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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,227

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    I was digging around in the back pages and came across mention of a queen with peppershot brood pattern. This is where a queen lays a comb full of eggs yet when they are capped, some ratio from none up to 50% of the cells are empty.

    Lets presume that we are dealing with a sex allele issue, not any of the various diseases.

    In simplest terms, a queen lays an unfertilized egg and a drone is produced. If she lays a fertilized egg, then normally, a worker is produced. If she happens to lay an egg with both the sex alleles alike, a diploid drone hatches. The bees don't normally tolerate diploid drones so they destroy the larvae.

    Why would a queen lay a diploid drone egg? Part of the problem is that there are only @15 different sex alleles (only about 12 found in the U.S.). It has been proven that the queen typically mates with an average of 17 drones. Since the number of sex alleles is limited, the probability she will mate with a drone carrying a duplicate of her own allele runs about 100%. The result is a queen that lays 1 in 12 eggs as a diploid drone.

    I won't cover the statistics involved except to say that some of the sex alleles are present in higher concentrations in the bee population as a whole and if you happen to raise queens with these particular alleles, you will get more peppershot brood patterns.

    How do you avoid this problem? Its not entirely possible to avoid and for most purposes is ignored by the average beekeeper. One of the development criteria of the Starline queens was to avoid the diploid issue by carefully arranging mating so that the drones were guaranteed to have different sex alleles than the queens being mated.

    The question I would like to see answered is "What can the average beekeeper do to reduce the number of diploids in queens he raises?" I have my own thoughts, what are yours?

    Fusion

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,487

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    Fusion
    That was my concern too. So it seems like you need to do several things (this is just book talk, no personal knowledge:
    1. Requeen from time to time from fresh sources.
    2. Choose your queen graft donor carefully.
    3. Flood the area with drones from different parentage source than the queen graft donor.
    What do you think?
    david

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Post

    Genetic variety, not too much inbreeding. So, yes, I'd try to bring in some outside bees now and then. I try to get feral swarms from miles away from my yard to introduce.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    211

    Post

    To Barry & all,
    What a great site,Makes one want to contribute.Here is a shot from my varroa resistant breeding project.This shot was taken in Spring 2003 as part of the approved beekeeper course/test I run as one of the approved trainers in our country in relation to AFB recognition and destruction.Brood viability X number of frames is a key factor and starting point in my selection.This shot was taken 12 hours after the hygienic pin prick test.Note how the bees have almost removed the twink in the right hand test group of 7 cells.You will also see mite infested cells that have been removed by the bees, another important factor.The impressions in the brood are from my hand during the pin prick test.

    http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/russel.../ph//my_photos
    BOB

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Post

    Peppershot brood is a GOOD sign when it is caused by hygenic behaviour. Don't blame the queen, it could just as easily be good housekeeping.
    Bullseye Bill in The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    www.myspace.com/dukewilliam

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,487

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    Bob:
    Nice picture, but I would not consider that brood pattern peppershot. It looks excellent to me!
    Bill:
    What is your definition of peppershot?

    In thinking about this it seems to me that you should carefully rate the brood pattern of a new queen. If it is truly peppershot meaning a problem from sex alleles and not disease or mites, then simply eliminate that queen immediately.
    Obviously if it is hygenic behavior that would be a good sign. Is it safe to assume that the first brood pattern of a new queen will show peppershot if there is a genetic problem? In other words, does the sperm get mixed up in the spermaticea? Or could you go along with a good pattern for months then suddenly have a problem?
    david

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Post

    One thing to pay attention to is whether they are chewing out purple eyed pupae or they are just removing eggs of diploid drones. Recently capped (light yellow caps) brood should not be peppershot. If it is it may be a sign of inbreeding or it may be a sign of a brood disease. Older capped brood (darker brown) might be because of hygenic behavior towards the Varroa.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,487

    Post

    MB what is the meaning of purple eyed pupae?
    david

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Post

    As the pupae develop they change from all white to white bodies with purple eyes to a fuzzy brown and/or black colored bee. When they are in the purple eye stage (all white except for the eyes which are purple) is the stage when hygenic bees seem to uncap Varroa infested cells and clean them out. This seems to be the right age to catch the Varroa before they are old enough to live outside the brood cell.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
    Posts
    2,837

    Post

    Greetings . . .

    >What is your definition of peppershot?

    Peppershot - Random dark (black) UNCAPPED cells REMAINING after surrounding bood has hatched.

    Scattered Brood - Just the opposite, "random holes" in a solid area of capped brood.

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