Today, a lost swarm is more of a loss than a lost swarm of 30 years ago. The association does not sell queens as breeder stock, but provides a mechanism whereby the beekeeping public can take advantage of the stock by purchasing daughters. Usually, lighter honeys command higher prices, and most beekeepers try to keep darker honeys from mixing with lighter ones. The results were astounding. Russian honey bees … Candidate queens were thoroughly vetted for possible problems through extensive quarantine  efforts by the Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics and Physiology Laboratory, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “Beekeepers accustomed to managing Italian honey bees will be tempted to underestimate the potential for Russian colonies to rather abruptly shift from small surviving colonies to large colonies needing space.” Also keep in mind that Russian Queens move throughout the hive. For over a hundred years the honey bees in that area had not been treated for any pests or diseases and were considered resistant to Varroa, tracheal mites and American foulbrood, while at the same time being good honey producers with excellent overwintering qualities. Villa and fellow ARS entomologist Lilia De Guzman have also confirmed that Russian bees are excellent cold-weather survivors. Photo by Dr. Philip K. Wittman Scientists in the ARS Beneficial Insects Research Unit at Weslaco, Texas, have found that a strain of the fungus Metarhizium anisopliae is deadly to Varroa mites, such as this one on an adult worker honey bee's thorax. I have even shipped queens to the country of Jordan for a research project. If you allow the top super to become jam-packed, due to crowding, your bees miss part of the nectar flow. Some are only interested in maintaining the stock for their current and future use, producing honey and pollinating, while others aspire to become queen producers. It will be up to the “certified” members of the RHBA to maintain the stock’s integrity. During swarm season, which is late April – early June where I am, I keep a couple of boxes in my truck and at my home – all at the ready awaiting the call. In late winter, continuous and overlapping field forage sources support build up. How can one tell if a colony is becoming too congested? Don’t let the colony become crowded. This along with recommendations/discussions by others, set Coy’s honey Farms on the track to use Russian Stock. Develop procedures for routine identification of sex alleles and determine queen relationships in multiple queen colonies. Something called marker-assisted selection is a major mechanism by which much of the stock is tested by the Baton Rouge Laboratory. Based on test-yard evaluations, Tubbs reports average honey yields of 130 to 150 pounds per hive. We specifically used the term lines as it has become increasingly more difficult to use the term race nowadays. Currently President of the RHBA, he serves as a board member for two national bee industry organizations, as well as the U.S. Beekeeping Industry representative to the EPA’s Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee. It reads well, but it doesn’t work well. He is not migratory, but sells honey to the public, as well as queens to other beekeepers through his operation. The links, in on the article below, will not work properly because the state does not handle testing any more for the Certified Level. Three frames of empty brood comb were substituted for frames of capped honey in both the upper deep and the shallow feed box on an every-other-frame basis above the brood nest in both boxes. He frequently gives presentations at national and state meetings and is also active in the MS Beekeepers Association and MS Farm Bureau Federation. (I wonder if I could search for the queen at night. They buildup rapidly after pollen is available and require adequate supering, but shut down brood rearing when resources disappear. That outyard was a particularly swarmy location. Unfortunately, many breeders who are not certified members of the RHBA are marketing “Russian bees,” potentially damaging the brand. The first test of CB was accomplished on an outyard of 12 colonies. Our industry has been seriously selecting queen stock for what – 50 years – and where are we? The Association evaluates about 800 or more colonies each year, selecting about 90 queens based on mite growth and honey production. Queens from 16 separate beekeepers in Primorsky were collected and brought to the Honey Bee Quarantine Station at Grand Terre Island, Louisiana in 1997. As the experience of Steven Coy and Harry Fulton shows, assuming the responsibilities of a certified member requires a great degree of dedication. This will all have been quite a chore. In 1997, after studies showed the Russian Honeybee to have a potential resistance to mites; the USDA Bee Lab at Baton Rouge, LA imported the first Russian Queens. It is not uncommon to receive requests from beekeepers in Europe and in particular from Italy, Netherlands and France. After the initial manipulation, to sustain swarm prevention reliability, maintain empty comb at the top for the colony to grow into with brood nest expansion. They built up, but not fast. The usual yield is about 84 pounds per hive in his area. Be sure that the splits have abundant room. Only 12 people have been able to do this.”. Knowing the season and observing how many empty frames the colony presently has are deciding factors. A lost swarm represented a lost honey crop for that season. Honeybees are directly responsible for pollination of 1/3 of our food supply. Prevent Swarming – Before The Bees Even Think About It, Original title: Checkerboarding Reliability. It may in fact be too late. In many instances, other factors that govern swarming have not kicked in and the extra space will still be welcomed. