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Novice - trying Italian bees Townsville QLD

Hello everyone
I’m beginning my Flowhive adventure in Townsville QLD.
Has anyone local kept Italian bees in a Flowhive here?
Any tips

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I was going to purchase a nuc for my second hive but the timing didn’t work.
My understanding is most European bees in Australia are genetically mixed anyhow, so I didn’t see why there would be any challenges with them in a flow hive.

There’s flowhives all over the world with local bee species which further supports this. Being patient when deciding when to put on the super seems the biggest indicator of success.

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Hi Ariel,

Italian bees are one of the most common varieties of bees to be kept in Flow Hives in Australia - I’m sure you will find some locals who keep Italians :slight_smile:

We have some here at our office in Northern NSW as well - and also Carniolan and Russian bees.

Thanks FreeBee
I’m going :it:

Good choice! They are popular for a reason.

Can I ask FreeBee2 my friend recommended the Italian bees as their honey caps are white wax and it breaks more easily/less force when harvesting in the Flowhive compared to European bees with black wax? Any truth to that

Hi Ariel, I don’t have any personal experience with Black Bees so can’t tell you if their wax capping is a little tougher to crack. I do know that they can be a bit more temperamental and also know that the Flow Hive can be used with Black Bees - here’s a Meet The Beekeeper episode about keeping Cornish Black Bees in Flow Hives in Cornwall. Italians are known for being easy bees generally though. They have a lovely temperament and few issues. You might look at the Black Bees over the Italian if you happen to have a personal interest in more unusual varieties or something. Though they could be harder to get :wink:

Thanks FreeBee2

How are the other popular bee varieties you’ve experience wax caps compare to Italian Bees? Are the Italians easier to ‘break’ when harvesting with Flowhive?

I might guess that it isn’t so much the quality of the wax but how much propolis the variety uses.

So…. the force required to ‘break’ the cells is more dependent on the quality of the bees propolis?

Is this a specific bee species trait ie Italian bees make ‘weaker’ caps or is it an environmental factor dependent on local flora and what’s available to them at the time of capping?

I was told Italian bees caps are easier to break in Flowhive than their European counterparts

I don’t know if the propolis differs between varieties or just the types of resin that the bees forage. But some strains of bees make much more propolis than others and while they may not put it around the flow cells, they will put it in all other gaps. If you leave the frames on when there isn’t much nectar flow I think some varieties of bees will be more likely to gum up the flow frame moving parts with propolis than others.

Go with the Italian bees, it’s fine. Just don’t leave the super on if there aren’t enough bees or there’s no flow, which is good advice no matter what bees you have.

I’m sure in your location it never gets cold but that doesn’t mean that there is always a nectar flow. See if you can get some advice from a local and a “beekeeping year calendar” and give it a go.

Awesome advice chau06

I’ve teed up an Italian Queen Nuc transfer for sometime this week with a local bee keeper

I’ve joined the local bee keepers association but they’ve had my application on ‘hold’ for the pst week (probably absent due to school holidays ) so I can’t get any advice from them

Thanks for the help
I’ll post some photos when up and running

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In the mean time there are plenty of members of this forum who aren’t too far from you.

If you don’t like your Italians you can always try a different variety by just replacing the :crown:!

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Thanks
I’ll give the Italians a go and keep my options open