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  1. #1

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    Just wondering what your opinion is about instrumental insemination. Do you use it in your queen operation? I've heard it touted here and there, but what are the drawbacks, if any,in your opinion? Can more harm, instead of good, be done?

    Thanks,
    Jim

  2. #2
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    Jim

    You wrote:
    Just wondering what your opinion is about instrumental insemination. Do you use it in your queen operation? I've heard it touted here and there, but what are the drawbacks, if any,in your opinion? Can more harm, instead of good, be done?

    Reply:
    No we don't use it in our operation prefering instead to do things the hard way with outbreeding. But this is not to say instrumental insemination is wrong completely. It was originally designed to take a very good breeder and very good drone stock and throw it forward to help one keep a good stock line. But then you can rach a point where you cross a line.

    Many have crossed this line. For insemination in my mind is for the special and not for normal day to day usage and maintenance. Many cross this line for they attempt to hold a stock line with insemination only and this is wrong! Nature does not work this way. It narrows the genetics in a matter of a few years and then other troubles start.

    LIke with people it's good to help a mother and father on a one time shot to have a family that cannot normally. But not the whole population. Same with bees. It's good for the very special found in Nature, but not to be used to redesign or inbreed and collapse something back on itself from overusage contrary to natural outbreeding and hence evolution going forward.

    Comments,

    Regards,

    Dee

  3. #3
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    Jim, by the way you want to go into more detail I will on the drawbacks, etc.

    D-

  4. #4
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    I've been waiting for you to reply. I have to agree. I think nature has a way of fixing itself. We start "creating" things, and then more harm comes out of it down the road. One reason I don't like using chemicals. I live in northeast PA, and it was at one time a big coal region, and agricultural secondary. Once the coal industry slowed way down, the farmers became the big thing. They started using all types of sprays 30 years ago, to treat maybe 3 things. Now, the have to spray every other day it seems, to treat the "things" brought on by spraying. As far as queen breeding goes, nature only lets the strong survive. I am a firm believer, that surviving "wild" colonies are probably showing resistance to the mites already, but put into a domestically managed situation they should thrive. That is the direction I am heading with my breeding program. Hope to remove many swarms this year, and get some queens to graft from. Who knows, maybe I can develop a great bee for the northeast. Time will be the biggest factor, also a little luck!
    I actually thought about grafting larvae from a "wild" queen, and having it inseminated with SMR stock, and see what happens from there. One of many thoughts.


    ------------------
    Dale Richards
    Dal-Col Apiaries
    Drums, PA

  5. #5

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    Dee,
    Thank you for the reply. I would like to hear more about the negative effects of I.I. Do you think it has brought on (or possibly helped to bring on) many of the problems we are now seeing with most commercially available stock?
    Although I have the capabilities to make my own equipment at the tool and die shop where I work, I DO NOT think I will pursue it. I really believe, like Dale said, that it can cause problems down the road.
    I really would be interested in keeping a dialogue with both you and Dale to help me further establish my breeding program here in Michigan. I plan to spend this winter preparing my mating nucs and doing more study on the selection process. Would you mind sharing (Dee and Dale) some of your methods of natural stock improvement? I've found the HIP (Honeybee Improvement Protocol) used by other breeders and may try some ideas from it.
    Thanks again for your input. I look forward to more discussion.

    Regards,
    Jim

    ------------------
    http://www.emeraldridgeapiary.net

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the reply. Please go into more discussion about the negative effects. Hope to hear more from you and Dale.

    Jim

    ------------------
    http://www.emeraldridgeapiary.net

  7. #7
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    Dee,
    Thanks for the reply. Please go into detail about the things that can go wrong with I.I. I've had the uneasy feeling about getting into it, and have wondered about what could go wrong, even with someone who is experienced. Is it possible to create a "Frankenstein" breed that would create more problems than it would "fix".
    Anyway, I have the capablities to make my own equipment in the tool and die shop where I work. The very idea fascinates me, but I am going to persue it for fear of getting in over my head and creating something that would ultimately be undesirable like Dale mentioned earlier.
    (Had to post under my old name, forum doesn't seem to accept the other name)

    Regards,
    Jim

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  8. #8

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    Hello All

    I belive that it can go both ways. You can end up with severe inbreeding and end up with drones mating with sisters and mothers then their sisters and mothers crossing again. But this can and does happen in the open anyway. When I went to Sue Cobeys class she pointed out that you have to keep very good records so this does not happen. You also need to make sure you are bringing in stock from other areas of the country that open mate to help keep the gene pool diverse. This is why I keep several drone producing hives with different queen stock to keep it diverse. I saw them extract semen and inseminate a queen and it looks very difficult. I do think this is a facinating topic and would like to continue discussing this with all of you.

    what size mating nuk's are you planning on making? Are you thinking about building A.I. equipment?

