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  1. #1
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    Default The future of US bee genetics is bound to involve sealed borders.

    With importation of queens and packages from Australia now illegal and the only two remaining countries we can import from being Canada and New Zealand I think it is inevitable that our borders will be sealed in the very near future and the entire bee industry here in the USA will be dependent on existing bloodlines.

    I hope that in the near future AI will make it so drone sperm from anywhere in the world will be able to be shipped into the US, but at this point in time there appears to be no opportunities to buy bee sperm and AI our queens with it.

    I am not well enough versed in bee genetics to consider the consequences of limited genetic diversity on the honey bee industry. Even my wife whom is a Human Geneticist says that bee genetics is much more complicated due to the haploid nature of Drones and the ability of the queen to mate with multiple drones.

    Has anybody thought about how our industry will change without importation or instituted any programs into their management plan to diversify now. I am starting to import stock from Canada even though the costs are high. I am starting with Buckfast stock that was imported into Canada from Denmark in the 1990s. I am also looking for other Canadian stock with recent roots in Europe. A few years ago no stock could come into the US from Canada and we could not import stock from Europe while they could so I think Canada is an overlooked opportunity to get the most recently imported lines from Europe.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: The future of US bee genetics is bound to involve sealed borders.

    If you are getting "Buckfast" from Ontario, in all likelihood, it originated from Weaver Apiaries, not Denmark. For a number of years I participated in a program that sent comb w/ eggs produced by "Buckfast" queens into Ontario, Canada. Ontario imported sperm, but only specific comb w/ eggs could be transported across the border from NY to Ont.

    If you are getting queens from Canada, hwo much do they cost and where are they coming from? What kinds of hoops do you have to jump thru to get approval? And if you can get queens from Canada, what keeps people from getting queens from other parts of the world thru Canada?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  3. #3
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    Default Re: The future of US bee genetics is bound to involve sealed borders.

    I have hired a broker to handle the importation paperwork, the queens themselves only cost around 40.00 each US, but with the broker costs and application fees it puts the queens around 100.00. The breeder I am working with on the Buckfasts runs a breeding program that was certified by Buckfast Abby until they stopped production of Buckfasts. His original stock came from Buckfast in 1980s and once he could no longer import from England he turned to Denmark to get the stock.

    I guess I will find out in June how the border crossing goes, I have read about the problems other people have had with bringing queens across which is why I decided to use a broker.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: The future of US bee genetics is bound to involve sealed borders.

    Sadly honeybee genetics has been bottled up since the anti-importation laws were placed all those years ago. Thus we have only 39 matriarchial lineages left in the US due to Varroa mite predation. We need more lineages from races that we due not use in this country to broaden out the genetic bottle neck. TK

  5. #5
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    Default Re: The future of US bee genetics is bound to involve sealed borders.

    How do we get them w/out exposing ourselves to potential harm?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  6. #6
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    Default Re: The future of US bee genetics is bound to involve sealed borders.

    Sperm can be imported with approval. The Buckfast from Canada mentioned probably come from Ferguson Apiaries. It is interesting the lineages are the same or similar numbers as corresponding lines in Dartmoor and Denmark. I have been concerned for some time and forced discussions at ABF and other venues. http://americasbeekeeper.com/inbred_until_dead.htm
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: The future of US bee genetics is bound to involve sealed borders.

    Americas, Dr. Shepard had a heck of a time trying to- 1-get permission to import bee semen and 2-once you are in country, events happen that can put a wrench in the machine. A shipment from Turkey was denied, as the Turkish government would not turn over the goods. And with Russo-Georgian war ,there was not a chance for that years bee semen shipment to come from the country of Georgia. The next year, luck was better with bee semen coming from a breeding station in the country of Georgia. The bee genetics being brought back into the Country-Mnt Gray Caucasians. There is a whole "shopping list" of very good honey bee races that are very promising on all fronts that need to be considered for importation in semen form. Such importations can only help in broadening out our country's narrow honeybee genetics. TK

  8. #8
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    Default Re: The future of US bee genetics is bound to involve sealed borders.

