Re: Winter Beekeeping Manifesto
I'm not an italian fan. However, i try to caution on saying that as I really hate to speak in terms of italian or carniolan stock as it is much more accurate for us to speak in terms of traits given the great melting pot of bees we have in north america. However, I do tell people that you can winter italian style bees in this locale it just takes more effort and managing carni style bees is easy in the winter and a pain in the butt in the late spring. Give me three deeps and italian bees will make it thru most any of my winters. The problems become how they environmentally regulate. A typical carni trait is to remain calm on the comb when there is nothing happening, italian style bees are prone wander around. That can be an issue but the scary part is the spring--bees that decide to brood up when there are little to no resources coming in are sometimes praised. that can be especially true if you need bees in spring for pollination, etc. when everything works out those bees seem great. but when things dont work out, its a mess. get yourself a bunch of early brood rearing bees and watch them fill frames and then have the weather turn 180 degrees. they will be eating brood and running on zero stores in a couple of days. then you will have to decide if you want to feed them or let them figure it out on their own. on the other hand, the tightly clustered colony that hardly makes a peep all winter will slowly start to lay. they wont get hurt in those big weather springs. but at some point, here its when the dandelions break, they will explode and go from nothing to swarming in three days. its all about what traits really matter to youI think perhaps for the north anyways, is that locally adapted means that the ones having much of the italian bee habits have eliminated themselves from the gene pool
As you may have guessed I am just the tiniest bit biased on this: I know that Itallians can do very well and be very productive but some of their habits affect how they need to be managed.