In Defense Of “Defensiveness”

Our hardy Feral Survivor Stock genetics are present in all the queen lines we offer.

Although we do consider “gentleness” to be a desirable characteristic in our selection process, we admit that our higher priority is for disease and mite resistance.

It is our philosophy that decades of selection for gentleness and honey production, and the use of synthetic miticides, may have diminished the honeybee’s natural ability to adapt to changing stressors.

While our Wild Survivor Bees may appear at times to be more defensive than other commercially available stock, most of our customers report them to be gentle; quiet on the comb; entirely manageable; and consistently demonstrate unparalleled hardiness in their inherent ability to withstand many of the pathogens affecting honeybees today without the need of harsh chemical treatments.

When working our bees, we recommend that you follow these simple practices:

    • Place your colonies in a sunny location a minimum of 50 yards from frequent human and livestock traffic.
    • At a minimum, use head net and smoke*.  It may also be necessary to also wear a bee suit, gloves.
    • Work your bees on sunny days when the field bees are out foraging whenever possible.

*SIDE NOTE: We usually work our bees without gloves, in half-suits.  Instead of using a smoker, we prefer the convenience of a pint-sized trigger sprayer filled with a mixture of approximately 16 oz of H2O  to one ounce of liquid smoke (available in grocery stores), plus a few drops of lemon grass essential oil.  A light misting when cracking open the colony lid; and an occasional spritz on our hands is very effective.  It hangs easily on a pocket and is much safer than keeping a smoker going… but that’s a story for another time 🙂