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  1. #1
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    Nov 2009
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    Default Minimizing the genetic input of mediocre stock

    I am wondering whether or not people do anything specific to minimize the genetic input of mediocre stock in their breeding program.

    You breed from the best stock; grafting and creating drone colonies, but don't the middle-of-the-road colonies contribute to the pool through drone production?

    Do you maintain breeding yards that only have the finest stock, and isolate them? What if you can't isolate? Would you then make an effort to minimize drone production in hives that you weren't really excited about? Or are the focused efforts of "breeding from the best" enough to simply outweigh the contributions of the lesser stock?

    Thanks,

    Adam

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Minimizing the genetic input of mediocre stock

    I know breeders will saturate the area with drones, that always helps.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Minimizing the genetic input of mediocre stock

    And maybe that's all they do - maximize the desired genetics. I just wonder if there's anything done to minimize the less desired.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Minimizing the genetic input of mediocre stock

    how do you determine less desired genetics, ?
    anyother colony other than the one your pulling eggs from?

    so many variables influencing our hives at any given time, all reacting accordingly, how do you determine which colony is not responding accordingly?
    other than cases of chalk brood, AFB and such
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Warrior, Alabama
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    1,071

    Default Re: Minimizing the genetic input of mediocre stock

    you can place green drone frames in those hives. remove and freeze every 10 days. that will help reduce the drones from those hives.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Portland, Oregon
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    968

    Default Re: Minimizing the genetic input of mediocre stock

    Removal of rogue genes is as simple as requeening with a queen of known, more desirable traits, isn't it?
    (Obviously replacement selection has to be done thoughtfully to avoid restriction of diversity and bottle-necking one's breeding program.)

  7. #7
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    Mar 2010
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    Default Re: Minimizing the genetic input of mediocre stock

    Removal of rogue genes is as simple as requeening with a queen of known, more desirable traits, isn't it?
    Not entirely. Ever seen the color of a hive's whole population change from light to dark bees and back again without changing the queen? That's because of who she bred with. The drones are more than half of the equation simply because she breeds with so many of them and stores all those different sets of sperm, which she then uses in the course of her lifetime. This is why VSH is so hard to maintain. Without VSH drones flying when the VSH queen is mating, she won't produce workers who are carrying enough VSH to help the colony. If it works that way for VSH, it seems like it works that way for many other necessary traits that we are trying to hang onto or improve in our stock. We need good drones too, something I'm just beginning to grasp! I always thought it was all on the queen, too, but I'm learning!

    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  8. #8
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    Sep 2011
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    Default Re: Minimizing the genetic input of mediocre stock

    Just a couple of thoughts. What about drone traps on the hives you do not want mating, this along with the green frames to keep the production of drones down in those colonies.

    Second and most obvious to me. how about a breeding yard that does not contain undesirable colonies?

    Say for example I produce 100 colonies for selection. of those 100 only the best 10 will be kept. Assume there is a selection criteria for now. From best to worst these 10 colonies are ranked from 1 to 10. which colonies are used for drone production?

    Only those ten colonies will remain in my apiary. the others will be moved or sold. Only one will produce queens. 9 will produce drones to fertilize those queens.

    IN mating the queen contributes two sets of genes. while each drone contributes one full set. if a queen mates with 20 drones the genetic pool is now 10% queen and 90% drone. but at the point of egg laying the queen is 50% of the genetics and an individual drone (only 1 sperm per egg) is only 2.5% of the genes. This results in a colony that is 50% genetically the queen and 50% genetically a combination of all 20 drones.

    Because of this I see the method to maintaining genetic diversity while still selecting for traits is through the drones. for this reason hives 1 thru 9 are drone producers. and number ten, the worst is the queen producer. I may be making errors in my thinking but I see the fastest way to spread selected genes throughout my stock is via drones not queens.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Southbury, CT
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    84

    Default Re: Minimizing the genetic input of mediocre stock

    Very good post Rusty... You saved me from having to explain it.