  9. #9
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    Dale Richards wrote:
    I am a firm believer, that surviving "wild" colonies are probably showing resistance to the mites already, but put into a domestically managed situation they should thrive. That is the direction I am heading with my breeding program. Hope to remove many swarms this year, and get some queens to graft from. Who knows, maybe I can develop a great bee for the northeast.

    Reply:
    Don't forget to put them on small cell size to match the natural environment also and proper positioning of the combs to keep the natural alignment as you cut them out.

    This will have much bearing on stress factors and what you do.

    Dale further wrote:
    I actually thought about grafting larvae from a "wild" queen, and having it inseminated with SMR stock, and see what happens from there. One of many thoughts.

    Reply:
    Nothing wrong with grafting from a wild queen as they would be your best survival stock for your given area for working your stock and bees back up, but inseminated with SMR stock I see no progress as the cross would be a hybrid that would then have to acclimitize and also the hybrid would be a bigger cross and may not fit your area once done. Something to think about, but the choices are still yours. Just some thoughts.

    Regards,

    Dee A. Lusby

  10. #10
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    James Burke wrote:
    I've found the HIP (Honeybee Improvement Protocol) used by other breeders and may try some ideas from it.

    Reply:
    Never heard of it. Perhaps you'd like to share some of the information here so we can all discuss it. Does it relate to insemination, breeding in general, or outbreeding, etc?

    Regards,

    Dee A. Lusby

  11. #11
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    It was posted here:
    When I went to Sue Cobeys class she pointed out that you have to keep very good records so this does not happen. You also need to make sure you are bringing in stock from other areas of the country that open mate to help keep the gene pool diverse. This is why I keep several drone producing hives with different queen stock to keep it diverse.

    Reply:
    I myself do not believe in doing this and in fact see it as a road to hell for varroa, trachael mites and secondary diseases due to the complex hybrids that are produced contrary to evolution in the natural environment.

    It was further written:
    I saw them extract semen and inseminate a queen and it looks very difficult. I do think this is a facinating topic and would like to continue discussing this with all of you.

    Reply:
    Insemination is difficult and also a fascinating topic to discuss with many pros and cons.

    Regards,

    Dee A. Lusby

  12. #12

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    hello Jim
    I guess I can give my humble opion too as a breeder of queens I perfer to have them natrually mate.
    also I use several queens from lot of different areas of the country to use as a gene pool but you can raise your own by the nuc method too with as good results.
    good luck Don

  13. #13

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    Hello to Everybody,
    Sorry for the duplicate posts above. I finally saw that they were registering on the counter, however I could not see them on the forum page, even though I reloaded the page several times...not sure just what happened!
    Anyway, I can see that this is going to be an interesting dialogue with lots of ideas and I hope others with experience in this area will join in also.
    I'm sending the address for the Honeybee Improvement Program Protocol. I'm not sure if the address still works. I haven't totally read through my printed copy, but it does sound interesting. It's written by Jack Griffes. If for some reason it is not available online I can send it via snail mail. From the sounds of things, it's labor intensive and requires attention to detail...okay, so what queen rearing operation doesn't?!
    The address is:
    http://griffes.tripod.com/HIP1.html

    I'm sure there is more information available somewhere out there. If you know of something, let me know.
    I have some rather creative ideas on naturally mating a queen under controlled circumstances. I haven't heard or seen of anything like it so far...or if it will even work for sure...but that's the exciting part of playing scientist!
    The summer got away from me this year before I could try the method, so I am going to keep a lid on it till next spring...sorry, I can't give away any secrets just yet!
    As for mating nucs, I am using medium supers divided in two. This year I plan to use deeps divided in two, especially when making early splits.

