Unattended bees prospering

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by Orville, Mar 9, 2005.

  1. Orville

    Orville Well-Known Member

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    I have a question with regard to the varroa mite. I understand it is still a problem, and hives are still treated. However, I know a man who received a hive of Russian bees from a Russian friend, and he has never treated his hive for anything, ever. They survive from year to year even though he doesn't know how to tend them in their home-made hive. I gave him a second hive super and a honey super so they would have some room. Any thoughts on an unattended hive faring so well? He gave me permission to take a few combs to start my own hive. Considering their resilience, I intend to do so this spring.
     
  2. Pat

    Pat Well-Known Member

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    I bought Russians for that reason. (mite resistance). I'm a little surprised they retained the Russian traits though. (the new queen breds with usually a drone from another hive).

    I'd suggest catching a swarm from that hive (not acquiring a couple frames of brood) or acquiring those couple of frames and buying a (Russian) queen. If you just get a couple of frames (unless there is a queen cell on them) you won't have a queen, and it will be too late for them to start the process to grow a new queen for the hive. Queenless, the hive will die.

    Pat
     

  3. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    If you get a frame with eggs on it, the bees will make a queen out of a couple.
     
  4. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My brother has a few hives that were feral he captured and he has split them and the made there own queens, on the Russian issue he wants to get some but rite now the only place is KONA bee out of Ha. and the don't have Russians. good luck,
     
  5. Pat

    Pat Well-Known Member

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    If there are queen cells present that's true, depending on the age of the brood, it (and what's in flower), I still think you are taking a big chance without adding a queen. The feeding to make a queen starts almost from the day that are laid. Just because you get 3 or 4 frames of brood, doesn't mean they will be able to make the new queens (1 living).

    I haven't looked for queens this year (I'm planning on requeening every other year). We bought our Russian Queens from a California apiary (our club buys for the club to obtain the discount for the amount bought). I know Howard Weaver (in Navasota Texas) had them last year, there was a apiary here in Arkansas that had them last year also.

    Another problem (maybe why you can't find them) is the hive beetle. Some states have quarantined bees, and I'm sure some apiraries just don't want to send infected swarms (and possibly queens).

    Pat
     
  6. Orville

    Orville Well-Known Member

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    Re: taking a couple frames to start a hive, I would hope to do it in May or June, and will probably find one or two existing queen cells. Also, Is it beneficial to use a screen hive bottom to allow the mites to fall through onto the ground, thereby reducing their population in the hive?
     
  7. Pat

    Pat Well-Known Member

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    Great solves the queening issue. In May or June there should be the proper sources to make Royal Jelly too.

    I have one hive with solid bottom, and 1 with screened. I didn't trust the open to the cold, but can't see any difference in the hives (but, haven't been in them yet this spring either - but I plan on opening them within the next 2 weeks). With Russians, I'm not sure the screened bottom is necessary (they are "resistant" to the mites).
     
  8. Orville

    Orville Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure looking forward to getting bees again. I had a couple hives till I moved, and have just been to busy to get involved with them. I greatly enjoyed coming home after a midnight shift and watching my bees do their a.m. housecleaning. Good for the bloodpressure to watch bees at work. I think I'll take the frames from my friend and attemp to requeen with a Russian. Otherwise, I'll let them make their own queen. This hive has been prospering for 5 or 6 years, maybe more. They must be doing something right.
     
  9. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Not every Russion queen is mite resistant: just SOME of them. If ALL of them were resistant, most beekeepers would be using them, and we would be saved a fair amount of work and worry.

    In my personal opinion, I would really WANT a queen from his blood line.