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Author Topic: Queen mating fact, myth, or unknown....  (Read 11264 times)
deknow
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« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2010, 12:36:49 PM »

huh  How far away will Drones fly from their parent hive to find a hive raising a queens. huh

i don't know...and i don't know if this is a different distance than they would fly drifting into colonies that are not raising queens.

Quote
huh  Are drones allowed a free pass and are invited into all the hives raising a queens or queen right or queen less huh

....this study shows about 50% of drones in a colony have drifted there....and I don't beleive that virgin queens were a factor (certainly if they were, it was not intentional).
http://www.apidologie.org/articles/apido/pdf/2000/01/M0110.pdf

they also saw 8-88% of drones were accepted when artifically introduced into foreign colonies.


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BjornBee
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« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2010, 04:18:33 PM »

Here is an interesting article i ran across while looking for the "lost" comments I mentioned earlier.

http://www.beeculture.com/storycms/index.cfm?cat=Story&recordID=603

If you read the article about distribution and makeup of drones in the DCA's and even the randomness of drones moving between DCA's, then it makes you wonder why a queen would fly past several DCAs and up to 6 miles. It goes along with MB posted that drones are in DCA's as far as 2 or 3 miles from their original hive.

And with deknows information showing that up to 50% of drones in hives are from other hives to begin with, genetic selection has already begun the process of diversity before the queen makes in 10 feet from the hive. (Although I am not sure if this 50% was just drones from other hives in massive apiaries, which would be expected anyways. Or from distant colonies much more in a natural setting.)

I think with what others have posted, and the article by Collins, you can see that genetic diversity is being presented to queens if from differing genetic lines, without flying 6 miles out. To which I do not see in my own operation. And as I said before, inbreeding can be a problem when a beekeeper saturates this natural process by flooding the area with massive amounts of bees and queens from one source.

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« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2010, 04:43:09 PM »

Bjornbee; you stated earlier in this thread that it has been established that a queen will not mate with a drone from her own hive, in other words, one of her offspring. Where did you get this info? Please provide references.  grin

fish,

While I stated it several ways that a queen does know her own drones, does not mate with her own drones, etc., if you read the entire first post, I also acknowledged that a queen may also be overwhelmed or be mated with her own drones under drastic conditions.

What I remember from what I read, a queen can recognize her own drones and does try to fend them off. If you understand the cone pattern of the drones in flight following the queen, it is an orderly procedure for the most part. How exactly the drones decided who mates may not really be just a frenzied run for the prize type situation by the drones. It's more of the survival of the fittest with the fastest drone leading the pack, and the queen then deciding who she will mate with.
 
If left up to the drones, or possible cases where the queen is not strong enough for the selection process, she probably gets overwhelmed and is jumped by a large number of drones and then a ball falls from the sky, as someone mentioned earlier.

Think about it. Why would not every queen just be clustered or balled by drones nonstop for long periods of time. You think a couple hundred or thousands drones just back off and say "well that's too bad, bob got to her first, guess I'll go on my way"? No, what happens is the queen somehow determines what drones she wants. And from what I remember from the article, she does have a say or at least attempts to not mate with her own drones.

But that does not mean that a queen can not be mated with her own drones. I think circumstances sometimes allows the queen to overwhelmed for a number of reasons. This was eluded too in the first post if you read the entire post.

I guess we will never get to the main point I was trying to bring to discussion, that being the saturation of genetic stock from one supplier or queen being used to raise all your queens. You can read till your blue in the face and it will always come out with the bees doing what they need to do for genetic diversity though mixing of the DCA's, the drift of drones, etc. It all happens pretty much unaided and successfully. My point had to do with genetic saturation, which from what I understand, is a much larger problem.
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« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2010, 04:51:04 PM »

would you believe that some of these concepts are actually covered in an evil book?

deknow (I don't have a digital copy of the final text...this was pasted from the final submission, and is very close (if not exactly) what is printed in "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping"....I hold the copyright, so there are no issues posting this here)

"Queens sometimes mate in or near their yards, and an obvious concern is that the queen will mate with one of her own drones. a few things make this unlikely. For one thing, there are drones from multiple colonies around a DCA, many from several miles away.
Drones drift freely from hive to hive and seem to congregate in colonies where there is a virgin queen or capped queen cell. Most of the drones in a hive are drifting visitors, not raised there, so even if the mating happens close to the hive, the risk of inbreeding is minimal.

