>Now this is coming from the biologist in me: so if we want colonies that are more resistant to these pests, it seems we should let natural selection (nature) take its logical course and allow our colonies to raise their own queens.
I THINK HE'S GOT IT!!!!
> Sounds like I should not be buying anymore queens.
BY GEORGE HE'S GOT IT!!!!
> Just take my best colony, take out a frame, nuc it and allow the workers to make a queen from that???
HE'S REALLY GOT IT!!!
> Now I know that is what most breeders do, but it would be more fun for me to do it myself and save some dough!
Why rear your own queens?
Cost. A typical queen costs about $20 counting shipping and may cost considerably more.
Time. In an emergency you order a queen and it takes several days to make arrangements and get the queen. Often you need a queen yesterday. If you have some in mating nucs, on hand, then you already have a queen.
Availability. Often when you need a queen there are none available from suppliers. Again, if you have one on hand availability is not a problem.
AHB. Southern raised queens are more and more from Africanized Honey Bee areas. In order to keep AHB out of the North we should stop importing queens from those areas.
Acclimatized bees. It's unreasonable to expect bees bred in the deep South to winter well in the far North. Local feral stock is acclimatized to our local climate. Even breeding from commercial stock, you can breed from the ones that winter well here.
Mite and disease resistance. Tracheal mite resistance is an easy trait to breed for. Just don't treat and you'll get resistant bees. Hygienic behavior, which is helpful to avoid AFB (American Foulbrood) and other brood diseases as well as Varroa mite problems, is also easy to breed for by testing for hygienic behavior in our breeder queens. And yet hardly any queen breeders are breeding for these traits. The genetics of our queens if far too important to be left to people who don't have a stake in their success. People selling queens and bees actually make more money selling replacement queens and bees when the bees fail.
Quality. The quality of your queens can often surpass that of a queen breeder. You have the time to spend to do things that a commercial breeder cannot afford to do. For instance, research has shown that a queen that is allowed to lay up until it's 21 days will be a better queen with better developed ovarioles than one that is banked sooner. A longer wait will help even more, but that first 21 days is much more critical. A commercial queen producer typically looks for eggs at two weeks and if there are any it is banked and eventually shipped. You can let yours develop better by spending more time. http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenrearing.htm
> The speed with which this queen and small colony drew out two frames and brood and made stores during a dearth is quite amazing to me. So I'm thinking I want more of the same. Ya'll thought this was some bogus thread--two pages already!!!
“If you're not part of the genetic solution of breeding mite-tolerant bees, then you're part of the problem”--Randy Oliver