The bee got its name in connection with the English origin - for the first time the bees appeared in the abbey of the same name. The breed is by far one of the most popular among beekeepers, despite its high cost.
General characteristics of the breed
The individuals of the Bakfast breed have a number of characteristics that distinguish them from other representatives of the bee family. They stand out not only for their visual features, but also productive, so revered by beekeepers.
The mass of the working Bakfast bee is about 115 milligrams, while the unfertilized uterus can weigh about 200. The individuals of the breed have a slightly elongated, tending down body.
The color of the Bakfast bees can be described as dark yellow, yellow brown. The legs are much darker, almost black. The wings, on the other hand, are relatively light.
The sizes of the proboscis of the breed do not reach more than 7 millimeters.
The breed is famous for its productivity, almost independent of circumstances. However, there are still a number of features in the summer season:
- during periods of average bribe, the family continues to build strength;
- during periods of strong bribe (for example, linden, sainfoin, sunflower), the uterus is limited a little by bees;
- at the same time brood in families often happens even in autumn, which prolongs the production period.
Backfast uterus is very fertile, and in late spring can sow up to 2 thousand cells per day. In this regard, the breed is characterized by the formation of large families.
In addition, the Buckfast breed is able to effectively use both weak and strong bribes, stretched over time. The beekeeper should maximize the strength of the family. If the bribe is too weak, bees should be fed .
Features of behavior and climate preferences
One of the breed's calling cards is peace. They don’t tend to attack a person for no reason, they are calm about inspecting a hive.
There is no extreme need for smoke, gloves and a net to contact the hive. But if there was no experience in communicating with the breed, then at least the first few times to inspect it is worth using them.
Buckfast bees prefer to avoid contact when checking the hive, especially in bad weather. They tend to go down.
This is a very hardworking breed - they carry pollen from early morning until evening. Buckfast bees can continue to work even at low temperatures, up to ten degrees of heat.
Behind them is also seen a love of a humid climate: Bakfast bees are more comfortable where it often rains. A striking example is the middle band. But the breed is able to adapt to almost any conditions.
Features of honey collection and swarming
The size of the honey collection directly depends on the accumulated strength of the bee families, the bribe and the architecture of the hive (multi-hull, hive-lounger).
Wandering significantly increases the amount of honey obtained, but without it there is always plenty of it.
In order for the Bakfast bees to show themselves in all its glory during the period of honey collection, in no case should one limit the growth of the number of individuals. It is also not recommended to use beekeeping techniques such as selecting a sealed brood and dividing families, leading to limited family growth.
In the summer season, almost all the work of the beekeeper comes down to installing auxiliary buildings and pumping honey. A distinctive feature of Bakfast bees during honey collection is also the small production of propolis.
For the breed, swarming is almost not characteristic. For example, in five years of keeping a breed in a swarm state, only a couple of families can go, which is a good indicator.
Other breed features
The distinctive features of Bakfast bees include the rapid breeding of working individuals - not 20, but 19 days.
There are three varieties of buckfast, for which it is peculiar:
- late brood exit.
In addition, there are many lines and hybrids of the breed that differ from each other:
- resistance of bees to viral diseases and varroatosis;
- uterine reduction periods (from late autumn to early September);
- periods of maximum honey production (for some lines, the maximum productivity of honey falls in the early spring, for some in the fall), etc.
At the moment, it is quite difficult to find absolutely purebred representatives of the breed.
In this video, the beekeeper Maxim Nikutkin shares his thoughts regarding the Bakfast breed and talks about some of the features of these bees:
Despite the unpretentiousness of the Bakfast breed, individuals require a certain attitude and care.
Nutrition and conditions
The early development of insects is only good if the region can provide the bees with sufficient food from the first spring months. Otherwise (for example, in the northern, western regions) the beekeeper will have to take care of the toilers, providing them with fertilizing.
What Bakfast is especially demanding of is space. The breed needs large, spacious hives for living. Without a large "living space" the family will not be able to constantly increase the number of individuals and build up strength, and the amount of honey produced by Bakfast bees directly depends on these two factors. A separate hive is desirable for each family.
In the hives themselves, it is recommended to install special sunbeds - they will not only contribute to the reproduction of bees, but also help to save more honey.
In addition, beehives for the breed Bakfast should be warm. If the bees are bred in the northern regions, then it is highly recommended to warm them.
Shortly before the last pumping, all hulls are removed from the hives, the frames are rearranged in the lower ones, supplying frames of land and wax to provide the uterus with work. So early this is done in connection with the peculiarities of the Bakfast breed - unlike other breeds, the Bakfast bees do not fill the lower body with honey, but raise it up, providing the uterus with a housing for sowing.
At the same time, they begin feeding the bees, preparing them for wintering. Feeding is carried out until the bees begin to abandon it. In the same way, nuclei are fed.
The addition of polysine and medications for nosematosis is recommended for top dressing. The hive should be treated for varroatosis before hibernation.
