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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    Saint Johnsbury, VT,USA
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    63

    Default Do the Descendants of the Package Queen Produce Successively More Irritable Hives?

    The cold weather is beginning to drive me insane. All I can think about is Spring.

    In a previous post, I asked whether an irritable hive is a more productive hive. I appreciate all the responses. Short answer: Thuggery! They may appear to be productive but could be channeling their aggression into robbing.

    In a different post, I asked about whether there is any value in purchasing a queen of a certain lineage since she may no longer have the attributes that define the strain. Short answer: She may look like a collie but that doesn't make her Lassie.

    Now I will attempt to link it together with these questions:

    1. What is the purpose of re-queening with a commercially produced queen other than if you have no queen at all? a) I presume it is always good to introduce new genetics periodically. But don't the drones essentially do that? b) A new queen could presumably calm down the hive. But could I achieve the same end result by splitting the hive and creating a new queen to succeed the original queen? IE...

    2. If I split this hive, would the new hive and queen(s) be mean or meaner? I sense from what I've read that successive generations of a queen produce more aggressive queens.

    Thanks very much.
    Year three. Two hives.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
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    905

    Default Re: Do the Descendants of the Package Queen Produce Successively More Irritable Hives

    I'm really confused by your question. If successive generations of any queen produced meaner and meaner bees, we'd all have monstrous killer bees by now!

    If requeening to arrest a "mean" hive works (I don't know from personal experience whether it does or not, but it is often advised to do that) then it would seem that in relatively short order all the daughters from the old queen would have died off and that would be the end of the mean girls. And that daughters of the new queen (when that time rolled around) would have as much chance of inheriting any mean traits from her as of inheriting any sweet traits the new queen possessed. In other words, you never know what you get. Which is the same situation you have when you install any new queen, from any source.

    I have only one daughter queen (open mated here) and her daughter bees are a marginally grumpier than their aunts that live in my original queen's hive. But I'm not really sure if that is my imagination, or not. As all my bee came from queens that were open mated here, but in different years, I'm thiking I have the same potential set of behavioural traits in all of them.

    My plan on my mildly pissy daughter hive is to try working with them a bit more as soon as I can get back out. Perhaps they are just not used to me and my sometimes clumsy ways. I don't doubt there is lots we don't yet know about the collective intelligence and experiential-memory shared by our highly social bugs. My old queens (all from 2013, or possibly even 2012) have a long history of dealing with me. Little Miss Anthemis has only been around for about 8 months, and her kids are not as well behaved as I would like.

    If you've got a mean hive you want to change, then allowing them to requeen themselves wouldn't be my first choice since you have a known issue. But I think you can't be certain that any newly brought to your apiary queen would be guaranteed to not be as mean or meaner, since my pression is that they are very younger when delivered and no information may be available on them.

    Enj.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Bloomfield,KY
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    Default Re: Do the Descendants of the Package Queen Produce Successively More Irritable Hives

    One reason many beeks use commercially produced queens is to keep young queens in the hives but they do not want or don't have the resources to make their own, or for convenience. The usual debate is whether it should be done. I think its a matter of choice. Generally speaking, if a hive is highly defensive then future daughters of that queen usually carry on that trait, I don't know how much of a roll the drones play in this but I seem to remember reading something on AHB where the drones were the ones that carried the gene that caused their defensive behavior it may be the same with EHB not sure. I wish I could remember where I read that on the AHB. Maybe someone else on here could help me out? Anyway, in answer to your question if you split this hive then you have a higher probability that it would be defensive also. As in all things bee related there are variable results.
    "Of all God's creatures, only the honeybee improves its environment and preys on no other species."--Haydon Brown

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Morro Bay, California, USA
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    1,075

    Default Re: Do the Descendants of the Package Queen Produce Successively More Irritable Hives

    Commercial breeders draw from thousands of prospective queens to select their breeders for grafting. The ones I work with quantify and record traits for both queen breeders and drone hives. This systematic selection has produced desirable traits for the market. (Health, gentleness, build-up, etc).

    Bees have very strong inertia in their breeding system to "revert to the norm" -- why they haven't fractured in dozens of species. In a hobby situation, where the queens are unselected except for random death, the bees **will** revert to the norm -- and that means the carefully conserved and constantly reselected domestic traits will be lost (including gentleness).

    Now there are amateur armchair theoreticians that claim "reverted" bees are better, but they haven't presented any evidence to support their faith.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    Portugal
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    Default Re: Do the Descendants of the Package Queen Produce Successively More Irritable Hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpbees View Post
    I don't know how much of a roll the drones play in this but I seem to remember reading something on AHB where the drones were the ones that carried the gene that caused their defensive behavior it may be the same with EHB
    Sharpbee I'm not sure if it was this information you need, but this study refers the possible role of drones in defensiveness.

