Honeyflow.com | FAQ's |

Types of queens


I’m addressing you because you made a comment concerning types of queens, Another post down my curiosity is piqued certainly anyone can post

My question is what does an Italian queen give you,

A Russian queen

I’ve been told I possibly have a California queen what do I need to look out for does she typically sworn I know her colony is very gentle but what are the downsides or the upsides?

And what are the different other types of queens?

I’m not Dawn (obviously) but did you mean Carniolan queen?

@Martydallas Marty This is a chart of bee types - 90% of bees are mongrel mixtures unless they come from a speciality bee breeder who can guarantee the pure line of the bees they offer. Unless artificially inseminated with specific Drone seaman or bred on a closed community/island then most bees are mixed


I really have no idea I was at my beekeeping club it was noisy I was describing what might be/queen looks like and her offspring and how come they were and that’s what I thought The person instructing said

Thanks for posting this accurate and concise chart. Wow hundreds of pages of reading all in one chart. Awesome.

1 Like

Valli is A wealth of resources. I so enjoyed having her on the forum


So May eye is having a little difficult time distinguishing visual traits on these queens other than the obvious gray and lighter color, my queen is almost the color of the comb and saying that which of the group what I narrow her down to

I’m using foundationalist frames and again she’s almost the color of the come just slightly darker

Buckfast or Cordovan is what I think? Totally new beekeeper here but I’ve been helping my mentor out and I have yet to see Gentle bees in working with him. I am amazed how relaxed these bees are

Main reason I’m asking is if something happens to this queen and I need to re-queen I want another one similar to her

@Martydallas Marty my 2 Queens are F1 and F2 from Carolinian stock

The F2 “Emerald” is quite dark and throws black bees about 25% of the time so she must have mated with at least 1 black bee - most are that grey colour and she is of a dark body.

The F1 “Sapphire” is a much paler body, golden even, and more than 1/2 her bees are red-er in the body so probably mated with more Italian genes.

Looking at the bees in the hive you can get a basic idea of their lineage but most bees are mongrel

There isn’t a queen strain called Californian, but you may have been told that she was bred in California. There are several well-known queen-breeders out here. So unless they tell you the actual strain, you can’t really tell. Valli’s chart gives you all of the key points. As she says, queens and their offspring are not usually pure-bred in any case. My queens are VSH-Italian, so they are not pure Italian, as they have been crossed to get the VSH trait into them. I am happy with their behavior, their offspring and I know where to get replacements ( http://wildflowermeadows.com/wildflower-meadows/vsh-italian-queens/ ), so that is how I proceed. Italians are probably the most widely available, and they should do well in Texas. Carniolans are better in northern US climates, and Russians are harder to find, but supposedly overwinter better still. There are apparently some Buckfasts in the US, but I haven’t found a supplier, and although I always wanted to try them in the UK, I am very happy with my Italians here.

So, if you really want the same queen when you re-queen, you will have to ask your package supplier exactly what they gave you. It may even be on the invoice - it is for my nucs.

There’s very little if any real buckfast in the USA these days. You can get pure bred Queens from Europe through Canada but not directly from Europe. They are a pretty penny. My guess is that you have an Italian hybrid

Thanks for the chart @Valli

Interested to hear any feedback from those using Caucasians with the Flow hive, specifically if their tendency to collect huge amounts of propolis causes you any issues.

1 Like

As a Californian I can say that California Queens tend to be slim and blond, with good tans. They usually like drones with convertibles, and have lots of au pair bees from Ireland.

; -D


My bees are Russians. I see by the chart Valli provided that Caucasians are separated from the Russian bees. The Caucus mountains is where they originated in Georgia. Not the USA Georgia though, but Russian Georgia. All my bees are Russians, but my new queens are always Caucasians. They produce very well but I wouldn’t recommend them for newbie as they can tend to get rather aggressive whenever you have Russian bees around.

Now speaking of bee strains how many are aware of the new bee strain out of Minnesota? It is a very aggressive bee, much more so than Russian bees, but not as bad as the African bee. I don’t see myself getting them but they are being a hybrid bred for colder climates. I’ll tell you now from personal experience that Russian bees handle cold climates just fine.

There are several members in my local club here in AZ that have tried Russians and russian queens, and claim they are worse to work with then the Africanized bees… So that from that what you will.

Are you sure they weren’t working with African and were told they were Russians. My understanding is that African bees have been brought into AZ by way of Mexico. I know they have them in Florida too and I’m sure most hot climate states in the south probably have them as well. It’s true Russians are aggressive but they don’t continue an attack if you walk away from them, not like the Africans will stay constantly on you no matter how far you try to get away. And Russian bees don’t go after somebody or an animal that gets nearby. You can safely watch Russian bees up close and they don’t attack if they aren’t being bothered.

I can’t say for sure, but they bought russian queens from someone to try them out. All the information I have is that they don’t recommend them to anyone because they would rather work with their africanized hives then russians any day. A good amount of the people in my club run Africanized hives as long as they are out in the desert, and most of them say that they can be belligerent but not unworkable if you cover up. They are definitely much more passionate about their stance on the russians then they are about even working african hives.

I guess a good point of reference on African bee behavior maybe, would be the attack on the boy in Nogales by African bees I read about a couple of months ago. I believe that was on the AZ side. Did you hear or read about that?

I didn’t hear about that one in particular but there was just recently another attack in a suburb of Phoenix about two weeks ago. It’s a pretty common occurrence, but nearly all of them disturbed the hive in some way, so really hard to say how much is just natural defensiveness of a feral hive and how much of it is Africanization.

It depends on where you live. Up here in Alaska it’s Carniolans and Russians. I got a breed that somone is working on up here called Alaska Honey Bee. They have wintered the queens for at least 3 winters then they breed them and send their daughters up. We shal see how it goes. I’d say go with ones that suit your climate, i’ve heard most if not all (except African) are pretty calm. Then again I’m a newbie and am regurgitating what i’ve read and seen in prolly 500 hours of youtube the past year.