The verdict isn’t quite in yet! Did our Italian hives do better than our Minnesota Hygienic? Thus far, it has been hard to tell; two years of totally opposite weather. Our first year (with just Italians) being ideal with plenty of rain and nectar, and this past year having a late frost to begin with, slowing down an early nectar flow, followed by a dry late summer, shutting down some of the flowers that may have still been blooming had there been rain. All of these factors go into consideration when trying to answer the question above. It will be very interesting to see how many hives survive the Minnesota winter. That will help influence our decision.
Despite the less than ideal weather situation, one of the Hygienic hives gave just as much access honey as the Italian bees gave the year before. We left the hives around 100 pounds of honey each to sustain them throughout the winter. Looking back on this past year, it was pretty amazing to have even extracted any honey from the new hives, which aren’t supposed to have any access honey their first year.
I guess it would be fair to say that we are happy with both species of bees, so far:) Come Spring we will let you know how they over-wintered and that will be a deciding factor for sure. Minnesota Hygienic’s are supposed to winter well and have a high resistance to honey bee deseases and mites. We shall see:)
We found a local source just over the border in South Dakota, not only for Queen bees, but for hive bodies. They are reasonably priced and well-built and I think Fred and the Twins decided on replacing the 4 sets of 11 frame hives with new 10 frame hives. The 11 frames are odd sized and the feeders don’t fit them well.
It will be interesting to see whether or not the grease patties worked to control Varroa Mites too. There is so much to learn and experience, both good and bad I suppose:) It would be nice to see more people starting a few hives no matter where you live.