    Regards,
    Jim


    ------------------
    http://www.emeraldridgeapiary.net

  14. #14
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    James Burke wrote:
    I have some rather creative ideas on naturally mating a queen under controlled circumstances. I haven't heard or seen of anything like it so far...or if it will even work for sure...but that's the exciting part of playing scientist!

    Reply:
    That is just great!!!!

    I've done some weird stuff over the years for controlled mating. This will then be interesting discussion.

    Wierd things I've done for controlling the mating of our queens over the years has been making mating cages both on top of hives and cages I could put hives into so the queens and drones could fly contained. Made them from the size of shipping crates to using a greenhouse to see how they would do.

    Also tethered queens on fishing line and fished the air for drones in congregation areas.

    Then ended up with out-of-season breeding using timing of drones for black against yellow families to seperate.

    Shall be interested to see what you have come up with.

    Just love talking to people with ideas on natural mating with modified controls. Looking forward to what you have to say.

    Very Best Regards,

    Dee A. Lusby

  15. #15

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    I do not have any problems with the above mentioned? Am I doing something right or wrong?

  16. #16

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    Dee,
    You mentioned the creative ideas for naturally mating your queens. Did any work for you? I've read short accounts in books here and there, but no consistant results were obtained...did you find this to be true?

    Here are some of the factors I am trying to think and reason through:
    1) Distance from the mating hive: I know drones congregate in specific areas, but if you saturated a particular area close to the mating nuc, would this induce mating?
    2) Altitude: How critical is this to the mating process? Are the drones/queens acutely aware of the altitude they attain, and thus begin to mate at certain altitudes?

    I watched the NOVA movie "Tales from the Hive" and have read the account of how the movie was produced.(It's on the web) Have you seen it? They actually show a queen on a mating flight and from reading the story behind it, the footage was said to be real. I don't remember for sure, but I think the queen was retained in some manner, possibly flying in a circular pattern...ooops, just got another idea to add to the collection!

    Regards,

    Jim



    ------------------
    http://www.emeraldridgeapiary.net

  17. #17
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    James wrote:
    You mentioned the creative ideas for naturally mating your queens. Did any work for you? I've read short accounts in books here and there, but no consistant results were obtained...did you find this to be true?

    Reply:
    Well, you certainly have to now what you are doing and windows of opportunity are small.Got results with all, but not everytime which is the hassle. This stuff was what got the Tucson Bee Lab into our wierd queen breeding experiments to see what we were up to by the way.

    The harnesses and fishing line worked, but I strangled as many queens as I mated by the way.

    The cage over the top super on hive worked but only part of the time and you had to cover it to work and that was a hassle to keep bees from cooking in hot sun.

    The large cage and greenhouse worked well, but is labor intensive and messed up our working other bees in field normally. As you had to be there to babysit at specific times.

    You further wrote:
    Here are some of the factors I am trying to think and reason through:
    1) Distance from the mating hive: I know drones congregate in specific areas, but if you saturated a particular area close to the mating nuc, would this induce mating?

    Reply:
    Not necessarily so. Especially if they choose to go to another yard. Fences are hard to make.

    2) Altitude: How critical is this to the mating process? Are the drones/queens acutely aware of the altitude they attain, and thus begin to mate at certain altitudes?

    Reply:
    Yes, very much so! Also distance has to be taken into consideration and drones and queens fly different distances. Also different size drones fly at different speeds and they need to be matched to the queens by size and also by color, etc.

    You also wrote:
    I watched the NOVA movie "Tales from the Hive" and have read the account of how the movie was produced.(It's on the web) Have you seen it? They actually show a queen on a mating flight and from reading the story behind it, the footage was said to be real. I don't remember for sure, but I think the queen was retained in some manner, possibly flying in a circular pattern...ooops, just got another idea to add to the collection!

    Reply:
    I saw a film done in Germany by a woman scientist back in the 1980s with a queen on a revolving arm that drones flew to and mated.This what you saw. It's been around a while. But it shows how the drones mount and pull each other off, etc. Great stuff.

