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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Earlysville, Virginia USA
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    Default Is there any scientific evidence that grafted queens are inferior?

    I went to a talk by Gunther Hauk in Charlottesville VA recently and was a bit surprised by some of the blanket statements that he made about modern beekeeping. One that really caught me off guard was that grafted queens are inferior and have lead to many of the problems that bees are facing. I have played around with lots of different styles of queen rearing from moving swarm cells, MDA splitter method, Alley Method, Miller method, Smith method, walk away splits, and grafting and not noticed any difference in the quality of the queens as long as the cell raising hive was strong and well fed. I prefer grafting overall. So I am perplexed how grafting could be so bad if done in the correct conditions. I can't say that I buy his explanation.

    Here is a quote from his blog:
    "In case of the honeybees: they have a weakened immune system due to all the poisons in nature, the reduced diversity of food supply and, of course, all the nasty things we have invented to get more honey. The most serious impact on the colony's health is the way queens are bred commercially from worker larvae. In Rudolf Steiner's bee lectures it becomes clear that the queen is closely connected to the sun-forces due to her short gestation time (16 days). The workers have fallen out of that sun-influence to some degree; the drones are fully earthly beings (hey, they are males!). By breeding queens from worker larvae over 100 years, we have reduced this pure 'sun-being' to have more and more earthly qualities. The manipulated queen has a lowered (spiritual) light-emittence which negatively influences the health and vitality of the entire colony. Therefore these parasitic forces of darkness have better access to the bees. Varroa mites, tracheal mites, small African hive beetle, and now flies!? "
    ----- Gunther Hauk
    http://spikenardhoneybeesanctuary.blogspot.com/

    What do you all think?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Is there any scientific evidence that grafted queens are inferior?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Williamson View Post
    The manipulated queen has a lowered (spiritual) light-emittence which negatively influences the health and vitality of the entire colony. Therefore these parasitic forces of darkness have better access to the bees.
    Yeah...I'm gonna hang my hat on this guy's sermon all right
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Flora,IL
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    2,644

    Default Re: Is there any scientific evidence that grafted queens are inferior?

    Back to that old theory if its in the net it must be true!........

    There are lots of ideas out here, some good, some bad. If that one were fully credible it would have already been tested and proven. I belive that nutrition of the hive and feeding of the queen during her development is the most critical factor in her longevity and production.....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Is there any scientific evidence that grafted queens are inferior?

    > that grafted queens are inferior and ...

    Nowhere in the quote from Gunther Hauk above in post #1 is the word "graft" used. Why do you believe the quote is relevant to grafting?
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Earlysville, Virginia USA
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    Default Re: Is there any scientific evidence that grafted queens are inferior?

    Quite true Rader Sidetrack, I should have mentioned that during the talk he spoke about grafting and "breeding queens from worker larvae" as if they were the same thing. I think that we can call agree that while grafting is not the only way, it is the most commonly used method to produce queens from worker larvae. I pulled the quote as an example of his thinking assuming that "breeding queens from worker larvae" meant grafting like he said in his talk. But even if we are not talking about grafting I still can't see how using under 24hour worker larva that is laid in a horizontal cell is inferior to eggs laid vertical queen cells.
    I just found this article the he wrote which should provide good fun reading for those who want to spend the time:

    http://www.spikenardfarm.org/pdf/IsT...StillRoyal.pdf

    To me it is the conditions of the hive that matter rather than how the larva ended up in a vertical cell. Grafting just happens to be an easy way to do it that many if not most queen breeders use. I know that in my operation I can't just wait for a hive to swarm to provide nucs to my customers.



    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    > that grafted queens are inferior and ...

    Nowhere in the quote from Gunther Hauk above in post #1 is the word "graft" used. Why do you believe the quote is relevant to grafting?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    960

    Default Re: Is there any scientific evidence that grafted queens are inferior?

    Ryan - Indeed an appropriate question to call for scientific studies! Also that you bring up "if done in the correct conditions", which greatly closes the gap between the average grafted queen as inferior to [Henry Alley / Jay Smith Method(s), the Cell Punch Method, Mel Disselkoen's MDA Splitter Method, natural swarm and/or supercedure] - produced queens (the latter group tending to often display better % mating and longevity than less-than-ideally grafted queens).

