My strategy for producing non-AHB queens in AHB territory.

1) Start with Cordovan Italian queens, where all their offspring, both workers and drones are Cordovan. Since the Cordovan trait is recessive, this indicates purity, that there are only Cordovan genes - a starting point.

2) Saturate the mating area with Cordovan drones from as many different Cordovan queens as practical - to help reduce loss of fertility. Cordovan drones can be produced by Cordovan queens, even if these Cordovan drone mothers have been open mated with other than Cordovan drones. It is easy to determine if a drone carries the Cordovan gene - it will exhibit Cordovan coloration - drones are haploid and the Cordovan trait cannot be masked.

3) Produce virgin queens from the best Cordovan queen mothers. Keeping only those that exhibit the Cordovan color trait and meet all other visible criteria of outstanding queens.

4) Mate the virgin queens in the Cordovan drone saturated mating area.

5) Wait to see if the mated queens produce Cordovan workers. If they do, then you know that they mated with, at least, one Cordovan drone. If their workers are normal colored they can still be used for honey production -- drone mothers, etc. But not as queen mothers, unless some of their workers are Cordovan, in that case you can take your chances that some queens will be Cordovan too, though this could waste much time and resources.

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► If queens that demonstrate the Cordovan trait prove to be mated with other than Cordovan drones, by some or all of their workers being normal colored, their drone fathers could possibly be from an AHB source.

►Cordovan queens that produce normal colored workers, should not be allowed to produce normal colored queens. Those queens could potentially carry AHB genetics.

►If drones are Cordovan colored, in this scenario, they will not be carrying AHB genetics.