Raising/Selecting TF bees

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So I have not used chemicals for ... five years now I guess.  And I have more bees each year than the year previous. And I'm starting to think about growing a little bit.
I took a queen rearing class several years ago, and the (excellent) teacher had a short list of priorities he selects for when choosing queen mothers.  In another sort of class I learned that "a goal not written down is just a dream" so here is my list of priorities, and some specific collectible data that would serve as metrics of those traits.

your comments are welcome!!

Matt?s Ideal Honey Bees (Charlotte NC)

> is gentle to kids, pets, birds and lawnmowers
   > may be hostile to robber bees
   > ok if pissy to beekeeper, but relaxes with smoke.

> Starts early in the year, ASAP after Winter Solstice
   > hoards pollen in the Autumn
   > responds to stimulus feeding
   > decent brood nest Feb 1
   > wants to swarm early

> Manages/jails SHB
   > happy in a solid box, small entrance
   > lots of propolis and lots and lots of propolis

> Manages varroa directly
   > method (ankle biting, grooming, pupae uncapping etc) is not important
   > low mite counts throughout summer
   > no spikes/bombs
   > patchy brood pattern ok in summer

> Diverse weather hardy   
   > no brood disease ever except beekeeper error
   > no nosema ever
   > tidy interior cavity (clean floor)
   > lots of propolis
   > less brood in dearth and Winter

> Make some honey!
   > April 1 weight over brood box
   > June 30 weight over brood box
   > Mid-September brood box weight

I don't understand the "Make some honey" category.

I was thinking of data points. For weight above the brood box, put the scale under the first super.

Sent from my SM-J737P using Tapatalk

If you are using all mediums the brood area will cover 2 to 3 boxes and the top box will probably be a mixture.  I think you are better off weighing the whole hive and subtracting out a fixed number based on the brood area size.

William Bagwell:
Interesting list! Agree with most of it and too new to quibble about the
rest. Aw, when has that ever stopped me :wink:

Knowing the method of varroa management is important for at least one reason.
When adding diversity they should have different mechanisms. Be kind of
foolish to buy bees / queens from five different sources that all use the
same method when you do not (yet) know which one(s) will work best in your

Speaking of which just how do you tell? Aware of a pin prick test, but think it is more for hygienic in general and not varroa sensitive hygienic (VSH) Also looking for evidence of damage to fallen mites. What is the cheapest way to look, will a hand lens work?

Personally word rather have just a propolis hive or two rather than all of them. But understand your reasoning since it is supposed to be healthy for the bees. Pollen is good and plan to run a trap next year.


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