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I love the three obvious color variances on this hive of Mutts. They are a swarm from a 2nd year Italian package. My guess is the darker ones are local feral genes. Any Ideas? G



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I love mine too -- they range from more or less Italian colored to black with gray stripes (many local feral bees have that coloring). They are making honey like crazy, are easy to handle, and were free from a swarm -- a huge one.

They kept their swarm queen over the first winter and superceded her last spring, current queen is laying like a machine gun. Best bees going so far as I'm concerned, piffle to fancy purchased queens, I want more of these!

Local bees that survive and swarm are usually good bees. We have a pollen and nectar dearth in August and September nearly every year, and if the queen doesn't shut down brood production, the hive will eat all it's winter stores and starve out, particularly form lack of pollen. Local bees do, most purchased Southern queens make much more brood in the dearth and require feeding for the hive to make it through the winter.

Besides, swarms are cheap!

Peter

Peter
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, you aint kiddin, these are pumping the honey out too. The hive they swarmed from blew up in the spring, Glad I got the swarm. I had a nuc I pulled off this swarm reject a buckfast queen. They are rearing their own now, and I think I might have had them do me a favor.......:popcorn:
 

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I have several that are black w/ gray stripes, as described. Good to see it is nationwide.
 

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I have several that are black w/ gray stripes, as described. Good to see it is nationwide.
Me too, I hope I never have to buy another commercial queen, they are way too needy, I have forty five hives now that are all mutts from local survivors, many are black with gray stripes, they're not bad to work after weeding out the meanest queens for two or three years. They cut down when needed and explode when there is a flow, they are also very hygienic and will take out larvae when they have a problem.
 

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Sounds exactly like mine! I have done the same going on about 5 years now. Weed out the meanies, and keep the better ones. Every so often I bring in a couple of new queens for new blood.
 

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Paul, you can also take a few mating nucs with virgin queens and take them to an isolated location that you know has feral colonies and leave them to be mated, I have a 280 thousand acre military reservation that I use, that way I get more genetics from the drone side of the genetics also.
 

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That is exactly what I do. I live in a very remote region with few beekeepers. I normally mate them out at around 8000' on a mountain.
 

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Sounds exactly like mine! ...
I have all my bees like this. Interestingly, over past two years, my two original beehives decided to differentiate - one becomes entirely black-gray strips and another - more yellowish. Originally, both hives were mix. Bees themselves are small, but drones are huge and always totally dark (black?). Bees are treatment-free and I stop counting varroa, they do not care much. They also foundationless. They used to be protective, but they are quite mild now (without deep digging into the nest). I am very happy with my bees.
 
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