"Mating habits and reproductive schemes of plants and animals tend to reflect their reproductive needs. Lobsters have millions of offspring with few expected to survive, while elephants rarely have more than one calf at a time. a lobster that had only one microscopic offspring at a time would go extinct very quickly, and if elephants bred like lobsters, there would be a lot to clean up!

When an animal has an unusual reproductive method, it’s best to pay attention, as there are usually reasons why the system works, and there are consequences to “improving” things.

In order to understand the importance of genetics in breeding, we must take a closer look at the role of drones and queens in the mating process:
   [lb]   Drones are produced in abundance when the colony can afford to raise them. Drone production usually indicates a strong colony, as they use up a lot of resources.
      Drones drift freely between colonies over an area of several miles. Since the queen of a colony will mate with up to 30 or more drones, odds are against a queen mating with more than 1 or 2 drones from any one colony. Each drone the queen mates with will only have genetic influence on a small percentage of the queen’s offspring. This is a wide but shallow dispersion of genetics. It means that many colonies are influenced by the drones’ genetic material (from any given colony), none to a huge extent.

   [lb]   Queens are produced in very small numbers. At most, a hive will experience a few swarms and one or two new supercedure queens within a really active season. All successful queens will head up colonies, and all the offspring from each colony will have half the genetic material of their queen. Through rearing queens, bees in a natural system produce a few queens with a very narrow but deep dispersion of genetics. Few colonies are influenced by the queen’s genetic material, but there is a strong influence in each of these colonies.
You must consider genetic influence when thinking about what kind of queens to use in your own apiary. a common beekeeping practice is to graft new queens from your best queen(s). In this way, you end up with a number of queen “daughters” from your best stock.

But grafted queens change the natural genetic dispersion. You now have the genetic influence of one queen spreading both wide (to many colonies) and deep (to all bees in all those colonies) from the queen side alone. Without a good deal of attention to the genetic history of the drones that the sister queens are mating with, such a scheme will very quickly lead to inbreeding. Care should also be exercised when purchasing mated queens.  Deal with a queen breeder who is small enough to talk to you personally and be able to assure you of the diversity of their stock.

Grafting can be useful when used judiciously and carefully, but simple line breeding is preferable, as it much more closely resembles what the bees do in nature.

Remember, every time you re-queen with a mated queen from somewhere else, you are replacing the genetics of the hive completely. Always consider this when re-queening. Do you really want to replace the genetics of that hive, or do you want to build on them?"


"Queens raised by you, or another small beekeeper you know, can be excellent.  These queens might be grafted, produced with a “graftless” system (which forces the queen to lay in specially designed plastic cells for easy handling), raised from queen cells found by the beekeeper, or by any number of methods whereby the queen is removed and “emergency queen cells” are raised by the bees.  

One caution is that queens raised in an emergency queen or grafting situation must be raised with abundant resources.  This means plenty of pollen, plenty of honey, and abundant nurse bees.  If you (or the person you are getting the queen from) aren’t proactive in these regards, queens may very well be substandard.  Nutrition is just as important as genetics for a great queen, and should not be left to chance.
Emergency queens will be open mated, and the genetic makeup of their offspring will likely be influenced by other bees in the area, be they ferals living in the wild, large commercial apiaries or anything in between.

Queens may of course be raised as part of making splits, or any time maturing queen cells are found (for swarming or superseding).  Just remember that if the bees are making queen cells, they probably have a reason.  Take some measures to relieve the urge to swarm, or let them supersede.

(d) Small Breeder
The small breeder is someone likely to have a reputation in your area for producing queens, and may or may not ship them.  It’s rare that someone with a limited production and good queens will have to advertise to sell out their supply.  

Since a breeder with a good reputation isn’t likely to neglect any of the obvious nutritional and nursing needs of raising queens, the questions you must ask revolve around genetics.

