Russian honey bees are a stock of honey bees that were bred to be resistant to Varroa mites and have good beekeeping functionality for both honey production and pollination. This book describes the project to produce the Russian honey bee stock, conducted over 20 years of work by the combined efforts of scientists and beekeepers. Practical information on the management of Russian honey bees is combined with understandable summaries of the extensive scientific literature on Russian honey bees from a variety of scientific journals. Chapter headings include: Basic Varroa Biology, Early History of the Russian Honey Bee Stock, Stock Formation, Resistance to Varroa, Stock Certification, Management of Russian Honey Bees, The Russian Honey Bee Breeders Association and A Beekeeper’s Perspective. Whether readers are looking for a comprehensive overview of scientific aspects of Russian honey bees or guidelines for the practical management of Russian honey bees, they will find it in “Russian Honey Bees”.
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Thomas Rinderer received his PhD training in honey bee genetics and pathology from Walter Rothenbuhler at The Ohio State University in the early 1970’s. In 1975, he joined the USDA’s Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics and Physiology Laboratory in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He became the Laboratory’s Research Director in 1977 and served in that role until his retirement in 2016. He is the author of nearly 350 research publications that address the topics of honey bee breeding, genetics, population genetics, behavior, biodiversity and pathology. His work has been recognized by numerous awards from national and international organizations. He has served as senior editor of both Honey Bee Science and the Journal of Apicultural Research. The last 20 years of his professional career were devoted to transforming the notion of having Russian honey bees in the U.S. from an interesting idea to a valuable honey bee stock that has excellent beekeeping functionality and is uniquely resistant to Varroa mites.
Steven Coy is a second-generation commercial beekeeper who grew up in northeast Arkansas, where his family operated 10,000 hives for honey production and almond pollination. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Plant Science and a Master’s degree in Biology from Arkansas State University. He moved to Mississippi in 2006 to manage the southern portion of Coy’s Honey Farm and in 2014 he started Coy Bee Company, LLC to focus on producing purebred Russian queens and nucs. He has been an active member of state and local beekeeping organizations and has served as a member of the Executive Board of the American Honey Producers Association since 2010. He is one of the original members of the Russia Honey Bee Breeders Association and was President of the Russian Honeybee Breeders Association from 2012-2016 and currently serves on the board of directors. Steven currently produces and sells Russian queens and nucs throughout the country and produces honey from about 1500 Russian colonies.