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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday, I had the state bee inspector come out to my house for a follow-up treatment for SHB. As she greeted me she said, “I remember your hives, you have aggressive bees”. Being fairly new to beekeeping I thought that they were a bit aggressive, but now have an experts opinion. She suggested that I requeen to eliminate the aggressive behavior. The original bees were Starline hybrids.

My primary objectives are gentleness and mite resistance. I live in Virginia where summers can be very hot and humid with mild winters, so I need a breed that does well in these conditions. I keep my hives in my backyard, so gentleness is a big concern. I have two questions:

What recommendations can you give for queens that meet my objectives (including vendors if possible)?
What is the best time of year to requeen?


Thanks.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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The general characteristics people usually give for Itialians and light colored bees is that they do well where there are mild winters and hot summer. The dark bees do well in cold climates and harsh winters. Of course almost everyone from Canada to Texas raises Italians and does pretty well. The darker bees (Caucasians and Carniolans) have a reputation for being more gentle.

There are alot of peole on this board who like the Cordovan's. This is technically a color variation, not a breed, but the ones available seem to be Italians and are known to be pretty gentle. They are also strikingly beautiful. I got some as the workers in five packages yesterday. I had never seen any before. They are gorgeous bright yellow bees. They were gentle, but it's hard to say until they settle into their hive what they will be like and then my Carni and Itialian queens will start to affect the outcome.

Personally, if it was me and I wanted gentle and adapted to your climate, I think I'd try the Cordovan's. http://www.beesource.com/suppliers/usbees.htm under Ohio there are some Cordovan's. Maybe some of the people with them could give you more sources.

There are people having very good luck with Caucasians farther south than you and they are known to be very gentle. They are silver colored. Kind of black but with a silver sheen to them. The Caucasians seem to be surviving the mites and the viruses that come through better than the Italians. Maybe because propolis is an anti-microbial and they use a lot of propolis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Michael,

Thank you (again) for the advice - what an awesome source of knowledge!! I really apprecate your dedication to this forum and all the knowledge, information, and time that you devote to us!!

Any advice on timing? I'm under no real time constraints, but I want to do what's best to insure my bee's productivity as well as their survival.

Respectfully.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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It's only disruptive for a few days to introduce a new mated queen and production is not noticeably affected. Anytime from now until fall would work fine. Queens get cheaper in the summer and fall than in the spring. But I wouldn't put up with aggressive bees that long myself.
 
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