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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Madison County, Alabama
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    487

    Default Newbee Question: How do you ensure a virgin mates with a desirable drone?

    Our beekeepers association here in Prince William County, Virginia just received a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grant. Uncle Sam has provided us $15K to learn how to raise our own local queens for our Northern Virginia, Marlyand and So. Delaware fellow beekeepers.

    As a new beekeeper, I know there's a lot of learning yet. Raising a queen is tough enough, but how do you all ensure your girl finds the right guy? Does nature curb inbreeding adequately (i.e. if brothers and non-brothers are available does she know to pick the non-kin?)

    Is there a special trick you use to ensure genetic diversity? Can't imagine how one could really control queen breeding?

    I admit I have not yet read the books on this art. Very ignorant here on the subject. Appreciate any advice, or experiences you can relay.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Green Lane, PA
    Posts
    839

    Default

    How do you ensure a virgin mates with a desirable drone?
    Instrumental Insemination

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    eastern Hanover, Virginia
    Posts
    361

    Default

    with out AI, I would think you need as large and diverse group of genetics as you can get. as many other non directly related hives as possible.

    This is only my guess since the only queens i raise are the ones that the hives raise themselves.
    -M@

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Default

    >Is there a special trick you use to ensure genetic diversity?

    That is basically the opposite of controlled breeding...

    > Can't imagine how one could really control queen breeding?

    II.

    >I admit I have not yet read the books on this art. Very ignorant here on the subject. Appreciate any advice, or experiences you can relay.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesalleyme..._insure_purity
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeshopkins1886.htm#distance
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesdoolittle.htm#CHAPTER15
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Tip of the Thumb, Michigan
    Posts
    676

    Default

    Luckily, the queen can fly to mating yards (DCA's or Drone Congregation Areas) up to 3 miles away to ensure genetic diversity.

    Drones, on the other hand, will only fly up to 2 miles away, or less if they don't have to. DCA's are typically located within 1 mile of the parent hive.

    So nature provides it's own safety margin. It's also said that a drone won't mate with a queen from it's own hive and can recognize her from her scent.

    But, THE sure fire way to breed in selected drones is artificial insemination. And to me, that'd be a fun way to spend $15 grand!

    DS

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Santa Rosa, California
    Posts
    86

    Default Drone control for breeding your own Queens

    [QUOTE=fatscher;314907]Our beekeepers association here in Prince William County, Virginia
    Is there a special trick you use to ensure genetic diversity? Can't imagine how one could really control queen breeding?

    I admit I have not yet read the books on this art. QUOTE]

    Fatscher,
    Yes, reading some good Queen rearing books is good to do...
    To ansure your question: their are no special ways except to use one of Ladlaw's or Macinsen ideas of artifical insemination... Expensive....
    There are some ways to get most of the desired things to show up in the Queens brood from the right kind of Drones naturally....
    First... Find some hives that have qualities you seek in your bees, at least three or four from different Queen sources (not sisters) and mark them for this with a crayon.
    Second... Select the finest one for the Queens mother.
    Third ... Find a remote location to breed the new Queens you will be raising at... This should be at least two or more miles away... This could be a valley or canyon that is open and asked to be used by you from a farmer/owner with a dairy or a mine/quarry location... Check the area out for bees in flight or on flowers.... If none then this will work for the location of the Drone hives to be moved to and for your Mating nucs to be placed with the Queen cells to be added...
    Fourth... Now you need to have some hives for raising the Queens in, at or near your home or home beeyard.
    With all of the above done, you are on your way to the making your own select Queens...
    Lee....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    beemanlee writes:
    Second... Select the finest one for the Queens mother.

    tecumseh replies:
    this does NOT sound like a very good idea to me... this might be fine for honing your queen rearing skills but I would not wish to distrubite genetic material to a wider area when I could have controlled half the genetic material but did not because I desired to save $100.

    the first steps I would take is I would acquire an AI queen mother (some states may require you to use an AI queen if you call yourself a queen breeder) of the flavor that would best suit the area and then I would select local hives (depending on size of the queen yard this number may vary) of exceptional quality for producing drones. a remote location would be best... but I would not depend on location alone and would pursue the idea of saturating the area with selected drone stock.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Canton, Texas USA
    Posts
    533

    Default

    I cannot recall in the short time that I have been into this engaging hobby, ever seeing an add for "select" drones from any vendors...Surely the netting needed to enclose an area would not be that bad, if you consider that it would insure fine breeding, plus the fact that it could be written off as a business expense.......Just the musings of a newbie. If I am wrong, or you just plain disagree please be kind. ....I have felt the sting of a rather snotty response already, and I would be most discouraged to have that type of discourse repeated.
    Regards,
    Rick~ LtlWilli

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,080

    Default

    fatscher,
    It may be much to type out. But if you have some time, and 50 cents of that 15k, give me a call sometime, and I'll talk to you about some ideas.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Nevada County, CA
    Posts
    1,083

    Default

    Pray a lot.
    doug

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Santa Rosa, California
    Posts
    86

    Default Our own local Queens, key word; local

    Quote Originally Posted by tecumseh View Post
    beemanlee writes:
    Second... Select the finest one for the Queens mother.

