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Russian Bees

6866 Views 33 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  joebeewhisperer
I recently purchased two 4-frame Russian bee nucs and interested in other people's experience with them. So far so good...but, I'm getting the impression they are quite different than the Italians and I need to re-arrange past presumptions/advice about managing bees. Thanks:
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Interesting article. I printed it out, as I have two new hives which are hybrids with some Russian in them.


Thanks for the article indeed. Also interested in personal experiences...please.
I have Italians & Feral Bees! I wanted to try the italian bees and then i had a swarm call and i captured a feral bee swarm! Now if you ever want a good set of bees capture yourself a feral swarm! You will see a big difference, i know i sure did!
I have done an at length study of the Russian bees. What I have learned from input from other peoples experience the article that was posted is outdated and has a lot of discouraging information that flat out isn't true. If you will go back and research some of the threads in the past 3 months you will find a wealth of info. They are not nearly as hard to requeen in Italian hives as you will be lead to beleive by some people whom have ulterior motives ( such as not wanting to have to compete against the Russians with the superior traits that they have. ) Todays Russians are not the same as the ones that some of these folks are refering to in the past. These are the ones that have been bred to be superior by the USDA over several years for calmness and production, the survivability is there naturally. They are not by any means perfect, but they are good. The only problem that I have found is that they are very hard to obtain because the breeder network is limited because of the strict rules set by the USDA. Of which they must be kept almost entirely pure. I would suggest that you order early and hope for the best. I did and still couldn't get what I wanted. If I were'nt so old I would be trying to become a pure Russian Breeder. I've got one foot in the grave and the other on a bannana peel the way I feel dome days:D

Make sure you are getting the real thing from a member of the Russian Breeders association.

Not the hybrid queen which means that she is a Russian open mated to any drone in the barn yard.

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Hey Valleyman,
Appreciate the info. Some of the info I have read was discouraging and you cleared it up. Perhaps I misread but my "understanding" of the Russian line now is that they are "Select Hybrids?" The breeder queens are artificially inseminated but their offspring that the RBA sells are open mated,,,,,,in a somewhat controlled environment. An area relatively devoid of feral bees and the breeder mass populates his area with his drones for obvious reasons.
I'm not sure what you wanted, as you did not specify,,,I read alot of good things about Dwight Porter and his Russian Queens,,,,on this forum. A RBA member. Perhaps Spring is a tougher time to get Queens from suppliers. I ordered two Queens from Dwight Porter on July 1st, I have conformation for delivery next week. Anyway, I just wanted to share that and if I am incorrect,, please correct me. It sounds good/better to say I have six years Beekeeping,,,,,,in reality,,,I have one year Beekeeping six times;)
Rick SoMd
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I just posted on my new experience of becoming a beekeeper. I ordered Russian VSH bees in March and just received them last Thursday. I don't have experience in Italian or others for this is my first hive. So far I like them. I put them in with only my veil on, no gloves, short sleeve shirt. They walked all over me and I just enjoyed it. One got a little perturbed and gave me a love bit on the wrist, didn't even get the stinger in. I been out there everyday watching and waiting to open up this Thursday to see my queen. I am going to try every possible way to become a pure Russian Apairy in Alabama. I have read so much on all types, I made the decision for Russian bees. Any advise on these bees that may help would be appreciated.
I wanted nucs. I was going to drive 7 hours to Marion Nc to pick them up but he couldn't get them ready. I bought local nucs which I plan on requeening with the pure Russian Queens later. Then in around 42 days I will have pure Russians. The have to send samples of their bees to be tested for purity, and they must be 90 some percent pure.
I've got one foot in the grave and the other on a bannana peel the way I feel some days
It sounds good/better to say I have six years Beekeeping,,,,,,in reality,,,I have one year Beekeeping six times;)

Two great quotes in one thread.
Yeah, the truth hurts ALSO, doesn't it.
NNNaaaahhhh,,,,,,,,,come on...........the truth,,,,,,,,,,,,sets you free. It lets everyone know you ain't any different than anybody else. That's where the real information is:thumbsup: It ain't about my bees are better than yours,,,,,,,,it's about the bees are better for all.:) Pardon me,,i lived the 70s',,,,,but it is true.
Hey,,,,,,is there another quote in there????/Maybe a record.:D:D
Rick from SoMd
I've got a hive of Russians, a hive of Italians, and then two swarms (as we said in the vet business of unknown breeds, Heinz 57 bees). I can't really say I've noticed much of a difference in the temperament of my Russians vs. the Italians. I can say that my Russians are surpassing the others all in population and filling out their hive. I love them, and hope to get some more next Spring. They come out earlier to work in the day than all the other hives. your money or donate it to a good cause! THere is a reason you dont see Russians hardly at all in a commercial operation.....they dont produce like italians and a host of other reasons!
I am a newbee with one hive of Russians and one of Italians. I love my Russians. They are calm, building up well and havent stung me. They don't seem to mind when I tend my herb garden in front of the hives. I don't plan to requeen the italians as i would like another year to compare them. :applause:
Meridith your money or donate it to a good cause! THere is a reason you dont see Russians hardly at all in a commercial operation.....they dont produce like italians and a host of other reasons!
I somewhat second Ricks sentiments, from a commercial standpoint here in Florida the Russians were a bust for us for several reasons. Now in a different locale and maybe not a commercial endeavor Im sure the Russians would be fine. I have no experience in other states or regions, but here in FL they just did not work for me.
I bought two five frame nucs with russian/vsh(carnie) cross queens and am really impressed by them. they are into fifteen frames and I got them the first week of june. These nucs were also queenless for almost ten days prior to me getting them so they had a little setback too. I would buy them again in a heart beat.
Just got mine from a breeder in the association. Picked them up the last week in May. Talk about hard workers. When I get up in the morning they are already outworking my others. When night falls they are still coming back to the hive, my others have already settled in for the evening.

I put a 10 frame super on June 26 they had filled comb on over half of the frames in 4 days. Not to mention when I moved the Nuc to a 10 frame, they had the extra 5 frames filled and going to work on it.

I bought these to try as this is my second year, and I was not happy with the Italians that I bought last year. I had two hives of Italians last year. One hive starved with huge stores all around the dead cluster. The other came out of the winter weak and diseased with EFB or Sacbrood or both. I requeened that one with the VSH line.

So all in all I'm givng these Russians a test for overwintering and mite/disease resistance. They are a little more defensive than my Italians but so are my VSH.
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Well, I am seeing a lot of positive about the Russian breed, and a few negatives. Why don't the ones that want to save their money elaborate on the negatives of the russian breed. I am new so I am just going through reading all the posts. But lets see what some of the negatives are. So far, it seems like they out work the Italians, overwinter better, and are gentle.
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