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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Homestead,Iowa,USA
    Posts
    32

    Default Wanting to capture genetics of Queens

    OK, I know the coventional wisdom is to breed from the best in the apiary, but my question is concerning capturing the VSH, Minn. Hyg. from some Queens that I purchased this year, but turned out to be duds as far as production is concerned. I have watched 2 of the 10 be superceded and the DAUGHTER Queens are showing signs of doing very well. And are following the expected course that I had for thier mothers. So, I am looking for feedback on what pitfalls I may be missing if I were to graft off of these Queens. It is always possible that they purchased Queens were poorly mated, but still a viable candidate for grafting. Any thoughts would be greatly appriecated, Paul

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,658

    Default Re: Wanting to capture genetics of Queens

    Hi Paul,
    I've found the same thing, the queens I buy, it's their daughters that are the performers. I don't think you'll have any problems grafting from them, myself. I will say tho that getting the drones from the purchased queens in the area for mating your best local stock is a good option also. The drones for mating are just as important, or more so, than the queen being mated.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Homestead,Iowa,USA
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Wanting to capture genetics of Queens

    I do agree that Drones are very important, and much less talked about, the Queens always seem to be the stars of the conversation. I do suplement the area with drone colonies of drones that I want to donate their genetic background. I am of the understanding that some of the genetic traits are gained through the male side, not always from the Queen mother. Ya know, I was just thinking that the Daughter Queens better performance may be the "Hybrid Vigor" that I have been reading about, being bred in a new area with drones from a TOTALLY different gene pool,.
    Last edited by preciousbeesfarm; 08-01-2012 at 07:53 AM. Reason: additional thoughts

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    960

    Default Re: Wanting to capture genetics of Queens

    Paul - Your dream program would include, at a minimum, some of the following: 1) Set up record keeping tracking queen and drone parentage, including all the traits you are promoting; 2) Test the daughter queens' colonies for strength of the recessive hygenic habit using the freeze test; 3) Grade each colony for habit strength, rate, AND end-of-season effectiveness against Varroa Destructor population - and I doubt that a powdered sugar shake over a SBB with a grid on the sticky board is complete enough, although it does represent a starting point for data collection. Try to develop a grading criteria that will give a consistent score year-to-year, yard-to-yard, etc. for each trait; 4) Separate drone-passed traits from queen-passed traits; 5) Select you breeder colonies and send drones and queens off to an instrumental insemination service, and have your split nucleus colonies ready for when you get them back; 6) Understand that some of these traits require more than one generation to show up.

    You may try to inquire of Mr. Robert Russell (rrussell6870) regarding gender-passed traits - I am currently running tests to identify these myself. You may also wish to employ whatever methods available, including medications, etc., rather than "natural-only" methods during the first few generations of your program just to increase survival of any valuable stock. You can go back to any such methods you've been using after your stock has been sufficiently increased.

    Another point - the purchased queens are often mediocre performers due to excessive virgin queen banking before sending off to instrumental insemination services, time in transit, processing time, return shipping, etc. The VSH trait appears to be recessive, and I would expect that most breeders who offer VSH queens use I.I. to control the drone contribution of the recessive trait. It is a trait that tends to quickly disappear in yards that employ open mating. Best of luck, Casey.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 08-01-2012 at 03:28 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Frederick County, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    415

    Default Re: Wanting to capture genetics of Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by kilocharlie View Post
    The VSH trait appears to be recessive, and I would expect that most breeders who offer VSH queens use I.I. to control the drone contribution of the recessive trait. It is a trait that tends to quickly disappear in yards that employ open mating.
    VSH expression is not recessive--in that there is more then one "gene" controlling it's expression. "Recessive" connotes a mono-allelic inheritance like Mendel's tall vs. short phenotype in Pea plants. VSH behavior is much more complex in it's inheritance. The literature shows that stock that has a high VSH expression, when crossed with a stock with no VSH expression produces stock with a medium level of VSH expression. The literature also shows that VSH expression is highly heritable.

    If one wants to impart VSH behavior into their stocks, it helps to infuse their breeding population with breeder candidates that have high VSH expression while selecting for other desirable traits. Then monitor colony health, while making further selections in subsequent generations.

    Adam Finkelstein
    www.vpqueenbees.com
    Last edited by adamf; 08-01-2012 at 06:13 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    960

    Default Re: Wanting to capture genetics of Queens

    Adam - Thank you! I probably have this from bees with low VSH expression, or have confused it with another type of hygenic behavior. Several of my beekeeping friends felt that it disappears quickly - in a generation or two - with open mating. There are lots of AMM stock, Mexican culture AM Ligusta ferals, and a few somewhat washed-out Africanized ferals in my area, so I doubt open mating promotes VSH much around here. I've seen it mentioned as recessive here on Beesource, so I'm curious about your literature. I don't recall anyone telling me that they specifically purchased known VSH queens AND lost it in a few generations...so you're likely very, very correct, and I'm incorrect about the behavior being recessive. Do you have any more sources on this? Again, thanks!

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