Another important nuance of preparing Bakfast bees for winter is removal in the middle of autumn (depending on the temperature regime) before the frosts of warming from the hive. This is done so that the bees have time to sink to the bottom before wintering. The bee club obtained as a result will perfectly preserve the internal temperature throughout the winter. In addition, removing the insulation from the hive in the autumn until the frost will save the hive from increased dampness of pillows and mold.
Fears that the Bakfast bees will freeze or become sick if the warming is removed in the fall are completely unfounded. Bees tolerate low temperatures perfectly. The main thing is to make sure that hives with bees of this breed will not remain unprotected in cold weather.
Buckfast bees are resistant to infectious bee diseases such as:
However, at the same time, they are vulnerable to:
- tick of varroa;
- European foulbrood;
- American foulbrood;
- tracheal tick.
In this regard, the beekeeper is required to conduct regular preventive measures (especially in the process of preparing the breed for wintering).
Other care features
The Bakfast breed has practically no resistance to preserving its own natural signs: no matter how high-quality and clean the acquired Bakfast uterus would not be, after a couple of generations, individuals invariably change their color and acquire aggressive habits.
In order to maintain the cleanliness of the breed of existing individuals, it will be necessary either to buy new queens or use artificial breeding methods, limiting the contact of individuals with other representatives of the bee family.
Additionally, read the article with tips for a novice beekeeper .
Pros and cons of the breed
The indisputable advantages of the Buckfast bee breed include the following:
- Endurance. Bees are able to work from early morning until late in the evening.
- Fertility. Bee families grow rapidly, increasing in number almost exponentially.
- Longevity. The uterus of this breed can live for about five years without losing in its qualities.
- Variability. Depending on the region in which the apiary operates, it is possible to select the optimal breed line.
- Convenience. The bees prefer to be located in the upper tiers of the hive, and to store the acquired goods in the lower ones. Thus, collecting honey is not a difficult task.
- Purity. The hive after Bakfast bees always remains clean, because the breed is famous for its cleanliness.
- Good disposition. Individuals of the breed do not show aggression to humans without significant reasons. Especially peaceful character is suitable for beginners in beekeeping.
- Sustainability. Buckfast bees are rarely affected by disease.
- No swarming. Individuals are absolutely not prone to swarming, and if they pass into this state, it is extremely rare.
- Honey collection. Bees give a huge amount of honey compared to their counterparts, which makes them a very attractive choice for the production of honey on an industrial scale.
However, the breed also has disadvantages :
- Low frost resistance. Despite the ability of bees to continue to work even at low temperature conditions, they should not be called frost-resistant.
- Difficulties in breeding. Buckfast is one of the most difficult breeds for breeding. Of the one and a half thousand queens, only 30 will be of pure breed, suitable for sale.
- Weakness of symptoms. Acquisition of queen bee Bakfast bees with a quality lower inevitably leads to the fact that new generations of bees will become more aggressive and “lazy” over time.
- Limitations The selection of a sealed brood and the division of families are not applicable to bees of this breed if the beekeeper wants to get enough honey.
- Increased attention. The larger the family, the more attention the insect will need. Otherwise, the weakening of the bribe will begin.
- Propolis. As a payment for a larger amount of honey produced, insolids give quite a bit of propolis.
- Cost. The acquisition of even the Badfather ф Buckfast ’may require significant investment. It can cost about two thousand rubles. Fetal uterus is worth its weight in gold - up to 100 thousand rubles per individual.
Valentine, 43 years old.
Two Bakfast lines are available, one has already wintered, the second is only being prepared this year. From observations:
- wintering is weaker than local bees, but at the same time they spend less food;
- in the spring the feed simply disappears, but a huge increase follows;
- give more honey than Karpatka and Karnika;
- peace-loving, allowed himself to remove the net from his face even when pumping honey;
- swarm mood happened, but calmed down as soon as the reasons disappeared.
I advise you to try!
Vladimir, 54 years old.
With Buckfast he began dating in 2015. At first I did not like him at all, but now I am delighted with him! In the arsenal were lines B270, B43, B73, B535. I liked all the lines. B270 disappeared through my fault - the tick killed. At the moment, the leader is F1 B535. 128 kg, and honey has not yet been pumped out of sunflower. For five years, 3 families were swarming.
Catherine, 69 years old.
I am a beekeeper with experience of 30 years and have tried different bees. I had both Central Russians, and Karnika, and Carpathian, and Italian. In 2016, on advice, she bought 20 queens, Bakfast F1 B158. In the summer of 2017, I had 15 families with uterus from the uterus of Bakfast B158 uterus. There were also 5 more Carpathian families. So, Bakfast brought 40-50 kilograms more honey than Carpathian bees. Although in spring they were about the same in strength. And from the sunflower I returned with the full beehives of the Buckfast bees, and the Carpathians very much worn out on the sunflower, and there were not many bees in the beehives. They are calm and bear honey well. Not a single Bakfast family (15 families) swarmed in the summer, and Karpatka (5 families) released two swarms.
With a number of significant advantages and a couple of drawbacks, the Bakfast bees can survive in almost any region, except for the coldest. The breed will be an ideal choice for a beginner in beekeeping, ready for financial investments that will pay off very quickly.