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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone have any recent experiences with buckfast queens?

Most information that I have found has been a bit dated (2007 or earlier). Info from that time warns to stay away - that they get mean and are tough to work.

I am making up some nucs this spring and need a few queens. I am tempted to try buckfast (b/c some of their advertised traits seem like they would work well in my area), but am wondering if the old info is still accurate or if breeders have taken steps to mitigate some of the problems (particularly with the F1 and F2 queens).

Thanks
Mike
 

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I have been running Buckfast and Belgian Buckfast for the past 3 years. Buckfast out of Texas are reported to be defensive. I think they might have Africanized bees in Texas fathering that stock occasionally. Texan Buckfast are darker than Buckfast that came through Canada. My Buckfast are so gentle we use them in the teaching hives without incident. They have survived treatment free better than any of the other lines I have been able to obtain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Gary,

Can you say where you get your queens?

Thanks
Mike
 

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Miksa also sell queen cells shipped to your door. the shipping charges likely makes this service uneconomic for small orders.

a tyro snip...
particularly with the F1 and F2 queens

tecumseh:
there is a fundamental idea in genetics which is called 'reversion to the mean'. this principle pretty much means that if the parents are exceptional the offspring will express the less desirable characteristics. as time goes by (f2 becomes f3) these negative characteristics build on themselves. this fundamental principle applies to a lot of bees beyond just the Buckfast. I can recall that is was also reported as a problem for the midnights and starlines (long ago). in the current time frame 'the russian' bees have also displayed some of this same problem. it is not a problem isolated to one part of the country.
 

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Last year started 10 nucs with Ferguson Buckfast queens, went into winter healthy in double deeps, one was triple deep. Didn't take any honey, didn't treat with oxalic acid last fall, wanted to see how many will survive without any interference.
At this time they are all alive, two looked dead last week, but when opened them found small clusters of bees in top deeps. Closed quickly, and crossed my fingers.
Snow in front of hives is yellow, few dead bees, bee boxes are clean.
When dandelion is up, I'll be back to report how the experiment went.
Queens were prolific, all of them with very nice laying pattern. Bees are small, industrious and very calm.
Here is the link to the breeder's site, you will also find info about shipping to USA.
http://www.fergusonapiaries.on.ca/pricing.php
 

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Midnight and Starline had an inbred component. Dr. Connor mentions it in "Queen Rearing Essentials". Miksa's mated queens "reversion to the mean" also called genetic depression is eliminated in Miksa's as there are multiple maternal queens.
 

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Last June attended the OBA summer meeting in Midland, Ontario where Dr. Connor appeared as a guest speaker. During the break I asked him what's the best thing he saw during his visit (he came couple days before the meeting) and he said he was impressed with Buckfast stock in apiaries he visited. Later he wrote about it in ABJ.
 

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an americasbeekeeper snip..
Midnight and Starline had an inbred component.

tecumseh:
all the lines of bees have an inbred component. inbreeding concentrates genetic material before you outbreed (this is pretty much the old school process of bee breeding). at some point (and fairly quickly from what I have been told) the obvious effect of inbreeding is lack of viability largely due to the misalignment of the sex alleles.

another americasbeekeeper snip..
Miksa's mated queens "reversion to the mean" also called genetic depression is eliminated in Miksa's as there are multiple maternal queens.

tecumseh:
quite frankly I am not certain what you are suggesting here? multiple maternal queens (may I assume these are the queens producing the grafting material... sometimes call queen mother hives) will NOT reduce the incident of problems associated with the F2 (and beyond offspring) or eliminate 'reversion to the mean'. It does likely keep the F1 a bit more robust and true to the bee breeder's design. <the problem here is not in the F1 but the F2 and beyond progeny and the less diversity there is in any particular local the more problems that are likely to be expressed... at least that is my understanding of these things (not that my understanding of things genetics is really that wide or deep).

as far as I can know I have only heard one person speak of problems related to buckfast bees that originated from Texas*. this 'authority' who seems to be held in fairly high regards by a lot of novice bee keeper but consider quite clueless by almost all the full time bee keepers who are forthright enough to tell you what they really think. at the same time said 'authority' was stating this displeasure in regards to Texas Buckfast bees he also seems quite clueless that there are multiple Weavers in Navasota and although related are not one and the same business concern.

*it should be pointed out here that when Brother Adam did decide to bring Buckfast bees to the US it was the Weaver family in Navasota that he approached with his proposal.
 

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Marbees said:
Last year started 10 nucs with Ferguson Buckfast queens, went into winter healthy in double deeps, one was triple deep. Didn't take any honey, didn't treat with oxalic acid last fall, wanted to see how many will survive without any interference.
At this time they are all alive, two looked dead last week, but when opened them found small clusters of bees in top deeps. Closed quickly, and crossed my fingers.
Snow in front of hives is yellow, few dead bees, bee boxes are clean.
When dandelion is up, I'll be back to report how the experiment went.
Queens were prolific, all of them with very nice laying pattern. Bees are small, industrious and very calm.
Here is the link to the breeder's site, you will also find info about shipping to USA.
http://www.fergusonapiaries.on.ca/pricing.php
Wow~for small timers like me, it would be pretty cost prohibitive unless I got a large group of beeks together for a mass order. :(
 

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Tyro:
I have put out a feeler for some Buckfast queens here. Just for my information what kind of quantity might you be looking for? what kind of date works best for you at your location?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
tec -

I am looking for maybe 2-4 queens sometime after 14 May 2012. My dates are fairly flexible because they are dependent upon when the commercial beekeepers come back from almonds. That can be anytime from mid-May to early June depending upon the weather in CA and here. I buy frames of bees and brood from a local commercial beekeeper/friend and then make up nucs and queen them to replace my winter losses.

Thank you much.

Mike
 

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I had very good luck with the buckfast I bought from R weaver, great hives but can be a little touchy at times :chased: I will be splitting them they are worth keeping :Dancing:
 

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I received from R Weaver a buckfast queen late last fall for a trap out I did. The Queen ( here in Florida in other colder climates am sure she would have have been a bit more reserved ), has opened up a large brood pattern, The Queen is not nervous or running all over, workers stay calm if handled correctly and judicial application of smoke in fact the only ill tempered response I got from them is when I was giving them feed, I took the hive cover off with out any smoke and they started to pour out of the feeder and taking flight in my direction. But as I gave them the syrup, they settled down and then as all about the feed ignoring me.
Barry
 

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The Buckfast queens at R Weaver are very reasonable and I like what they said about them in research done at U of Minn. Gonna order a pair of the princesses on Monday. :)
 
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