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Author Topic: Choosing queens  (Read 1790 times)
Finsky
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« on: June 19, 2006, 01:41:21 PM »

The queen is the base of good beekeeping. She brings with it's genes calm, pleasant to nurse, healthy, so on so on features.

When you bye a new queen you demand that it should be good.

But when you have hopeless colony, you are ready to raise a daughter from that lousy origin?   What happened to your demands?

To beginner good quality of queens is important because it is easy to handle bees and beginner will see what is the differencies between good and bad bees.
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ctsoth
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« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2006, 03:29:49 PM »

Being a beginner, I think that you are absolutely correct.  The queens I recieved as a beginner were instrumental in my decision to stay with beekeeping.  One of my hives is absolutely gentle, and the other is a little defensive.  Were I to start with two hot hives, chances are this would be my first and last year as a beekeeper...

I also think that raising a queen from a failing hive is not the best idea.  Everything I read about queen breeding says to select from your strongest and best hives.  What makes a hive "best" depends on what you the beekeeper are looking for...  Would breeders graft from failing hives?
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Finsky
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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2006, 03:44:00 PM »

Quote from: ctsoth
One of my hives is absolutely gentle, and the other is a little defensive.  


Many tell themselves that hot hive is better forager than calm. But in my experience I have not seen difference in ability to get honey.

And in my experience good pastures give good honey yield and good queen gives a lot foragers. How nice thives are to nurse depends on selection of bee stock.
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MEdmonson
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« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2006, 04:09:38 PM »

Being a beginning beekeeper I am a little overwhelmed with information and opinions...  One of the thoughts that comes to mind when it is argued that commercial queens are the best is do they actually pay off i.e. is the cost of a queen made up with extra honey and ease of handling consistantly.   I have 4 hives now  2 off them where given to me by bee removal company and they are as tame as kittens and one is a laying machine.  Wouldn't a person do just fine getting queens from the laying machine hive?  My experience so far is I don't know what a hot hives are.  Seems to me that there is value to not have to go outside your own yard for anything.
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ctsoth
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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2006, 04:15:24 PM »

I started my calmer hive nearly one month after the hotter one.  The calm hive has more comb built, a higher population, and there is more traffic in front of the hive.  Anecdotal evidence at best, but my calm hive is performing very well.
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Understudy
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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2006, 08:11:42 PM »

From what I have seen (very limited experience here) is that hotter hives do produce more honey. I did see a very nice documentary on AHBs in South America. The reason that many beekeepers still use them is because they are incredible honey producers. That doesn't mean I want any AHBs.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2006, 08:29:04 PM »

MEdmonson;

Your observation about taking a queen from the strong gentle hive is an astute one.  It is something I do whenever I need an emergency queen.  Even if I just pull a frame of brood from the strong gentle one and let the other hot hive rear its own queen, but I prefer to pull a frame with a queen cell already capped.
A beekeeper witha number of hives and more than one yard can keep his queens from becoming inbred fairly easily.  I also don't believe in replacing the queens every year.  My experience has been that a queen is often at her best her second season.  Selecting queens from strong gentle hives with longer lived queens use to be the common practice--it is the way i was taught and I've found no quarrel with the policy.  
Buying new queens every year keeps a good number of beekeepers in business raising replacement queens for others who re-queen yearly.
Using longer lived queens also has an impact on selecting mite resistant bees.
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Finsky
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« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2006, 09:52:28 PM »

Quote from: MEdmonson
Be One of the thoughts that comes to mind when it is argued that commercial queens are the best is do they actually pay off .


All kind of breeding is based on selection. If commercial breeder has 500 hives it is difference if you take parent queen from best amoung 500 or best of 10 hives.

BUT last two purchases were not luck because queens showed bad weaknes to chalkbrood. But you never know if you do not try.

To Brian:  I bye only a couple of commercial queens and I raise others queens myself.  Lets say: I bye a piece of breeders genepool. And I take first generation daughters.

If you use all the time same stock and you are quite isolated inbreeding will happen.

Are your bees good? - You know only if you compare them to anothers.

Last year I make an mistake: I tryed to get disease resistancy to my bees. Now I have so evil hives that I have got more stings than during 10 years alltogether. And too many swarmy hives.  I mixed 2 races of bees and now bees are too natural. But I have some splended hives and I change whole stock this summer.

.
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latebee
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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2006, 10:31:22 PM »

Not claiming to be an expert,just offering my opinion and observations here: Queens are the most important aspect of beekeeping. Over the past few years sometimes I have done everything right and received nothing in return but frustration.Then again I have done everything wrong with certain queens and have had beautiful colonies and loads of honey. I think management is way over rated and genetics are the key to profits,both money wise and self satisfaction.Of course management styles do come into play as far as supering and swarm control,mites and disease prevention but overall the Queen mother can make you or break you. About 2 out of 3 queens are great-then theres that one that is just a waste of time,even if they all come from the same breeder or your own mother queen if you do raise your own. It seems to me that only a little over half of the queens are what I personally would want to keep or propagate.But then again maybe its just me and the way I do things.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2006, 06:47:40 AM »

Back in the days on the farm we use to say that even a good bull and cow can throw a ringer.  I'd say the same thing can happen with bees.

Answer to Finsky: The inbreding is kept to a minimum by using stock from feral swarms wwhich also seem to have a higher resistance to varroa mites.
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Finsky
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« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2006, 08:38:53 AM »

Quote from: Brian D. Bray


Answer to Finsky: The inbreding is kept to a minimum by using stock from feral swarms which also seem to have a higher resistance to varroa mites.


Higher resistance? Have you seen those?

Varroa is not a problem here.  So I do not select bees according to varroa. Varroa is my friend. It killed all feral bees in my country.

  My goal is to get 200 lbs honey per hive and no feral bees fit in that figure.  

I have used feral bees 40 years ago. I will never return that play. I prefer to raise butterflies larvae.

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