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thats a very difficult question to answer, see most strains are a hybred of the various breeds of bees, seldom are you actually going to get true " Italian, or Russian bees but rather a blendiing of the breeds to try to get favorable traits--by far the most common strains of bees are derived from Italian breeds.
Barry
 

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The VERY BEST bees to buy are LOCAL bees. If you can buy them from the area you live, they have the best chance of living and producing in that climate. I do recommend Italians for beginners, just because of their hardiness and gentleness, on average.
 

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what wfuavanger said... kind of.

although I don't raise carniolan* and would not promote them as 'the best bee' for anyone south of the mason dixon line I would think for a lot of northern bee keepers this would be an excellent bee to start with...

finding something local is a good thing in that it promotes the local economy and this often time get you exposed to some local information. I would not chose a poor quality local source of bees over some source far away that had an excellent reputation. there are some questions I would ask of who ever I was acquiring the bees from no matter if I was an experienced or a new beekeeper.

*the carniolan are a 'rediscovered' race of bee here in the us of a, but you would not have to worry about some issues associated with the russians (associated with what happens when a queen is supersceded which will happen although the exact timing is impossible to predict).
 

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Most of my hives are carnolian (mutt's) and i have good luck with them. They will build up fast in the spring and are more prone to swarm, so you have to keep a close eye on them in the spring and give them plenty of room.( russian also) I think all breeds of bees have their good and bad traits,as for gentleness alot depends on how you work your bees and when. You can make a gentle hive mean if you bump or drop things on the hive or work them to early in the mourning or late evening ( all the mean ones are home) or a rainy, cloudy day.Working them around 1:00pm on a sunny day i find best, they don't pay any attention to you if they have something comming in. All this you will learn as time goes by. Our bee club recommends the Italian breed for new beekeepers, so to me it;s a flip of the coin. Good luck. Jack
 

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jack writes:
I think all breeds of bees have their good and bad traits

tecumseh:
exactly and bee breeders have long suggested that you don't get something (via a breeding program) without giving something up. it is all in the deal... all in the trade.

casually even if you consider the africanized bee (hybrid that it is) has some quite remarkable qualities. obviously other qualities makes the 'remarkable qualities' less than totally desirable.
 

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$100 for a package and $125 for a 5 frame nuc is a little on the high side, although not unheard of. $30 for a queen though is very high. I'm paying $15 for hygienic queens, but $20 is usually about average, from what I've heard.

Adds in Bee Culture and American Bee Journal have 3# packages for $65, and the going rate for nucs in this area is $85.

But sometimes what you pay for isn't just the bees. If the guy is within your area, and you buy from him, I'd be willing to bet he would be much more open and receptive to ongoing questions, concerns, and comments.

Wherever you get them from, just make sure you know what you are getting. I can find cheap packages coming out of texas for $55, but I'd be willing to bet they have some african genetics in them. Call it a hunch.
 

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specialkyme writes:
Wherever you get them from, just make sure you know what you are getting. I can find cheap packages coming out of texas for $55, but I'd be willing to bet they have some african genetics in them. Call it a hunch.

tecumseh:
well Texas is a big place. so I would say where in Texas the package originated would have a large bearing on that hunch. a number of samples I took one year would also suggest 'the time of year' would be an extremely important variable. seasonal timing for raising bees for packages and beekeeper manipulation and large numbers of migratory hives spread across the landscape I believe are the largest variable shielding us somewhat from the africanization of the bee stock here. lastly since I suspect (don't absolutely know) that africanized bees don't care much to be shook the possibilities of getting africanized bees in a package are likely smaller than some folks might assume.

this is not to say that there is NO 'africanized' genetic component in the bee stock here or elsewhere in the us of a. any reasoned reflection on the history of the africanized bee and more recent advances in genetic technology would both tell you there unquestionable is....

just my two denaro...
 

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Sam,

Are you getting packages or nucs. Last year, I got 10 packages all Italians from my supplier and he told me that they came from Lousiana. Just to let you know that the queen that is packaged with the package is not necessary their queen. I was thinking that they purchased their queen from another supplier. It is quite possible that the bees that are in your package will be different in temperament than those from the queen.

These bees were hot, always at me when I took the Inner Cover off. I had replaced several of them with gentle queens, but I think that I still have a couple of hives with their genetics. The previous year, I had three Italian hives and they were as gentle as these were mean. Being gentle doesn't mean that they won't sting you though.

I had a co-worker who told me that his bees were Russian and that they were so hot. Then I have had others tell me that their Russians were gentle.

All in all, it is what mated with the queen which helps determine the "gentleness/hotness" of the hive.
 

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central PA guy writes:
I got 10 packages all Italians from my supplier and he told me that they came from Lousiana. Just to let you know that the queen that is packaged with the package is not necessary their queen.

tecumseh:
the bees in the box are first almost certainly unrelated to the mated queen in the package and there is a small possibility that the bees in the box are not ever from the hives of the person that produced the mated queen. quite often time the package producers buy bulk bees (worker bees shook from supers of brood) from almost anyone with excessive bees early in the season. I think (don't know from my experience) that there is a pretty active trade in bulk bees out of California after the almond pollination.

speaking from past experience often time the bulk bees are traded for mated queens.
 
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