The first question to ask is where the breeding stock comes from.  Ideally you will find someone who breeds from their own stock that they maintain themselves, only judiciously bringing in small amounts of new genetics at any one time.

Some smaller breeders simply purchase “breeder queens” from other breeders.  Usually these breeder queens are artificially inseminated (which controls the variables that otherwise would be determined by uncontrolled outmating), and they are expensive (hundreds of dollars each).

When the breeder grafts from these “breeder queens”, he or she is producing queens with a predetermined genetic makeup.  The queen that you would purchase will be mated with whatever drones are in the vicinity of the breeder, and hopefully some effort has been made to supply an overabundance of desirable drones.

The value of such queens really depends on the source of the breeder queen mother, and the source of the drones the daughter queens mate with.  a good breeder will have satisfying answers to questions about their stock regarding origin, breeding, etc.

(d) Commercial breeder
Larger breeders often advertise in beekeeping journals.  The resources required to produce hundreds of queens a week are staggering.  Each queen requires her own small hive (mating nuc), crowded with worker bees, to inhabit while she is maturing and mating.  The best breeders will leave the queen in the mating nuc for long enough to prove her ability to lay and that the resulting workers are healthy.  That means that a mating nuc, once established, can only produce 1 mated queen a month.  In most of the U.S., the number of months when queens can be raised is limited.  

There are some shortcuts that can be taken, and often queens are sold before the brood emerges.  You can be sure that suppliers that provide packages and queens to the bulk of beginning beekeepers are not “proving” each queen before she ships out.
  
In a survey done by the Barnstable County Beekeepers Association on Cape Cod, about 10% of packages had “drone layers” (queens that are not properly mated or inbred can lay drones and not workers), and 25% produced spotty (incomplete) brood patterns.  Just under 50% had full brood patterns in 6 weeks.  This is the nature of package bees, and not the fault of the beekeepers.

With this in mind, we recommend that if you start with package bees, you find a local, quality queen breeder to re-queen with before the end of your first season.  Queens provided by large package producers are bound to be substandard."

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deknow
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« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2010, 05:11:40 PM »

...also, one of the handy things about bee breeding is that inbreeding becomes apparent first as an abundance of diploid drones, which present to the beekeeper as "spotty brood"....which, no matter the cause, is a symptom that will cause the beekeeper to take action (requeening will help many issues that cause spotty brood, either by "upgrading genetics", replacing a drone layer, or simply by providing a break in the brood cycle).

diploid drones are not always caused by inbreeding...they are a function of and individual "worker" having identical sex determination genes (there are somewhere on the order of 18 different ones).  bees don't have to be closely related to have the same sex determination gene, but inbreeding will lead to this situation.

drones are _not_ caused by being "unfertilized haploid clones", they are caused by not having more than one sex determination gene (being haploid, they only have one such gene, not two, so there cannot be 2 different ones...this is what differentiates "male" from "female" in bees).

...this is all to say that one is unlikely to have subtle or mysterious symptoms of inbreeding, it is a problem that would be addressed by the beekeeper before this point.

deknow
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« Reply #25 on: October 16, 2010, 07:07:15 PM »

deknow,
Thank you for the efforts and acknowledgment on queen breeding in and around the apiary.

Two things...
1) You do realize you state that virgin queens was not factor in drones hanging out in hives (if I read your comments correctly on post 20) but you present information (from a book?) that is contrary to that opinion.

2) I do not agree that the first indication of inbreeding is a spotty pattern of diploid drones, as indicated in your last post. Inbreeding can cause diploid drones. But the first indication of inbreeding is the spotty egg pattern as a result of the nurse bees removing the inbred (diploid eggs) eggs after detecting them. Because of this situation where the bees may be removing 10-20% or some other percentage of eggs, you get a spotty pattern if the queen does not go back and lay eggs in the cleaned out cells. But this spotty pattern is of worker brood, void of the diploid eggs (or any drones) after being removed by nurse bees.

If you see a spotty pattern of only drones, you usually have a situation of a bad queen laying infertile eggs, which may have nothing to do with inbreeding.

