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  1. #1
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    Default How Does One Maintain Buckfast Strains?

    ...Or other hybrid bees for that matter.

    If you get Buckfasts going in your operation, how do you maintain them over generations without losing vigor? I'm under the impression that it's different than other types of bees. Is that correct?

    Clearly I don't know much about it. What can you tell me?

    Thanks,

    Adam

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How Does One Maintain Buckfast Strains?

    Like every line of bees -- yard separation and drone saturation. Cordovan Aurea should be one of the hardest as it is a recessive trait. I have Aurea and Buckfast for years. I can assure you the Aurea are pure, and I get Buckfast and Belgian Buckfast from the same supplier.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How Does One Maintain Buckfast Strains?

    Quote Originally Posted by AmericasBeekeeper View Post
    ...yard separation and drone saturation.... I have Aurea and Buckfast for years. I can assure you the Aurea are pure...
    Thanks for responding.

    In an area where there are a lot of bees, how can one ever be assured of "purity", without Instrumental Insemination? The area I'm in has no where near the honeybee saturation of the southern states. If open mating is used, there has to be a certain allowance made for anything considered "pure".

    Is that correct?

    Adam

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How Does One Maintain Buckfast Strains?

    I kept Buckfasts and raised my own queens for years. I can't say there isn't some genetic shift, but they were always fairly frugal (but then they mated with ferals who tend to be frugal) and winter well (ditto). From time to time I got more Buckfast queens and requeened, but usually they raised their own.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How Does One Maintain Buckfast Strains?

    Okay, so there's really no difference between Buckfasts and any other strain. You just need enough of the same be around to make reasonably sure that they're mating true.

    Okay, thank you.

    Adam

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    St. Petersburg, fl, USA
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    Default Re: How Does One Maintain Buckfast Strains?

    It would seem to be that in order to be reasonably sure that your queen mates with the strain that you want not only do you need to flood the area with the same genetics but you also need to reduce or eliminate feral colonies and any other strains over a geographic area. Has any one done any research that shows what percentage of open mated queens maintain the genetic strain you are breeding for? Do you need 100 yards surrounding your bee yard-1000 yards-10000 yards to get say 90% genetic certainty? If I am going to buy a queen instead of making my own mutt queens I would like to know what I am paying for. Also according to what I have read and been told queens can choose what sperm they will use and African genetics seems favored. Would some one comment on that please.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How Does One Maintain Buckfast Strains?

    Never heard that they can choose sperm but my understanding is that African genetics have a couple breeding advantages one is that AHB drones are a bit smaller and faster giving them a mating advantage and another is that if there are numerous swarm cells in a hive an African will be the first to emerge.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Hamilton, Alabama
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    Default Re: How Does One Maintain Buckfast Strains?

    So far, this thread is only moderately accurate.

    Much of what you ask to do depends on the amount of selection pressure that is being maintained. For example, lets say you start with 100 colonies of Buckfast bees and the only selection pressure you exert is to remove queens that fail. Under those conditions, many colonies would be unproductive but you could maintain essentially static genetic traits indefinitely. You would always let a colony requeen itself. The only replacements allowed would be for deadouts.

    But if you started with only 10 colonies and used low selection pressure, the line would inevitably show signs of inbreeding depression within about 10 years. This presumes that you maintain only 10 colonies indefinitely. If you let the 10 colonies multiply, then you could potentially maintain the essential traits much longer.

    If you want a real world example of this, dig up documentation about the Kangaroo Island Italian bees.
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How Does One Maintain Buckfast Strains?

    Jim is correct. Queens do select AHB sperm over EHB.
    "The most probable encounter with Africanized bees occurs when a virgin queen mates. Africanized bees produce more drones in the mating seasons. More importantly EHB queens use African semen 90% of the time in a study by DeGrandi-Hoffman. The queens were artificially inseminated with 50-50 EHB AHB semen. You might know the queen can elect to fertilize an egg or not, but now they select “the daddy.” ARS entomologists believe this is the strongest factor of AHB replacing EHB in a region. The solution is in the Florida BMP, use a mated marked EHB queen and replace her regularly."
    http://americasbeekeeper.org/Africanized_Honey_Bee.htm
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: How Does One Maintain Buckfast Strains?

    I am new so forgive me if I am entirely wrong on this but beyond just trying to maintain the remnants of the Buckfast bee, wouldn't starting with that and following Brother Adam's breeding program be more in the spirit of his work? Wasn't the fact that the Abby didn't intend to do that part of why he shared his breeders with those who would?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Santa Fe, NM
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    Default Re: How Does One Maintain Buckfast Strains?

    "Finally, in a recent study, Dr. Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman, Dr.
    Stan Schneider and Dr. David Tarpy of the North Carolina State University
    instrumentally inseminated queens with semen from an equal
    number of African and European drones and then monitored the
    number of AHB and EHB workers produced for six months. They found
    that significantly more AHB workers than expected were produced,
    which suggests that African sperm may have an advantage over European
    sperm, even if queens mate with the same numbers of drones
    of both types. An African drone mating advantage would result in the
    rapid loss of European paternal genes and may be an important factor
    in the AHB’s ability to displace European bees. "

    This study is an interesting read, keeping in mind that many topics such as this are quite controversial among scholars. My question would be exactly how does an AHB queen (or AHB hybrid queen) actually select AHB sperm from the layers of mixed sperm deposited in her ovaries.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  12. #12
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    Alachua County, FL, USA
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    Default Re: How Does One Maintain Buckfast Strains?

    Bro.Adam ran the Buckfast apiary from 1919 to the age of 93 and died in 1996 at the age of 99. Death has a way of ending things.
    I doubt anyone has the resources or political influence to find bees from other regions, get live bees home, and run parallel mating yards to develop better traits. Many of the productive regions are very volatile and few would risk their life for bees. We only have 39 mtDNA in the US if you were looking down that road.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

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