    Regards,

    Dee


  18. #18
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    My particular area is dead for beekeeping. Years ago, there were alot of beekeepers, but they either got old, or the mites drove them off. When I started in 95, they all told me horror stories, and don't waste my time! Well, I wasted my time enough, and I am still here. This is why I speak of "wild" bees. There is one particular strain, that is very common. I removed 2 swarms last year, that set up shop in wierd places. However, both were somewhat healthy, and I could not see mites while removing them. My logic tells me, they have been untouched for a few years, and must have developed some type of defense. Further, last spring I noticed a ***** willow tree, being devoured for pollen. There were thousands of bees, and "very similar" looking. Now I am not a scientist, but attention to detail is something I possess. I think a particular strain survived from swarms from the past, and have become well adapted to this area. I was told the bee of choice in the 70s was Italians from Kelleys, but who knows. But as far as I am concerned, That is the direction I am pursuing. The SMR insemination, was an idea, but as I type this, all forms of logic are telling me, the chances of developing a hybrid are slim.
    I also want to note, that I raised about 5 queens last year, that I kept, that I experimented with, during the larval stage. They were mated outside a two mile radius of my operation, and seem to work very well when it is cold. I bought a starline package this spring, that has totally shut down now, while my stock is working. This indicated adaptation to the area. Next year will be the indicator as to my study. I am developing a database, so I won't forget what I did to what queen as well. With only 5, it already gets confusing. I see the need for accurate records early in my program, and that is probably for the best. Anyway, I hope to catch a swarm, that looks like the same strain, and raise enough queens to produce one that does the job well. Who knows, maybe I can sell a few around this area!


    ------------------
    Dale Richards
    Dal-Col Apiaries
    Drums, PA

  19. #19
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    Dale wrote:
    This is why I speak of "wild" bees. There is one particular strain, that is very common. I removed 2 swarms last year, that set up shop in wierd places. However, both were somewhat healthy, and I could not see mites while removing them.. My logic tells me, they have been untouched for a few years, and must have developed some type of defense. Further, last spring I noticed a ***** willow tree, being devoured for pollen. There were thousands of bees, and "very similar" looking. Now I am not a scientist, but attention to detail is something I possess. I think a particular strain survived from swarms from the past, and have become well adapted to this area.

    Reply:
    You will never do better then bee acclimitized to your area!

    Dale further wrote:
    I was told the bee of choice in the 70s was Italians from Kelleys, but who knows. But as far as I am concerned, That is the direction I am pursuing. The SMR insemination, was an idea, but as I type this, all forms of logic are telling me, the chances of developing a hybrid are slim.

    Reply:
    Hybrids are not permanent bees for they are hybrids and subject to falling apart, an inherent problem that will always be there and you have to contend with mixing and matching.

    You found uniform bees (size and colour I assume?) so keep with them.Also you know they live and survive in your area. Nothing wrong with that!

    Dale further wrote:
    I also want to note, that I raised about 5 queens last year, that I kept, that I experimented with, during the larval stage. They were mated outside a two mile radius of my operation, and seem to work very well when it is cold. I bought a starline package this spring, that has totally shut down now, while my stock is working. This indicated adaptation to the area.


    Reply:
    Yep, you can see your bees local work and anything brought into an area has to adapt. This is the way it always is. Foreigners always have to adapt to fit in. Those that cannot die off if they cannot learn to work the local area and fit in.

    Dale finished:
    Next year will be the indicator as to my study. I am developing a database, so I won't forget what I did to what queen as well. With only 5, it already gets confusing. I see the need for accurate records early in my program, and that is probably for the best. Anyway, I hope to catch a swarm, that looks like the same strain, and raise enough queens to produce one that does the job well. Who knows, maybe I can sell a few around this area!

    Reply:
    Work with what you got. Put them on small cell and resequence with proper Housel Positioning to keep stress to a minimum and work your numbers up.

    Then rock and roll. Nothing hard! Just old-fashioned beekeeping.

    Regards,

    Dee A. Lusby


  20. #20
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    I have seen that NOVA movie about bees, they took a queen, held her in a tube about her size with her head and abdomen sticking out the ends. They then put her on the end of a long stick with a camera pointed at her and put the stick on some sort of rotating doodad. It was quite interesting to watch.

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