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« Reply #26 on: October 16, 2010, 08:00:34 PM »

deknow,
Thank you for the efforts and acknowledgment on queen breeding in and around the apiary.

Without trying to be overly confrontational, I'll point out that all of that "acknowledgment" is from a book that my wife and I wrote, and has been in print since May...it is also consistent with everything I've posted on this and other forums over the last number of years. ...so thank you for agreeing with us evil ...but really, before you go on a rant about all the bad information in books (and all the other comments directed at me in the rant about books in post #12 which I will decline to characterize), you might consider that the person you are directing your comments at actually agreed with everything except for one "fact" you preseneted, and _has_ written a book that is a little different from what you think is in "all the books".  We only wrote a book on the condition that we could write it from our perspective....there is no need for another of the standard "beekeeping recipe book", and it wouldn't have been worth our time to write one.  We wrote the book we wished was available to us when we started beekeeping.

Quote
1) You do realize you state that virgin queens was not factor in drones hanging out in hives (if I read your comments correctly on post 20) but you present information (froma book?) that is contrary to that statement.

Sorry if I was unclear in post 20....the study i was citing was on presumably queenright colonies.  In this particular study, the presence of virgin queens was not a factor.  I also believe (based on my own observations) that colonies with virgins often have a huge number of drones, even if there were not so many present a few days before.

Quote
2) I do not agree that the first indication of inbreeding is a spotty pattern of diploid drones,
 as indicated in your last post.

No, what I said was that
Quote
inbreeding becomes apparent first as an abundance of diploid drones, which present to the beekeeper as "spotty brood"

...what is happening is that the queen is laying an abundance of diploid drones.  What the beekeeper sees is a spotty brood pattern.

Quote
Inbreeding can cause diploid drones. But the first indication of inbreeding is the spotty egg pattern as a result of the nurse bees removing the inbred (diploid eggs) eggs after detecting them.

Everything I've read says that the eggs are not removed, but the brood is within hours of hatching.  I assume some of these reports are based on observation, but others are based on actually developing methods of raising diploid drones (a method that relied on diploid drone eggs hatching in a colony would fail miserably if eggs were removed by workers before hatching):
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CBIQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fciteseerx.ist.psu.edu%2Fviewdoc%2Fdownload%3Fdoi%3D10.1.1.59.5772%26rep%3Drep1%26type%3Dpdf&rct=j&q=diploid%20drones%20small&ei=pzO6TLCnBcGonAeN1I29DQ&usg=AFQjCNH2b4L7cJJaaLBVvUXJNNnLNEwVLw&cad=rja
http://www.culturaapicola.com.ar/apuntes/revistaselectronicas/apidologie/34-5/04.pdf

Quote
Because of this situation where the bees may be removing 10-20% or some other percentage of eggs, you get a spotty pattern if the queen does not go back and lay eggs in the cleaned out cells. But this spotty pattern is of worker brood, void of the diploid eggs (or any drones) after being removed by nurse bees.

Yes, I agree with all of this (except that I think it's young larvae, not eggs that are removed).

Quote
If you see a spotty pattern of only drones, you usually have a situation of a bad queen laying infertile eggs, which may have nothing to do with inbreeding.

...or a laying worker (a _really_ bad queen).

deknow

{edited to fix some typos...added a "not" and changed "days" to "hours"}
« Last Edit: October 16, 2010, 08:10:43 PM by deknow » Logged
deknow
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« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2010, 08:17:00 PM »

http://jerzy_woyke.users.sggw.pl/1963_rearviabdipldr.pdf
Quote
Work on larvae from 'lethal' eggs of inbred honeybee queens (Apis mełli/era) has
been eontinued. It was shown (1962) that of the eggs laid in worker eelIs by sibling-mated
queens produeing brood of low survival rate, a11hateh, but 50% of the larvae disappear
from the eelIs within a few hours of hatehing.
[
...later in the paper, the claim is that in a colony, most diploid drone larvae are removed 9 hours after hatching.

deknow
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« Reply #28 on: October 16, 2010, 08:21:30 PM »

       I read in ABJ about 2 years ago it is not uncommon to find drones up to 35 miles away from the parent hive in a hive raising a raising a queen(s)  huh as this a fact or a myth huh




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« Reply #29 on: October 16, 2010, 08:25:17 PM »

Ok, we can disagree on this point.

