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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've never tried Russians before and this is not exactly a scientific study but just installed 3 packages on Sunday- 2 italians and 1 russian, but from the same supplier. It was about 75 degrees that day but then Mon/ Tues we got a pretty good cold snap with temps at night dropping below freezing. They were all installed at the same time into the same type of equip, each went into a medium box with 4 frames each of drawn comb and the remaining foundation-less frames. I left the queen cages in for a slow release but drilled out the candy plug a bit to help the bees release her. Each got a quart jar of sugar syrup.

There weren't any noticeable differences at installation but during the last few days following the install:

-The Russians have consumed twice as much sugar syrup as their Italian counterparts.
-During the cold days the Russians were still flying at 40 degrees with several hanging out on the front porch, the Italians all huddled up inside.
-On day 3, I checked to insure the queens had been released, it was about 50 degrees. The Russians were flying about as if it were 80 degrees out. The Italians, some flying, but not nearly the volume outside the hive. When I opened the Russian hive...ROAR! Wow, very load hum. They were not aggressive toward me but definitely let me know they were there. When I opened up the italian hives- dead silence. The bees are fine but in both Italian hives, they were covering the frames, working hard, but as if I hadn't evened opened the hive.

All the queens had been released, I removed the cages and closed it back up trying not to disturb them too much. I'll go back in another week on a nice warm day to see if I can spot some eggs or the queens. Like I said, not scientific, not based on large numbers but definitely a difference observed between the varieties. I'm curious to see how it plays out the rest of the year. Let me know if you've had a similar experience and what I should expect from here on out. Thanks.
 

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I'm not sure about the Russians but I will be getting 10 Russian queens on May 19 and another 10 on July 1 to take over hives that are italian at the moment. I'd like to hear more about your russian hive once you are past the second brood cycle. At that point all the bees in the hive should be from your Russian queen. Also the Russian queen - Do you know for sure she is purebred from one of the Certified Russian breeders? This can make a difference. I'm getting mine from Steven Coy.
 

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The queen is Russian. The bees in the package are from numerous hives from multiple lineage.
I wonder why he is noticing such a behavioral difference in the packages then?

Is it possible that Russian bees were shaken into packages from Russian colonies, in a Russian yard? Just curious.

BuckeyeBeek, do the worker bees have different coloring in your Russian hive, or do they look the same as the Italians?
 

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After adding a replacement queen, my Carniolans sucked down some serious juice over last couple days. I just brewed a new batch of 1 to 1 that they will get tomorrow. I am ramping up the Carniolans in my apiary as I was most impressed last fall with their work. They are a bit odd, but I live near a lot of fall Goldenrod and a lot of Japanese Knot Weed. Last fall the Carni's stuck to something almost exclusively, as they had a very white colored comb and honey, where the Italians work was distinctly darker. A customer noted that the two blended together made the honey taste almost like caramel...it was outstanding. Hence why I am adding more Carni's this year. Think you will find them most pleasing all the way around.
Cheers,
Greathorned
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Also the Russian queen - Do you know for sure she is purebred from one of the Certified Russian breeders? This can make a difference. I'm getting mine from Steven Coy.
The origin is Hardemans in GA sold through a local commercial beekeeper. Now that I look they are actually sold as Russian "hybrid". Interesting, didn't realize there is a certification for that. Thanks for sharing. Let me know how your Russian queens fare.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I wonder why he is noticing such a behavioral difference in the packages then?

Is it possible that Russian bees were shaken into packages from Russian colonies, in a Russian yard? Just curious.
I thought the same thing, perhaps the bees were also those of "Russian" colonies but actually more likely "mutts"?

BuckeyeBeek, do the worker bees have different coloring in your Russian hive, or do they look the same as the Italians?
Not a really distinguishable difference in color. Since I first posted this a couple days ago, it's been more of the same- they are just a lot more active. Again, not aggressive toward me, but it's as if they are on caffeine vs the italians. Still sucking down syrup at twice the rate of the 2 italians.
 

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>I wonder why he is noticing such a behavioral difference in the packages then?

Every package is different. I'll bet all the packages are Italian workers (Italians are brood rearing fools and that's what it takes to fill packages) and different colonies just make different decisions.
 

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I have one russian hive and 5 italian and have noticed the same thing you are speaking of. Most of the time I can walk up to the italians and open the hive and no big deal, they could care less. The russian ones, well on a good day they just give a loud humming buzz and after a bit one or two will bounce off my head. In the fall they are just downright mean. I have had this hive for 4 seasons now and requeened once with a russian mail order queen. They do well all season and fly in colder temps but they do shut down brood production earlier in the fall and yes they have a bad temper.

Sully
 

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I helped my friend go through two Russian hives this afternoon. I was pleased to find them to be very tolerant. We actually pulled the queen and made a small split because the biggest hive had 3 capped swarm cells in it. We never even smoked them...we lit it and had it handy but never had to smoke them at all. These were bees he bought from Coy's honey farm last spring. Very gentle.

GH
 

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Installed my first nuc yesterday, Russians from Coy. Wore protection gear while I was installing but they were not as hostile as I thought they would be. I've been out there several times since just observing the entrance with no gear on, had one land on my hand but no stings.
 

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Russians will still fly down to 38 degrees. Italians quit flying between 50 and 55 degrees. Always do a slow release on Russian queens even into a Russian hive. Russian queens aren't easily accepted. hang the cage for 3 days before you pull the cork for best acceptance. The roar you hear may be because they balled the queen and they are now queenless. Michael Bush Is right every package is different . It's normal to get Italian workers with a Russian queen in a Russian package. Most Russians are hybrids now a days, hard to find pure bred Russians now a days,hard but not impossible.
 

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Yeah, I thought the sound of a roar meant they might actually be queenless? I wonder if that Russian hive accepted their queen.

I took apart my Russian hive for the first time this spring yesterday (it was beautiful out) (finally) and man, they were all over me. I was suited up, good thing, but they did not like me being in there. Brood was in the top medium (I have 4 on there) so I flipped that one down to position #2 (from bottom). I didn't want to put it on the bottom because it was heavy so it probably had a good deal of honey in there, and I didn't want the brood box to be honey bound.

I'm sold on Russians for cold climates, even if they are hybrids. And the more popular Russians get, the more hybrid all our bees will be, which is probably a good combo - the productivity of an Italian hive combined with the cold resistance of a Russian. :)
 

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i installed 2 Russian packages this year one was more defensive than the other one of course i feel it needed to be since it came with a dead queen.dealer sent a replacement replaced her since then they calmed down a bit and sure keeping up on brood rearing.wow she is really hard to find even tho she was marked unless they removed the paint.my carnis aren't marked and i can find the queens easy.
 

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These girls just don't quit, was out watching them as a storm was approaching. They kept foraging until the rain was knocking them down, then they all went just inside the entrance with their heads looking out and as soon as the rain stopped they went at it again.
 

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I have one russian hive and 5 italian and have noticed the same thing you are speaking of. Most of the time I can walk up to the italians and open the hive and no big deal, they could care less. The russian ones, well on a good day they just give a loud humming buzz and after a bit one or two will bounce off my head. In the fall they are just downright mean. I have had this hive for 4 seasons now and requeened once with a russian mail order queen. They do well all season and fly in colder temps but they do shut down brood production earlier in the fall and yes they have a bad temper.

Sully
I have all Russians and you are right on with the bad temper thing, they can be really mean in the fall. Reminds me of my wife! (don't tell her I said that!)
 
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