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Author Topic: Maintaining genetic diversity?  (Read 967 times)
fermentedhiker
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« on: December 25, 2008, 12:36:19 PM »

I've read every post on this subject I could find, but I'd still like to hear some input from those of you raising your own queens.

If you have a hive that is doing poor for whatever reason such that you decide requeening is necessary what factors do you use in deciding what to use as a source for a new queen?  Probably too vague a question.  Let me clarify; if you destroy the old queen and use a queen raised from your own stock you've have permanently lost the genetic material contained in that hive(admittedly they weren't doing well, but that doesn't mean they were all bad) and have in the same stroke duplicated some genetics in your apiary by using a queen from existing stock.  Would it be viable to eliminate the queen and somehow reduce/remove the drones from that hive and allow the replacement queen to mate with your existing stock to hopefully improve their survivability and preserve something from their line?  Or is inbreeding just not as likely to cause a problem as it seems it would be in a small apiary?  By small I mean a single yard so maintaining separate lines in not part of the equation. 

If you do consistently replace failed/underperforming queens with your own stock, do you and if so how often do you buy queens from others to inject some fresh blood into your program?  I know many will say feral colonies will add to your program via their drones and feral swarms will directly add fresh genetics to your apiary, but I wonder how sure you can be that a swarm is truly feral.  I mean isn't it just as likely to be an f1 swarm from a commercial/migratory operations(depending on timing and location of course) in which case their genetics maybe a detriment to your breeding program and not the "free" bonus after all?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
Adam
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2008, 01:27:39 PM »

Quite often a hive is not failing because of genetics.  It's failing because the queen was poorly raised (usually poorly fed during development) or poorly mated (bad weather or lack of drones during mating) or maybe even a lack of proper bacteria and yeasts living int he hive.  If I think there are characteristics I like about the queen, I will often let them raise her daughter and see how she does.

But still, picking good stock is a good thing.  Pick bees that have survived the winter and are surviving without treatments.  Bees that are gentle and productive.  Bees, in short, that have the characteristics you like and raise queens from that stock.

If you view your genetic selection as removing what you don't want, in other words requeening the poor or hot hives, and keeping what you do want, in other words, raising queens from all the good hives, then you don't narrow the pool too much and only where there is a reason.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
fermentedhiker
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« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2008, 11:26:15 PM »

Thanks for the reply.

This is my first year with my first hive so worrying about inbreeding in my apiary is somewhat premature I guess. Smiley

I have Carnie/Italian mutts at the moment and my plan is to focus on Old World Carnie's, Caucasians, Russians, German derived stock if I ever find some, and certainly any swarms I can get my hands on.  All of them supposedly will be more adaptable to my local conditions ie rapid fluctuations, with frequent cold and wet spells throughout the year.  With this many subspecies and their resultant mutts I guess I won't have to worry about inbreeding and a reduction in genetic diversity for the first few years anyways.

Hope the rest of you guys are warmer than I am Sad
Adam
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