Caucasian Honeybee Characteristics
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We will be producing Winters Strain Italian queens and package bees this year. This is from some of the original Italian stock we produced many years ago. We have maintained this stock in seperate yards and will be offering it to the public this year. We have separated this stock from the Caucasians to help control mating. However, as with all natural mating, we are unable to totally control which drones our queens mate.
We have added a very good hybrid to our list of quality honeybees. We have a very good hybrid between Italian and Caucasian. These queens are not merely a cross between Caucasian and Italian bees but the queens themselves are hybrids. This hybrid vigor results in a queen that will lay more eggs than either the Caucasian or Italian. However, due to the Caucasian genetics, she will slow down with the nectar and pollen sources. These queens are yellow with black bands. They could be described as tiger stripped.
The 2016 USDA National Honey Bee survey diagnostic report is in. With a sample size of 1119 bees from our apiaries, the lab found only two varroa mites which is less than ninety percent of the total survey results. There wasn't any Nosema spores found which is absolutely excellent. We feel that this supports what we have found from experience with this line of Caucasian bees.
Until we completely transition over completely to the Georgian stock, there could be mis-mating to other races of bees located in our area. This problem has been reduced greatly in 2017 but work still needs to be done. Since we are concentrating on producing just the Republic of Georgia stock, there was a 10% reduction in prices for packages and a price break for queens was added in 2016 due to efficiency of production. This price break will continue for the 2018 shipping season.
If you are interested in Sue Cobey's work and a interesting background of honey bees in the U.S., you can go to the Honey Bee Genetic Diversity and Breeding Towards the Reintroduction of European Germplasm - eXtension web page.
Starting in 2015, we began producing the Cobey stock for shipment to beekeepers in the U.S. We will be maintaining at least two different bloodlines of the Georgian stock to create genetic diversity within this race of bees. These will be open mated queens mated to drones from drone producing colonies. These colonies will have frames of drone comb to produce large populations of drones to mate to the virgin queens. To make it possible to distribute this stock to as many beekeepers as possible, we will be shipping a very limited number of packages with more emphasis on producing queens. Due to the quality of the Georgian stock, we began exclusively breeding that stock starting in 2016.
Our shipping season will continue from the second week of May until mid-September, depending on the weather. Have a honey of a bee year!