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Author Topic: two bee varieties, two hives -- how close?  (Read 463 times)

Offline Beepah

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two bee varieties, two hives -- how close?
« on: November 14, 2017, 07:05:22 pm »
Hi,
Total and complete newbee here planning on my first two hives in the spring. (Everything in my plan is up for debate/comment; please feel free to speak up if you think I'm headed toward the reef.)  I will be purchasing unassembled woodenware and keep busy building while there is snow outside.  "Bee school" sessions are in January and February.  I'm thinking one nuc and one package so I get a little experience with each. 

I'm planning on locating my hives about a foot or so apart.  Q: Do I need to have the same species (or is it sub-species?) of bees in both hives?  For example, can I have a Carniolan and an Italian next to each other, or do they need to be 80' apart (picked that number because that's the furthest I can get them apart)?  My thought was to give myself the opportunity to compare species characteristics up close and personal.  On the other hand though, I don't want to create chaos and learn nothing. 

Thanks for your thoughts, and don't feel bad pointing me at threads that have already discussed this question to death.  When you're new, it is sometimes hard to choose the right keywords for a search to get to the best threads.

Offline Van, Arkansas, USA

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Re: two bee varieties, two hives -- how close?
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2017, 08:19:08 pm »
Beepaw, hello, fella.  I have carniolan and cordovan Italian hives within 12 inches of each other.  No problems.  You will need to "unique" the entrance or you will have some drift.  Bees key in on structure at or close to the entrance.  I paint hives different colors, also my landings are different shapes, sloped, flat, with round or rectangular openings.  From previous disscussions, on this site, shape of the entrance appears superior to color in regards to "unique" entrance.  I use both color and shape to unique the entrance.

A word on species of honey bees, carniolan, Italian, Russian, Buckfast....on and on.  Bees are mostly natural bred, generating mutts.  There is no honey bee registration, such as AKC for dogs.  When I say I have Carniolan, I am stating I possess a black honey bee, gentle that produces more black offspring.  There is no test, blood, tissue, genetic or otherwise to confirm Carniolan.  So, use species with a grain of salt as the saying goes.

What is important:
1.  are the bees gentle?
2.  Good honey producers, comb builders?
3.  To me, very important but not considered by many: are the bees flighty during inspections or do the honey bees remain calm on the comb?
4.  Treatment of the bees you are to purchase, you will need to duplicate the treatment.
5.  Survivor bee or hygenic traits.
6.  Beeks, please fill I know I am missing one?

Bee suppliers will gladly answer the above questions, you decide which traits you want.  You cannot have it all.  I have a feeling you will be sussessful , judging by your well written above text.
Blessings

Offline Van, Arkansas, USA

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Re: two bee varieties, two hives -- how close?
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2017, 08:51:01 pm »
Beepah, just so ya know, there is risk with bees absconding with package bees.  I have raised many packaged bees, I have never had an abscond.  However I always add a frame of brood and food to a package.  The brood seems to lock in the package bees, those nurse bees in the package will not leave the brood and will die defending the brood, assuming no CCD.  I don't know if you will have access to brood as I.  Just wanted you to know.  Bees are a blast, get ready for beewilderment.  Ok dumb joke.
Blessings

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: two bee varieties, two hives -- how close?
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2017, 07:05:09 am »
One foot is more than enough separation. Mine are less than that but more is better.
I recommend you just buy nucs. There is a good chance if you buy a Nuc and a package of bees, the package bees will walk over to the Nuc and move in and leave the queen. Bee sure to find out what the seller is using to treat his hives. Do not buy any if he is using antibiotics.
Jim
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Offline Acebird

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Re: two bee varieties, two hives -- how close?
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2017, 08:32:44 am »
My feeling is spacing doesn't matter at all.  Management does.  My gut feeling is the package will come before the nuc.  That means the package should get established and be in the same condition as the nuc when you get it.  There are things you can do if one is stronger than the other anyway.  Now comes the curve ... some packages will supercede the queen and that sets the hive back a month.  This can happen with a nuc also if the nuc is not a real nuc with an established queen.  I would not get different breeds of bees to start.  Actually I would suggest Italians to start because they are the most plentiful.
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Offline cao

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Re: two bee varieties, two hives -- how close?
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2017, 09:51:13 am »
I don't want to discourage experimentation because that a good way to learn.  But starting out the first year with two hives for comparison, I think they should start out the same.  Either two nucs or two packages.  My first choice would be nucs from a local beekeeper.  Preferably one that would be willing to answer questions you have the first year.  I am not a fan of package bees, so that would be my last resort.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: two bee varieties, two hives -- how close?
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2017, 10:01:39 am »
>I'm thinking one nuc and one package so I get a little experience with each. 

