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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Rockford, Michigan
    Posts
    147

    Post

    The thought occurred to me that we are now experiencing times where the subject of cloning has become a common household topic of discussion. First, it was sheep, and now we can read about the most recent racehorse clone.
    A.I. has been around for years and is a common practice on most every dairy farm these days. I myself remember the liquid nitrogen tank in the milk house that held all the straws of sem_n that we used to breed the cows with. There was even a catalog from distributors / suppliers that you could order from. These catalogs read like a Christmas catalog describing all the offered straws. Even from bulls that may have been dead 15 years, and straws were still available!
    Now I'm not a geneticist and have no training in genetics, so my questions may seem very elementary. I know we have some brainiacs that occupy this forum, and I'll leave the answers up to them.
    This month's issue of the ABJ features an article about the first bees imported from Australia. There's even a post inquiring about whose going to the Sue Cobey queen rearing school. So A.I. of honeybees is no longer a technique of the few and gifted, it can be learned by just about any beekeeper having the desire to learn. Just think, getting some straws from Australia and not having to go through a quarantine period, or risk the physical loss of the bees being sent.
    So do you think that any of the great traits of today might be stored away in some liquid nitrogen somewhere for years from now, just in case?
    Maybe in years to come we might be able to order up a few specialty straws from queen breeders some where, instead of sending a live queen through the mail?
    The thought of a genetic drone bank to draw from, interesting!
    Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,554

    Post

    I don't know much about AI in bees and freezing, but I know a bit about horses and cattle. Cattle semen can be frozen fairly easily with fairly consistent results. Horses are much more complicated. Some stallions don't freeze well enough to even be worth doing it. Of the others there are various extenders added that work on some stallions and not on others. Even at that the success rate with frozen is very low and fresh cooled is always prefered. So it's not so simple as just freezing any kind of semen and getting the same results. Even with different individuals in the same species.

    That said, I'm not sure how well freezing works for bees.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    tulsa, ok usa
    Posts
    2,264

    Post

    I have wondered if you could freeze an egg as soon as it was laid. I just have to talk my doctor into letting me use his liquid nitrogen.

    The other interesting question is could you inseminate a laying worker. Could you get that laying worker to lay a few fertilized eggs? This is not meant as a solution to any problem but is an academic question.
    Home of the ventilated and sting resistant Ultra Breeze bee suits and jackets
    http://www.honeymoonapiaries.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Odessa, Missouri
    Posts
    629

    Post

    Sue Cobey's class is a wonderful introduction into instrumental insemination. in other words similar to taking a 12 week karate course and expecting to be the next Bruce Lee.
    Collection of the semen is time consuming and a big part of the process.
    If one is precise in hand movement, has excellent vision and proper equipment (other than the actual II devise) then the process becomes easier.
    The number of *beekeepers* which have performed an instrumental insemination is smaller than one would imagine. I have seen the question asked at large beekeeping meetings and perhaps a single hand will raise.
    In my opinion the need for instrumental insemination is rare *except* for those doing research or those wanting to keep their breeding lines correct and matings controlled. In those cases almost impossible without instrumental insemination.
    Bob Harrison

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,487

    Post

    deleted by author

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    McMinnville, TN, USA
    Posts
    716

    Post

    I worry about a narrowing genetic pool from AI. If you do not allow some open mated queen into the closed AI breeding program you could be doing more harm than good. I do like the idea of shipping semen from far away places. I would like to see a Buckfast from the abbey. Or even bring in new italian blood lines by importing semen. The NWC is proof that AI is a very good way of controling breeding. They started with a large genetic pool and have been keeping several lines seperate to keep the diversity.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lima, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    726

    Post

    You can already buy straws (glass capillary tubes actually) of semen, at least from Sue Cobey.

    The number who do it I belive is very small primarily because of the cost. The class itself is cheap compared to the $2000-3000 the instrument, syringe and microscope can set you back.

    -Tim

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Odessa, Missouri
    Posts
    629

    Post

    Tim,
    In our Australian import we imported a hybrid. A cross between a recent import into Australia of pure buckfast from the abbey and a recent import into Australia of a "Blue Ribbon" Italian bee from Italy.

    Also the best stock of the Joe Horner Australian line.All my beekeeping friends which took the Australian beekeeping tour praised the Joe Horner operation and stock.

    approx 100 queens of the first and 200 of the second line.

    Many beekeepers put us down for doing the Australian import (and still are!)

