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Thread: Queen breeding

  1. #1
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    Default Queen breeding

    I am going to explain why first then I am going to as several questions. I have requeened my hives (8), and now have Russians. I have found that I have several hives near me. 10 about 3/4 mile away, 3 about 1 1/4 miles away. I want to keep mine pure Russian. I understand the necessity of requeening to keep this possible. My neighbor beeks will not be as worried about genetics as I am. They will let theirs requeen theirselves. they will be beehavers more than beekeepers. I also believe that with this scenario playing out over 2-3 years I will change theirs to Russians.
    Now comes my questions. Is there anyway that I can raise my own Queens and get them mated to pure Russian drones without Instrumental Inseminating? In other words if I purchase or have more than 1 genetic of Queens is there any way to isolate my drones from each Queen for mating with the other, ie bee breeding cage? I understand the need for genetic diversity. I have a learned and experienced knowledge of beekeeping in general but this is totally over my head. If I need to AI as we call it in the cattle business (I succesfully AIed cattle for several years, no comparison intended) how do you get semen to AI your Queens with? Especially pure Russian drone semen? When I learn the answer to some of these question I will then get into methodology. Thank you in advance.
    Brent Cook
    So much to learn, so little time!!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Queen breeding

    I say the mini nucs for raising your own queens would work best since they would be individually isolated in one box.
    http://www.tc.umn.edu/~reute001/Plan...ing%20Nucs.pdf
    Here is a good video!
    Instrumental Insemination of Queen Bees ...Good Luck!!


    http://mkat.iwf.de/mms/metafiles/020...0000000_lo.asx
    Last edited by honeybeekeeper; 11-02-2010 at 10:06 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Queen breeding

    You have three options the way I see it.
    1: You could get a giant screen room the size of several football fields. Then when you know your queens are about to go on a mating flight, quickly set it up and trap your queen and drones inside the screen room. This will prevent those genetically inferior drones from "meeting" your queen.

    2: If you have some more time you could also build a apiary on an island 120 miles west off the coast of Costa Rica. Then using Russian bees frozen in amber, you can create a race of pure Russians. Splice the partial bees DNA with some sort of tropical (frog) bumble bee. I believe Dr Hammond of International Genetic Technologies has some experience in this, dealing with reptiles. However, I would wait to bring your grandkids to the island until you are sure the electric fence is properly working. If this adventure proves not to work out I would not make a sequel as it just won't be as good.

    3: Or you could accept the fact, Nature will find a way..

    Backyard beekeeping and honey bees.
    www.BlueLineApiary.com

  4. #4
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    Re: Queen breeding

    Eqnox... that is certainly one of the most creative answers that i have read so far! lol. We printed it out and put it on the wall of our lab! lol. Let me know if you ever need a job!

    Honeybeekeeper... Mating nuks are used to easily plant and capture large numbers of queens in one yard... they do not mate in the boxes...

    Valleyman... The simple answer to your question is that queens take several mating flights in their first few days, they fly many miles away from the colony to areas that drones will saturate... the trouble with the mating box idea is that they must be in flight to mate and their instict will draw them to those saturated areas BEFORE they will begin to accept drones. Also, drones are accepted in most any hive... they will leave their own hive, and go straight in to another with no worries at all... so your hives could very well have your neighbors drones in them already.

    Queen breeders that follow Open mated practices raise drones with just as much if not more vigulance as they do their queens... ie..100 heavy hives with Drone Comb in each within a few hundred feet of the mating nuks, and in an isolated region to keep other drones away... There is a great need for diversity if you want your hives to thrive... Mutated dna is quite easily developed in only a few generations when drones are used from the same hive that a graft was pulled from... the queens that you purchased were most likely out of the same graft (thus the same hive), so all of your drones will be of the same lineage...

    Buy new mated queens in the spring... get 2 from 4 different breeders... continue this practice for the next 4 years... then your neighbors will have hybrids that will only add to your genetic stock, and you will maintain a pure strain...

    PS...the first few gens of russian/XXXX hybrids are very mean... when your neighbors' queens mate with your drones next year... they may decide to start caring more about genetics as well...

    About II... You need to had select drones from isolated areas to use as drone stock... we use drone comb and bring it into the lab to incubate the capped brood till it hatches in a cage, then extract the seimen from the drones...

    PS.. II is a very expensive and drawn-out process... requeening each year will save you thousands and countless hours...

    Good luck!
    Robert Russell
    Russell Apiaries

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Queen breeding

    About II... You need to had select drones from isolated areas to use as drone stock... we use drone comb and bring it into the lab to incubate the capped brood till it hatches in a cage, then extract the seimen from the drones...

    Hi Robert.
    would you please elaborate a bit more on this,do you mean you collect the drone semen as soon as the drones emerge? or do you then place the caged drones in a colony for 17 days or so.

  6. #6
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    Re: Queen breeding

    Beekuk, The reason for bringing the drone comb into the lab to hatch under incubation is simply to be certain of their origin before extracting...

    We have several different methods for this...

    1. (most used) is to mark the drones with color codes identifying which queen they were produced from... then they can be returned to the hives and gathered at will when needed... Also their activities can be studied further as we have several running studies to better understand why more dones will linger in certain hives as well as what distances they will travel in mating saturation.

    2. Also hatched can be used for spermifica testing... ie.. dna verification, levels of potency at different intervals of life stages, size/potency studies, color/marking studies, etc...

    Keep in mind that as many as 17 drones may mate with a single queen in an open mating scenario... This could mean as many as 18 different types of hybrids can be mixed at once... There is a LOT to study!! lol. We have noted that each different gen of hybrid can also have as much effect on the quality and characteristics of the offspring as the base genetics do...

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Queen breeding

    Robert
    thank you for your imformative reply,very interesting.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Queen breeding

    I thank you Mr. Russell, anyone with the knowledge and willing to share it in understandable terms as you just have deserves to be called Mr..
    I was almost sure that the answer that you gave me is the one that I was going to get. But I still wanted to know the alternatives. I thought that I would have to sort through several half dozen differient opinions at least, but I feel I got the whole story from you and your follow up answers just was sugar in the pie. I am going to pm you as there is 1 more thing that I want to know and I don't want to put you on the spot. Again thank you.
    Brent Cook
    So much to learn, so little time!!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Queen breeding

    hey Brent you can get breeders from glenn apiarys fairly affordable. we may me able to switch queen back and forth also to keep them a little more pure

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Queen breeding

    sorry my bad I don't guess you can get russian breeders from glenns anymore they do not have them on thier list

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Queen breeding

    Quote Originally Posted by valleyman View Post
    I also believe that with this scenario playing out over 2-3 years I will change theirs to Russians.

    In other words if I purchase or have more than 1 genetic of Queens is there any way to isolate my drones from each Queen for mating with the other, ie bee breeding cage?
    In 2-3 years you'll change their bees to Russian? I highly doubt it. 8 colonies aren't nearly enough, and it would probably take 10 years if you had enough Russian drone mothers.

    Also, I don't think a breeding cage would work. You need to continue to buy Russian production queens and requeen whenever the colony needs a new queen or after the bees change their queen...which I assume would be often as Russians are forever doing just that.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Queen breeding

    Something I am taking away from this valuable info is that if I want pure Russians, with as many mutts as I have close by is it would be just as good for me to purchase Queens from Kelleys 35 miles away which carry the Russian hybrids from Hardemans. So probably in the spring I might requeen with pure and in a pinch go with the hybrids from Kelleys. The pure Queens can be hard to acquire at times. I now understand that It is going to be literally impossible to have pure Russians so I will gladly accept the second best and keep my hybrids as pure as possible. As I have stated in other forums I will give the Russians every chance but will report any bad traits as well as good.
    So much to learn, so little time!!

  13. #13
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    Re: Queen breeding

    It is possible to keep them pure by requeening with breeders and managing closely to keep on top of swarming... this will be much more cost effective than II, however, it will be much more costly than letting nature take its course... Again, the 1st gen of russian hybrids are very unsavory, as the gen continue, they ease up some... Another issue that you will run into is that russians are... "good honey producers"... Sound like a good thing??? Not so much... All bees produce honey... These girls will store it so much that they will pack it into your brood chambers causing the queens to run out of space to lay eggs and have to find a more suitable home...

