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Buckfast bees gentle or mean?


Anyone have experience with buckfast bees? I have heard rumors they can be mean.


I think @Dee can tell you more. The F1s are usually fine, the F2s can be dodgy, and the F3s can be downright mean… :wink:


Dawn has it in a nutshell.
My F1s have always been as gentle as can be. Don’t sting, don’t run on the comb, don’t all come up when you open the top. They forage well but not in as low temperatures as our native bee. They are frugal with their winter stores but again the native bee does better. They are great honey gatherers, and here they do perform better,but can propolise a bit.
If you are re-queening every two years F2/F3 aggression is not a concern.
The Buckfast is a hybrid anyway…not a true breed so the question is …what is a Buckfast? It depends on the breeder, some are excellent and some are downright appalling!
F2 aggression is almost a certainty if you breed bees from different origins.
I can expand further if you like.


I have one buckfast colony. They are very pretty bees. They are steady on the comb and do collect nectar well but can sometimes be a bit buzzy…I still prefer my carniolans. So next year…when it will be due requeening I think I will requeening with a carniolan.


I had Buckfasts from 1974 until 2001. Up until 2001 I would have said they were gentle…


Swarmolians :slight_smile:
Mind you with those long hives of yours you should be OK


So far…not had a swarm…that’s not to say they won’t try this year. That’s why I am on alert…ha ha…just waiting for good settled weather to get 3 colonies into long hives. Then I can relax for a bit…famous last words. My oldest queen is 3 years old and I am waiting for a replacement for her…she will go into a nuc which will hopefully stop any swarmy ideas she might have.


Oh c’mon HHH, poor old queenie doesn’t have the swarmy ideas… It is her ungrateful offspring who decide! :smile:


Well I know that…just an expression…ha ha…
We are all feeling very frustrated here in the uk…bad weather has everything at a standstill.
It’s interesting though…just what the conditions need to be in the hive to allow swarming. If, as a beekeeper, you are able to change one of those criteria…they don’t swarm. I had a double brood colony last year…absolutely crammed with bees. Brood on 12 frames. They didn’t swarm…conditions weren’t right. We had poor weather/ good weather cycle and during the bad weather they ate their stores…so the next bit of good weather was spent foraging to make stores again.
Previously I have used depleting the colony as swarm control…last year I didn’t need any swarm control…the weather did it for me.


Why is it that second and third generation buckfast get less friendly? Do all bee breeds do that?


Purebred bees in isolated areas may not change much in temperament. However, in most apiaries, it is hard to control which drones are found in the DCA when the queen goes on her mating flight. Certain crosses can result in a significant deterioration in temper of the bees. :blush: The best control of offspring nature is by using Instrumental (Artificial) Insemination - often known as II in beekeeping. This is obviously labor-intensive and expensive, so it is generally limited to queen-breeders and researchers.

We had Caucasian bees in the past, and after a few years they were mean enough to need re-queening. So I think it can happen with any bred - once you cross it randomly with unknown males, you can’t be so certain of the character of the offspring.


Thanks @Dawn_SD. I was womdering if it was specific to Buckfast or if it was any breed. I am guessing that Italians don’t have as much problem that way if the feral bees are italian decendants.


If they are… :wink: Around here there are probably 10-30% africanized. In other parts of the US there will be Carniolans, Russians, some Buckfast and a smattering of Caucasians, in addition to the Italians and Cordovans (which are probably an Italian derivative). So, unless you are VERY isolated, you really don’t know what your virgin queen is mating with… :blush:


Fortunatley I don’t think we have AHB in Pennsylvania other than what might be in some package bees from Texas which my Buckfast are from. I have Canadian Buckfast queens coming this weekend to requeen the Texas Queen. The hive isn’t hot but they are more defensive than my other hives.