I do think bees in a otherwise normal functioning hive, can detect inbred eggs sooner than waiting for them to further develop and waste resources. Many sites state the nurse bees detect and clean out "embryos" such as this one.

http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/dorian_nov07.html

Something tells me with all the amazing things bees do, and from what I can observe myself, that bees do clean out inbred eggs. To think they need to wait for a certain stage of development seems a bit wasteful in nature's scheme of things.

Just for the record, I assume the one thing you disagree with is the queen recognizing her own drones. Is this correct?
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« Reply #30 on: October 16, 2010, 08:28:43 PM »

http://jerzy_woyke.users.sggw.pl/1963_rearviabdipldr.pdf
Quote
Work on larvae from 'lethal' eggs of inbred honeybee queens (Apis mełli/era) has
been eontinued. It was shown (1962) that of the eggs laid in worker eelIs by sibling-mated
queens produeing brood of low survival rate, a11hateh, but 50% of the larvae disappear
from the eelIs within a few hours of hatehing.
[
...later in the paper, the claim is that in a colony, most diploid drone larvae are removed 9 hours after hatching.

deknow

So we are talking removal at day four from the egg laying? Correct? That would be in line with what I am seeing. Well before any beekeeper would know the queen was laying drones. That was why I stated a beekeeper would not see a spotty brood pattern of drones (you would not recognize them as drones), but rather a spotty pattern of egg laying.
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« Reply #31 on: October 16, 2010, 08:29:53 PM »

      I read in ABJ about 2 years ago it is not uncommon to find drones up to 35 miles away from the parent hive in a hive raising a raising a queen(s)  huh as this a fact or a myth huh




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I never read anything like that.   I dunno
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« Reply #32 on: October 16, 2010, 08:34:45 PM »

Maybe 35 miles after a tornado.   How far can a drone fly without eating?   Look at where he gets his food.
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« Reply #33 on: October 16, 2010, 08:45:11 PM »

I do think bees in a otherwise normal functioning hive, can detect inbred eggs sooner than waiting for them to further develop and waste resources. Many sites state the nurse bees detect and clean out "embryos" such as this one.
...i love Dave's site, but I think it's a stretch to assume that "embryo" means "egg" and not "larvae"...it's also a stretch to call this web article as "evidence".  Now, if you have observed this (actually observed diploid eggs being removed prior to hatching, or carefully timed when an egg was layed vs. when it was observed to be missing), I'd consider that real "evidence"...but an assumption based on what you think bees will do falls short of evidence.

Quote
Something tells me with all the amazing things bees do, and from what I can observe myself, that bees do clean out inbred eggs. To think they need to wait for a certain stage of development seems a bit wasteful in nature's scheme of things.
...9 hour old larvae aren't much investment for bees, not much (except for comb real estate) is expended (eggs aren't fed, and 9 hours of feeding the smallest and least needy of larvae isn't much).

Quote
Just for the record, I assume the one thing you disagree with is the queen recognizing her own drones. Is this correct?
...the two related statements I pointed out in reply #1.
Quote
a queen can determine her own drones in the mating process.
...which you mean she can recognize her drone offspring?  I don't know if she can or not.
and you followed (in the same post) with:
Quote
It has already been established that a queen recognizes her own drones and will reject her drones for mating.
...which I've never heard claimed before.

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« Reply #34 on: October 16, 2010, 08:45:20 PM »



* Drones congregate in hives that are raising queens. They are allowed a free pass and are invited into the hives.



Maybe 35 miles after a tornado.   How far can a drone fly without eating?   Look at where he gets his food.

