was in a triple deep.

Like you I was searching for commercially available bees that could thrive without treatments. I think with a higher degree of management (and straps for covers!) more would have survived. I had planned on breeding from one colony but unfortunately the top blew off it sometime over the winter. I can't blame the bees for equipment failure!
 

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I have used both Beeweaver and R Weaver bees and queens. I think they are great. No, I'm not a northern beekeeper. But let me add some perspective.

Yes, lots of bees in TX have at least some AHB blood. Some have more than others. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Wild bee populations are rebounding dramatically, and tend to be fairly mite resistant. More importantly in this climate, they are also fairly SHB tolerant. Some even seem to be Fire ant tolerant, and THAT is an accomplishment!

I have seen REAL "hot" bees. The kind that "ping" off your veil, sting thru a suit, cover your head and veil in bees, follow you 1/2 mile down the road, and wait by your back door for DAYS waiting for a shot at you.

These are NOT what the Weavers sell. Period.

Having said that, if you still think you should be able to wander around barefoot, in a tank top and shorts and stick your face right in the hive, these bees are not for you. Those kinds of bees were not here in TX 60 years ago, long before AHB!, and they aren't here now. Normal beekeeping now involves a jacket and veil / suit, and a well lit, well filled smoker. And you USE it. Puff, puff.

I have seen northern beeks fuss about the "must be pure AHB!" bees from TX, GA, and FL. They aren't. Trust me. REAL AHB are SO hyper-defensive that it's staggering. And those are the new normal in Central America and Mexico. They just go ahead and suit up, and light a BIG smoker.

Instead of forcing bees to adapt to the ideas we have of what they should be, why don't WE adapt to THEM? If a little AHB makes them healthier, stronger, mite resistant, and slows CCD, isn't it worth a veil and smoker? Or are we such wimps, we're going to hyper manage the bees to extinction? Note that I exempt the truly hot bees from that statement. The ones that won't re-queen, won't calm down, and are agitated for a week after mowing, or robbing, may have to be sprayed.

Just some thoughts.
Summer :lookout:
 

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If a little AHB makes them healthier, stronger, mite resistant, and slows CCD, isn't it worth a veil and smoker?
Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes.

I don't mind bees that are a little on the feisty side at times. I guess the main question that remains unanswered for me is ... will they be able to overwinter in the north? All those things you mentioned are fantastic, but if they can't survive a northern winter because they have too much AHB genetics, then it's all for nothing and meaningless. Up here, anyway.
 
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