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My bees died after an exeptionally hard winter. I’m giving it a second try and a local beekeeper recomended ordering Russian bees…he said they are very hardy in the winter. My only concern is their temperment – I’ve heard they can be more aggressive, is this true? – and their tendancy to swarm. Any infor appreciated! :)
 

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I had some of "fat/beeman's" Russians and they were very calm.

I just received some of Charlie Harper's queens this morning so I will be having an authentic Russian bee experience...

I'm glad you have more bees coming.
 

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I purchased two three pound Russian-Carniolan packages this year. I also lost my first year Italians this last winter. I have just had them two weeks. I worked them for the first time last weekend. The queens were very easy to find, had a good looking pattern of eggs and the hive was really calm. They have been working on the drawn comb that was left from last years hives. They are bringing in pollen and I guess nectar too since they have slowed down on taking the syrup from the top feeder. I plan to keep them on the feed for at least a full month as recommended by the supplier. I am very excited to see how it goes this year. I hope you have good luck.
 

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I've had Russians for 4 years now and really like them. I've never had a problem with swarming. One needs to treat Russians a little different and use more aggressive swarm preventiI'on methods. They build up slow but when the first flow hits, they explode and you have to keep an eye on them. Give them plenty of room and ventilation and you will be fine. As far as being aggressive. They've bred that out of them. Stick to the Russian bee breeder's assoc. for queens and you will be happy. They have very strict rules for their program. Russians always seem to have swarm cells around but then destoy them and then build more. I think it is just a trait of the breed. I have a "hot" hive now but I think the queen has been supersceded. If you keep the strain pure, the past complaints about them will not be viable.
 

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I had two hives of Russians last year and one died out in February. The second hive seems to be struggling going into spring here in Maine. I gave them hard candy in early March and they never touched it. Since then, I've given them treated sugar water (1-1) as well as a Dadant brood patty and there's still no sign of them really taking to either. I went into the hive yesterday and found a small cluster with the marked queen from last year, but no sign of eggs. I know Russians build slow, but it seems like she should be laying and building up by now? While there aren't a lot of bees, the hive doesn't seem to be dying out either -- so I assume she's laying some. Not sure if I should stick it out and see how she does or requeen? Any thoughts?
 

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I have Fat/beemans russians, and the only complaint is that I can't get more soon enough;

The die outs I have had are easily attributed to beekeeper error; the survivors are booming - they get a bit testy during a dearth because they don't have enough to do, but with a flow on they pretty much ignore me
 

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How unfortunate, Olive.

Another question, besides what kind, is Protection from the elements ?

Windbreaks ?
Snowy winters ?

This has a greater effect on survival as one would think.

Both my Russians did fine, however, they're given all the means to tackle the brutal weather when needed. I'll work within a couple feet of them almost every day and not be concerned about them attacking me. More importantly, go with what you know best.
 

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I have had a few russian hives for about six years now ,with no treatments whatsoever, just plain sugar water in the early spring to keep them from starving.As long as they have a laying queen , most of the time they are sweethearts, dont pay me a bit of attention.When they are not queenright or there is a nectar dearth on they are a little harder to handle,usually a couple of stings if I "have "to open them up for some reason. I will be doing splits from these hives now and ordering more queens later in the spring after the initial rush is over...JOHN
 
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