    The genetic diversity of each hive is such that it is nearly impossible to selectively breed to enhance traits without isolated mating yards or AI breeding programs. If you are open mating you will get duds out of even the best colonies fairly regularly.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Hudson, WI USA
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    Default Re: Minimizing the genetic input of mediocre stock

    I have an old bee book written by a scottish bee researcher. In the back of the book he describes an experiment in which he stocked mating nucs with drones, 100 each if I remember correctly, and then followed the mated queen through her brood cycle. He claimed that he got the desired result. In other words he concluded that the queens mated with the drones that were supplied. This was pre-dna. I wonder why this research never got picked up. The queen is supposed to fly to a DCA to get the most from genetic diversity, but if she is pursued by drones from her own hive some of them must get there, especially in an area that isn't saturated with dromes. I would think that this method would be worth a shot.
    Anyway for those interested the book is called "Beekeeping Up-To-Date" by Joseph Tinsley published by E.H. Taylor, LTD, Welwyn, Herts. Printed by Aird and Coghill, LTD, Glasgow, copyright 1945. My copy was signed by the author in 1956.
    Amazon has everything. Here's a copy http://www.amazon.com/BEEKEEPING-UP-.../dp/B000XXC692

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Leominster, MA USA
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    176

    Default Re: Minimizing the genetic input of mediocre stock

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Hills Farm View Post
    We need good drones too, something I'm just beginning to grasp! I always thought it was all on the queen, too, but I'm learning!
    Rusty
    It IS all on the queen(s) - the one who is laying the eggs plus the ones who contribute the sperm, via the drones. The drones are basically extended sperm of the queens in delivery packages that allow genetic information to travel from one queen to another.

    Each drone carries DNA from ONLY "his" mother. Each drone will be carrying a different genetic "scramble" of her DNA, and ALL the sperm he delivers are genetically identical to "his" genes. Unlike mammals, where sperm is constantly being created and every sperm is a statistically unique genetic "scramble", the receiving queen gets only as many "types" of sperm as the number of drones she mated with.

    These limited number of types of sperm that are inserted in one short time period then fertilize eggs that are being produced over the lifetime of the queen (not sure if queen has some sort of cells she is born with that eggs develop around...)...sort of the opposite of us humans where the female is born with all of her eggs intact while the male constantly produces sperm over time...

    (An interesting aside...the egg that made each of us resided inside our grandmothers in the fetus of our mothers...)

    So...not all about the queen, but definitely all about the queens (and their drone "mothers").

    Ramona

  12. #12
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Minimizing the genetic input of mediocre stock

    It's only the "bad" ones I want to get out of the gene pool. Those mediocre ones might be the salvation of your stock when the next pest arrives. The biggest danger is limiting the gene pool too much. There isn't much danger in leaving the mediocre in mix while you breed from the best. It keeps the gene poll broad.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
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    May 2010
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    Knox Co, Ohio, USA
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    Default Re: Minimizing the genetic input of mediocre stock

    Adam,

    I asked a similar question in a recent thread.

    Joe Latshaw repsonded with his experience in open mating. Despite having a large number of cordovan hives in an area open mated cordovan queens did not produce a large percentage of cordovan offspring. (My paraphrase of his response.)

    I think it is very hard to impact an apiary where there are other colonies in the mating area you do not control.

    Tom

  14. #14
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    Mar 2010
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    Walker, Alabama, USA
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    Default Re: Minimizing the genetic input of mediocre stock

    It IS all on the queen(s) - the one who is laying the eggs plus the ones who contribute the sperm, via the drones. The drones are basically extended sperm of the queens in delivery packages that allow genetic information to travel from one queen to another.
    But you still need a DRONE to deliver the DNA even if it is his mother's DNA that he's delivering. Your queen will contribute her DNA and each of the drones will contribute the DNA that they are carrying. So if a dozen drones breed with your queen, she is still only contributing her DNA, while all those different DNAs that all the different drones are carrying will ultimately contribute to the makeup for the entire hive. That is quite an impact and that is why I am saying it's more than your queen--you need good drones too. You can requeen until the cows come home. You can have the finest-bred queen that money can buy, but if she has not bred with good drones, her potential has been wasted.