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. They were selected and bred because of their resistance to Varroa mites. The RHBA only certifies individual breeders who have produced bees that score > 0.50 (most samples are actually scoring 0.75 and higher) on the DNA test AND produce records that show honey production and mite resistance by measuring mite growth (using soapy water wash) over time. Problems? There, in addition to … All beekeepers should be cheering them on. Managing your hives. In the winter of 2000 – 2001, there were heavy Winter losses of non-Russian hives. Over a hundred hives were sold off in order to study the effects of CB in more detail – keeping 20 hives on 2 trailers of ten each. The significant duties and responsibilities of the certification process means that inevitably the price of queens sold by RHBA members must be greater than those generally available on the market. These mating yards must be stocked with sufficient numbers of appropriate drone source colonies. Russian honey bees are resistant to both varroa and tracheal mites.” (USDA ARS. However they are private and cannot be shared with non-members because they contain privileged information on specific lines. Colonies in that outyard were wintered in two deeps and a shallow feed box at the top. The swarm left, but I caught it. When the brood to the top bars in the lower is raised to the top by reversal, brood nest reduction starts over at the top. So, for example, with 24 well-stocked drone source colonies representing two colonies from each of the 12 appropriate lines, one could set out 480 mating nucs.)”. Leave it alone. In June of 1995, a test apiary was established in Primorsky. As are many of you, I am struggling to keep colonies alive and as healthy as possible. The stated goal is to maintain and improve the genetic lines of Russian honey bees through propagation and selective breeding. However, according to Dr. Rinderer, neither of … Student day in Bills Russian Bee Yard 3/17/13, Things we need to know about Small Hive Beetles. The probability of correct assignment was 94.2% for non-Russian bees and 93.3% for Russian bees. One possibility is to instead re-brand the specific stock reared by the RHBA to something that is less generic and more specific. Finally, expect to lose the occasional swarm. They were then released via a CRADA (Cooperative Research And Development Agreement) to selected beekeepers. In this article we’ll talk about the characteristics of the Caucasian Honey Bee and what we’ve learned so far about this particular bee. The Bee Lab does not certify bee stock as Russian or Non-Russian. For many of us – maybe even most of us – genetically-hopped-up queens are overrated. Fifty to 60 of those are sent for DNA testing and those that pass are then used as breeders. Skip just one cell and the colony will still swarm. I will most likely lose some of the characteristics that allowed the colony to prosper, but if I allow the colony to naturally replace its queen, much of the Spring/Summer season will be lost. We believe that the improved reliability is based on timing the intervention in the colony reproduction (swarming) process. This book describes the project to produce the Russian honey bee stock, conducted over 20 years of work by the combined efforts of scientists and beekeepers. Now what? More than likely there is little young brood, but even so, check for cells again in a day or so. I want all my bees (swarms) because bees are hard to get and are increasingly expensive. Significantly, this was done to increase honey production and reduce losses, not to produce and sell queens to the beekeeping public. The young bees reared at peak brood volume, without brood cell turnover, are available for establishment of the swarm in a new location. In a real way, it’s similar to the feeling that we have when someone shouts, ‘fire!’ We must move and we must move – NOW. Requeening is more difficult with some Russian stocks and queens usually take longer to start laying. We are still complaining about poor queen stock performance, mysterious die-offs, and excessive Winter kills. But too often, and very frustrating, the colony will swarm again, leaving your hive digs and moving on to other pastures. Don’t let colonies become crowded. The website http://www.russianbreeder.org shows thirteen members at the moment, who are committed to the following: “We’ve determined that in order for an operation to produce Russian stock both with genetic integrity and in sufficient numbers it’s necessary that each member must operate a minimum of two hundred colonies. Harry Fulton, center with frame, teaching beekeepers. Members are also encouraged to monitor for other beekeeping characteristics including defensive behavior. Destroying queen cells as a swarm prevention procedure is in the same category as Winter-feeding. Honey bee on composite flower. Wintering colonies move upward in the hive during the winter. Beekeepers' responsibilities. He says he now has a greater appreciation for the work and planning involved in becoming a certified member, concluding: “We have had a total of 20 members since our inception. He lists the following characteristics of his operation: Last year,  Carl was forced to treat field colonies  with Apiguard® in August, to prevent fall colony losses that had increased during five years of a no-treatment regimen. If you missed a single cell, the colony can swarm without the reigning queen. We conclude that honey bees can be successfully managed for greenhouse tomato pollination in both screened and unscreened greenhouses if the foraging force is maintained by replacing colonies every 3 wk. Replace swarm queens as soon as possible. Here is a Sample Hive Inspection Checklist. CATCH THE BUZZ – Honey Bee Populations Have Grown, CATCH THE BUZZ – From the Military to Beekeeping. The Russian Honey Bee is More resistant to Varroa Mites. In early Spring, reversing brood chambers will help limit swarming. Bees ” at http: //apisenterprises.com/vita.htm years of service my hives in brood. 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