I'm with cao on this.  Better to do both the same so you actually can compare.  Two colonies rarely do the same and that is a good lesson to learn and a more practical comparison.  Also consider what you really want as far as frame depth and cell size.  There is a good chance that the nuc won't be available in what you want.  I would do eight frame mediums rather than ten frame deeps and that would mean I need to find medium nucs (possible, but harder to find).  Also I want natural cell size and it's doubtful I'll find a nuc in natural cell size.

>I'm planning on locating my hives about a foot or so apart.  Q: Do I need to have the same species (or is it sub-species?) of bees in both hives? 

In beekeeping terms, it's race.  In taxonomy terms it's variety.  All honey bees in North America are of the species Apis mellifera.

>For example, can I have a Carniolan and an Italian next to each other, or do they need to be 80' apart (picked that number because that's the furthest I can get them apart)?

Irrelevant in all cases.  Race has nothing to do with it.  Distance has nothing to do with it.  All my hives are touching each other.  It's impossible to get any closer...

> My thought was to give myself the opportunity to compare species characteristics up close and personal.  On the other hand though, I don't want to create chaos and learn nothing. 

The problem is that you won't learn anything about difference in race.  Differences from colony to colony are greater than differences from race to race.  Your conclusions will not really be valid unless you had a large sample size of each.  Again, as above, I would do two colonies as identical as possible so you can tell if one is doing better or not and you'll see how invalid a lot of your conclusions would have been if you based them on equipment or race differences when they vary more just by the decisions one colony makes that are different from the other colony.
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Offline Acebird

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Re: two bee varieties, two hives -- how close?
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2017, 02:22:00 pm »
Better to do both the same so you actually can compare.
You already warned the OP that there will be variations between colonies even if you get them in the same configuration.  Some time down the road he probably will make a comparison between a package and a nuc so I see no harm in doing it the first year.
Even though I run all medium 8 frames now I don't see a harm in starting with the deep brood box and medium super because that is more common.  He will have a better opportunity to get help and supplies.  The following successful year he can decide which is a better way to go on the equipment.
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Offline Van, Arkansas, USA

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Re: two bee varieties, two hives -- how close?
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2017, 05:29:39 pm »
Mr. Beepah, lots of good advice posted.  One thing I should mention, educate yourself regarding varroa mites and small hive beetle (shb).  In your area, I don't think shb are such a threat.  In the southern US, the shb can be deadly to a beehive.

There are many ways to deal with mites.  There are two basic trends, beekeepers either treat OR do not treat.  When the time comes you can post questions to this board after you educate yourself about varroa mites.
Blessings

Offline Sour Kraut

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Re: two bee varieties, two hives -- how close?
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2017, 04:06:06 am »
Spacing is not that important, except to get them far enough apart that you're not bumping into one while working the other.

Different  species...........take your pick and learn, although one-of-each is a pretty small sample from which to draw solid conclusions.

You didn't post your location, that makes a difference in what you start out with.

You might want to get one (or more) extra set-ups consisting of a top, bottom and one deep with full sheets of foundation and hope for a call for a swarm or two....let the local police, fire, animal control and pest control people know you are looking for them....lawn care outfits too if you have them nearby.

And please....first year....concentrate on simply getting them to the point they make it thru the winter.

Good luck and please keep us informed.


Offline bwallace23350

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Re: two bee varieties, two hives -- how close?
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2017, 02:58:54 pm »
If you get a package they will probably requeen anyway. Mine nice yellow Italians are now something of a darker color but still super gentle to weed eat around and observe from a close distance.