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