Buckfast bees?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by Unregistered-1427815803, Jul 23, 2004.

  1. I've read about Buckfast bees and researched them on the net, but my tiny little brain seems to be missing a few things.

    They were developed from the English brown bee and the Italian, so I assume that means they're a hybrid...does this mean that one cannot buy a package of them and expect the colony to thrive and grow and eventually swarm for years to come, because through natural breeding they may (will) revert back to whatever and become genetically wierded out? In other words, they aren't a "race" like Italians or Carnolians and won't breed true?
    Or have they been developed and genetically diversified enough that they are now an official "race" that will breed true? I'm all confused.

    The Weaver place in Texas is the official Buckfast HQ, but from the web sites I've seen they're being bred in many other places, with many varying traits. Some places say they're super gentle and others say they're more aggressive than average. So is there even a breed, or is it more of an ongoing experiment?

    Thanks for your help...I hope somebody can clear this up for me.
     
  2. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Well, I don't know the answer to many of your questions, but I WILL say that a virgin queen will mate with drones of another hive. That means that your second generation will not be purebred buckfast. Unless you buy queens every year, your bees will become Buckfast crossbreeds.
     

  3. Thanks, Terri. I only plan to have one hive, maybe two if the first one swarms, and only one kind of bees. There aren't any other hives in the area, so all I'm really concerned about as far as crossbreeding is the hybrid genetics. Like you mentioned, the 2nd generation and all generations after that is where things get interesting.
    I've found several apiaries on the web offering other hybrids, like Russian crosses and "All-Stars" or something like that. I can't believe that people would be selling packages of these things if it were necessary to import semen and artificially inseminate or requeen every year to keep the strain genetics on track. Who is going to want to mess with that?
    Maybe my brain is just overly stuck in gardening, where if you plant the seed of a hybrid fruit you'll end up with maybe nothing, maybe some deformed peculiar thing, or maybe a throwback to the primitive ancestor of the fruit.
    Perhaps it doesn't work that way with bees, and you can buy a package of Russians or Buckfasts or whatever and they'll keep on breeding true as whatever they are with no problems? After all, many dog and horse breeds started out as intentional crosses, and they now breed true.
    Gaaaaaaa, I'm so confused.
     
  4. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    "There aren't any other hives in the area, so all I'm really concerned about as far as crossbreeding is the hybrid genetics."


    There are almost certainly other hives in your area, either owned by people who don't want the neighbors to know about their bees, or wild hives. Sometimes it is easier not to tell the neighbors what you are doing.

    Having other hives in the area is a good thing, too. Unlike most domestic animals, there is a major fertility loss when you inbreed a honey bee. An inbred queen can lay as many as 50% non-viable eggs. It is called a "shotgun pattern".

    A honey bee will fly as far as 3 miles to look for nectar, and I believe a virgin queen on a mating flight can go just as far. At pie times the radius squared, that is what, 27+ square miles? SOMEWHERE in that area, there should be a hive!

    And, the drones should be able to find your virgin queens on their mating flights with no trouble at all. That's why drones have such big eyes: they see VERY well! A drones job is to fly out on lovely days and fly in circles, looking for a queen. It is the only work that they do.

    If a queen is not satisfied that the job has been done, she will fly out again the next day, and the next. Just because YOU do not see bees in your area doesn't mean that SHE cannot! Bees tend to be VERY good at finding each other!
     
  5. Actually, the only wild beeish things we have here are types of bumble bees and assorted wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, etc. I don't think they can interbreed with honeybees, but maybe I'm wrong??
    As for neighbors with hives, the closest neighbors are six miles to the north, seasonal, and I am positive that none of them keep bees. After them, it's another twenty miles or so of nobody. To the south it's five miles to a tavern run by an insane young fellow and then thirty miles to a roadhouse. East and West are unpopulated wilderness.
    So unless I'm wrong about the bumble bees and such interbreeding with honeybees, that's the local bee situation and while I do greatly appreciate the help I get on this forum I devoutly wish people would quit arguing with me about bees present in my area. It's really really annoying and belittling, even if it's not intended that way.
    Thanks.
     