    tecumseh replies:
    this does NOT sound like a very good idea to me... I would acquire an AI queen mother .
    Tecumsem,
    The key word in the question was not breeding someones bees, A1 or not, it was as follows:

    [QUOTE=fatscher;314907]As a new beekeeper...raise our own local queens... for our Northern Virginia... in Prince William County.QUOTE]

    If I was trying to find a bee that worked in my local area I would never use someones bees from another part of the country! Breeder Queens do not last very long with artifical insemination and with the moneys used on local stock being a better Queen...
    Bees that never were here in my don't over winter well and will not make the amount of honey I could take off with my local bees.
    This is a novice beekeeper with a local area of operation that is in need of a local supply of Queens.
    Breeder Queens are for a need of an individual operation or production and have only the desired trates of the breeder and his commerical operation. There are breeders that do this, but you must take the stock to him! You select your hives then truck them to the breeder.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Santa Rosa, California
    Posts
    86

    Default Remote: is the place of "select" drone saturation

    Quote Originally Posted by LtlWilli View Post
    I cannot recall... snotty response... I would be most discouraged to have that type of discourse repeated.
    Regards,
    Rick~ LtlWilli
    Rick,
    Don't be discouraged, there is never a question that is asked that can't be ansured politly...
    Your statement about a cage was good. They have done just that in South America, many years ago....
    A netted breeding cage for natural matting of Queens was built, very tall... It didn't work as well as you would expect. They were able to teather a Queen and photo the action in slow motion. The purpose was to raise Hy-brid Afro/Euro Queens.
    Keep asking the questions....
    Lee...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    beemanlees quotes the threads author with...

    'Tecumsem,
    The key word in the question was not breeding someones bees, A1 or not, it was as follows:

    [quote=fatscher;314907]As a new beekeeper...raise our own local queens... for our Northern Virginia... in Prince William County.QUOTE]'

    tecumseh replies:
    you are quite correct the question was in regards to rearing locally produced queens.. the author did not suggest that all the resources for accomplishing this HAD TO BE local also.
    the threads authors first question SHOULD BE... do I wish to simply produce some average to less than average queens or do I wish to take (the information) as to what works well locally and try to produce something better.

    like the red queen... if your answer is numero uno, then you are (at best) going nowhere even if you running as hard and as fast as you can.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Fredericksburg, Va
    Posts
    798

    Default

    15K??? Some of us are attempting this on our own nickel.

    I would think that setting up outyards with drone mothers would flood the area. You can at least increase the odds.
    Bee all you can Bee!
    http://www.hamiltonapiary.net

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Santa Rosa, California
    Posts
    86

    Default Do you find your bees are better?

    Quote Originally Posted by tecumseh View Post
    beemanlees quotes the threads author with...
    what works well locally and try to produce something better... like the red queen... if your answer is numero uno, then you are (at best) going nowhere even if you running as hard and as fast as you can.
    Tecumsem,
    Do you think that your bees do better because of A1, Select, color, or because they produce more honey and are there next seasom? Do they producr because they came through the winter in great shape? Because your Queens are up to standard polenating requirements of 8 frames of bees on brood in February?

    Do you trust someone who says: I have a "A1 Select Breeder Queen" I'll sell you for $1000... and know that her Queens and bees will still be alive in the spring? I've seen this happen using someones bees and a very large cost of over $14,000 just to cover his contracts in the Almonds and see them all dead in less than two months because they were not local, but A1, Quality, numero uno bees...

    When you are selecting a quality for your Queens, the most important thing after taking off the honey is, will I have the bees in my hives next spring? These two most important things a beekeeper wants to know, must come first, when selecting for a Queen Mother, not some A1, numero uno, select Queen by Jose' Beekeeper with a quality sticker...

    Bees that have become abel to do the above have the most important quality any beekeeper would desire.... Select Local Bees...
    Lee...

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Standish, Maine USA
    Posts
    57

    Default

    Beemanlee,
    I'm in complete agreement. Here here! In the northern climates we can no longer afford the habit of buying southern bees to replace our wintered dead-outs. We need to raise our own queens and supply our own Nuc's. Thus, the reason for the group now just getting started by Mike Palmer, the Northeast/New England Bee Breeders Association or something similar to that. Then to add to that, the risk of getting someone's AHB bred into the pot. We need to start breeding our own. This is a good post to answer some of the beginner questions on selection of Q-mother's, drone flooding, etc. Keep it interesting. I'm still learning too. I just started last year with 27 virgins and weeded them out to a mere 17 keepers. They survived the winter and already are in productive hives. I'm not a queen breeder, but have 4 club members in line for them. And 3 others that want me to make them a Nuc. Not bad for having a dozen hives. I've had my biggest problem with the barn swallows from across the road. The virgin queens must be juicy.

    Thanks
    Larry

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Nevada County, CA
    Posts
    1,083

    Default

    <Surely the netting needed to enclose an area would not be that bad, if you consider that it would insure fine breeding, plus the fact that it could be written off as a business expense.......>

    Unlike the normal bee flightpath which is between 15 and 35 feet above ground, breeding takes place 90 feet or more above ground. I think the logistics of setting up that large a netted area would be difficult.
    doug

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