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.
NW Alabama, 47 years, 22 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest