I'm going to be lined up and shot.......

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Nubian 

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At least that's what seems to happen to anyone here in Ireland who is bold enough to countenance crossing over to the dark (buckfast) side........

I'm in my second full season with bees but since my 'large' amm. colony re-queened themselves last summer (gaining some stripey jerseys in the process) they've become a modified dadant sized box of unpleasantness. In order to remove some honey in the autumn I needed two sweaters and two pairs of trousers under my beesuit to fend the blighters off.....
I'd hoped it was just 'time of the year' but this year's first inspection on Saturday past was more of the same. It's supposed to be fun, but this certainly isn't. And when I think about it, even though they were a lot quieter before the re-queen, I certainly couldn't ever envisage handling them without leather gloves.

So I think I'll probably give the Buckies a go, but having read through the extensive debate on this forum the consensus seems to be that buckfasts can be good, but only if you get a quality queen, from a quality breeder, to start with.

My question then is.... who are the 'quality' breeders ? Are good stocks obtainable in the UK / Ireland or does one need to import from Denmark / Germany. Or even Romania ?
I'm not looking for 'premium' bloodlines, just something that will give me a couple of years' pain-free beekeeping, after which I won't mind getting the wallet out again.

I'm sure you'll all understand that 'asking around locally' isn't a particularly attractive proposition.......
 

Poly Hive 

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There are some noted Amm breeders not that far from you. You might be more popular asking them?

PH
 

Quis Custodiet 

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There are quality bees of the Buckfast strain available in Ireland. Several prominent members of the Irish Native Honey Bee Society keep cross-bred Buckfasts. You see after being crossed twice or three times with local bees, the resulting progeny becomes black and remains more docile than the locals. But they still retain much of their vigour.....so lots of bees to make nucs to sell!
You might quite reasonably and wisely question the above, so perhaps ask the above Society why the DNA results have not been released despite the testing being done on Irish bee stocks well over three years ago? I doubt there is a bee in Ireland with enough native genes to to enable it to be described as native. Morphometry, a less exact science, is now being promoted instead of DNA testing.
So feel free to go ahead and get your Buckfast bees and enjoy them....you will not be alone! :redface:
 

Nubian 

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So feel free to go ahead and get your Buckfast bees and enjoy them....you will not be alone! :redface:
Aha...! We seem to have extracted a confession :rolleyes:

So, can you give me any actual names ?

Googling the issue points one in the direction of Sligo (stopping off at the ballroom of romance on the way.....) Is that a good solution, or can similar results be obtained closer to home ?
 

alfazer 

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I would suggest trying to get a queen from another local beekeeper or if you aren't already in a local association, to join one and get a queen from someone there. It doesn't need to have a label on its head like Amm or Buckfast to mean it's calm, just something local from calm stock.

I'm not going line you up and shoot, but i thought importing bees is something we should try to avoid.
 

derekm 

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We have had bees in early spring that would be puss cats at outside 17c but terrors at 14c. Wait for really warm then inspect and decide
 

Quis Custodiet 

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Aha...! We seem to have extracted a confession :rolleyes:

So, can you give me any actual names ?
I shall send you a p.m. with the requested information and also the names of "some noted AMM breeders" ..........so you can avoid them! There is no point in buying cross bred stock when better is available. Hivemaker rears excellent stock if you would care to buy in the English West Country.
 
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I would suggest trying to get a queen from another local beekeeper or if you aren't already in a local association, to join one and get a queen from someone there. It doesn't need to have a label on its head like Amm or Buckfast to mean it's calm, just something local from calm stock.

I'm not going line you up and shoot, but i thought importing bees is something we should try to avoid.
Please take note of ALFRAZER before you line yourself up with the factory farmer's bees.

At the end of the day it is YOUR choice of what type of bee to keep, but to give a generalist label denotes a lack of understanding of beekeeping... I have met nasty and calm bees of all kinds of subspiecies... but cut a bit of slack for your fellow local beekeepers as they probably have the experience to produce calm and productive bees that are suited to you particular environmental conditions.

Just importing say" Buckfast" or " Flipsteiner " bees will not solve you problem!

Myttin da
 
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Little John 

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I shall send you a p.m. with the requested information and also the names of "some noted AMM breeders" ..........so you can avoid them! There is no point in buying cross bred stock when better is available.
So I'm not alone in having had this experience then ? I'll send a PM with same info.
LJ
 
B

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Just importing say" Buckfast" or " Flipsteiner " bees will not solve you problem!
Not sure about the fictitious flipsteiner bees, but Buckfast/Carniolan or Italian queens will solve your problem. The restraint is that you cannot breed successive generations of new queens from them that will have the same characteristics and you will have to purchase more queens. This is due to any queens you breed mating with local drones and within a couple of generations your stock has reverted to the local mongrel norm.
Make sure you know the difference between an open mated Queen and an Island/Isolated queen. The later are more expensive but you can breed from these queens (one generation, the F1) which will be almost guaranteed fine.

If you run colonies head by .local vs what you have bought queens side by side in the same apiary you can make your own mind up as to which you prefer.
 
