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Hi

I hope that I am posting in the right forum for this question. My question concerns the Russian Honeybee.

Is the Russian bee its own subspecies of Apis mellifera or it just an adapation of another strain of honeybee?

Thanks in Advance
 

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Hit search, then type in Russian Bees, there is enough info "to choke a horse".
After you have read enough of it, tell me your opinion!!!!! There is a keeper in the Texas Panhandle that has had a bad experience with Russians. I know that is just one experience but what if that happens to you?
Myron Denny
 

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There is a keeper in the Texas Panhandle that has had a bad experience with Russians. I know that is just one experience but what if that happens to you?
LOL, was he looking for the queen?????
I truly HATE working a Russian hive for that one reason.
I can 9/10 time find an Italian easily, but those Russians are **** near IMPOSSIBLE for me to find!!!! I've even had trouble hunting them n mininucs.
 

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If you can get your hands on one of Kirk Webster's talks or his articles in ABJ he swears by the Russians. The Russian strain was instrumental in defeating varroa destructor. Russian bees are apis mellifera.
 

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10-29-2009, 09:02 AM
ACBEES Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Shallowater, Texas, USA
Posts: 10

First year experience with Russians....help!

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I purchased 10 nucs of Russians in May. Brought them back to Texas and set them up in single deeps with feeders. I am located 35 miles NW of Lubbock(in the panhandle of TX). Had a late freeze which killed most of the wildflower bloom, so continued to feed them. They worked catclaw acacia and smartweed, then cotton started blooming. Hundreds of acres of cotton in every direction as well as corn(pollen cource). Pulled feeders off when cotton started blooming.

When first deep had 7-8 frames drawn(new pierco frames) I added second deep. Seems like it took forever for bees to start moving into second deep and drawing comb. Added supers to all hives when bees started drawing comb in second deep. Then I noticed two hives getting weak. I added a frame of brood from stronger hives to the weaker two. Didn't help much, one hive eventually was a dead out, other remained weak. No signs of disease or parasites.

First of October, moved the remaining hives to a field of late season sunflowers that were sprayed one time at the first of the bloom. Waited a week to move the bees on them as farmer said he wouldn't spray them again. Bees eagerly worked the sunflowers. I had pulled the single supers (which were empty anyway) from all but two hives(which were beginning to draw comb on a couple of frames). After three weeks on the sunflowers, the other weak hive was a dead out and another hive died out. There was no honey in the supers I had left on the two hives.

In the end, I lost three hives of Russians and got no honey from the others. This is my first year in beekeeping and I chose Russians. I'm trying to figure out what I did wrong. Any input about what I might have done wrong would be greatly appreciated as well as input on how to manage Russians. Thanks.
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The above is the bad experience I was refering to, I would like to try some Russian bees just to see if they do have problems with heat and often dry spells that cause honey flows to cease.
 

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Being this is my first year with the Russians, and that I installed the package very late this year (31 May -- the breeder shipped them very late in the season).

I can actually state that my Russians are not aggressive to me at all. They are very easy to work with. I do not use gloves when I go into my hive, but sometimes I do get stung.

Honey wise, I managed to get two medium supers of honey from my hive. the population grew very very fast when i started them, and by the end of four weeks, i had added a second hive body added.

I do have the same problems finding the queen. She seems to be a little nervous when i do find her.

Excessive heat seems to be a problem as well at times. In the summer, in my region it gets very hot and they seem to get a little aggravated -- keep in mind that Russian are use to milder weather than the southern united states.

Back to my original post - I knew the Apis Mellifera part, but was wondering on the subspecies part of it (apis mellifera linguistica) where linguistica is to Italians as what would be to the Russians.
 

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So they're a variety of Caucasian bees, is that it?

Big Bear
 

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Myron, I bought two 3 frame nucs of Russian April 1, installed on wax foundation in 10-frame deep hive bodies. Fed and fed to get foundation drawn. By summer's end they were two deeps tall, full of bees, and I pulled three Illinois depth supers of honey off them. I'm getting more Russians next year.
 

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I need to point out that I was just reposting a post about Russian's, I do not have Russians. The guy in the Texas panhandle had very extreme weather in May and June, we had the same freeze and in June we were extremely hot and dry. My Italians made very little honey in this time frame. Also the plastic foundation possibly caused some of the problems. I hope to start a few Russian's this next spring. I have never used plastic foundation, I was hoping to try some this next year. The big thing I am trying to get across is Russians might have a problem in extreme weather. Myron Denny
 

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I keep Russians in central FL, its HOT here. No problems, love my Russians.
 

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Hi, as I understand it is when your Russian bees around the Primorsky, this is a C-line (carnica, ligustica, caucasica). The real Russian mellifera mellifera bees, known in USA as a German black bee. Pure strains are found in the Ural region of Perm. Not good for Texas or Florida.
Horst
 

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>So they're a variety of Caucasian bees, is that it?

That is what I have read. They do have some Caucasian traits and some Carniolan traits. They don't propolize as much as the Caucasians, but more than the Italians, generally. They are not as silver black as the Caucasians I used to see, but look more Carniolan. But what I have read says it is a variety of Caucasian.
 

