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South Texas beekeeping


#1

What advice for those of us who live and keep bees along the southern border of Texas?


#2

That is a tough question to answer because of the Africanized bees in your area. When a virgin queen goes out to mate there is no way of knowing what drones (MANY) she encounters. In your case, it is extremely important that you contact local beekeepers who are experienced handling difficult hot bees. You could even contact swarm catchers to listen and learn.


#3

That is the issue here, besides myself I know of only two others. As more queens mating, I don,t, I try to requeen, but have issues with queens staying. If I allow them to mate and if the queen survives, there is a great possibility they they will be an African hi bred. Most here are as it is. It has come to a point that I can,t get half way thru checking a hive before they have had enough. If been keeping bees for over five years thus far, and it is not a joy, as fascinating as they are, it is not an enjoyable experiance. Well this year I,m going to try and requeen all the hives with New Mexico bees that are preported to be very gentle. And then hopefully I will have enough hives in my yard to keep the queens pure… Well, we will see…


#4

You have a good idea to start New Mexico queens. The African traits can be diluted with breeding until a queen mates up again. I am repeating what I have read in Facebook. There are several bee groups located in Texas that have continual discussions about the African bees.


#5

Is there any active south Texans now?


#6

I’m still here. still trying to keep bees alive during the “winter”.


#7

Are you already using the flow hive? We just received ours a couple days ago, and are putting it together right now. Any recommendations? We have never kept bees before.


#8

I,m still saving for it. So nope, I am am focusing on getting the queens thru winter, I tried to requeen three hives, only one took.


#9

I would finish the assembly, decide what kind of external finish you are going to use and apply it and wait before you install bees. Then as soon as possible, I would start looking for local suppliers of bees. For a beginner, you might find it best to get a “nuc” (nucleus) with preferably 5 frames and a laying queen from a reputable local beekeeper. This is one of the most certain ways to get bees successfully established in a new hive, for several reasons:

  1. The bees have already learned how to be successful in your local area
  2. You already have brood and a laying queen, they are unlikely to abscond from your hive
  3. They already have comb, and don’t have to spend a lot of resources to get started in a new home.

The problem with nucs is that they won’t be available before spring, and you may be too late to order one - most are sold out in the US in October/November.

In any case, I would definitely make some connections with local beekeepers - join your local association/society. If they like you, and they catch a swarm, they may “donate” it to you :smile: It would also be good to try to pick up a mentor from them, if you find somebody you get on well with and can respect.

Ask questions in the other forums here, there is a ton of experience and lots of help. Good luck and congratulations!

Dawn


#10

How did you introduce the queens?


#11

The biggest issue was that they got lost in the mail. it took 9 days for them to get here. They arrived alive, but they were the size of a worker. THe shipper had shipped with a wet sponge, I believe that was why they arrive alive at all.


#12

I live in central texas and am I new beekeeper. I have been taking classes and asking a lot of questions in person, online, etc.

It seems that everyone is in agreement about how to handle africanized bees. There are two camps… Camp 1 is comprised of 90% of central texas beekepers (not a scientifically derived percentage) and camp 2 is comprised of the rest.

My understanding is that every queen mated in texas carries eggs that are hybrid. And thus, your goal is to keep the percentage of africanized DNA in your hive low. If you order from up north where africanized bees don’t exist, you can get 100% africanized free bees, but, then the queen has to ship from much further away.

Camp 1 (most beekeepers)
Always re-queen. I took two different classes in the Austin area and both instructors strongly recommended buying queens from Beeweaver (they are a Texas operation), http://www.beeweaver.com/. Some people might wait a couple generations before re-queening to save money and time, since each generation gets angrier.

Camp 2 (small percentage)
A handful of the beekeepers like the africanized bees because they produce more honey. I guess those people have learned to work with the hive in such a way that even the africanized bees don’t get too angry. One guy I talked to said he likes them africanized up to a certain extent and once they get too angry, he will re-queen.


#13

I’m in the Rio Grande Valley area and new to beekeeping. Beekeeping as a backyard hobby was something I wanted to do for a while but I have to admit, I had some concerns (still do) about the Africanized bees in our area. I received my Flow Hive last December (still waiting for the flow frames), assembled it, applied tung oil, and ordered a package of bees.


#14

Surely there are outfits in the South that supply II queens?


#15

Yeah, I linked to one of them… Beeweaver www.beeweaver.com

I didn’t mean to imply they don’t raise queens in the south. But, the queens mated in the south are likely to have some africanized DNA in them, since it would cost prohibitive to mate in an enclosed environment where the queen is shielded from all wild hives (and domesticated hives of others who are not tightly controlling their mating process).

I bought my bees from beeweaver and my understanding is that they do their best to control the amount of africanized DNA.


#16

oops sorry …


#17

Did you catch @Dee’s reference to II? It means “Instrumentally Inseminated”. It looks like beeweaver.com uses natural mating, so they are more prone to genetic drift than II Queens would be. I don’t see any availability of Instrumentally Inseminated queens from them.

Dawn


#18

Oh… Learn something new everyday. Thx.


#19

That’s the beauty of II. You have ultimate control and easy to produce thousands of drones.


#20

I heard the II Queens are not so diverse in their DNA - how can you guarantee the drones are from a good DNA diverse source pool? Or sufficient sperm for a good few years of production