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Bee Variety Question for Zone 5

Posted by plantinellen 5 (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 30, 11 at 19:04

We're beginning beekeepers, in Zone 5. Our first bees were just "run-of-the-mill" Italian or mostly Italian (I say this because the bees in one hive are slightly larger and lighter in color than the other) bees ordered via our state's Dadant store.

We are keeping our expectations modest about the viability of our hives this first year -- of course we want to keep them alive this winter, but even the veteran beekeepers we talked to this spring were telling us they were experiencing almost 50 percent mortality in some cases. And -- we won an extra beehive in a raffle that we're keeping in the garage, that we may set up next spring anyway for a total of three hives.

So in any case we may be in the market for package bees again next year. And we've also learned of another, in-state source for package bees that will sell specific varieties, either as packages or varietal queens.

We've heard lots of good things about Carniolan bees, and some mixed messages about their Russian cousins.

This question is for folks who've had some experience raising both standard Italian bees and these varieties: Which ones do you prefer, and why? Have you ever tried crossing one variety with another?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Bee Variety Question for Zone 5

Good for you!
My two package of Italian race I installed several years ago, since, I purchased several Carniolan Queens because I found the Italians a bit temperamental. Now I have a mix but it seems the Italians are a stronger race and the mixed color on the bees, black and yellow is slowly fading away and looking more like Italians then Carniolan's. I was up to 8 hives. Sold some and I'm down to two.

The Italians are hard working bees and can get you more honey I found out. The Canie's are so nice to work with but a little less honey ...I didn't mind at all.

There is hardly a pure race out there, a mix is probably better.
I haven't purchased any Queens for about 3 years...I let them make their own.

Our bee club advised me to install 2 packages into brand new equipment for a start, this way, one is 100% sure you're starting with 0 disease...drawing new comb with feeding syrup.

Heaving 2 hives you'll have another for comparison if
something goes wrong. I'm glad I followed this advise.

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