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I live in northern IL and -30 below is not uncommon. I have had Russians for 3 yrs now. I don't treat for mites nor do I feed. The problem I have is finding queens for splits. They start slow but once they get going look out. I have never had problems with a " hot" hive. I love Russians and I'm going to add 7 more hives of them this spring. I had one hive that would not draw comb. I replaced the queen and they've been great at drawing comb ever since. Even comb building is in the genetics of the queen. We've had the worst year in 30 yrs for honey. down 60-70% My Russians got the most honey out of 30 hives
 

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Genetically, the Primorsky bee is a subform of the Balkans with the elements macedonica, caucasica, and possible even the black bee, so C-Line (mtDNA).
 

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Hi everyone, I'm the guy in the panhandle of Texas with the Russians. Let me start by saying this is my first year in beekeeping.

I live in an area that gets approximately 18 inches of rainfall a year. Cotton is the major crop grown here and most of it is irrigated. This past year has been a tough one. The spring started with a late hard freeze, temps down in the 20's. That pretty much killed the spring wildflower bloom. Then, we didn't get much in the way of spring rains(or summer and fall for that matter)which pretty well kept anything that bloomed suppressed. We are currently standing at a little over 11 inches for the year, nearly seven inches below average.

After I had my Russians installed in my single deeps, I learned they don't produce brood unless there is a pollen source. Let me say this again...NO POLLEN,NO BROOD...and they aren't kidding either. Remember, we had a late freeze..therefore no pollen for a while.

The next thing to try to bloom in our area was catclaw acacia and mesquite which started to show around the end of may. The bees did work these, but did not seem to build up very fast. Remember, we were very below our average on rainfall. I've seen other posts talking about how lack of rain affects nectar/pollen production.

Around the middle of June, the heat set in. All summer long, it seemd to hover between 96-102 degrees...well into september. My bees had a steady water source, however the plants did not. wildflowers that usually bloom all summer long were noticeably absent. there was some smartweed that bloomed and the bees worked it. But there again, how much nectar/pollen was it producing?

I think all these things combined caused the Russians to struggle. Being a first year beek, I didn't realize I could have helped them along with supplemental feeding with something like Megabee in conjunction with the sugar syrup I was feeding:doh:....with Russians, pollen=brood production...more bees, more foraging ability.

In fairness to the Russians, they didn't evolve in a climate anything like the Texas panhandle. In looking back, I now think pure Russians require a very different management approach in my area vs. a climate like the northeast or the east/west coast. In my previous posts, I didn't mention I had three hives of feral bees at another location that all produced nearly two full supers of honey under the same conditions. For me, this provided proof that a strain of bees' adaptability to a location can be an important issue.

I plan on keeping my Russians and adjusting the way I manage them. I have seven hives going into the winter. Of the seven, only one had completely filled out all nine frames in both deeps. One hive is very small, six frames in the bottom deep and four full in the top. I probably should have combined those frames into one deep, but decided to leave them alone. I plan on feeding pollen substitute and dry sugar as needed to all hives.

I found the Russians to be very gentle bees to work. One person above commented about the difficulty in finding the queens. I experienced the same thing. The Russians are quite a bit larger than the feral bees I captured. I would also like to add I did not see a single mite in any Russian hive. I did have a few SHB show up.

This next year will tell whether or not a change in management will help the Russians be more productive in my area...providing we have a normal year weather/rain wise. I'm thinking under some conditions, no amount of good management skills will help. It may prove to be to much of a hassle to try and make Russians productive under my climate conditions. Perhaps Russians crossed with feral bees from my area will be a better choice.
 

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Hi ACBEES

As you continue to keep Bees you will also find there is differances in yard locations. in a good year they will all do great but when those bad ones come along some yards will make more than others have see a yard not no more than mile and a half apart as the crow flyes, bees being the same race and strengith it was late summer and the one yard was in a fairly good flow while the other nothing, some times that creek or low lying area or wood area will have someting producing that the bees can get.
 

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I am new to this beekeeping stuff. I Got my Russians in July 09. I started with a NUC. They built up fast and were easy to handle. I have been able to find the queen almost every time I get into the hive. I am in Missouri, so I am using 2 deeps for brood boxes. They filled 2 deep and will hopefully make it through the winter. I have already ordered three packages of Russians and one NUC for spring 2010. I have been told NUCs are better, but I wanted to do the package thing at least once. I Can not wait!
 

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So they're a variety of Caucasian bees, is that it?
The Russian bee emerged in the Primorsky Province of Eastern Russia where they are believed to have arrived in the late 1800s with Ukrainian settlers from Europe who moved east bringing with them western bees.

The current Russian bee is best described as a "selected stock" of the species Apis mellifera. Some consider it descended from Apis mellifera carnica stock and others from Apis mellifera macedonica stock. There are no known records to establish the Russian bee's original source.

During the Soviet era exchanges between beekeeping cooperatives and breeding centers were quite common making the bee population rather diverse. Russian bee scientist, G.D. Bilash, considers the bees of Eastern Russia to be a mix of bees from the Ukraine, Middle Russia and to a smaller extent Caucasian and Italian.
 
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