    "From the perspective of breeding, paternal effects on genes influencing defensive behavior can have important consequences. A queen may have high defensive alleles yet produce a fairly gentle colony. The alleles may show reduced expression in the workers because they were maternally inherited; but if she is used as a drone source, the mating could result in a defensive colony. The traditional way to deal with defensive Africanized stocks is simply to introduce European queens, if available, into all the colonies. However, a European queen will most likely be superseded by a daughter after about 7 months, and the daughter queen will fly out and mate with primarily Africanized drones (Guzmán-Novoa et al. 1998). Since high defensive behavior apparently shows paternal effects, this would not be the best strategy. It would be better to saturate the mating congregation areas with drones of European origin. This could be accomplished by replacing the queens of colonies located near mating yards with mothers of European origin and by providing those colonies with comb containing drone-size cells to foster the production of many European drones. High mating control and successful breeding using “drone flooding” techniques have been demonstrated in the past (Guzmán-Novoa and Page 1999; Hellmich and Waller 1990; Loper and Fierro 1990)."

    in Paternal Effects on the Defensive Behavior of Honeybees, E. Guzman-Novoa, G. J. Hunt, R. E. Page Jr., J. L. Uribe-Rubio, D. Prieto-Merlos and F. Becerra-Guzman; Journal of Heredity Volume 96, Issue 4Pp. 376-380; 2004.
    "We are two abysses - a well staring the sky." Fernando Pessoa

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Lititz, PA, USA
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    719

    Default Re: Do the Descendants of the Package Queen Produce Successively More Irritable Hives

    I always think of drones as other queens (and it's sort of off-putting ). Because drones only have a mother, no father, your virgin queen has just gone out and mated with a whole bunch of other queens. So right, if there are lots of defensive queens around, your daughter queens may produce defensive workers simply because they've mated with all those other defensive queens' sperm delivery squad (aka drones).

    As a rule, I haven't found that at all, that a daughter queen produces workers that are any more defensive than her mother did. I wouldn't have known how to say it, so I'm glad JW is here because he/she put it well....bees revert to the norm. I've had defensive colonies that requeen and become more gentle. So if you have extremely gentle colonies, as they requeen I'd say you may very well see your workers become more defensive than those original super gentle bees, but it won't just keep getting worse and worse.
    License not replace eyes, ears, and brain.
    - Mr. Miyagi

  7. #7
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    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Do the Descendants of the Package Queen Produce Successively More Irritable Hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpbees View Post
    One reason many beeks use commercially produced queens is to keep young queens in the hives but they do not want or don't have the resources to make their own, or for convenience.
    Convenience - not economy - may actually be the best reason for rearing your own queens. So that can have them on hand any time you need them.

    If you count all the costs of rearing queens they are pretty expensive before or during the honey season (in lost opportunity to otherwise use the resources) unless you get several cycles out of your mating nucs or use the mating nucs as increase hives. $20 for a good queen is a bargain.

    Consider this - if you use one frame of honey when you make up a mating nuc - that honey alone would retail for at least $15-20 and you probably only have around a 75% chance of getting a good queen out of it on the first try.

    But it's worth every penny when you really need a queen and you have one all ready to go in a nuc.
    Since '09-30H-T-Z6b

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Mt Juliet TN USA
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    213

    Default Re: Do the Descendants of the Package Queen Produce Successively More Irritable Hives

    David, I agree that $20 is a bargain for a queen and you are lucky to live close to Mike Haney so you can buy queens for that. Most queens from other locals are $25 - $35 around Nashville which makes economy and issue also. And I agree with the convenience thing also.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Do the Descendants of the Package Queen Produce Successively More Irritable Hives

    The thing is that even though Mike is a friend, other than late summer I have to place my order months in advance just like anyone else - because he's always backlogged, and he's a really fair guy. So I rear a few queens myself every year just so I'll have them when I need them - economical or not.
    Since '09-30H-T-Z6b

  10. #10
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    Jan 2015
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    Penobscot County, ME, USA
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    Default Re: Do the Descendants of the Package Queen Produce Successively More Irritable Hives

    Quote Originally Posted by Beerz View Post
    The cold weather is beginning to drive me insane. All I can think about is Spring.
    I feel your pain...

    1. What is the purpose of re-queening with a commercially produced queen other than if you have no queen at all? a) I presume it is always good to introduce new genetics periodically. But don't the drones essentially do that? b) A new queen could presumably calm down the hive. But could I achieve the same end result by splitting the hive and creating a new queen to succeed the original queen? IE...

    2. If I split this hive, would the new hive and queen(s) be mean or meaner? I sense from what I've read that successive generations of a queen produce more aggressive queens.

    Thanks very much.
    I have hives that I have allowed to naturally re-queen themselves for years. I have made splits off these hives, and raised some queens (natural mating) from them to re-queen other hives.

    I have not noticed any inclination to be any more aggressive, or any less.
    Zone 4a/b

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