    I would go if I did not have the teaching, and full time job, plus some medical issues they found today. Everyone that knows me, especially the wife, knows I live for adventure and helping others. Getting a little bee genetics from a hostile nation is what I live for!
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: The future of US bee genetics is bound to involve sealed borders.

    I hope that the medical issues are not too serious of nature. TK

  10. #10
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    Default Re: The future of US bee genetics is bound to involve sealed borders.

    Thank you, Oncologist, my first thought was for my teaching hives and the programs we have started in Florida. My kids are grown and have their own kids. If my team of doctors are right it is Hodgkin’s Lymphoma which has a pretty good success rate. I already lined up someone to take care of the hives, since my full time job is national defense and a little risky. It is difficult to find experienced beekeepers to dedicate a Saturday of every month to organize, research and present topics new and experienced beekeepers need. My best candidates are extending the programs to surrounding areas. I was to start an extension program for the 33 counties in Florida with less than 20 beekeepers each. Now with chemotherapy, radiation, etc. I may not have the time or energy. I had worked all year to get a queen rearing teaching workshop this Summer. Well I do understand who is in charge. Probably why me and my bees get along!
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: The future of US bee genetics is bound to involve sealed borders.

    So where does the 39 number come from and how is it being counted? I would be very skeptical of such a number if it is based purely on an educated guesstimation. I would be more inclined to believe it if it was based on actual genetic testing of an x% of a random sample, but I think that would be a huge undertaking.

    There are a couple hundreds of years of history of the honey bee being in this country with the vast majority of that time being prior to the modernization of beekeeping when people started attempting to prevent swarming. Many Many lines of European bees were imported into this country with groups like the quakers, puritans and shakers. All back before any government regulation on importation so short of genetic testing it would be impossible to estimate the actual number of lines in this country.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: The future of US bee genetics is bound to involve sealed borders.

    The 39 comes from the genome sequencing project "Taking genetic information from the honey bee genome sequencing effort, researchers from Texas A&M University, University of Illinois, Cornell University, Washington State University, University of Kansas and the University of California-Irvine, and one private producer traced the genealogy of honey bees" Dr. Spencer Johnston, professor with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, at Texas A&M University. Located at the Center for Biosystematics and Biodiversity is a great source. I have heard him speak at bee seminars.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: The future of US bee genetics is bound to involve sealed borders.

    With all the bees that have been brought into this country if there isn't a biodiversity by now there is something wrong. No matter what strains of bees are in America or being brought in mother nature makes the ultimate decision not scientists and not any man. Bees have to go thru the same process of all animals all we can do is try to breed for the hygenic trates and disease but no matter what nature has to take it course.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: The future of US bee genetics is bound to involve sealed borders.

    Oh Americas beekeeper right on man.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: The future of US bee genetics is bound to involve sealed borders.

    There were 850 matriarchial queen lineages before Varroa mite predation started back in 1986. TK

  16. #16
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    Default Re: The future of US bee genetics is bound to involve sealed borders.

    And there were some very carefully imported lines amongst those, weren't there? When was Buckfast imported?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  17. #17
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    Default Re: The future of US bee genetics is bound to involve sealed borders.

    If my memory is correct, in the late 1960's. This was the days before drone semen importations packed in nitrogen. The Weavers made several trips with USDA permission to Buckfast Abbey. There, Brother Adam gave them under a license, frames of combs with freshly laid eggs. This frames were carried back in a special briefcase. Upon arrival in the USA, the frames were placed in colonies asap. The emerging larvae were grafted and the buckfast strain arrived on USA soil!! TK

  18. #18
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    Default Re: The future of US bee genetics is bound to involve sealed borders.

    By most standards a breed has to breed true in order to be a breed. The Abby no longer dose anything with the Buckfast line and Weaver's do not breed true, so that begs the question if Buckfasts even exist anymore?
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

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