    The same tendency shows up when discussing queen banking and instrumental insemination of honeybee queens as "inferior", when conditions are greatly deviated from "ideal", where feeding interruption and artificial delays before mating are both very important factors.

    For a wonderful essay comparing, contrasting, and evaluating many studies on Instrumentally Inseminated Queens (IIQ's) vs. Naturally-Mated Queens (NMQ's), log onto Dr. Susan Cobey's website,

    www.honeybee.breeding.com,

    click on "About I.I." and read the short article all the way to the bottom, then click on the left side of the last line for a 21-page report that delves into the conditions that have a lot more to do with the end results than the methods of mating. THERE IS MUCH USEFUL INFORMATION REGARDING QUEEN REARING CONDITIONS IN THIS REPORT, as well as numerous of scientific studies to which one may refer. It is, perhaps one of the best reads out there for a queen breeder, whether or not using I.I. (BTW, a big, fat THANK YOU, Dr. Cobey , and the many other scientist/beekeepers involved!) You may wish to print the report and laminate it.

    Another of Dr. Cobey's articles that is of great use is, "The Cloake Board Method of Queen Rearing and Queen Banking", which also helps a great deal in producing better quality queens.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 02-19-2013 at 01:56 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,121

    Default Re: Is there any scientific evidence that grafted queens are inferior?

    After about 33 years of grafting and 40 years of queen rearing, and writing one of the most successful books on grafting, Jay Smith wrote this:

    The object of Better Queens is to be helpful to all who rear queens and not to criticize those who use the grafting system. After all, I am criticizing the method I taught in Queen Rearing Simplified, so it is perfectly legitimate to criticize oneself! Many who now are using the grafting system and who want to rear better queens will want the two systems compared. As most beekeepers know, by the grafting method we mean the method in which the larva from a worker cell is transferred to an artificial queen cell. We used that system for 33 years. Not one of those years did we get the fine large cells which are necessary to produce full developed queens throughout the whole season. We found that when there was a light honey flow with plenty of pollen coming in, and if we kept the cell builders up to great strength, we could get a very high percentage of good queens. Even at its best we had to cull cells and virgins and frequently to discard laying queens that were not fully developed. Even then a few inferior queens would get by us which we had to replace. This never happens with our present system. We never have thrown away a cell for being too small, for all are alike. With the present system we have yet to see an undersized virgin. When using the grafting system, when there was no flow, it was well-nigh impossible to get good cells even though we fed sugar by the ton. Not one of those 33 years passed in which I did not long for a system with which I could produce those fine large cells which I had observed in colonies preparing to swarm, a system by which I could produce cells in quantities throughout the entire season.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesbetterq...fting%20Method
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Earlysville, Virginia USA
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    95

    Default Re: Is there any scientific evidence that grafted queens are inferior?

    Now I am regretting using the term grafting in my OP when I should have used the broader term of "worker larvae" that Gunther Hauk uses in his writing. I just used grafting as he mentioned it in his talk and as it is the most common way to raise queens from worker larvae. As I understand his argument he would still criticize the Jay Smith method as it still uses worker larvae and eggs that were laid in an horizontal position and then moved to a vertical position. That is the part I can't understand.

    Michael can I ask which method you use these days?

    http://www.spikenardfarm.org/pdf/IsT...StillRoyal.pdf


    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    After about 33 years of grafting and 40 years of queen rearing, and writing one of the most successful books on grafting, Jay Smith wrote this:

    The object of Better Queens is to be helpful to all who rear queens and not to criticize those who use the grafting system. After all, I am criticizing the method I taught in Queen Rearing Simplified, so it is perfectly legitimate to criticize oneself! Many who now are using the grafting system and who want to rear better queens will want the two systems compared. As most beekeepers know, by the grafting method we mean the method in which the larva from a worker cell is transferred to an artificial queen cell. We used that system for 33 years. Not one of those years did we get the fine large cells which are necessary to produce full developed queens throughout the whole season. We found that when there was a light honey flow with plenty of pollen coming in, and if we kept the cell builders up to great strength, we could get a very high percentage of good queens. Even at its best we had to cull cells and virgins and frequently to discard laying queens that were not fully developed. Even then a few inferior queens would get by us which we had to replace. This never happens with our present system. We never have thrown away a cell for being too small, for all are alike. With the present system we have yet to see an undersized virgin. When using the grafting system, when there was no flow, it was well-nigh impossible to get good cells even though we fed sugar by the ton. Not one of those 33 years passed in which I did not long for a system with which I could produce those fine large cells which I had observed in colonies preparing to swarm, a system by which I could produce cells in quantities throughout the entire season.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesbetterq...fting%20Method
    Last edited by Ryan Williamson; 02-19-2013 at 09:07 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
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    960

    Default Re: Is there any scientific evidence that grafted queens are inferior?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    After about 33 years of grafting and 40 years of queen rearing, and writing one of the most successful books on grafting, Jay Smith wrote this:

    The object of Better Queens is to be helpful to all who rear queens and not to criticize those who use the grafting system. After all, I am criticizing the method I taught in Queen Rearing Simplified, so it is perfectly legitimate to criticize oneself! Many who now are using the grafting system and who want to rear better queens will want the two systems compared. As most beekeepers know, by the grafting method we mean the method in which the larva from a worker cell is transferred to an artificial queen cell. We used that system for 33 years. Not one of those years did we get the fine large cells which are necessary to produce full developed queens throughout the whole season. We found that when there was a light honey flow with plenty of pollen coming in, and if we kept the cell builders up to great strength, we could get a very high percentage of good queens. Even at its best we had to cull cells and virgins and frequently to discard laying queens that were not fully developed. Even then a few inferior queens would get by us which we had to replace. This never happens with our present system. We never have thrown away a cell for being too small, for all are alike. With the present system we have yet to see an undersized virgin. When using the grafting system, when there was no flow, it was well-nigh impossible to get good cells even though we fed sugar by the ton. Not one of those 33 years passed in which I did not long for a system with which I could produce those fine large cells which I had observed in colonies preparing to swarm, a system by which I could produce cells in quantities throughout the entire season.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesbetterq...fting%20Method
    Jay Smith is not presenting his statement as a scientific study, but the numbers sure speak volumes, don't they? Thanks for posting this, MB

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,379

    Default Re: Is there any scientific evidence that grafted queens are inferior?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post

    The object of Better Queens is to be helpful to all who rear queens and not to criticize those who use the grafting system. After all, I am criticizing the method I taught in Queen Rearing Simplified, so it is perfectly legitimate to criticize oneself! Many who now are using the grafting system and who want to rear better queens will want the two systems compared. As most beekeepers know, by the grafting method we mean the method in which the larva from a worker cell is transferred to an artificial queen cell. We used that system for 33 years. Not one of those years did we get the fine large cells which are necessary to produce full developed queens throughout the whole season. We found that when there was a light honey flow with plenty of pollen coming in, and if we kept the cell builders up to great strength, we could get a very high percentage of good queens. Even at its best we had to cull cells and virgins and frequently to discard laying queens that were not fully developed. Even then a few inferior queens would get by us which we had to replace. This never happens with our present system. We never have thrown away a cell for being too small, for all are alike. With the present system we have yet to see an undersized virgin. When using the grafting system, when there was no flow, it was well-nigh impossible to get good cells even though we fed sugar by the ton. Not one of those 33 years passed in which I did not long for a system with which I could produce those fine large cells which I had observed in colonies preparing to swarm, a system by which I could produce cells in quantities throughout the entire season.
    Well, I have to disagree. I haven't raised queens for 33 years or 40 years, but I raise quality queens, and in my opinion...Inferior cells come from inferior cell builders, poor grafting techniques, and/or poor flow conditions. To say that non-grafting techniques used during poor flow conditions will yield quality cells is wrong. Bee don't graft, and they don't raise cells under dearth conditions unless they are forced to... emergency queens.

    Why do you think?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Warrior, Alabama
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    1,068

    Default Re: Is there any scientific evidence that grafted queens are inferior?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Williamson View Post
    The manipulated queen has a lowered (spiritual) light-emittence which negatively influences the health and vitality of the entire colony. Therefore these parasitic forces of darkness have better access to the bees.
    I have to confess that when I read terms like the "(spiritual) light-emittence" and "these parasitic forces of darkness" being applied to bugs, I fail to see the light. I wonder what that says about my darkness?
    Old Guy in Alabama

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