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Buckfast bees in a mixed Apiary

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Adam Rose
Silver Bee

Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 589
Location: Manchester, UK

PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:37 pm    Post subject: Buckfast bees in a mixed Apiary Reply with quote

Is it worth introducing a single colony of Buckfast bees into an apiary with other bees ? Won't the "Buckfast" bees just supersede and become mongrels in the first generation ? I have heard somewhere that they can become quite aggressive mongrels as well.

[ not me doing this, some friends ]

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Site Admin

Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Adam

I believe that Buckfast are bred to be less swarmy and it is unlikely that they will supersede the queen in their first or maybe even second year unless she is poor quality, but yes eventually they will replace her one way or another and the odds are they will end up with mongrels unless the beekeeper decides to buy into the system of requeening each year or two with a new Buckfast queen.
I have also heard that first generation Buckfast hybrids can be quite "hot" but I think it is too easy to generalise. It may just be that people with Buckfasts notice the difference more because Buckfast's are so mild that any change in genetics means that the colony will become less so.

Many people throughout the world use Buckfast bees, although I have my doubts about how "pure" many of them are, bearing in mind the difficulty in controlling mating. I am sure many of them are kept in mixed apiaries and even in a purely Buckfast apiary site, mating does not occur within the apiary, so there is a good chance of hybridization unless it is an extremely remote apiary.....therefore anyone buying Buckfast will face the same situation.... as with any "pure" strain of bee.
If I were these people, I would be keen to enquire about how the bees, and particularly the queens are produced and mated.... I imagine there are a lot of AI queens out there as it is the simplest means of controlled mating and if they are then inserted into packages, there is a possibility that they will be superseded early and potentially, money wasted..... but you could say this about any breed.

These are just my thoughts and I should add that I do not have any practical experience of Buckfasts. I will be interested to read others opinions


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Golden Bee

Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 1137
Location: UK, North Yorkshire, Bentham

PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have no experience with Buckfast, but understand that any first generation cross (F1 hybrid) can be more challenging. I know that to be true of Carniolans. My first hive was pure Carnies and after swarming I also split them. The result was one "colony from hell" and another of the sweetest bees imaginable!

The benefit of excessively aggressive bees is that they tend to produce more honey, if that is the aim (or do good producers have more to defend?).

Think I'd promote the benefits of localised mongrels...[/u]
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Silver Bee

Joined: 29 Apr 2009
Posts: 882
Location: Stoke On Trent

PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have 8 Langstroth jumbos and one TBH.

About three years ago I decided to try buckfasts and bought two queens - my original bees were carniolans and mongrels... a swarmy mix. My experience of the buckfasts was positive.. good temper and far less swarmy..
So I requeend last year again with one Ged Marshall Buckfast - lovely queen . Bees don't run on combs, are calm and very productive.

Having erased almost all carnies/mongrels in 2016, I had zero swarming in 2017.

I have raised 9 queens from my GM queen and requeened all my hive again with hopes of a repeat for next year..
I beekeep with no gloves so calm non aggressive bees make beekeeping far more pleasant (I do wear vinyls for aggressive hives)
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