Buckfast

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Wilco 

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I've found that a lot of bees that are classed as bad temperament become pussycats when they are handled properly ... I helped out a new beekeeper this year who was complaining that his bees were the bees from hell. I watched him inspect the first hive which was, (according to him) the better of the two - he swamped them in smoke through the entrance, then crashed the crownboard off and they came up at us like the swarm from hell .....I just told him to shut them up and leave them be.

I then did the second hive, gently cracked the crownboard, tiny puff of smoke before I lifted it - gave them time, pulled the end frame out (there was no dummy board) and very gently went through the frames .... you would hardly think the bees noticed that we were there ... They were buckies and really very calm.

So ... yes, there are agressive colonies and depending on the weather and the forage they can be unpleasant to handle but I rather suspect that the way some beekeepers handle their inspections may be as much to blame as the bees.

The bloke I was helping had taken his inspection technique from some USA You tube videos .... scary ! He tells me his bees have now completely changed and are a joy to handle ....I do wonder.

My bees are mainly small black ones - three colonies from Ceri Morgan queens ... plus a few colonies of local mongrels which are also predominantly small and black. I've really never had much of a problem with any of my colonies - past or present - although I have experienced a few that have been really unpleasant to even get near let alone inspect and one colony, sold to a new beekeeper as a 'good colony', that were true haridens ... Vile, stingy, defensive, following ... ghastly experience and requeening them was a nightmare. It put the poor woman off beekeeping altogether and she gave up - although after requeening the bees were much better.

Buckies from a reputable breeder seem to me to be a good starter bee for anyone coming in to the craft - on balance they do seem to offer enough good traits to get a new beek off the ground without too many problems.
Agree there is a lot to be said for the beekeeper and their keeping style. Mine calmed down even more when I used water spray rather than smoke over the Summer and I've noticed the more gentle you are the calmer they are next time. They remember!
 

coffindodger 

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Buckfast are lovely to handle although many, including myself, have found superceding or walk away increasing does lead to a sudden appearance of very nasty bees. Nothing is written in stone, it's a case of being prepared. There is no doubt that bees on a mono-crop such as rape do become touchy and this seems to apply to all.
 

Patrick1 

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I started with Carniolans as a beginner. Gentle but I was not expert enough to control swarming.
Moved to buckfast - lovely temperament ,less swarmy, good yield.
Trialled one Jolanta Q (Denrosa,ITLD) last year. Will have four this coming year.. nice, prolific not swarmy.


My experience of local black bees is not repeatable in public!
Carniolans have a bad rep for swarming, usually from beekeepers with Nationals but you have Langstroth as I do, I use a lot of double brood boxes and that seems to help. Buckfast are probably the most reliable of the main ones available, Bro Adams spent many years importing and mixing to get the breed he wanted, lets hop ewe can keep enough breeding stock going for the future.
 

Gilberdyke John 

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As a new beekeeper, part way through the basic course and hoping to get started in the spring, my classmates and I have been warned off having Buckfast queens in the first couple of years. Is this the general consensus?
No - I suspect someone has listened to too much personal opinion from an interested party with an axe to grind. There is a possibility that subsequent generations of daughter queens might become problematic regarding behaviour of their offspring but that's a problem that isn't restricted to buckfasts and can be dealt with reasonably simply if it does occur. Just enjoy the fruits of the bees labour and the honey they produce. Being productive might require better swarm control so read up and familiarise yourself with what's involved. Here's just one method from a UK beekeeping association
 

pargyle 

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I would ignore the advice in that video about leaving two QCs, surefire way of ending up having a cast swarm emerge
I agree - But if you keep 2 then put the spare one in a nuc or apidea with some bees .... at least you then have the option of a spare queen if things go badly and the one you have left does not get mated or disappears on her mating flight ... you can always re-combine with the best queen out of the three boxes if you don't want to increase colonies.
 

Buzzlodge 

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As a new beekeeper, part way through the basic course and hoping to get started in the spring, my classmates and I have been warned off having Buckfast queens in the first couple of years. Is this the general consensus?
You don't say where you are located. Many areas in Ireland, for example, are black bee conservation areas, so taking in buckfasts into such areas would not be appreciated by your local association.
 

Erichalfbee 

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You don't say where you are located. Many areas in Ireland, for example, are black bee conservation areas, so taking in buckfasts into such areas would not be appreciated by your local association.
OP is not in Ireland.
 

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