Monday, July 2, 2012

A Tale of Two Hives


Last Sunday I got another hive of bees. The hive on the right is my new hive. Since this picture was taken, it now has a medium super on it painted lavender-quartz. I’m going to paint all of my brood boxes and supers in pastels.

I now have two races of bees. The Carniolans are on the left and the Italians are on the right. I find it interesting that the first honeybees brought over in the 1630 were German black bees. It wasn’t until 1859 when Italian queens were imported to America. Nowadays, the Italians are the most common race of bees kept by beekeepers. Carniolans were imported in 1870 from Yugoslavia and Austria. The two races look a little different with the Italians being more golden in color.  

Sometimes it is necessary to combine hives when one hive is weak and another is strong. The best way to do that is to place several frames of bees on top of another hive and separate the bees using newspaper sprayed with sugar water. In a few days, the bees from the other hive will chew through the newspaper and by that time the pheromones from the queen will be in control of them. It doesn’t matter if the worker bees are from different races because a worker bee is a worker bee regardless if it is an Italian or Carniolan.  

The following list was given out when I attended beekeeping classes:

Italian Honeybees Advantages:
Compact brood
Excellent foragers
Easy to obtain
Most of the time gentle and calm
Light in color making the Queen easier to locate
Disadvantages:
Slightly smaller cell size
Short distance foragers
Susceptible to many diseases and pests
Bees may enter the winter with too much brood, not enough honey

Carniolan Honeybees Advantages:
Rapid population buildup in early spring
Exceptionally gentle and less prone to sting
Few brood diseases
Disadvantages:
Tend to swarm
Broodnest depends on pollen supply
Dark queen is difficult to locate

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