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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Olympia, WA
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    95

    Default Queens Bred for Longevity

    Is there a breeder that focuses on long life queens as one of their traits? I did spend considerable time searching for the topic in the forum. If this topic has been previously covered help direct me to the thread.
    Thanks
    Keep on keepin' bees

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    595

    Default Re: Queens Bred for Longevity

    I have no knowledge of this (no shock there due to my inexperience), but it seems very unlikely. It seems there are at least TWO (there might be more) methods do determine longevity. One is the actual age of the queen, and the other is based on how long she lays well. The forst would be very hard to breed into queens. One doesn't know she's long lived until she is no longer living, and by then she'd be pretty hard to breed. The second seems more plausible, but once again, if someone waits until she lays poorly, it is likely that she will be superceeded. Even if this were not the case, it seems like it would be significantly more difficult to cultivate queens from an aged queen that may be laying drones. it would certainly make grafting harder if one didn't have a nice batch of brood of the appropriate age for grafting.

    These are just thoughts from some guy that doesn't even have bees yet, so take it all with a large grain of salt. It just seems to be that most beeks would place a higher value on other characteristics and requeen at a shorter interval. I'm interested to read other responses though.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
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    3,876

    Default Re: Queens Bred for Longevity

    I would love to hear from any that use longevity as a requirement for breeding. I think this is one item that is not generally looked for as much any more, and I think that is a mistake. I've been thinking this may be a reason for some of the bee problems some people are having. This has just been my thinking lately, I could very well be wrong.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: Queens Bred for Longevity

    Most quality breeders that I know of breed from queens that are at least two years old.

    On the other hand, we can learn not to be afraid of supersedures and swarms. There is nothing wrong with them. They are natural.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,073

    Default Re: Queens Bred for Longevity

    age is not a value in itself.
    the more a queen lays the sooner she is of no value because sperm is a limiting factor. She will not refill the tank by a second mating flight.
    You can extend a Q's value by limiting the hive size and area she will lay.
    You can speed a Q's loss of value by increasing her laying.
    You ca have one or the other.
    You can't have both.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Somis, Ventura, California
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Queens Bred for Longevity

    Duplicate message below
    Last edited by PanchoBee; 03-04-2013 at 10:59 PM. Reason: Duplicate message

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Somis, Ventura, California
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Queens Bred for Longevity

    It's best to requeen once every year because younger queens tend to head a larger colony going into winter, but depends how harsh your winters are.

    I have several hives in which I haven't requeened in 3 years, same queen, she's (was marked) and clipped(The paint already faded wear and tear) this year she's laying but is now becoming a drone layer Drone brood intermixed with worker brood since last fall....My winters here are mild. several of my long lived hives(queens) have mother - daughters hives, it seems that the mother queen has not been yet retired she still roams around and lays some drone eggs in worker cells, but the workers did start a supercedure cell(I keep the too seperated by an exculder, 2-queen system). A queen can live long but it depends on how many drones she mated with to provide a good year(s) of sperm available for worker brood production. plus hives with older queens tend to swarm more readily than young queens heading a colony, all of course if swarm management is being done, swarming is a natural process for colonies to reproduce.

    today breeders look for tolerance to Trachael mites/varroa, Build up, Production, Hygenic behavior, gentleness...not soo much on longevity, but I believe that it is something to be looked at as well, but their are other issues....the availabilty of Drones to mate with that queen which will then influence her ability to lay good worker brood in the years to come. Queens also release a phermone which is distibruated amongst the house bees, if the nurse bees feel that the phermone is somehow depleting(Due to age???) they may start to rear a new queen, a supercedure queen cell that will eventually replace the mother queen but will be allowed to live, its not in the case of swarm cells where the mother queen heads off with the prime swarm, supercedure cells can occur at any time of the year here for me because of our climate year round.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Somis, Ventura, California
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    18

    Default Re: Queens Bred for Longevity

    Quote Originally Posted by jrbbees View Post
    age is not a value in itself.
    the more a queen lays the sooner she is of no value because sperm is a limiting factor. She will not refill the tank by a second mating flight.
    You can extend a Q's value by limiting the hive size and area she will lay.
    You can speed a Q's loss of value by increasing her laying.
    You ca have one or the other.
    You can't have both.
    I agree, the more larger area you give the queen to lay in, the more sooner she will run dry, the average life span for my queens is about a year and half. I requeen in May ........... August/September of next year she's mixing in drone brood with worker cells, in my area requeening in past July is tough.

    -Pancho

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    New Albany, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    447

    Default Re: Queens Bred for Longevity

    Longevity is an important selection factor to me. Selecting two strains, the Aurea (Italian based) and the Karnica (Carniolan based), I see large differences in longevity. I have had inseminated Karnica queens heading a full sized colony into their 5th season, but seldom have Aurea queens make it into their 3rd season in good shape. It appears to be as mentioned above the Aurea queens simply “lay” themselves out. Not a good thing or a bad thing, as each strain has its place in beekeeping.

    The longer a queen is able to head a full size production colony the more measures of production I can take over time, which provides a greater estimate of her ability. It also allows me to look at her progeny (daughter queens) while she is still alive which is very valuable in terms of selection.

