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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    San Lorenzo, NM, USA
    Posts
    104

    Question

    I am intending to begin raising my own queens this spring. Having done considerable research, I beleived I was ready to roll. Now I am not so sure.

    Yesterday, I read in a recent Apis-UK article that queens are programmed to seek DCAs that are at greater distance from the mating yard than are those sought by drones located in the same yard. Supposedly, this is a natural tendency that reduces inbreeding.

    There are plenty of feral bees and some AHBs in my area. No apriaries other than mine are in the area. I have chosen one remote mating yard location situated to maximize the probability that the raised queens would be mated with the selected drone stock placed in that yard.

    My question is, given the Apis-UK reference, is the single yard location for target drones insufficient? Whadda ya think? Opinions please.
    Bob Bleakley, Mimbres Valley Honey

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    San Lorenzo, NM, USA
    Posts
    104

    Post

    WHAT??? . . . no opinions? . . . amazing! . . . surely there are some out there . . . holler back.
    Bob Bleakley, Mimbres Valley Honey

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,427

    Post

    Personally, I'd raise them and breed them in your yard. If you get some hot ones, dispose of them. That's what I would do. The problem, I think, in getting a respose is the issue of the AHB drones. AHB drones are smaller (unless you have small cell) and fly faster. They also go out early and stay late at the DCA's which gives them another advantage. So the question is how well will this work? There's another thread in the Bee Forum on AHB where someone in your position does just what I suggested. I can't say how it would work out from any personal experience since I don't have AHB. The feral bees around my place are the little black bees I want, so it works well for me to have them around.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Mason, MI, USA
    Posts
    1,015

    Post

    I have had good luck raising queens just using my bee yard at home. I do graft from 1 queen that I like and raise drones from another queen in the same yard but not related to the graft queen.
    Clint
    Clinton Bemrose<br />just South of Lansing Michigan<br />Beekeeping since 1964

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    San Lorenzo, NM, USA
    Posts
    104

    Post

    Clint and Michael, thanks for the feedback.

    We'll press on with the plan to use the one location for target drones. The scheme is to raise three small batches through 2006, timed to service seasonal needs (splits, requeening and backup nucs). Like everything else, we'll see how it goes and make adjustments as we go.

    In my outyards, I've allowed some colonies to produce superscedure queens. A limited number of "hot" hives have resulted, but I don't think their aggression can be attributed to AHB--not nearly aggressive enough.

    To begin with we want to raise queens using our most productive NWC colonies for eggs and drones. Eventually, we may want to tap into feral stock as MB does; the presence of survivor colonies is evident. All things considered, we think a isolated mating yard makes sense for our initial efforts.

    The first batch of mating queens is planned for very early April . . . insertion of drone comb is scheduled for first week in February. X your fingers! Hopefully, the remainder of my queen rearing supplies (now on backorder) will arrive on time.

    Thanks again for your comments.
    Bob Bleakley, Mimbres Valley Honey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Posts
    98

    Post

    I have wondered this same thing about the DCA distance, and how far away the queen flies. It makes sense that this reduces inbreeding, but it also has made me wonder how many of the big breeders go about getting "The Right Drones" with "The Right Queens".

    Anyways, I thought of an experiment to test the theories. Just for thought mostly, but it could also be used to test the degree of isolation a yare is using. But maybe this has already been done.

    Anyways, I would purchase one or two Cordovan Queens. One I would choose as the breeder, the other the drone mother. Put both hives out in the "outyard".

    I would then raise one "batch" of queens from the breeder queen. These would all be pure-bred Cordovans. Put all the Q.Cells in mating nucs in this outyard, and let them mate with whatever is out there. If I were very lucky, maybe one would mate with some drones from the Drone Mother hive. Otherwise all the queens would mate with "something". And raise hives full of Cordovan X "Something". I could then turn all these into drone producing hives. These hive would be full of half and half workers, however, I seem to recall that drones are only Haploid, and so would get all their genes from the queen, who is pure Cordovan. At this point I could raise a second "batch" of queens from the original queen breeding hive, and install all of these in mating nucs in the same outyard.

    The contents of this queen raising outyard would then be 1 full hive with the breeder queen, a number of drone raising nucs from the first batch, and another number of queen mating nucs from the second batch.

    After all these young Virgin Queens mated, I would be able to tell the success of my mating attempts, right? The Cordovan trait is recessive, so any queens that mated with drones not from the yard would raise a hive of halfbreeds (Cordovan X "something"), like the drone nucs. Anyw queen that mated with the Cordovan Drones from the drone nucs would then lay Cordovan eggs, entirely. So after a few weeks a simple inspection of the bee yard would give me a rough number, or ratio, of queens mating within the yard, versus queens mating with drone from outside.

    Has this type of experiment been done before? If so what were the results? It seems like if your yard were isolated enough, the queen would be forced to mate with the drones from your yard, as she wouldn't find anything else.

    Does anyone else have any thoughts on this subject?

    --Jon D.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Perkasie, PA
    Posts
    1,998

    Post

    It sounds like a great plan. If you can afford it, it might be worthwhile to get the drone mother II'ed with non-Cordovan genes (like russian). Only the drones will be cordovan, the colony will have hybrid vigor, and it will be obvious if anything happens to your drone mother, because the cordovan drones will go away, no matter who the F1 queen mates with.

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