George Imirie goes to lengths on purchasing the best bees available.
He recommends well bred docile Italian queens for the beginner beekeeper.
JL -Alas, in Fiji we do not have the luxury of buying well bred bees. The Fiji honey bee is a genetic mix of the German black bee that was originally brought to Fiji during colonial times and Italian bee brought in from New Zealand in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
JL – Typically, Fiji bees are very aggressive and prone to “following”. Aggressive bees that still are trying to sting you 100 meters away from the hive are not “well bred” bees. – JL
JL -Currently there is no bee supplier in Fiji that can supply “well bred” bees. They may breed their queens from their “better” hives but most do not bother. They just sell what they have on hand. – JL
JL – A lot of the behavior of honey bees are due to the bee genetics that can be selected for. Things like aggressiveness, following, propensity to swarm, disease resistance and hive hygiene are genetically controlled bees traits.
JL -Overseas beekeepers have worked long and hard to breed bees that have good genetics and to eliminate bad genetics.
Hive inspections in New Zealand can often be done without a veil. In Fiji you must wear a full bee-suit. – JL