    This is their natural behavior as they have adapted to living in very cold climates with a very short time period to store up between winters...

    When you use them in much less harsh climates, the queens have a longer laying period, yet the foragers do not adjust their storing behavior to mach her laying needs... thus you end up with swarm after swarm after swarm...

    This will give you a bunch of honey, but it will leave you with weak hives (as you continue to loose bulks of bees with each swarm, and have the month long "downtime" between each laying queen in a hive that already had less brood than it should have.. this is the reason that they are considered to be so easy to winter... less brood means less food needed over winter, excess honey means more food for the brood... but your genetics will be hard to maintain and you will find yourself "managing" space more than you would with any other breeds.

    All of you russian keepers out there, please hold your hate mail... I am not saying that they are not good bees, in fact I have used some of their genetics to produce a few lines of queens such as our Tigers and Moonbeams... And as most of you know, we have taught commercial bee keeping to many russian bee keepers for a government program to save their agricultural system... Great People! They are not as fond of their own bees as some americans are though. lol.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Queen breeding

    [QUOTE=rrussell6870; Another issue that you will run into is that russians are... "good honey producers"... Sound like a good thing??? Not so much... All bees produce These girls will store it so much that they will pack it into your brood chambers causing the queens to run out of space to lay eggs and have to find a more suitable home...

    I have already seen this as my upper boxes are stuffed full of stores, some with no room for brood in the upper deeps. It has worried me and I am hoping that they will eat out enough, quickly, where there will be room for brood as they move into the cluster into the upper deep. All this during a dearth with a small amount of feeding.
    So much to learn, so little time!!

  15. #15
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    Re: Queen breeding

    Well... here comes your next monkey wrench... they probably will NOT eat very much of that at all... actually the honey is used for feeding brood...if there is very little brood and tons of honey.... well you get the idea... Sorry.. ;-)

  16. #16
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    Re: Queen breeding

    Just noticed you said you had being feeding a little... stop. lol. They will move the stores around the cluster as they move up...so there will be space... I just fear a weak brood chamber ya know? lol.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Queen breeding

    rrussell

    " in fact I have used some of their genetics to produce a few lines of queens such as our Tigers and Moonbeams... "

    Sir;
    I can find no reference in a Google, and board search in regard to " Tigers and Moonbeams "bees, could you clarify ?

    Thanks
    PCM
    PS, I raise Russians, and am satisfied with their performace, won't downgrade any ones choice of bees, of course I don't sell bees either.

  18. #18
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    Re: Queen breeding

    Sure.. Our Tigers will not be available to public markets until 2012..and will only become available to universities in 2011. We have been developing the Tiger stock for the past 6 years via selective breeding for a multitude of controlled hybrids for a level of resistance to SHB (mainly less detered by slime, cleaning up slime and removing larvae as soon as it hatches)...

    Our Moonbeams are very hard to produce as they require several gens of II... thus we do not sell them on the public market as production queens... We do however sell the breeders as we requeen our own stock... but they are usually spoken for by friends in northern commercial operations years in advance. They were developed specifically for northern climates and large commercial green houses as they forage later in the year and buildup earlier in the spring...they are the last bees to return to the yard (even after dark, which is where the name comes from). A VERY large amount of these queens are produced each year in russia now as a continued effort to establish a stronger agricultural system there.

    Again, I am not saying that russians are bad bees... They are they base for both of these lines of queens... The brilliant russian minds that worked with us to develope the Moonbeams are the same ones that are now back in russia producing them there.

    ALL bees serve their purpose and are very important and should be enjoyed for what they are... This includes pure russians.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Queen breeding

    When do you see the genetics that you have being available to the public, namely me?
    So much to learn, so little time!!

  20. #20
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    Re: Queen breeding

    PM me your shipping info and I will try to send you one now that you can compare in spring. Put her in your weakest hive. NO PROMISES though. lol. And before anyone says it....NO I am not "pushing" my genetics... these queens are not for sale as I have said before...

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