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Author Topic: queen traits, what to look for?  (Read 1315 times)
troutstalker2
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« on: March 08, 2009, 06:15:24 PM »

  This will be my third year beekeeping and I now have 3 hives and I am amazed at the differences in the colonies. I'm to the point were I'm starting to look at the individual traits of the queens. Since i would like to promote positive qualities in the next generation of queens through selection, certainly not a new concept, but I Don't know necessarily what is good and what is bad.
For instance, I have 3 hives, One Russian, 2 what I would consider mutts. One of the mutts is hotter than a 2 dollar pistol, that's a no brainer, requeen. The Russian went through the winter with what I thought was very few bees, almost 1/3 the amount of the other mutt hive. Is this good or bad, I can see positives for both. Less bees, less honey needed to get through the winter, but more bees seems like a better chance of surviving, a  bigger cluster it seems would be able to withstand colder temps.
   The temperament seems to be major factor, but I'm finding other things that differentiate queens. One hive propolize ( hope that is the word) like crazy making inspection more difficult, one is much cleaner. The propensity to swarm. Some colonies start flying at 32 degrees, some at 43. degrees.
  I know I'm asking a big question with many oppinions and answers. I guess what I'm asking is a few traits besides aggressiveness to look for in a queen

 Thanks, David
« Last Edit: March 11, 2009, 08:35:24 AM by troutstalker2 » Logged
Zane
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« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2009, 11:27:15 AM »

Troutstalker,
I am noticing the same things like you. I want to requeen some hives due to being HOT and others for being slow and not productive.
On the other hand I have a swarm from last year thats going gangbusters and I want to keep her going and maybe even split her. I dont want to put all my eggs in one basket so I am looking for another type of gentle hard working queen to bee neighbors. Hopefully you get some input onthis soon since spring queen buying season is here.
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Robo
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« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2009, 11:58:14 AM »

David,

It all comes down to what you ultimately desire.   For me, survivability without chemical treatment is the highest priority.  Then the secondary traits like temperament, honey production, brood rearing, etc...

There is no right answer, but a lot of opinions. tongue
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Zane
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« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2009, 06:11:57 PM »

I'd like to stay chem free also.
I have used essential oils and plan on planting thyme and spearmint around the hives this year hoping it will be a deterant? I guess I want it all!
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TwT
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2009, 10:16:25 PM »

David,

It all comes down to what you ultimately desire.   For me, survivability without chemical treatment is the highest priority.  Then the secondary traits like temperament, honey production, brood rearing, etc...

There is no right answer, but a lot of opinions. tongue

that about covers me also but mine is in order like this
survivability without chemical treatment
honey production
temperament
brood rearing
wax production

the first one make's it take a long time because you can check for any others unless they live for at lest 3 years without treatments, then you get to check for other thing's and you can judge them in a year.
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« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2009, 09:56:58 PM »

Good health (no chalk brood or other brood issues or varroa or tracheal mites)
Frugal use of stores in the winter.
Good buildup before the flow.
Good production.
Gentle.
Make lots of propolis.
Stay calm on the combs.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2009, 12:19:28 AM »

  This will be my third year beekeeping and I know have 3 hives and I am amazed at the differences in the colonies. I'm to the point were I'm starting to look at the individual traits of the queens. Since i would like to promote positive qualities in the next generation of queens through selection, certainly not a new concept, but I Don't know necessarily what is good and what is bad.
For instance, I have 3 hives, One Russian, 2 what I would consider mutts. One of the mutts is hotter than a 2 dollar pistol, that's a no brainer,re queen.


I would agree, requeening a hot hive is a good idea.

Quote
The Russian went through the winter with what I thought was very few bees, almost 1/3 the amount of the other mutt hive. Is this good or bad, I can see positives for both. Less bees, less honey needed to get through the winter, but more bees seems like a better chance of survival and can a  bigger cluster seems would be able to withstand colder temps.

Russians will typically over winter in smaller clusters than Italian bees 1/3 to 1/2 as much.  They go into winter with a smaller cluster and emerge with an even smaller cluster.  With Russians a cluster as small as 1000 bees can suddenly go gangbusters given a small flow and pollen.

Quote
The temperament seems to be major factor, but I'm finding other things that differentiate queens. One hive propolize ( hope that is the word) like crazy making inspection more difficult, one is much cleaner. The propensity to swarm. Some colonies start flying at 32 degrees, some at 43. degrees.
  I know I'm asking a big question with many oppinions and answers. I guess what I'm asking is a few traits besides aggressiveness to look for in a queen

 Thanks, David

When selecting for desired traits one needs to remember that some traits seem to be paired, that is hygenic behavior is tied to an increased swarming tendency.  Cold hardiness is tied to smaller cluster size.  Hygenic behavior is desired for mite resistant bees, so chosing that trait means adapting a swarm management stratagy as part of the equation.
Russiand and Carnies will fly at lower temps, I've seem them fly at temps as low as 35 F and cloudy skys.  Italians on the otherhand usually won't fly until the low to mid 40's on clear sunny days, if then.
Race plays and important part in queen selection.  You can't necessarily have the same fly at temp guide for Italian and Russian queens.
The secret to selecting breeding queens are to select for thos traits you desire in the order you prioritize them as applied to the race of bee.

I won't go into the more commonly desired traits as others have already listed them.
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