Warning! This is a totally unscientific proposition!
I’m wondering whether defensive bees are healthier than gentler strains.
This is based on my own (limited) experience.
I have two hives: One very established Buckfast hive and one new Italian hive.
The Buckfast bees are defensive. No question about it. I treat them with respect.
But they are incredibly healthy. I’ve had the same hive for four years, and it is bigger and stronger than ever. I’ve never seen any evidence of disease.
On the other hand, my Italian bees are sweethearts. I don’t even bother to smoke them for inspections. But they seem frail somehow.
I’ve seen larvae dumped on their landing board, and the colony isn’t building up as quickly as I’d hoped. I’ve seen evidence of Varroa mites.
I’m considering taking a frame of Buckfast brood and putting it in the Italian hive. Maybe the Italian hive will become more defensive. But maybe that’s what it needs to survive.
I’d be interested to hear what others think about this!!