    To those narrow minded people I give a recent quote by my friend Allen Dick:

    "The future is coming, either lead, follow OR GET OUT OF THE WAY"
    Bob Harrison

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Eden, NC
    Posts
    285

    Post

    The introductions of SMR, Hygienic behavaior, and Russian Bees have shown that nationwide there is an increased effort to develope higher resistance to the two mites.
    The question I have: Does the imported bees from Australia have these traits, in any measure? Have they been exposed to varroa?, if so what are their treatment methods.
    Frank Wyatt

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Odessa, Missouri
    Posts
    629

    Post

    The Australians are untreated so far but last week the boys found some deformed bees in *one* hive and varroa in drone brood.
    Not bad for having been in Almonds and apples but we expect no varroa tolerance at all.
    We have already used the Australians to create a few hybrids but will take time if not years to see the results. We need the new alleles and the hybrid vigor the Australians bring.
    Bob Harrison

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Eden, NC
    Posts
    285

    Post

    Rob, you mention that we need new alleles and the hybrid vigor the Australians bring. Is this not available when you cross a new smr, hygienic, or russian breeder queens -daughters with drones from open mating. Has research been done that shows that we have a limited number of alleles in the US. If so, where can I locate this information. The treatments I mentioned: How were they treated in Austr.
    Thanks for the information,
    Frank

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Central Square, NY, Oswego County
    Posts
    814

    Post

    I use AI and yes I agree with a possibility of a limited amount of alleles being used. I try to avoid that by actually letting some of my AI queens swarm out into the wild. I also keep buying some other queen bees from different breeders and use them into my breeding system. I figure that some time in the future it will be of great help with having some kind of 'good genes' out there. I think over time with the wild swarms that I allow to escape it will help with the over all bee population. After all only the most 'resistant' or really tolerant to mite bees will survive over time.
    Dan

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Odessa, Missouri
    Posts
    629

    Post

    Frank,
    I do not have an allele problem in my bees but many U.S. queen producers do.

    My self and a close group have tested most of the bees available today in the U.S..

    I never post names or results but the results are shocking at times! If you read through all my posts on BEE-L over the years you will see I never name the queen producer by name. I have passed information directly at meetings on a one on one basis.

    I was looking today at a future hybrid breeder queen *from a II breeder queen* and saw a BIG improvement in brood viability.

    Although the original II breeder queen is a high dollar Glenn Apiaries gal I find three bad faults with her.
    1. brood viability
    2. temperment of her bees
    3. running on frames

    In a breeding program just because a queen is from Glenn Apiaries does not mean you add into your breeding program without looking at her, her bees and her brood viability. I about pinched her head today but will wait awhile.

    What Australian treatments in Australia? Terry Brown has nothing to treat for? He did have some chalkbrood problems in the past but got rid of the problem with new queen sources.

    Hybrid vigor is as Frank says common in most crosses. 30 % is the normal figure given for hybrid vigor.

    However if doing a cross out of the same gene pool you might not get the hybrid vigor and create a poor brood viability problem. Using the Australian bees will almost assure a hybrid vigor situation.

    Time will tell what treatments tha Australian bees will need. Do not paint the Australian bees with a broad brush. Our shipment came from a queen breeder and not simply a queen producer. Big difference!
    My guess is the Australian/Australian (Joe Horner line) will need varroa treatment and tracheal mite treatment being Italian stock. The Terry Brown stock (as imported) will most likely need varroa treatment but perhaps not tracheal mite treatment because a direct cross with a pure Buckfast line from the abbey.
    Those wondering what I am talking about can read my articles in the April & May ABJ to better understand.
    Bob Harrison

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,223

    Post

    So to answer the original question re storing bee sem_n, at present, it is ineffective. Two problems were encountered: very low viability after freezing and death of queens that were AI'd with previously frozen semen.

    It is very feasible to ship fresh collected semen and is a tool being used by some breeders today. There are regulatory barriers that restrict this activity to a large degree.

    Fusion

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Eden, NC
    Posts
    285

    Post

    Rob,
    The question was "Has research been done that shows that we have a limited number of alleles in the US." I was not implying that you have an allele problem in your bees. How would I even know. I am only interested in finding documents that I can read as reference material, for my "hungry mind". There should be no problem referencing material that has been put out for publication. As in most discussions, many opinions are presented by all parties that may or may not be fact & sometimes you have to filter through the "muck" to get the facts.
    I agree that it is a good policy not to mention names of "any" queen producers or breeders that in your opinion have faults.
    I personally would like to be able to import other bees and not just Australian. It would be great to get true Carniolans and see how they fair here in the US

    Thanks
    Frank

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Odessa, Missouri
    Posts
    629

    Post

    I don't know of any actual research but the allele problem is talked of often at national meetings.

    I don't mean disrespect but not sure you understand fully what I am saying. An excellent book to help you understand is "Queen Rearing & Bee Breeding: by Laidlaw & Page.

    Those "shotgun" brood patterns are a dead give away. We test at least fifty queens from a producer to be sure of what we are seeing.

    The only way you can get imports from Australia (at this time) is to buy around 384 packages. Around forty thousand dollars worth.
    The only way a hobby beekeeper will be seeing Australians (as imported) is to get a few from a beekeeper which received a shipment.

    We are sending six above average Australian queens of each line to Dann Purvis to hold the pure line for us through instrumental insemination and use as he sees fit.

