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Carniolans or what is most available. What do other beekeepers use where you live? If you are anywhere near where Dave Miksa lives, go get some of his.
 

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well that is only true till you get caught... I bet if that guy goes to prision (hopefully) he will think all those queens suck! (EDIT: if anyone was confused as to WHO I was talking about I was referring to Mr. Josey that was the one being referred to in the post about "stolen bees")

(you guys shouldn't edit whole posts... It changes the context of other posts reaponding to your post)

from what I've been reading each strain has differennt traits that will make each one good or bad depending on your purpose...

but I'm a newb so I am going on what I've read...

most recommended beginer queen seems to be the "italian"
sean
 

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im a big fan of Dark bees -- they were here until about 75 years ago - then they imported the Itailians - everyone wanted them because they had "color"

but the Dark bees survive the winter better (here in Washington) but itatians build up faster in the spring

there are several pages on the web that seperate the different honeybees as to pros and cons of them - just have to goggle it
 

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im a big fan of Dark bees -- they were here until about 75 years ago - then they imported the Itailians - everyone wanted them because they had "color"

but the Dark bees survive the winter better (here in Washington) but itatians build up faster in the spring

there are several pages on the web that seperate the different honeybees as to pros and cons of them - just have to goggle it
Agreed with the above statement. Always used Italians in the past and didn't think twice about it. Using Carni's for now and they are a great strain for our climate in the Pac-NW. Now looking at giving the Russians a try for a future "natural" hive project. Want to get away from hive maintainance and chemicals in the worst way. Concrete-Bees How are your new black bee's doing? Any idea how their temperment is?
 

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Agreed with the above statement. Always used Italians in the past and didn't think twice about it. Using Carni's for now and they are a great strain for our climate in the Pac-NW. Now looking at giving the Russians a try for a future "natural" hive project. Want to get away from hive maintainance and chemicals in the worst way. Concrete-Bees How are your new black bee's doing? Any idea how their temperment is?
I've been selectively collecting feral bees in my area over the last 3 years. I guess I haven't been crazy selective, because free bees are free bees, but the top performers are colonies that were 2 to 4 year overwintering colonies before I came and removed them. Most have been obvious muts tending to the dark side, with individual queens laying workers from completely blonde to fully dark.

With only one exception, all of them were better then the packages I've purchased. First year package survival has been 50/50 for many of the beeks I've talked to. By "better" I mean in just about every way. For example, take last years colony I removed from an outbuilding on Boeing property down in Kent. I had to remove them in early July 2009. I salvaged only 5 frames of brood, but by early Septmeber they build up to 2 full deeps of comb (foundationless) without any help. They went into winter heavy, were stingy with resource consumption and still had 40 lbs of honey in late February. They brooded up crazy quick this spring; probalby because they are out flying in 43 deg F weather and in the rain (my orchard mason bees were put to shame); they put up ~40 lbs. spring flow honey, I don't have to smoke them, and they are as calm as can be even when digging deep into the hive. Yep, I've got a soft spot for these ass-kicking 'wild' girls.

~Reid

p.s. And I've already got two splits from them that were mated and laying in late-April.
 

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I've been selectively collecting feral bees in my area over the last 3 years.
With only one exception, all of them were better then the packages I've purchased. By "better" I mean in just about every way. They went into winter heavy, were stingy with resource consumption and still had 40 lbs of honey in late February. They brooded up crazy quick this spring; probalby because they are out flying in 43 deg F weather and in the rain. they put up ~40 lbs. spring flow honey, I don't have to smoke them, and they are as calm as can be even when digging deep into the hive. Yep, I've got a soft spot for these ass-kicking 'wild' girls.

~Reid
Reid. Thats what I mean. Good hardy bees that perform well in cool rainy climates, are gentle and less treatments. And they where free, (in your case). A guy out here on the peninsula sells russian/feral/hygienic crosses. They are dark bees and are well rated. Another guy out here has several hives of dark bees he's caught by way of loggers working way out in the woods and he loves them. The dark bees seem to have some advantages, for this area anyways.
 

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Reid....A guy out here on the peninsula sells Russian/feral/hygienic crosses. .
Sounds like you're talking about Olympic Wilderness Apiary. My buddy in North Kitsap is going to requeen with their bees next year and I'll be handing off a number of queens to him as well. Like a number of people I'm trying to get a nice genetic mix in my general area to raise some nice queen. I feel pretty good where I'm at now with the hives in my urban home apiary. All multiple year feral survivors. If all goes as planned I'm going to start handing out queens from the best of them to friends to really get a good evaluation of which colonies are really producing the surivors. Maybe we'll see a trend over the years. Maybe not, but I sure like the stock I've been able to get my hands on.
. . . Another guy out here has several hives of dark bees he's caught by way of loggers working way out in the woods and he loves them. The dark bees seem to have some advantages, for this area anyways.
Nice! I'm planning on doing the same eventually. My family has a fair bit of timber land in Kitsap, Mason, and Pierce Counties. As a kid my grandfather and I used to go check out an old bee tree down by Wye Lake. That tree had dark bees in it for decades! I can't say if it was always the same colony of course, but I'd like to believe that they were at least related. This fall, after the flows, I'm going to do some bee hunting and find some of those colonies and set out some bait hives in 2011, as well as mark the trees and enter their locations as a layer into our GIS system so we can be sure not to cut or otherwise damage their homes if/when we log those areas.
If you're on friendly terms with that guy with the dark bees, let him know that I'd be interested in trading stock from time to time (or anyone else that feels they have something special). There no reason to keep good bees just for yourself. In fact, coveting something that good is probably the wrong thing to do.
~Reid
 
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