As promised (albeit quite awhile ago), here is an update on the progress of our honey bees. Back in the middle of May, we received our 3 pound package of bees from Tess Arnold who is based down in Tennessee. Originally we had hoped to get Russian honey bees, but due to problems he was having with his Russian queens, we opted for Italians instead. After talking with Tess for awhile, I found out most of his bees are descended from survivor stock of swarming bees and honey bee removals. What this amounts to is a very healthy stock of bees that are genetically diverse and could be called an “American” hybrid of bee genetics. Just like how America is a country of immigrants (along with people of the First Nations), Apis Mellifera, the honey bee, has been brought over here from other parts of the world at different points in our history. Apis Mellifera has not only thrived until recently, but has also hybridized between many of the different “races” of bees – Italians, Carnolians, Russians, the European black bee, and possible other unknown ones.
For Tess, when he is selling “Russian” or “Italian” bees, he is really selling a purebred queen that is artificially inseminated. This can have a lot of influence over your hive. Different bees/queens have different habits and characteristics. Russians are slower to build up their populations, Italians will produce brood further into the autumn, the Minnesota hygienic queens impart traits of hive cleanliness. All these traits have positive aspects in the right situation, and due to the genetic stew present in swarming survivor stock bees, ours most likely have bits and pieces of positive genetic material from across the board of what Apis Mellifera has to offer. Although I hope to one day have hives that are headed by a naturally mated queen, our current hive has been great! Our bees have proven to be the most gentle and easy to work with bees I have ever been around. What follows is a brief history and highlights of the last three months with our bees! Peace & Cheers … Enjoy!!