    Although Dann and I are good friends the deal
    above also involved a trade to us of one of his best instrumentally inseminated gold line breeder queens.

    All trades and offers considered.
    Bob Harrison

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Beverly, Mass
    Posts
    303

    Post

    I had a great talk with a lady, who does AI at the EAS meeting. She said she has found that open mated Queens are generally the most prolific. AI is great for keeping the line strait, but her open mated daughters are the
    best in production hives. It is also really important, to drone flood your mating yard, to change the genetic makeup of the mating area.
    You will need lots of pollen.

    You can really slow the line divergance by controling the drone population. And might not
    need AI, as long as you pick up breeders every few years.

    Also, I remember asking about freezing semen, it doesn't work well with insects. Most of the semen in viable for weeks and is stored at room temp, in glass vials with air plugs.

    Some of my best queens last year were NWC crossed with local ferels, kicking butt this spring!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

    Post

    A very rainy day here in Virginia, so no apiary
    work for me.

    Sorry Bob, but I think you know where I stand
    on your most recent method of replacing dead-outs.
    Don't get angry, I know you have the "right" to do so,
    I just did not think anyone so well-informed would
    decide to put us all at risk.

    The arrogance required to import packages from
    Australia or New Zealand under the current lack
    of anything more than "trust me" controls amazes me.

    Sure, nearly everyone thinks that they are the best
    beekeeper on the planet - I am confident that each
    of the people responsible for the introduction of
    tracheal mites, AHB, and varroa to the western
    hemisphere also thought that "nothing would go wrong".

    If Australian or New Zealand bees had any traits
    of value, the Purvis brothers could get some
    genetic material much more cheaply than via the
    ordering of hundreds of packages. Likely, such
    a transaction would be free, as neither NZ or Oz
    pay any money at all for genetics from the
    "advanced technology" breeding work-product of
    groups like the USDA, and they would not be so
    stupid as to set the precedent of charging for
    what they want to get for free from us.

    But more important, importing genetic material
    rather than live bees would avoid the risk of
    importing yet another pest or disease in the process.

    As far as "what diseases or pests?", my pick
    for the next nasty problem to come from the
    other side of the planet is Tropilaelaps clareae.
    It is tiny, it is in countries that send ships
    to Australia and New Zealand daily, and it is
    yet another pest that neither country has ever
    seen before, just like varroa was for New Zealand
    and Small Hive Beetle was for Australia.

    Please recall that both countries made
    grandiose claims about their "biosecurity"
    in order to gain the negligible revenue stream
    they will get from selling packages to the USA,
    yet each country let serious and very obvious
    pests (SHB and varroa) get well-established in
    multiple apiaries and in breeder stock before
    they even discovered the problem.

    ...and now they can send packages to anyone with
    a little money who is willing to put the entire industry
    at risk for their own personal profit.

    If these bees were worth buying, why would the
    Canadians, who have been able to import these
    bees for years, want to instead get bees from
    the USA badly enough to petition their government
    for years on the issue?

    The Canadians realized that these bees are
    resistant to nothing at all, an obvious result
    of buying bees from places who brag of their
    countries' "pest-free", "disease-free" status.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Odessa, Missouri
    Posts
    629

    Post

    Well spoken old friend! Judging by other posts of yours on the subject you went easy on me!

    Future possible imports in
    the works to cause even more sleep lost by Jim.

    1. direct import from Russia

    I am not (at this time) in favor of two and three but many many commercial beekeepers are.

    2. import of varroa tolerant
    AHB into California from Brazil

    3. import of ninety cent queens and twenty dollar AHB packages from Mexico.

    Flying out tonight and back Tuesday if future comments are needed.
    Bob Harrison

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Odessa, Missouri
    Posts
    629

    Post

    Hello Jim & All,
    The hotel I am at has an internet hookup so will answer Jims questions.
    Jim infers a beekeeper is the source of all our pest problems. My self and many others point the blame in another direction. We had the most too lose. Who had the most to gain without a problem in beekeeping to solve.
    I believe Jim and I will have to agree to disagree.
    Jim brings up the dreaded T. clareae. Just another blood sucker in my book. If measures are not taken by the industry there will not be a U.S. beekeeping industry to worry about. The same beekeepers which lost hives last year are allready seeing varroa out of control. Many packages sold in the U.S. this spring were varroa infested.
    Several I have talked to can not decide if to super or try an treat. The problem is getting worse instead of better.
    The pollination needs of the U.S. out way all other uses for bees. Period.
    Those which have tried to stop migratory beekeeping have found out by now that pollination needs trumps state borders. Hold us up for a day of a few days but we are going to get released. Sooner or later we find intellegent life as we move up the supervision ladder.
    The almond growers have got more clout than beekeepers, AHPA & ABF. They have got plans A B C & D to get bees. If beekeepers do not work with the almond growers they will find solutions which (I already know about) which Jim and others are not going to care for.
    Bob Harrison

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