I hate hybrid Italian bees! Hybrids between native Apis mellifera mellifera and imported Italian queens have a horrible tendency to sting. I've been building up my native hive, which is now getting massively strong, while the two I bought have been building up slowly, despite weekly removal of brood.
My native hive is still the best-tempered of the three despite its greater strength. One of the new ones is OK, but the other is getting nastier by the week. Yesterday I had a really good stinging from them, with bee after bee going up my arm, and bees all over my sleeve, stinging it like mad. I got two stings from bees inside my veil, when mostly ones that get in there think about nothing but escape. Not nice at all, I don't want bees like that. I've always avoided the 'space suit' type of bee gear; it ought to be unnecessary with only a few hives. The way to go is to avoid the nasty bees.
The crazy thing is that back in the 1920's, Brother Adam, the most influential UK beekeeper of his time, concluded that the native British bee was, firstly, extinct, and secondly, nasty-tempered. My experience, and that of others who keep them, is that they are far from extinct, and reliably good tempered. Unlike the unpredictable hybrids a lot of bigger beekeepers seem to go for.
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