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Author Topic: Quality of today's Queens  (Read 680 times)

Offline Aroc

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Quality of today's Queens
« on: October 19, 2017, 11:54:51 pm »
My intent here is not to offend anyone.  I may end up doing that anyway, but it's not directed at anyone in particular.

I don't subscribe to Bee Culture magazine as yet so please forgive me as I did not read the article.

A fellow local beek was talking about an article he was reading in a recent Bee Culture magazine about a long time beekeeper and how today's queens aren't what they used to be.  He mentioned something about having to re-queen what seemed like every spring and fall.  He used to get 2-3 years out of a queen.

So as we were talking I had a theory.  I told him the problem may be caused by idiots such as myself climbing on the bee bandwagon and starting an entirely new industry of making bees. 

I was reminded of what happened to the Cocker Spaniel after Disney's 'Lady and the Tramp', and the Dalmatian after '101 Dalmatians'.  The breeds went to crap due to overbreeding and no control.  I'm wondering if the same sort of thing is happening to the honeybee.  Might the demand be so great right now for queens and package that the control has been lost.  Are bee breeders simply cranking out queens and packages that they have lost their ability to create a sturdy bee...more specifically, the queen?
You are what you think.

Offline little john

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Re: Quality of today's Queens
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2017, 06:13:07 am »
Brother Adam was once asked by a visitor how an amateur beekeeper - say, with a dozen or so hives - could best go about breeding their own queens rather than buying them in.  BA replied without hesitation, to simply select the best half of the apiary's colonies each time, and breed from those.

You'll hopefully have noticed that what he didn't say was "select the best (*) colony, and breed from that" - which is exactly what many breeders do.  Hundreds, in some cases thousands of queens raised from just one outstanding specimen.  A very clever practice ('cause it's one sure way of making a quick buck), but not so very wise in the long term.

Another longevity issue is the size of colonies.  Queens can only lay a finite number of fertilised eggs during their lifetime.  So - keep a desirable queen in a small nuc, and she may last for 3 or even 4 years.  Get her to head a 3 or 4 brood-box colony, pumping out huge quantities of honey - and she may indeed only last for the one season.

In addition, I do get the impression that over many decades the emphasis has become increasingly directed towards honey yield performance, perhaps at the expense of hardiness and other survival characteristics.

LJ

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Offline Acebird

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Re: Quality of today's Queens
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2017, 08:24:31 am »
I don't think that the breeders are doing anything different then their fathers did.  What is different is varroa and the chemical war waged on the parasite and Big Ag which limits the bees resources and applies more chemicals to their environment.  How many times have you heard "I treat my bees and that makes them healthy" or "I treat my bees and it didn't hurt them at all."  Only time can tell if a practice is good or bad in the long run.
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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Quality of today's Queens
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2017, 08:48:21 am »
I wonder how many of these high production queen breeders are using artificial insemenation. Artificially inseminated queens can only lay eggs for a short time, about 6 months. We cannot do it as good as Mother Nature.
Jim
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Offline little john

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Re: Quality of today's Queens
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2017, 11:34:22 am »
I don't think that the breeders are doing anything different then their fathers did.

That is exactly the problem --- and so the gene pool keeps diminishing, (human) generation after generation ...
https://beemaster.com/forum/index.php?topic=50385.0
LJ
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Online AR Beekeeper

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Re: Quality of today's Queens
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2017, 12:16:49 pm »
Sawdustmaker;  Artificial Insemination is used by all of the best producers of breeder queens, it is the only way they can control both sides of the daughter queens heredity.

Because of the cost ($250 and up for II Breeder Queens) insemination is not used on honey production queens.  I have had a few II queens that lasted 16 months when kept in 10 frame equipment, and that is as good as most of the naturally mated queens do.   

Offline Van, Arkansas, USA

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Re: Quality of today's Queens
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2017, 06:44:36 pm »
AR: if you want an II Cordovan queen, I'll give you one this spring, 2018.  You will have to drive to Mountain Home, not to far really.  Only one person I know of besides yours truly that generates II Cordovan, Dr. Latshaw, bee geneticist.  His cordovan queens run about $550.00, minimum 5 order.
I do not sell my queens, I do give them to beeks, neighbors.   I don't ship, period.
Cost is zero, zip, nada nada.

I raise bees as a hobby, not really interested in the $$$.  I have both a Latshaw and a Loc device. Of course  I raise natural queens, Italian and Cordovan also, they are free too.
Blessings

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Quality of today's Queens
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2017, 08:25:30 pm »
Dr. Shepherd did a presentation on a study of how narrow the gene pool of commercial queens are.  It was quite scary.
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Online AR Beekeeper

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Re: Quality of today's Queens
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2017, 09:18:21 pm »
Van;  Sure, we will make plans after the first of the year.  I hope we have a good "old fashioned" Spring this coming year, I could use one after the miserable excuses for Spring we have been having.

Offline Dallasbeek

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Re: Quality of today's Queens
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2017, 02:54:43 pm »
Is there some reason importing queens is so difficult as to be virtually impossible?  Some new queens from England, Russia, the Caucasus region, Romania, etc., would certainly make selecting our lines more interesting. 
"Liberty lives in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no laws, no court can save it." - Judge Learned Hand, 1944

Offline Van, Arkansas, USA

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Re: Quality of today's Queens
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2017, 04:08:44 pm »
Dallas good thought, in fact your thought of importing new blood lines has taken place 2017.  I believe Dr. Cobey traveled to Asia to obtain new blood lines.  Somehow she was able to overcome importation rules.
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Offline Dallasbeek

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Re: Quality of today's Queens
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2017, 06:51:48 pm »
I wonder how many get smuggled in, maybe through Canada?
"Liberty lives in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no laws, no court can save it." - Judge Learned Hand, 1944

Online AR Beekeeper

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Re: Quality of today's Queens
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2017, 07:23:24 pm »
If my memory is correct, smuggled queens from South America is how the U.S. got tracheal mites.  Sue Cobey made the statement on a video of one of her lectures.

Offline Dallasbeek

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Re: Quality of today's Queens
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2017, 08:30:15 pm »
South America......isn't that how we got Africanized honey bees?  They didn't have to smuggle those in, did they? 
"Liberty lives in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no laws, no court can save it." - Judge Learned Hand, 1944

Online AR Beekeeper

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Re: Quality of today's Queens
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2017, 09:10:51 pm »
The African made it to Texas on it's own power, those with the mites were smuggled into Florida because they were inexpensive. 

Offline Dallasbeek

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Re: Quality of today's Queens
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2017, 09:58:40 pm »
Right, but they probably would have made it on their own, wouldn't they?  Just would have taken a little longer, is what i'm saying.
"Liberty lives in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no laws, no court can save it." - Judge Learned Hand, 1944