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Not sure about the fictitious flipsteiner bees, but Buckfast/Carniolan or Italian queens will solve your problem. The restraint is that you cannot breed successive generations of new queens from them that will have the same characteristics and you will have to purchase more queens. This is due to any queens you breed mating with local drones and within a couple of generations your stock has reverted to the local mongrel norm.
Make sure you know the difference between an open mated Queen and an Island/Isolated queen. The later are more expensive but you can breed from these queens (one generation, the F1) which will be almost guaranteed fine.

If you run colonies head by .local vs what you have bought queens side by side in the same apiary you can make your own mind up as to which you prefer.
I have been down this unsustainable road of importing queens that were as Finman puts it catch and release... good for one season then rubbish in next... good money for your importers tho!

Yeghes da
 

Quis Custodiet 

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I have been down this unsustainable road of importing queens that were as Finman puts it catch and release... good for one season then rubbish in next... good money for your importers tho!

Yeghes da
That is not what Finman was referring to when he used that expression.:rolleyes:. Good try though!
If you have time on your hands.............you could perhaps answer that question I have repeatedly asked? ;)
 

Teemore 

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Good afternoon Nubian,
Being based in County Down, I am going to guess that you are a member of or at least near to either Dromore BKA, Killinchy or possibly Rostrevor & Warrenpoint BKA. I would encourage you to source bees through one of those associations. There is quite a bit of work going on around you in terms of Queen rearing and I am of the position that it is more beneficial to work with and through such initiatives.
 

Teemore 

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There are quality bees of the Buckfast strain available in Ireland. Several prominent members of the Irish Native Honey Bee Society keep cross-bred Buckfasts. You see after being crossed twice or three times with local bees, the resulting progeny becomes black and remains more docile than the locals. But they still retain much of their vigour.....so lots of bees to make nucs to sell!
You might quite reasonably and wisely question the above, so perhaps ask the above Society why the DNA results have not been released despite the testing being done on Irish bee stocks well over three years ago? I doubt there is a bee in Ireland with enough native genes to to enable it to be described as native. Morphometry, a less exact science, is now being promoted instead of DNA testing.
So feel free to go ahead and get your Buckfast bees and enjoy them....you will not be alone! :redface:
Not again!

Despite your statement that you had an informant attend the NIHBS conference, you persist with this nonsensical waffle about failure to publish research. Anyone who attended the NIHBS conference will have explained to you the expected timeframe for formal publication so please stop trying to stir the pot.
 

Quis Custodiet 

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Not again!

Despite your statement that you had an informant attend the NIHBS conference, you persist with this nonsensical waffle about failure to publish research. Anyone who attended the NIHBS conference will have explained to you the expected timeframe for formal publication so please stop trying to stir the pot.
Not stirring any pot, but stating facts. The native honey bee society commenced DNA research years ago and the results were to be available a relatively short time later.....this did not happen. Samples were also sent to the Apigenics lab in Switzerland...again no results published. Lots of waffle/waffle but no hard facts on the amount of Native DNA contained in the AMM bees found currently in Ireland. I put it to you that it was Continental DNA that was found.
 
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Not stirring any pot, but stating facts. The native honey bee society commenced DNA research years ago and the results were to be available a relatively short time later.....this did not happen. Samples were also sent to the Apigenics lab in Switzerland...again no results published. Lots of waffle/waffle but no hard facts on the amount of Native DNA contained in the AMM bees found currently in Ireland. I put it to you that it was continental DNA that was found.
Seems to be little understanding concerning the complex nature of DNA of honeybees... with the constant and irresponsible importation of foreign sub species into the British Isles and within other countries in and around the range of Apis mellifera there will be a certain amount of introgression within any of the sub species.

The unpublished results that I have seen so far indicate that the purity levels of Apis mellifera mellifera are high.....

( I would suggest getting a molecular biologist to explain the technology involved before describing DNA as " continental "!)

Yeghes da
 
B

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I have been down this unsustainable road of importing queens that were as Finman puts it catch and release... good for one season then rubbish in next... good money for your importers tho!

My records show than in a poor season (one where well adapted local bees should thrive) my imported queens average around 100lbs of honey per hive; compared to about 30lb max from the local well adapted mongrels. That is 70lbs of honey extra at, lets say, £4 profit per lb jar sold....that's £280 quids of EXTRA honey money for a £35 queen......
And that is in a poor season!
Economically speaking its a no-brainer.
 

gavin 

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Not stirring any pot, but stating facts. The native honey bee society commenced DNA research years ago and the results were to be available a relatively short time later.....this did not happen. Samples were also sent to the Apigenics lab in Switzerland...again no results published. Lots of waffle/waffle but no hard facts on the amount of Native DNA contained in the AMM bees found currently in Ireland. I put it to you that it was continental DNA that was found.
This is Trump-like in its veracity. NIHBS is supporting PhD students, not doing research themselves directly, and if you want publications you'll have to wait until the students are ready. Their results are very clear and nothing like the statement above.
 

Swarm 

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Unfortunately you get it every time AMM are mentioned :rolleyes:
 

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