I have some feral black German bees that are making a lot more honey than my Italians, they are smaller than the Italian bees and are very runny on the comb. I am wondering what other peoples experiences have been with these bees?
I also would be interested in the genetics. given I live a little farther away than the other beeks. How long have you had them and how have you kept them around? do you treat for varroa, afb etc? How have the black bees overwintered? and where did you find them?
We had a hive that was given up for dead in the spring inspection. It recovered in time to make honey, but I can not remember how much. Overall, they wintered much better than any other bee. Ours where small, black, very hygienic, but not mean.
I have some solid black workers that are part of a colony from a cutout. Maybe 5% are solid black with no bands, another 50% are black with gray bands, and the rest are 4 and 5 banders. They are small, but as a colony they are just getting organized one week after the cutout so I can't tell how hard workers they will be. The colony was in the wall for about 5 years. They are real gentle.
I have three other swarms from this year that have a high percentage of black with gray bands and they are as good as the best bees I have. They work like crazy, building very fast. Also real gentle. Starting to think these may be some good ones to rear queens from.
The bees I have are black with white stripes very few are solid black, some of the queens are solid black and some have a little brown mixed in. I bought them last spring, the man I bought them from said they were feral black bees he had caught from swarms. I treated the bees for everything last fall and this spring, then I found Micheal Bush's website on natural beekeeping. I caught two feral swarms this spring and started them on foundationless frames, I think they built their combs quicker than if I had started them on foundation. I plan to go treatment free and to natural cell size eventually. I have some queen cells in mating nucs to requeen some of my Italian hives. Dirtfarmer and northbee If I can get some extra queens I'll let you know, but I don't know what kind of drones they will mate with on their mating flight, but they will probably be feral because no one keeps bees within ten miles of me.
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