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  1. #1
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    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 I have watched 2 of the 10 be superceded and the DAUGHTER Queens are showing signs of doing very well.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
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    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.

  3. #3
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Wanting to capture genetics of Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by kilocharlie View Post
    Do you have any more sources on this?
    This is a great place to start:

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varroa_sensitive_hygiene


    Adam Finkelstein
    www.vpqueenbees.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Wanting to capture genetics of Queens

    Re: VSH
    There are two well known traits that are recessive.
    One is for detection and one is for removal.
    It is thought that there may be as many as 12+ multiple genes and loci possible.
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Wanting to capture genetics of Queens

    Thanks, Adam, thanks, Ernie!
    I love it when the bibliography gets thick! I can hardly wait to get ahold of those papers. I wonder if the Lab in Baton Rouge has "open house" days? Wouldn't it be neat to go there for some kind of breeder workshops...

    One thing Robert Russell said is to try to understand the specific mechanism that is going on. Several older keepers have noticed that VSH tendencies disappear from the yards quickly, and all those guys use open mating. Only one guy makes an attempt to drone flood an area, but his location is infested with AMM / Sespe sub-strain, Mexican culture AML mixed feral bees, so he relies on high selectivity and lots of years. Of course, he uses formic acid, not hygenic behavior to deal with mites...

    I was trying to suggest a simplified outline of a breeding program for Preciousbees to get started on, and my point was to be aware of breeding for second and third generation showings of not-so-dominant traits. I'm glad you guys pointed this stuff out. How advanced do we get into genetics in our breeding programs? Your success is partly up to you... It sure helps that we can get lots of suggestions here on Beesource!

    I guess one more point to stress would be to learn each test for each trait, such as foraging distance - many adult forager bees from different colonies are marked uniquely and you drive in circles of increasing diameters to the various nectar sources in the bees range, trying to spot marked bees, marking a huge map as accurately as possible (talk about a learning experience!)...until you have a meaningful base of data...this takes more than a few nectar flows, and your info becomes significant after 3 generations - usually after about 500 comparative observations. Of course, if you move your hives, you react based on data much earlier than that! Beekeeping is like engineering at times - careful blending of art and science. A beekeeper who ignores the science part seems to make artist's wages most of the time. One who ignores the art aspect seems to burn out on beekeeping sooner than later.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 08-10-2012 at 09:34 AM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Wanting to capture genetics of Queens

    I thank you all for the input, one question I am asking is; If a Queen was poorly mated, but, of good genetic stock, would she be a good choice for grafting if you were wanting that genetic type? I bought some Queens of high expectations from a reputable breeder, but the Queens were not performing as expected. A couple of the traits were VSH, and Minn. Hyg. , am wanting to infuse them into the general population here through drone colonies and Queen Mothers.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Wanting to capture genetics of Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by preciousbeesfarm View Post
    I thank you all for the input, one question I am asking is; If a Queen was poorly mated, but, of good genetic stock, would she be a good choice for grafting if you were wanting that genetic type? I bought some Queens of high expectations from a reputable breeder, but the Queens were not performing as expected. A couple of the traits were VSH, and Minn. Hyg. , am wanting to infuse them into the general population here through drone colonies and Queen Mothers.
    I understand your question totally. From experience, the higher the quality the breeding material, the better the result. Also, the closer to the ideal or breeding goal, the better the result. If it were me, I wouldn't use what you're describing. I'd wait and get stock that had a better track record. Sure knock off a few queens with what you have for now, but there's so much good stock available these days, why compromise your end result?

    ** Use the best, cull the rest **

    Adam Finkelstein
    www.vpqueenbees.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Wanting to capture genetics of Queens

    Since these are likely poorly mated, you can't really judge the colonies on level ground with your other colonies, but they are of good stock, so graft their daughter grubs and judge the next generation. If you're open breeding, make lots of them and cull a lot of the next generation, that is keep only the very best of them.

    As Adam says, purchase more VSH and continue to innundate the yard with good stock. I only differ from what Adam says in that you'll get more experience if you graft now, and improve the conditions under which the queens are raised, which has as much to do with queen quality as the genetics. Having tight consistency of the conditions in which the queens are raised is the only way to determine if you are indeed making progress. Apples plus apples or apples plus oranges? so to speak.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Wanting to capture genetics of Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by kilocharlie View Post
    S I only differ from what Adam says in that you'll get more experience if you graft now, and improve the conditions under which the queens are raised, which has as much to do with queen quality as the genetics. Having tight consistency of the conditions in which the queens are raised is the only way to determine if you are indeed making progress. Apples plus apples or apples plus oranges? so to speak.
    You don't differ at all! A properly made queen from unknown parentage will outperform a pedigreed queen that's been made poorly, everytime.

    In terms of breeding stock selection, if one has the choice of using some unknown or questionable stock vs. waiting and using known stock, waiting will give you better results.

    If one is working on queen breeding, one should have queen rearing down, first.

    Adam Finkelstein
    www.vpqueenbees.com

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Wanting to capture genetics of Queens

    So there you have it, Paul... definitely graft her worker grubs when they are 1.5x the length of an egg or less. Make up a lot of them, plant the QC's in the mating nucs and watch the brood patterns about 41 days after grafting. Keep extensive notes on these colonies, especially the VSH - related traits. If you can afford it, send the virgin queens out with about 30 to 35 drones each from other VSH colonies, and watch you stock improve rapidly. Keep on testing! Do bring in more VSH stock from other queen lines to outcross the granddaughters in subsequent seasons. Best Wishes!

    Adam - Thanks for you input!

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