What Bees have you?

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What Bees have you?

Post by wayland on Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:16 am

My new colony grows apace. These are the Blacks that I have heard about but never kept before. The first thing I noticed was how white their wax is compared to the Italian Bees. After reading up on the blacks and their history I am even more pleased to have them. Being indigenous they are far more suited to our climate and are apparently less susceptible to CCD and Varroa infestation. I have also noticed how far behind the times I have become. Top frame hives!, Quadrefed`s, Varroa checks with Icing Sugar etc etc. Its good to see such activity around to ensure the survival of the Honey Bee. I am curious to know how widespread the Blacks are in Ireland. In the UK they were deemed as extinct for many years but they are making a good come back thanks to the beekeepers efforts to reintroduce them. They now have strongholds in many UK counties. So as a rough survey I would ask you lads to report Honey Bee sightings in your area. The kind of thing I am looking for is straightforward enough. First. Recognise a Honey Bee. Second. Has the Bee got Yellowish Bands at the top of its abdomen or is it completely dark brown to black? Third. Where did you see the Honey Bee. Please post here whether you are a member or a visitor. Many thanks Wink
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Re: What Bees have you?

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:37 am

Native blacks here.

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Re: What Bees have you?

Post by wayland on Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:51 pm

I would not have dreamed that you would have any other Sean Very Happy
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Re: What Bees have you?

Post by jjstyle on Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:42 pm

I had native blacks but at the end of last year wasps attacked my hive left them very week going into winter.

I am very sad not to have any bees this year but I hope to get started again next year. I will aim to set up 3 hives next time, last time I had just one hive.

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Re: What Bees have you?

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:28 pm

wayland wrote:I would not have dreamed that you would have any other Sean Very Happy
Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy  you know me well !
But in my decades of beekeeping I have tried Italians, Buckfasts (imported direct from Brother Adam) and various other subspecies. After years of trial and error, I have found our native black bee to be the best.

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Re: What Bees have you?

Post by wayland on Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:53 pm

I had a Queen from Brother Adam many years ago. My uk colonies were Italian hence my hives being Lonstroth. Some of my fellow Beekeepers would feel it necessary with national`s to run a brood and a half with the Italians. I just went for a larger hive. Happy as I am having Bees again I would need to increase next year (providing we get through the winter), and so am not considering taking any honey for quite a while.
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Re: What Bees have you?

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:16 pm

You might consider taking a nuc from your hive in a few weeks' time. A three-frame nuc taken in July (must be fed) will build up to a strong colony before winter.

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Re: What Bees have you?

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:15 pm

If we had a Mediterranean climate, the Buckfast bee would be great. I don't feed my bees, and some of my Buckfasts starved to death in June - huge colonies, bad weather. Irish Blacks weathered the storm, built up again and produced a crop.

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Re: What Bees have you?

Post by wayland on Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:18 am

Sean Ph'lib wrote:  Irish Blacks weathered the storm, built up again and produced a crop.

This is what I have heard Sean Very Happy . If the colony builds strong enough I may well divide it this year. I have tried on two occasions in Ireland to get a swarm established only to have to watch the colony dwindle and die Queenless Crying or Very sad So I am watching closely and judging by the amount of pollen going in she is fine and laying well. I have not been in too much of a hurry to get in there at the moment. She can throw another swarm anytime and I have a catcher hive set up nearby. So fingers crossed.
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Re: What Bees have you?

Post by Sean Ph'lib Yesterday at 2:33 pm

The biggest problem over the past few years was getting queens mated. You could divide colonies, but the queenless half would die out due to the weather being so bad that the virgins couldn't get mated in the requisite time period. I used to make up a dozen or so nucs for sale every year but abandoned it after too many mating failures.

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