By going from hive to hive to hive and buming their food. evil



    BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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« Reply #35 on: October 16, 2010, 09:04:38 PM »

They are the disciples of the bee world.   Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.  grin
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« Reply #36 on: October 16, 2010, 09:46:38 PM »

For those that are interested in this subject, there are 2 talks from the 1st Organic Beekeeping Conference in Oracle, AZ (2008) that are relevant (and they are both really great talks):
http://beeuntoothers.com/2008organicconference.html

Randy Quinn Video
Randy speaks soberly of the effect that selecting for a few traits and requeening colonies en-mass with these hybrids from closely mated lines has had on the diversity of the gene pool (both from the selection on the breeding end, and in the introduction of homogenous hybrid stock into apiaries).  He promotes an old (and almost never talked about) practice of requeening by making a split to ward off swarming (making sure eggs, honey and brood are present within the split).  Simply wait two months, and recombine the two colonies.  In most cases, you will end up with a new queen (and in those that you don’t, you are likely better off with the old one).

Kerstin Ebbersen Video
Kerstin reminds us of what we all know…that no matter where our queens come from, there is an unbroken lineage going back millions of years from queen mother to queen mother.  There is no way to maintain genetic diversity if we rear (and introduce) thousands of queens from one mother, especially if they are not open mated.  A queen can “father” many brood via it’s drones, but only mother a small number of queens at a time.  This is protection against inbreeding as it allows successful genes to spread widely, but not too densely, as in open mating the queen will mate with up to 30 or more drones among whom there is bound to be a diversity of genes.
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« Reply #37 on: October 17, 2010, 07:36:08 AM »

Very interesting and enjoyable reading guys.

I have so many questions. Would greatly appreciate recommendations of which books to start with.
What can beekeepers raising their own queens do to prevent inbreeding?
So far I've gathered that breeding a lot of queens from a few queens saturates the gene pool in the yard for next year. Open mating is the most desirable.

How often is it necessary to bring in new queens to maintain diversity?
If beekeepers are maintaining distinct lines of bees, how often is it necessary to cross them back to the wider gene pool? If you're doing open mating is this necessary at all?
Is it possible to develop a local breed with distinct traits by matrilineal selection?

In the wild, bee colonies move by swarming, which would bring them into the range of a new selection of drones, little by little. I wonder how important this is for the natural methods of avoiding inbreeding.
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deknow
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« Reply #38 on: October 17, 2010, 09:53:36 AM »

Would greatly appreciate recommendations of which books to start with.
The long excerpts I posted earlier are from "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping"...if that's along the lines of what you are looking for, then I'd recommend it.
Also, you really should watch the videos I posted above.  Kirsten is the top bee scientist in Sweden, her thesis (and her talk) is about breeding bees for sustainability, and I've never heard another talk like it.  Randy Quinn has tons of experience as a beekeeper and queen breeder (doing the actual fieldwork for some large breeding programs).  His insights (sometimes nearly tearful) are heartfelt, and come from a wealth of experience that few beekeepers of any size can claim.



Quote
What can beekeepers raising their own queens do to prevent inbreeding?
So far I've gathered that breeding a lot of queens from a few queens saturates the gene pool in the yard for next year. Open mating is the most desirable.

How often is it necessary to bring in new queens to maintain diversity?
If beekeepers are maintaining distinct lines of bees, how often is it necessary to cross them back to the wider gene pool? If you're doing open mating is this necessary at all?
Is it possible to develop a local breed with distinct traits by matrilineal selection?
In the wild, bee colonies move by swarming, which would bring them into the range of a new selection of drones, little by little. I wonder how important this is for the natural methods of avoiding inbreeding.
I'll preempt Michael Bush's inevitable answer to your above questions:
It depends.
...but don't forget that inbreeding is very obvious if you inspect brood regularly (which you should be doing if you are evaluating queens), so although you want to try and avoid inbreeding, it is something you will be aware of if it happens, and even if you misdiagnose the cause of the symptoms (spotty brood pattern), you are likely to correct the problem by any action you would take to address whatever you think the cause is.

deknow
« Last Edit: October 17, 2010, 10:07:52 AM by deknow » Logged
bugleman
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« Reply #39 on: November 07, 2010, 04:14:57 PM »

Thanks Deknow for the RandyQuinn videos etc.
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