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Ok so I've been building up some nucs to attempt to over winter and so far have 8, one has the original queen 3 have queens they raised themselves and 3 have queens that I grafted and one the grafted queen failed to emerge (I think my own fault on that one). All of these queens are raised from a VSHxItalian queen I purchased this spring when one of my hives came through the winter queenless. She has proven to be a very good layer, but I do have some concerns about the characteristics of Italians and overwintering here in New England (this is my second year so this is based on reading rather than experience and may or may not be a valid concern). I would like to add some different genetics and see how they do. A local queen breeder is a member of the Russian Honeybee Breeders Association and is offering queens from that stock and I have been considering picking up a couple to see how they do compared to the VSHxItalians.

So now that you have the background here is the real question. Do I try giving the queenless nuc one of the Russian queens and hope they accept her or combine that with one of the other nucs I have and make up a new nuc or two from my current production colonies (Russian hybrids). That is the immediate question the other that will be applicable over the next couple weeks is if any of the nucs which currently have virgins end up with poor queens or queenless whether I should combine them with the other nucs or try giving them one of the Russian queens.
 

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Italians do make looser clusters but if you have access to your hives, you can put a sugar brick or candy in the hive Jan or Feb to get them through the winter.
 
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