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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So 2 years ago some unfamiliar bees were hanging on a tree behind my brother's house. We boxed them up in a deep and last spring they swarmed. That was an interesting afternoon. I used a brush on them and ticked them off first thing. I was getting a few stings with everything I tried. Most stings I ever got in a day and after 2 hours I walked away. Bear in mind I work in a t-shirt and light veil most of the time

Sunday he called me and they were back at it. This time in a low hemlock tree and they were gentle as any. However, I checked the box (now a deep and medium) and they were testier than I like. They had also propolized the frames together (last year we added a medium) like no bees I have ever had.

So there's inherent minor testiness, but I feel probably some mite resistance. Not sure what to do with them. The hive has been 25' from his house and I don't think they sting him when mowing, so not mean, but pop the lid and you need to be moving with caution and have some smoke.

Right now I have them on a pallet in an EZ Nuc. I could take them several different places or just requeen with one of mine. Thoughts, ideas, and input welcomed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
And what is wrong with this?
Just normal bees.
Your probably need to get yourself a jacket, which is also normal.
True on all counts. Like you, I grew up with A.m.m. type bees and knowing when they get mean, they are really mean. These are not that, and I'm inclined to graft a few queens just because they have thrived through winter without treatment. My main concern is not getting any weird heinous crosses with the Russians. If I keep the queen in a small box and keep her from pumping out drones I think I'll be ok. I'm basing this on assumptions that temperament is inherited through the male. This may be one of those things I've heard so many times I started believing it regardless of facts.

And it is probably time I bought a jacket.
 

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Hard to breed what you really want. We can only control so much if the genetics unless we have vast resources and the surrounding area/yards to influx the DCA's. We all pretty much have mutts. So give her Gene's a try I say Lol
 

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A fair % of any random caught swarms will survive the first winter without treatments.
Too lazy to look through my 5-year records, but I will say about 30% will survive just fine their first winter.

This is not an indication of any trend just yet.
It is rather an indication how much mite load the swarm brought along with them (which will vary).
Pretty much I conclude many commercial swarms will survive initially just because they originated from a well-treated source colony. So it gives them some breathing room over the first winter. Beyond that they are done.

(This is valid for my own situation, of course).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Make more 😁 Might breed out the meanness, might breed out the mite resistance. They have lived two years without treatments?
The answer is a bit loaded. In Aug/Sept of 2019 I used the first-ever treatments on my bees. I bought mite-away quick strips but only used 1/2 strip on top of frames. Within probably a week I removed them as to-this-day I really don't like putting chems in hives. However, I looked in my brother's hive a month or two later and discovered the partial strip I had placed there hadn't been removed. It was dried up into about a 2" square and remains there to this day. He almost never opens the hive and I think I was only in them once, to confirm that last year's swarm had indeed left a virgin queen.

They had cast a small secondary swarm in late April 2020 and had a small population. Honestly I thought they would be overrun by SHB and moths but they managed to draw out and fill a medium before year's end. So no treatment of any kind last year, and little the year before. They definitely had a complete brood break last spring, and I expect they have done this again.
 
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