  6. Just wanted to re-emphasize how much I like this forum and the people on it...and thank you Terri for your help with this. It's just that it seems like everybody immediately jumps on the other bees not in my area thing no matter what the thread is about. I realize mine is a unique situation and all the advice everyone has given on this is good and true for most places, it just gets under my skin when people second-guess me instead of simply taking my word for what the case is and working from that...on any subject or forum. Argh.
    But it's not a big deal and I hope nobody is offended by my little rant.
    And thanks again everybody for all your help and wisdom.
     
  7. Oregonsparkie

    Oregonsparkie Well-Known Member

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    Like terri said you would be surprised on the number of domestic and wild hive around. A hollow in a tree, in a outbuilding, etc... Ive even taken them out of a roll of tar paper this year.

    I live within 1/2 mile of 20 - 50 hives and never knew it and with that much acreage then you probably have a hive somewhere near. One thing I have learned is that bees know what they are doing... It was a hard lesson for me( and still is)... They just dont seem to do what we want and do what they want...
     
  8. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    "It's just that it seems like everybody immediately jumps on the other bees not in my area thing no matter what the thread is about. I realize mine is a unique situation and all the advice everyone has given on this is good and true for most places, it just gets under my skin when people second-guess me instead of simply taking my word for what the case is and working from that...on any subject or forum."

    Uh, unregistered?

    Perhaps it would help if you stuck a name at the end of your posts?

    That way, you don't HAVE to register for us to know that you are the bee-person unregistered, as opposed to the dog-person unregistered, or the varmints-in-my-trashcan unregistered. :(

    Cause, the are SEVERAL unregistered people on this forum, and some of them know next to nothing about bees. :no:


    I was NOT trying to be condescending, I was just trying to talk about bee behavior with someone who may-or may not- know anything about bees. I apologize if I came across as tactless. :eek:

    But, a name-ANY name- WOULD help us keep straight who we are talking to!
     
  9. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    Pedigreed bees. I bought into part of this when I started. I even bought a couple of queens. I then realized I was buying bugs for $12. The best part was how the bought bugs left and the hives superceded. I now raise mutt bees with less aggravation and more understanding of what is going on.
     
  10. South of Forty

    South of Forty Active Member

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    I own hives that were started by Buckfast bees from b weaver. I originally bought 2 3 pound packages and a few years later bought 4 3 pound packages. I haven't had to buy any bees in quite a few years now- all the great great grandparents are the buckfast, and I believe they have kept the traits intact-I do not treat for tracheal mite and only once a year for the varroa. I am pleased with their gentleness and honey production but as they are my first and only type of bees I dont have any thing to compare them to.
     
  11. reginabee

    reginabee Well-Known Member

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    I am a new beekeeper and was thinking of starting with buckfast bees. I know that italian bees are generally recommended, but I really like the idea of gentle mite and nosema resistant bees... who doesn't? Are there any pros and cons?Thanks for any direction! Reginabee
     
  12. indypartridge

    indypartridge Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hello Reginabee,
    Buckfasts aren't necessarily any more gentle or mite resistant than Italians. I recommend getting bees locally; bees that are well adapted to your particular climate. Find a local bee club and make connections with a nearby beekeeper who sells nucs.
     
  13. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper keeper of the bees Staff Member Supporter

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    I have lived in this house for 22 years. For 18 years I never knew any body had bee hives in the area. I got my first colony of bees, joined a club. Found out a fellow a 1/2 mile from my house had 15 colonies of bees in his back yard behing the barn I drove by every day to work and back home again. He also had 7 colonies on another road I drove every day to work thru the woods along a field. I latter bought those 7 colonies and they are about 2 miles from my house.

    As for the Buckfast bees. They are indeed a hybred and will take on the traits of one of the parents when allowed to bred naturally in the wild. Keep in mind also that B Weaver had exclusive rights to the Buckfast strain of bees in the US for 20 some years. I wonder just how pure a strain they are today.

    Be nice to know your location a state at least.

    :D Al
     
  14. reginabee

    reginabee Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Indy and Al. I am in Essex County NJ and am a member of the NJBA. We discussed Buckfast very briefly in the course and no one there had ever had them, so I am wondering why. I am keeping some italian bees at the moment, and for another hive I will try the Buckfast perhaps next spring. I saw a great video on youtube and the bees were so gentle it was unbelievable. Maybe it was just a very nice day...