Sunday, May 27, 2012

New Bees, New Breeds!

On May 12th, we installed 2 additional hives we had purchased from Draper Apiaries. We were surprised to see they were actually from Weaver Apiaries in Texas and not bees raised in the north. We received a very early 6 a.m. call from the post office, urging us to stop by soon to pick them up. We installed the Buckfast bees into Hive C and the Weaver All American in Hive D and they looked vigorous and health. They have been building up very quickly and both queens are laying beautiful sheets of brood. 

There are approximately 6 basic bee stocks in the United States and include: Russian, German, Italian, Buckfast, Caucasian, and Carniolan. These stocks are defined by a loose combination of traits such as temperament, disease resistance and productivity and are divided by species, race, region, population or breeding line. 

The Weaver All American is an Italian bee that they have been improving for over 85 years. According to their website, these bees are gentle and easy to handle, have quick build-up, low swarming tendencies and excellent producers of honey. They are clean, adapt to all climatic conditions, and breed readily with other types. 

The Buckfast bee, largely from the Italian race, was bred by a monk at the Buckfast Abby in Devon, England in the 1920s, to withstand the endoparasitic tracheal mite, Acarapis woodi. These bees are good housekeepers, have excellent grooming behavior which helps reduce disease and produce good honey crops. If not tended regularly though, they can become quite defensive. They are well adaptive to cold winters and breed well with others. According to Weaver Apiaries and a 2 year test of 6 stocks of bees at the University of Minnesota, Buckfast bees ranked as follows:

Brother Adams at his Apiary in Devon

Nosema in Queens - none
Acceptance - BEST (100%)
Spring Buildup - BEST
Gentleness - very gentle (second just behind Midnites)
Swarming Tendency - very low (ranked second)
Propolizing - slight (All Buckfast colonies)
Longevity of Queens - TIED FOR BEST (87% after 16 months)
Wintering - TIED FOR BEST
HONEY PRODUCTION - BEST (during two years)
For more detailed information and excellent charts, summarizing this information,
see the following sites:

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