    JMO

    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Minimizing the genetic input of mediocre stock

    There is a school of thought, that has been around for at least a century, that you want to breed from "average" stock. The outliers are usually not so much "better" stock as "lucky gamblers". The bees that gamble big are the ones the lose big and the ones that win big. The ones that gamble small are the ones that are most likely to survive and most likely to produce the best average in the long run. This is discussed by Brother Adam and mentioned by C.C. Miller as well as others.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  16. #16
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    Calvert, Md,USA
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    Default Re: Minimizing the genetic input of mediocre stock

    I'll have to look to see if I can find the info. Might be wrong but I remember something about about queens rejecting certain "suitors" for unknown(to us) reasons despite the competition. Perhaps they were not "average" enough. Seems to me if you can get a good enough average, might not be such a roller coaster ride. 2 cents
    Rick

  17. #17
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    Jul 2012
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    Molalla, Oregon, USA
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    Default Re: Minimizing the genetic input of mediocre stock

    Michael Bush

    I have heard you mention the breed from average stock theory several times. Do you practice this? Where does Brother Adam mention this? I have read most of his books and cant recall reading it. Where does Miller mention it? Im not trying to challenge you just want to read more about it.
    Last edited by ptmerrill; 02-07-2013 at 08:20 PM. Reason: Spelling

  18. #18
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    Jun 2012
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    Citrus County, Florida, United States
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    Default Re: Minimizing the genetic input of mediocre stock

    Good read on the subject for smaller scale queen producing and control of stock. Maintaining Drone Holding Colonies (DHC) is discussed: Larry Connor on Drone Saturation for Small Scale Operations

    13.2 drones per virgin for mating is stressed as being the mean in previous queen mating studies (the math on drone frame amount is in the article) as well as the need for maintaining genetic diversity. From the experiences of Dr. G.H. Cale, Jr. made working with the Starline and Midnite hybrid bees back in the 50's, the DHC should be moved to within 1/4 - 1/2 mile of mating yard. The distances were tested with Cordovan trait used as marker.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Minimizing the genetic input of mediocre stock

    I would not agree with the breed from average stock myself. How to breed better stock is very well known and proven time and time again. How to apply those methods to honey bees and avoid the problems with the sex gene is unique to the bee and a problem that prevents getting the same results as they do with other animals. I am not sure C.C. Miller or Brother Adam either one would have been aware of this distinction. They may have hit upon better success by simply widening the group they selected for breeding including more and more of the less desirable colonies in the pool. Net effect would be to breed more "average" bees due to need for more colonies in the breeding pool.

    My thinking would be more along the line of still breed the best to the best which is the proven method. but in the case of honey bees it needs to be a large number of best to a large number of best. Rather than exceptional individual hives. breeding needs to be done more on an exceptional apiary basis. Obviously not every colony in an entire apiary can be the best. so there is a lot of room for less than best in that case. So is less than best being described by the old timers as average?

    I have seen it suggested that you produce nucs from your worst hives. In that case it is more an issue of a short term solution to how to get the most out of your resources. why weaken a strong hive with potential of production for that year over an attempt to save a failing hive. Provided the queen that produced that colony is eliminated and the cross that produced her is prevented from happening again. I agree the individual bees should be kept for there life time. But the genetics you do not want in your apiary, and that queen produced drones. Her genes continue on through her drones. You would want to take measures to remove them as well.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Minimizing the genetic input of mediocre stock

    if you want the best of the best than AI them and you know what you have. I bet you will still have some duds in the offspring. but that is the best way to go, then you know what hives produced the drones.

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