    Joe
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
    www.latshawapiaries.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    781

    Default Re: Queens Bred for Longevity

    Quote Originally Posted by The Honey Girl's Boy View Post
    Is there a breeder that focuses on long life queens as one of their traits?
    Zia Queen Bees state they breed for longevity. Not on beesource that I know of, but on their website.
    karla

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: Queens Bred for Longevity

    In my small sampling of Zia, I had it go both ways. One year old queen superseded, one still going into the third year. Two deceased for other reasons.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Saint Louis, Missouri
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: Queens Bred for Longevity

    JBJ mentioned monitoring for longevity
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...767#post891767
    Disclaimer: I've never been a bee.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,785

    Default Re: Queens Bred for Longevity

    I want bees that can sense a failing queen and replace her. I also want queens that are productive for a long time. But I think that is secondary to them sensing a failing queen and doing a seamless supersedure where the daughter is laying before the mother is disposed of. I haven't been around to mark mine for the last few years, but I used to and I had a lot of three and four year old queens. I don't think I had any five year old queens, but then the marking colors wouldn't indicate it anyway since they wrap at five years.

    All in all, if they raise a new queen, even every year, and do it with a seamless supersedure, the colony will thrive.

    Longevity has to do with how well fed the queen is, how well mated she is, how low the chemical load in the wax is and how booming of a hive she was trying to keep up with. A queen is basically going to run out of eggs or sperm eventually. Once she does she is done, and a queen who is laying up a storm all her life will live a shorter life than one that is not laying so much. Another instance where breeding for one trait may actually be breeding counter to another good trait. In other words, if you're not careful you may be selecting out the queens who lay so much they run out of eggs, when they may be better queens than the ones who lay less and live longer... I think we need to look at the big picture instead.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
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    1,701

    Default Re: Queens Bred for Longevity

    What happens when they are left alone or "wild" ? A good strong queen in the wild would potentially, leave the hive with a swarm each year. She has to trim down to flying weight, leave with swarm, land with swarm, then fly to new home, establish a survivable population, and do it again the next spring. That would be some tough data to gather Each time she leaves the hive, she is at risk. IMHO, to do that three times would be something. It doesn't seem to me nature would select for something like that. Just food for thought.
    Rick

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
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    Default Re: Queens Bred for Longevity

    Since I seldom breed from a queen that isn't 2 years old, because I can't really judge her until she has a full year of her bees to evaluate her on, mine have to be somewhat long lived...

    The useful life of a queen (pre Varroa mite treatments) has always been considered to be about 3 years in a production colony. More if she was confined to a smaller area (such as breeder queens sometimes are).

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenre...queenlongevity

    From "Better Queens" page 18:

    "In Indiana we had a queen we named Alice which lived to the ripe old age of eight years and two months and did excellent work in her seventh year. There can be no doubt about the authenticity of this statement. We sold her to John Chapel of Oakland City, Indiana, and she was the only queen in his yard with wings clipped. This, however is a rare exception. At the time I was experimenting with artificial combs with wooden cells in which the queen laid."--Jay Smith

    I would point out that Jay says: "This, however is a rare exception."
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
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    5,113

    Default Re: Queens Bred for Longevity

    The chances of any swarm surviving are relatively low. The chances of the same queen making multiple swarm journeys are correspondingly miniscule.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    SOMERSET, ENGLAND
    Posts
    354

    Default Re: Queens Bred for Longevity

    The Anatolica is one of the strains of queens/bees with great natural longevity,and plays an important part in the Buckfast strain.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,233

    Default Re: Queens Bred for Longevity

    The highest queen longevity is found in bees from the Mellifera subtype. These bees tend to build huge colonies at the drop of a hat in early spring starting from a very small cluster. This trait tends to reduce overall quantity of eggs laid by the queen to a minimum in a given year. The reduced egg laying correlates with increased longevity.

    As mentioned above, breeding for longevity could be done, but would be negatively correlated with honey production. I don't care if a queen wears herself out in 2 years, honey production in those 2 years is far more important. Excessive egg production which is typical of many Italian derived strains is correlated with reduced honey production. There is a happy medium where a colony develops at the right time with maximum population to collect honey, then reduces population during times of dearth. The only line deliberately developed with these traits is Buckfast.

    You could also ask if it would be possible to breed longer lived workers. This can indeed be done and in time would result in a more productive colony based on worker bees having a longer life span to collect nectar. This trait is present in Apis Mellifera Mellifera. It probably is also found in Tellian bees from NorthWest Africa.
    DarJones - 45 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,785

    Default Re: Queens Bred for Longevity

    >You could also ask if it would be possible to breed longer lived workers. This can indeed be done and in time would result in a more productive colony based on worker bees having a longer life span to collect nectar.

    I agree, this might be a trait worth measuring and selecting for. The real "profit" in a bee is at the end of their life. The beginning is an investment in the overhead of the hive and the future of the hive, but the last week or two of their life is the only "profit". Adding a week to the life of the workers could result in twice as much surplus.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Athens, greece
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    140

    Default Re: Queens Bred for Longevity

    A forager's life, is 800 Km of flying. It would be nice to be 1200 or more Km.

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