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Thread: Good Stock

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Posts
    98

    Default Good Stock

    Three years ago I started raising my own queens, and have not bought new bees since (it is a tremendous money saver). Everywhere I read, it always says “Raise you own queens, you’ll get good after a while, and it saves money.” I have also read “Get your queens from a local producer with a Good Stock of bees.” But I always wanted to try and develop my own Good Stock. Being part of the solution, as well as save money.

    Assuming that I am able to raise quality queens after a few years of practice, I came to the realization this winter that I may never be able to raise this Good Stock because I have too few hives to work with. My apiary ranges from 4 to 8 colonies (full hives plus nucs) on any year, which gives me 3 to 6 new queens to be raised and tested each year. However, to keep a line pure, and viable, it seems like you need a minimum population of 20 to 25. Also, to get good tests, and comparisons, it would seem like you would need at least 8-10 full hives on any given year to compare between.

    With this in mind, is there any way of achieving the fabled Good Stock, with my small apiary? Or would I be better off buying the Good Stock every two or three years, and breeding off them?

    --Thanks, Jon D.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,080

    Default

    Jon,
    There are many things to consider in producing good stock, with many of these items requiring for the most part, a larger number of hives than what you are working with.

    Things like hybrid vigor, alleles, controlling stock, drone saturation, selection from large numbers, inbreeding, and a vast number of issues can be discussed.

    In Bee Culture Jan, 2008 see page 17 by M.T. Sanford. Entitled "Better Stock for Beekeepers" Some of these issues are discussed.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,230

    Default

    Jon, I wouldnt be scared away from using queens from some of those commercial breeders. I have always had great luck with ordered in queens.
    These guys are absoulute professionals. They take the best of pride in their work and it shows in the queens they produce. The Good Stock of bees your after is avaliable.
    If you dont believe me, then go for your self and vusit a breeder. The knoledge and professionalism and pride these guys have for thier business and product will blow you away, and I bet you would nt ever consider comercial produced queens as beeing inferiour stock again.

    But raising queens is soo cool, you got to try it!
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
    Posts
    4,398

    Default

    Ian:

    I would have to respectfully disagree with you. When visiting Sue Cobey last year in mid spring, she took us to a big queen producer. We saw cells and all... on the way back she said that she was disapointed in how small the cells look and was surprised that they would keep such small cells.

    I think that the smaller producers, some here on bee source like Bjorn, are the ones you want to buy from.

    I read a post by Jim Fisher that mentioned the questions you should ask the queen producers when considering buying their stock. One of the questions was how long they keep the queen in the mating nucs for evaluation. This is important. The bigger producers need to pump them out like crazy to meet their orders where smaller guys can take the time to evaluate their stock before sending the queen out.

    Just another thought.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Wausau Wi
    Posts
    311

    Default

    Purvis Bros. do a nice evaluation of queens.
    Everything happens for a reason. Time heals all wounds - time and a half heals them even faster

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    think of it this way jon d... in a normal distribution (and most things bioliogical are) the two extreme tails of the curve (the very good and the very bad) each represent about 5% of the total population. so to get to some reasonable expectation of identifing one really exceptional individual you have to have a minimum of 20 individual in a group to evaluate.

    plus (as a minimum) you need one each of these exceptional to represent both sides of the mating. that's 40... minimum.

    of course I could just be havin' a bad math day????? (insert funny face here)

    off the cuff I would have taken your numbers and multiplied by a factor of 10.

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