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I was reading about buckfast queens and they sound like they may be a pretty good breed to try out. Does anyone have any experience with them, good or bad? If experiences have been good, where do you buy them or where is a good place to try to get them from? Thanks in advance for any input!
 

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I do not but if you search the forums there are a several threads that talk about them being defensive bees, those threads are several years old though.
Now having said that I did order Buckfasts this year from rweaver, on their site they talk about the complaints that the buckfast are defensive and that they have taken steps to remedy it.
 

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I have had buckfast for years and out crosses of buckfast. I have had no mite problems since having them, sometimes they do get defensive. kill the ones that do and let them go at it again. nothing a Vail cant take care of. I have crossed them with carnies and gentled them down some. but as far as producing honey and having survival abilities they are great. p.s. keep in mind that they are opened bred in texas where they could pick up some African genetics.. but I would get them myself anyway.
 

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There seem to be a lot of people against Buckfast in previous posts unless they're the ones sold in Canada. I have buckfast hives and they have done absolutely great so far *knocks on wood* because they've survived this newbie's mistakes.
 

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I've been running Buckfast for 30+ years. Some ( ~1/4) of the Texas Buckfast have been quite gentle, and a few ( maybe 5-10%) have gotten rather aggressive. On the whole (hundreds of colonies, spread over 30+ years) they would probably rank as just "normally defensive" of the hive. It is what they normally do...

Of course "defensive" behavior is a relative term and there are many variables to consider as to just why they are being defensive.
A beek with just a couple hives or perhaps a couple dozen can be gentler with his or her hives, which is perhaps one of the most important determining factors in defensiveness.

So far all of the Canadian Buckfast have been remarkably gentle for me. Every last one of them. And that's with a "no smoke" approach. They appear to be at least one step closer to pure European Buckfast.

As I mentioned above, ~1/4 of the southern Buckfast queen headed colonies were similarly quite gentle. Under the right circumstances, one could roll the dice, keep the good, & weed out the bad.

Agreed with DC on the mite & other ...
 

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Nate - Buckfast bees raised under Brother Adam's methods are difficult to keep AS BUCKFAST BEES for more than a few years if there are lots of local feral bees and you are open-mating them. Other traits will creep in to your apiary, watering down the bloodline with the ferals', or your neighboring beekeepers' bees traits.

In order to maintain Buckfast traits, you'd have to keep buying or breeding Buckfast queens.

If you lived in a location with conditions similar to those in Devon, England, they'd be your prime candidate. You'd want to read Brother Adam's books, and emulate his equipment and methods.

You appear to be in Ohio. Look around locally and see who has bees busting out with honey, easy to work, well-timed in population growth to your area's main nectar / pollen flows, and over-winter successfully. Go with those bees, be they Italian, Buckfast, VSH, or whatever are working really well locally.
 

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Pure Buckfast from Fergusons Apiary in Canada can be bought from Eversweet Apiaries here in the USA.
 

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I'm not knocking the Buckies - they are a great initial bloodline to start with. Most of the complaints are probably about Weaver's Buckfasts getting usurped or cross-bred with AHB ferals in Texas. Don't judge the breed off those. Ferguson is North of the AHB line, and he practices Brother Adam's methods perhaps religiously.

The Africanized Honey Bee is a swarmy type, but they really love to usurp. Their widespread success is due to their tendency to not rob, but to show up in good numbers and attack the queen, then take over the colony after they've been made queenless for a while.

The cross between the two could eventually produce an excellent bee bloodline. Select for the good qualities of the Buckfast - particularly acarine tolerance, Winter hardiness, productivity, Winter store conservative use, and high honey production, with the AHB's fantastic pest and disease tolerance. Just got to de-select the extreme hive defensiveness, the usurping, the nervousness upon being inspected.

Of all the bees we look to to become treatment-free, the Buckfast-AHB cross holds a lot of hope, especially if we can add mite mauling to the mix.
 
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