Russian invasion

I’ve been busy and haven’t had time to blog about this lately, but Ron picked up two nucs of Russian bees last weekend while I was in Illinois. We bought them from a beekeeper over in Mannford. I haven’t seen one of the colonies yet, because Ron took it out to Living Kitchen, but the other is in the backyard and seems to be thriving.

I’m impressed with everything we have except the Italians. I don’t know how the ones at Living Kitchen are doing, but the colony we have here lost its queen and let itself get overrun with small hive beetles before we had a chance to install a new queen (Cordovan; hopefully she’ll be better than the golden Italian we had in there). Disappointing, yes, but the last time I checked, the Italians at Living Kitchen looked fairly vigorous, so hopefully they’ll fare better than the others we’ve had.

Meanwhile, the Carniolans are bustling about, building up brood and looking good, and the Buckfasts are about as hot a bunch as we’ve had in a long time. If you’ve been following this blog long, you know I prefer a hot hive, because the bees tend to be healthier and more productive. You get stung more often, but it’s a small price to pay for girls that have sense enough to attack invaders instead of letting them come in and trash the joint. Several guard bees from that hive followed us all the way back to the house and hovered around us, buzzing angrily, for 15 minutes after we got done checking frames — and this was after we’d smoked ’em heavily to calm ’em down.

Should be a good summer in the bee yard. 🙂