Italians have been the mainstay of package producers forever. They build up early and big....perfect for shaking packages early in the season. Many folks buy an Italian package, then later buy a summer queen of their preference, pinch the Italian, introduce the new queen and.....voila!
That's my plan for this year. My order for northern nucs fell through so it's packages for me this year. I'll be trying my hand at queen rearing to replace the package queens, no matter what their variey, with northern bred queens from my existing gene pool.
I had Italians in Mass. forever they do just fine. I have Italians in syracuse, far worse winters than Mass. they do just fine. Look around locally for Nucs with local queens they will do just fine. If you can't find any try calling Frank LaGrant in ware Mass. he doesn't sell nucs anymore but May know where you can get some as he sold his buisness. Also last I knew there was a person in Conn. selling nucs. but no information on them.
I noticed there are alot more italians available this year too.
You can go to the various county beekeeping websites for lists of people selling packages and local nucs as well.
I bought some local stock last year from a couple of different people that were selling nucs.
There are still some with nucs available but I wouldn't wait too long.
I'm in Ottawa and have Italians. We call them the Ontario bee. They do fine. That's because even though they come from Italians, they're not from Italy. True, our forfathers brought the real deal from Europe some 250 years ago. And I suspect they were probably a fragile lot and suffered losses due to our Canadian winters. But the strongest survived. And from them, the race has been hybridized with local bees for generations. The result is a much hardier "italian".
Almost all bees today are mutts. The Russian Breeders sell out real quick so they don't have to advertise. Those with VHS an MN Hygenic sell out real quick also. Like some one said the Italians shake out real easy build up quick, have a large cluster going into fall. Rob out and destroy several of their neighbors, and then starve theirseves from having too large of a cluster. If the mites haven't killed them. Making it necessary to buy more nucs/packages in the spring. Not saying others don't do this some but not like the Italians. What they have told you is right about requeening. Sometimes you can find Russian Queens and others thru the summer. In around 42 days you will have a hive of the genetics that you requeen with. Bye Bye Italians, and thanks for the past.:applause:
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