Capturing feral genetics?
I have wanted to search some of the federal forest land for feral honeybees that might exist in the norther part of my state but I simply just dont have enough time to search for bees, set swarm traps, check them and so forth. I have thought of a much better way to capture feral genetics though by planting mating nucs with cells deep within sections of forest which would make mating with treated bees nearly impossible. Bees could be shaken through a queen excluder to filter out drones onto combs of brood then plant a cell and locate in isolated locations. If results only show poorly or unmated queens then you know there cant be a viable feral population. I am hoping to take one weekend soon to go up north and take some extracted combs with me to set out for robbing to see if any honeybees show up to see if there is a population to begin with. I have already spoken with the forest department and basically have permission.
Has anyone ever done anything like this or have a better idea or method for obtaining true feral genetics? I would like to keep one separate yard treatment free with a mix of genetics and breed from colonies that remain healthy the longest and so forth. I only treat in fall each year. It is this time of year I start seeing DWV, stubby bees, and so forth while other colonies have no signs of stress and still have beautiful brood patterns. Some of my best colonies are head by queens I got from "VP Queen bees" which I have propagated from heavily. I have three queens marked blue that are still kicking butt from VP qb and picked up a few virgins to keep the genetics flowing. By breeding from the best colonies I have already made a large improvement over a few years and hope to one day have a line that will not need varroa treatments, and winter at 80%. If we can keep new problems at bay, I really believe in twenty years varroa may be a isolated problem that pops up in poor colonies with poor genetics that get pinched like bad cases of chalk brood.