Calm or Wolf in sheeps clothing

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grizzly 

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Hi everyone
When i started a year ago i had many conversations with Beekeepers about which bees are good for beginners, after many hours of thought, reading and browsing forums, i opted to requeen with Carniolans.

Namely because i had been advised on their calm and good natured temperament. ( i soon found this to be in part misleading)

I realise this has been spoken about, but i am always keen to hear which strain is preferred and what you feel about them, particularly as i have ordered a couple of New Zealand Banded for spring in order to try them out.

Again i have been told they are a much nicer bee then the carniolans to handle, being a new beekeeper i have yet to build up my own knowledge on the different types out there.

I realise many factors affect the bees temper and how they behave, lets just assume all that is fine, what would you go for and wish to keep working with. ?
 

Poly Hive 

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NZ q's ARE quiet. About the only positive comment I can make they certainly did NOT produce honey in NE Scotland.

PH
 

Hivemaker. 

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Also found the NZ to be very quiet,but personally thats about the only good thing i found about them,they built up very strong,anything they collected regards honey they ate most of it,did not know when to stop brooding and finally died of acarine,which they were very prone to getting.They used to keep them at the local school as well,most died of acarine. This was several years ago,perhaps the strains now are better?
 

admin 

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From the New Zealand bees I have handled and looked after I have found they are VERY calm and ideal for gardens or schools,the downside is they are prone to any disease going and eat everything they produce while forgeting when its time to reduce the brood.

They are the only bee I have worked to date that I am happy to work without gloves on.

They do seem to work a double brood box system well.

Not sure what the F1 are like though?
 

Polyanwood 

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I've ordered NZ queens too, because have got into rows with family and neighbours that our/their gardens have been unusable for 2 years. I did notice that people with them did seem to get less honey, but they were so much milder than mine that I have gone for it. I think the ones I have ordered are Carniolians. If I don't manage to control swarming better than I did last year, I will let you know what the F1 hybrids are like.

Hoping that this year's beekeeping is less embarassing than last year's.
 

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I maybe wrong Poly but I think the New Zealand queens have mainly (Cordovan)Italian blood in them rather than Carny.

The ones I managed had a lovely golden yellow colour to them and the queen was almost pure leather in colour with no black.
 

ian 

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Hi all

In regards to F1 NZ queens they are generally very good. Or at least that was my experience in my location.

When I first started keeping bees NZ was one of the few places you could bring bees in from. A friend of mine was bringing them in and we would raise queens from the couple of breeders we had.

In general they retain many of the good qualities (temper) with the bonus of being hardier with increased vigour. This is the reason many commercial guys
like/use/rear F1 type queens, the queens that are reared from these pure queens even when open mated provide consistent results (in general ;-))

Some problems do arise, and be aware that many UK reared queens sold as X race will already be F1 as we have few if any secure mating areas. Although some do try with varying success. This in itself often leads to some complaining about x race or another or even F1 queens when in fact what they have is several generations down the line, and no great surprise that they turn out CARP:cuss:


However after all of that we don't use them now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Regards Ian
 

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The first secret of beekeeping it to get good queens.

My opinion is that breeded Italian is better to beginner.
I nursed carniolan s 10 years and they are eager to swarm.

In my apiary pure carniolan swarmed first, then crossed and a month later after pure Italians. It was hard to keep them in hive if carnional got into they mind that they swarm.


But there are tens of stocks and strains and what ever in races. It depend how selective queen breeder has been.

One question is, have you possibility to keep the stock clean. Mostly answer is no. After 2 generations queens may be what ever.

"nature knows best and beekeeper nothing" that is awfull attitude in beekeeping. Listen to bees ...S*.*
The idea is that if beepeeker does not know, he can at least try to learn.

.

.
 

Chris B 

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I bought 2 nucs from different sources in my first year beekeeping. One nuc was yellow bees (presumably Italians) and they were the most gentle bees I've ever had, absolutely great for a beginner or anyone with neighbour problems.
I bought them in July and they superseded the queen in September.
The following spring the colony was so huge it swarmed at the end of April. I caught the swarm and hived it. About 3 weeks later the swarm swarmed. After that they settled and the new queens were just as gentle as before.
Honeymaking was okay but not as good as my darker bees. (Or more accurately their honey making great but only a bit ahead of their honey consumption). I had no disease problems.

If you've got neighbour problems the Italians are great if you can put up with the downsides.

Chris
 

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To beginner swarming is the most harmfull thing because the beginner does not know how to prevent it.
Enlargening of hives in right time is important.

It the hive swarm. Is ability to forage honey is spoiled after swarming.
 

Polyanwood 

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I maybe wrong Poly but I think the New Zealand queens have mainly (Cordovan)Italian blood in them rather than Carny.

The ones I managed had a lovely golden yellow colour to them and the queen was almost pure leather in colour with no black.
Unfortunately I am often wrong. I went to see his bees before I ordered, They were smaller, browner and hairier than my Italian mongrels. What do Carniolans look like?
 

Polyanwood 

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Thanks. Maybe they will be Carniolans then. They don't look hairy, but perhaps I was looking when there were lots of new bees.

Is the pattern of the queen laying typical too of Carnis? The hives I looked like had a pattern more like your picture - a bit random. My Italians tend to lay in a spiral, starting from the centre, so usually there are concentric circles of brood of the same age.
Am I imagining this or is this a difference that happens with different strains of bee?
 

Poly Hive 

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Swarming.

Most beginners cannot control it for the very simple reason they cannot find queens.

PH
 

jimbeekeeper 

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Rottweiler?s are very good dogs when kept correctly, but lock one up day and night in a flat and see what happens!
 

Polyanwood 

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Preventing Swarming

Ok thanks.

So now we are well off topic..
I think most beginners (including myself) cannot control swarming because even if you find the queen - easy once she is marked - how do you know she has enough room to lay? Books just don't make it clear. And on top of that how do you know that there is a flow on? With a flow on, space is even more at a premium.

If you can make that clear, you will will be given a big thank you.
 

Poly Hive 

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Polyanwood?

Rows with neighbours?

FWIW I would suggest you find an out apiary as if the neighbours are on the alert they are not going to settle over the issue.

What is so casually forgotten is that what to the beekeeper is a minor issue, namely being stung; to the non bee person it is a HUGE issue. Massive. Enormous.

And dinna forget it. EVER.

Bees can and do kill. Animals and humans both. This minor wee detail should be taken into account and of course these days solicitors solicit... bee warned.

PH
 

Poly Hive 

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How do you know if there is a flow on?

Watch your returning foragers. Bum down they are laden. Cross check? Open the hive, pull a brood comb and shake gently, nectar will rain out of it.

Beginners never or rarely super far enough in advance and of course nor do they have enough comb. So. Give the first super and move the combs around as they get started to get them drawn asap. Then put another box on but but use your already drawn combs to sandwich the foundation between them as bees find that a lot less daunting to deal with.

Until you can offer them storage space they slap it into the empty brood cells restricting the queen and lo kick them nto swarm mode.

How fast can a good colony move? Three supers in five days? I jest not.

PH
 

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