How to prepare your family to survive and thrive in todays uncertain world

Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Characteristics of Common Honeybee Species

The Characteristics of Common Honeybee Species

The common western honeybee (apis mellifera) has a number of races or subspecies that are commonly used by beekeepers world wide.  I want to cover some of the more common bee races and their characteristics today.

The Italian Bee (apis mellifera ligustica)

italian bee 200x150 The Characteristics of Common Honeybee SpeciesThe Italian bee is the most common honey bee in the United States today.  They are a yellow bee, which can vary in color from a dark leather color to a light yellow, with three or five black bands on the abdomen.

Italians are generally considered one of the more gentle bee races and are thus a good choice for non rural areas.  Having an aggressive bee hive in the suburbs is probably not the best plan in the world.

Positive Traits

They are resistant to wax moth and European Foulbrood.  They keep their hives clean and don’t create much propolis.  They are prolific foragers and breeders and don’t swarm all that often.  They build comb quickly and their cell cappings are generally clean and white.

Negative Traits

They consume more winter stores than other bees, probably since they come from the Mediterranean climate.  They can be a bit slow to develop in the spring, and are prone to drifting between hives.

The Carniolan Bee (apis mellifera carnica)

carniolan honeybee 200x172 The Characteristics of Common Honeybee SpeciesThe Carniolan bee is a dark bee with gray or brown hairs.  This can give them a soft banded appearance on the abdomen.  They come from the Alps of Europe and are the second most popular bee race in the United States.

Like Italians, Carniolans are a very gentle bee, but are not quite as gentle as the Italians.  They tend to do just fine in populated areas like the suburbs.  They are large bees and are well suited for colder climates.

Positive Traits

They use fewer winter stores than other common bee races and overwinter with smaller numbers of bees.  They do well in areas with long winters.  They orient themselves well and don’t drift very much.  They are resistant to European and American Foulbrood.

They will forage longer than other bees, getting started earlier in the day and staying out later in the evening.  Cool and wet days don’t bother them like they do other bees.  Carniolan workers live 10-12% longer than other breeds.

Negative Traits

They are prone to swarming.  They have a hard time in hot weather, and require a significant amount of pollen for brood rearing.

The Caucasian Bee (apis mellifera caucasica)

caucasianbeecr The Characteristics of Common Honeybee SpeciesCaucasian bees are also dark bees with gray hairs, and are not easily distinguished from Carniolans based on appearance.  They come from the Caucasus mountain regions in Europe.

Positive Traits

They are also fairly gentle, and have the longest tongues of other honeybee subspecies.  They winter well in cold climates and raise strong colonies in the spring.  They produce more honey than most other species.

Negative Traits

They create a ton of propolis which can seriously impact hive management.  They are susceptible to nosema apis and nosema ceranae, which are parasites that attack the intestines of bees.  They tend to drift, and love to rob other hives.

Newsletter – Week of 2/21/11

Newsletter – Week of 2/21/11

(NOTE: I’m going to be posting the weekly newsletter on the site at the end of each week. It goes out to the mailing list at the beginning of the week, so be sure to sign up here if you aren’t already on it!) Welcome to this weeks newsletter! Sorry about missing last week, butContinue Reading

The Shelf Life of Commercially Canned Foods

The Shelf Life of Commercially Canned Foods

A reader asked me the other day about how long canned food stays good, and whether or not the ‘use by’ dates were particularly accurate. I figured the answer to that question would be interesting to more than just him… As is all too often the case, the answer is ‘longer than you are beingContinue Reading

Monsanto, Schools, and Our Glorious TSA

Monsanto, Schools, and Our Glorious TSA

I’m feeling pretty tired tonight so I’m not going to be writing a full on post, but instead will touch on a few things I have read over the last couple days. Monsanto Strikes Again This one was particularly frightening and disturbing. Monsanto is forcing farmers using their seeds to sign a new licensing agreementContinue Reading

Delusions and Deceptions

Delusions and Deceptions

If you listen to the national media you will consistently hear that the outlook for the future is rosy!  You should probably invest in a good pair of shades! Employment is recovering. Washington DC is getting serious about cutting spending. Inflation isn’t happening. We believe them, right? Maybe not. Unemployment Is Far Far Worse ThanContinue Reading

The Importance Of Having Integrity

The Importance Of Having Integrity

Today I’m going to skip writing in detail about something that is clearly preparedness related, and touch on something completely different. I read about something today that was pretty disturbing. Before I go into details on what it was, I want to touch on a core life principle that I feel is important to havingContinue Reading

Meta:  No Newsletter This Week

Meta: No Newsletter This Week

Work has me going around and around this week, and I haven’t had any time to prepare a newsletter this week, so no newsletter for you! Sorry!  Back to the regular weekly schedule next week!

Frozen Vegetables Bring Trouble For Your Wallet!

Frozen Vegetables Bring Trouble For Your Wallet!

Simply put, food storage and acquiring the ability to produce your own food is about to become quite a bit more important. As I’ve noted before, food inflation has been happening for months and months. The value of the dollar on the open market has also continued to tank, which further impacts prices. And nowContinue Reading

Newsletter – 2/7/2011

Newsletter – 2/7/2011

(NOTE: I’m going to be posting the weekly newsletter on the site at the end of each week. It goes out to the mailing list at the beginning of the week, so be sure to sign up here if you aren’t already on it!) Welcome to the Preparing Your Family Newsletter for the week ofContinue Reading

Blog Moved

Blog Moved

So, no post yesterday and probably not today, because I’ve moved my blog to a different server. Hopefully this was completely transparent to you, but if it wasn’t, I apologize. The prior server was overloaded and slow, and I was having some serious problems with it. All a thing of the past, now! Please letContinue Reading

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