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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Fredericksburg, Va
    Posts
    783

    Default Breeder Queen Question(s)

    How long can one expect a breeder queen to provide satisfory services? Does the quality of the new queens drop as she ages?
    Bee all you can Bee!
    http://www.hamiltonapiary.net

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Southern Oregon
    Posts
    1,144

    Default

    A breeder queen should serve you well until she run out of "bullets". The only genetic change over time would be due to mutation, which hopefully there would be very little of that. All daughters should be 50% her and 50% of the various drones she initially mated with. I would expect that by the third year the supercedure urge would be strong.
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,419

    Default

    >How long can one expect a breeder queen to provide satisfory services? Does the quality of the new queens drop as she ages?

    This one was 8 years old:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesbetterq...#Queen%20Alice
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4

    Default

    Today I found marked queen dead by the entrance of hive. This queen was in a packet installed in May/April this year.
    There are plenty of bees, and closed brood, some pollen and honey. Lately a lot of bees have spent days and nights outside by the entrance. In a few days I will know if there is a new queen or the hive is queenless. It was really coincident that I noticed that a dead bee is the queen. There was only one dead. Interesting.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,081

    Default

    JBM,
    >>>>How long can one expect a breeder queen to provide satisfory services?

    One year.

    >>>>Does the quality of the new queens drop as she ages?

    Yes.

    Let me explain. First, you did not mention what type of breeder queens (See - http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...=breeder+queen)

    But lets go with paying big bucks for a tested queen, and one not developed yourself.

    If your evaluating your queen stock every year, who cares if your breeder is one, two, or eight years old. You should be selecting the best of the best, and sometimes the breeder queen you bought last year, does not make the cut. I never plan on using a breeder for some period of time just becuase she is still alive. So she is good for one year. If she makes the cut next year, then I can say two. But what I select for this coming spring is intended for a one year period till the next testing/selecting period the next spring.

    I buy other peoples breeder queens to inject a diversity of genetics, to add something I have not bred for previously(smr/vhs), or to start another line. So whether a breeder queen lives two, three, or more years means nothing. She goes through the same selection criteria in the spring as all my other queens.

    I know MB, mentioned an 8 year old breeder. And I acknowledge he said little more than that. But for the casual reader, 8 year old breeders are not what you should be looking for. Every year, you should be upgrading your breeding stock. The selection criteria today is vastly different then what a queen 8 years ago was selected for. Any queen line not upgraded or changed in 8 years is questionable. New testing criteria, the injection of smr/vhs traits, introduction of new pests such as shb, and now the finding of new viruses associated with CCD, make upgrading and changing selection processes, different over time.

    So to me, if your asking how long a queen lasts....I guess 8 years as MB stated is about as long as I ever heard.

    But that should mean little in any breeding program. Its what the queen does every year. And I can say for myself, the queens from 8 years ago were different then the queens I'm breeding from today.

    So next year, when the CCD virus plays out, and selection efforts begin from survivors, it means once again the previous years queens will be changing. So does the "quality" of this years queen, and what she was selected for, change with time? Absolutely. She(queen) may not change from year to year, but her quality certainly drops as she is not upgraded, and changed with the times.
    Last edited by BjornBee; 09-09-2007 at 01:55 PM.

  6. #6

    Default

    I use 2 or 3 breeder queens, I do agree you use the best of the best when you want to pass on the to the next generation. Feeding a light solution keeps your queens laying and never run out of eggs. They are also good at drawing foundation. If they build up too much. Donate frames of brood to your hives that need a boost. Shake the nurse bees in your cell builders. This is all good!
    Danny Slabaugh
    Promoting Better Beekeepers by sharing what works for me.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,525

    Default

    My opinion, one year. No the quality does not drop noticeably in one year.

    Why??

    You specifically ask about breeder queens. This means the queens from which you breed your working queens. She was purchased specially and cost a lot. Maybe $500 for just the one queen. To make sure she breeds true to form, she was probably Artificially Inseminated. Also called Intrumentally Inseminated.

    I haven't seen them last a long time. They get superceeded after a year. Mostly. Not all. But you asked what you could expect. I would almost bet money that MB's eight year old queen Alice was not II'd.

    Hawk
    KC0YXI

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Fredericksburg, Va
    Posts
    783

    Default

    I found another reason for only using the breeder for one year. - "When raising queens in a small operation without sufficient outyards, there will be increased chances of inbreeding after the first year. The drone population and virgin queens will be too closely related to the breeder queen."
    Bee all you can Bee!
    http://www.hamiltonapiary.net

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
    Posts
    4,417

    Default

    I would have to agree with bjorn. You have to evalulate your stock every spring to see if they make a cut or not. Maybe she will last a year.. maybe two... maybe more.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Crown Point , (NW) Indiana
    Posts
    529

    Default Interesting quote:

    ["When raising queens in a small operation without sufficient outyards, there will be increased chances of inbreeding after the first year. The drone population and virgin queens will be too closely related to the breeder queen."]

    One must think about the mechanics of what this is saying.
    Age is not the determining factor on inbreeding.

    What is a determining factor is the possibility of daughter queens mating with half brother drones.

    The possibility of inbreeding increases with each additional batch of queens after the first. This is because there is the increase in the ratio of daughter queens to brother drones.

    The second+ year of age has little impact.
    [unless the queen begins to fail and raises a dis-proportional amount of drones]

    In fact, next spring daughter queens could be less likely to be inbreed than fall queens of the previous year! (just because of fewer mature spring drones from the breeder queen)

    -Jeff
    There is always more than one way to skin a cat, that's of course if you're into eating cats.

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