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Discussion Starter #1
I need to know if my plan has a good chance of succedding. I now have 2 fairly strong Italian hives. I am going to requeen both in the spring, with purebred Russian queens. I intend to put a double screen between the 2 deeps that now make up each hive. Then put a Russian Queen cage in the top, leaving her there 6-8 days before letting her out. The old Italian Queen will still be in the bottom, and when I release the new Russian Queen I will kill the old Italian Queen, then wait 2-3 days to remove the double screen, therby effectively recombining them. I probably will mist the bees with a mist of 1-1 sugar water on every move done here. If I'm right then in a short period of time I will have 2 Russian hives that the Italians have raised for me. Therefore, any new virgin Queens from my new purebred Russian nucs that I have installed in hives, on drawn comb should mate only with Russian drones. DOES THIS HAVE A CHANCE OF WORKING?????? What should I do differient?? I would hate to spend all this time & money and still have Italian bees.
 

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The Russian bees are tracheal & varrora mite resistant, less prone to drift, and rob. They will swarm quicker & more often, but I see this as a plus since I am retired now & have more time to watch for swarms. Also I plan to checkboard my brood nests. Something I left out above is that I know of no other beeks any closer than ten miles. So other than feral bees my hives should stay pureberd Russian. Any feral bees that can make it on their own probably would only be a plus.
 

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DOES THIS HAVE A CHANCE OF WORKING?????? What should I do different??

I would suggest that you make divides and introduce your $150.00 Russian breeder queen into the individual divide.
You might reconsider your thoughts about how pure you want your queens to be.
Are your Italians the following:
Italian
3 Banded Italian
Cordovan
Minnesota Hygienic
or Mutts
PS: If you have queens that are working for your area, why change?
Ernie
(I have 3 Russian Breeder queens. I graft off them for my sales. I purchased them from Tom and Suki Glenn)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Temper, average, honey production was slow last year, we had a lot of rain that washed away most of the nectar flow. But they would be below average. Hope for better year in 2010.
 

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If it where me, I'd move the Italian queen to a nuc. Then introduce the russian queen. Many people like to use the push-in #8 hardware cloth introduction cages.

I think the Russian breeders are over $300. Glenn no longer carries them.
 

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>when I release the new Russian Queen I will kill the old Italian Queen,
No, wait until the Russian queen is established and laying before killing the Italian queen.

>should mate only with Russian drones
No, they will mate with numerous drones from other colonies that you have no control over.
 

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Maybe the russian breed of bees are better now. I bought russian queens from Kelly's years ago,( not pure bred) they were hard to introduce (starting in 5 frame nuc's worked best for me ) they were more aggressive, swarmed more and always had queen cells when i checked them and didn't produce much of a honey crop when my other hives did (carniolans). It all comes down to what works for you. Good luck. Jack
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I understand that the Queens can be hard to introduce into Itilian hives. which is the reason for the procedure I am aiming to try. And yes everyone now says that the Russians are as gentle as any other bee. I had heard that years ago they were more aggressive. I only live 40 miles from Kelleys but they only have hybrid Russians Queens and hybrid Russian swarms.
 

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So other than feral bees my hives should stay pureberd Russian.
I am puzzled on why you think that they will stay Purebred Russian. It is my understanding that the Queen travels quite a way in order to mate with as many different drones as she can.

From what I have read, I believe that Genetic diversity is what help keeps a hive strong. I am not sure that you would get that if your daughter queens mated with her mother's drones.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I am puzzled on why you think that they will stay Purebred Russian. It is my understanding that the Queen travels quite a way in order to mate with as many different drones as she can.

From what I have read, I believe that Genetic diversity is what help keeps a hive strong. I am not sure that you would get that if your daughter queens mated with her mother's drones.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Some one has misinformed you or me one because it is my understanding that the virgin
Queen will not travel too far if there are drones near, and like I said there are no other beeks within 10 miles of me that I know of. The area I live in has a lot of hardwood timber so I would bet that there are feral bees in the area which would add to my diversity. I don't think you can keep any bee colony purebred per-say, because most colonies are mutts. Or will become so soon. You will just have the traits of the bees you start out with, HOPEFULLY. Some one that knows more than I do help me out here.
 

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I wish I could remember which book I've read it in, but I've read several queen breeding books this past year. Seems that there is a "drone congregation area" where drones seem to gather... a virgin queen will fly up to three miles to this drone congregation area, and mate with whoever and whatever breed of bee happens to be there. For some reason 50' to 75' off the ground sticks in my mind, but that might be wrong.

If you haven't yet got a good book on queen rearing, you might want to invest in one or more. And check some of the queen rearing info on Beesource, and POV there too.

I too have some Russian hives, and plan to rear my own queens from and for them in two years. Not sure how long the Russian traits will last in my area though.
Good luck to you! Keep us posted as your project develops.
Steven
 

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When you put the caged Russian queen in the top box, make sure there is plenty of brood in those frames and allow the older field bees to leave through some opening. You want mostly young nurse bees as they are more likely to accept the Russian queen.. If you can buy Russian nucs that is even a better plan.

If you are positive there are no other beeks within ten miles of you, you might stand a chance unless there are feral bee colonies in the woods. Get out a map and compass of your location and scribe a ten mile wide circle (the radius being ten miles) with your location being in the middle. You can do his on Google Earth. That takes in an awful lot of territory! That’s what ultimately sabotages most beeks plans for having Russian colonies. They may start out Russian but after a year or two they end up mutts….wasting time and money or they end up having to be constantly ordering “so called” pure Russian queens from some queen breeder. It's almost impossible for most beeks to maintain a pure line because mother nature has other plans. IMHO
 

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A Russian breeder told me that it takes longer for Italians to accept a Russian queen. He suggested 7 days. The count starts when you remove the old queen. Leaving the new queen in her cage suspend her in the center of the brood nest in such a way that the bees can get to her to care for her and keep her warm. They will do this even if they would kill her if you were to release her. Forget the double screen but do listen to those who suggest you start a nuc with the old queen. It's insurance. If I were to do that here in Ct I'd wait till the end of June. Italians are good summer bees and may make a crop. The disruption in brood rearing would occur when it doesn't hurt the crop. You'll have Russians to winter with which is their strong point. If you have the nerve to let them go broodless, you could treat 1X for mites and build up for winter. We don't get much of a fall crop here.

dickm
 
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