~Italian Honey Bee vs. Minnesota Hygienic Bees~

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.


About Callens Honey Farm

We live on a small family farm located in S.W. Minnesota, near the South Dakota border. The source of our honey is from white and red clover. The honey appears as liquid gold in color. Our honey is extracted using a hand cranked centrifugal force extractor. Then the honey is screened once into a holding container from which we later fill the small honey bottles. We do not heat treat the honey nor add any other ingredients. Pure and natural is our Minnesota honey! What could taste better?
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9 Responses to ~Italian Honey Bee vs. Minnesota Hygienic Bees~

  1. Fiona says:

    I’ll be interested to see how it turns out. I am hesitant to try bees since we’ve had such “interesting” experiences with animals! I do love your honey, though!

    • callensfarm says:

      Thanks Fiona:) Bees take time and effort for sure…..and money for that matter. You probably could handle a hive or two though, have Beth help you:)
      Thanks for your support of small farms and especially ours!!
      God bless you, Irish,

  2. Wendy Cukierski says:

    I’m going to let the Callen’s provide me with all my honey 🙂
    I’m not scared of much…but..those little buzzer’s scare the bejeebers out of me!
    Anyhooo…your honey is THE BEST I’ve ever had and I’m not just saying that!!!!!

  3. Theresa in Alberta says:

    I didsome research and spoke with a major honey supplier here in Canada. Most of the honey on our shelves in the grocery stores are produced in China or Europe!!! That was a good enough reason for me to start shopping at my local farmers market and buy from the local producers. It may cost a few cents more BUT my hard earned money is staying here NOT going overseas. stepping off of my soap box now…..please keep blogging about your wonderful homestead and more pictures of those lovely babies!!!

    • callensfarm says:

      Theresa, you are right about the grocery store honey. We won’t even feed it to our bees:) Why pay any money for corn syrup mixtures? Know your grower whenever possbile and bee healthy! I encourage all my readers to support your local farmers in all they produce. Thanks for reading our blog and I’ll try to get more pics of my grand children:)


  4. Wendy Cukierski says:

    AMEN, Theresa!
    You go, Sandra!!!! 🙂

  5. Anna Shaner says:

    Hi Sandra! I have enjoyed reading all of your updates and seeing all of the pictures of your hard working family! I see that you know Wendy Cukierski. I placed an order with her several months ago. What a small world! Your family amazes me! Keep up the good work with teaching them the way of the land. They will all do very well in life!

    Love and hugs to all! Cousin Anna in Maryland

  6. Huge Italian hugs back to you cousin:) Thanks for stopping in here. Why not make the trip out next time. Bring Aunt Lillia so I can learn some more italian cooking tricks:)
    Thanks for your kind works and God bless you and your family.
    Love Italian Style,

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