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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    10

    Default Genetics question

    I am a complete bee newb and half embarrassed to ask but I purchased a package of bees that are a mix of Italians and Carniolan. This got me to wonder what kind of bees will I eventually wind up with? Is it based on what the queen is and what she mated with? Won't the hive eventually become less of a mix as these bees die off?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    7,478

    Default Re: Genetics question

    Yes. The queen will lay eggs which eventually become bees, the old bees that came in the package eventually die off, and the bees in your hive will all be determined by what your queen is.

    Good luck with your beekeeping journey.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Genetics question

    Thanks. I just put the package in my hive last night and although I thought I was prepared I quickly realized after pulling the feeder can out of the bee package that watching this on the internet is not the same as doing it yourself. I got a bit nervous as the bees started coming out. I did not anticipate how loud the buzzing can be nor what it would feel like to have them crawling all over my bee suite. Once I overcame the primal desire to flea, everything went pretty well. The only concern was that I just could not get all the bees out of the box. I think I was too gently with bumping it and didn't want to hurt them so I wound up leaving the box outside the hive and tried to cover it a bit as the overnight temp was going to be 40 degrees. In the morning the bees that were out overnight were all clustered up and not really doing anything. I had to go to work and this evening they were still clustered but obviously still alive. They seem very sluggish but alive. Not sure if the cold killed some brain cells. I'd like to save them but not sure what to do. I went ahead and put the box inside a cardboard box and brought them inside the garage hoping that the warmth will bring them back and I can release them in the morning but I'm just guessing as to what's really wrong with them. Otherwise the hive itself seems to be ok for now.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    7,478

    Default Re: Genetics question

    Have them in a warm room and mix a little sugar in some warm water then drizzle it onto them so they can drink it. That will revive them then dump them on the entrance to your hive, they will smell the other bees and go in.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Red Bud, IL, USA
    Posts
    634

    Default Re: Genetics question

    Let's assume your queen is Italian and was open mated; you'll end up with Italian mutts. Try this analogy, in your work environment draw a mental circle that includes 15 random males - that's the pool of traits, tendencies and genetics that will be shared with your queen's genetics. After a few seasons of open mating, supersedures, swarm captures, etc most of us have pedigree mutts

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    4,187

    Default Re: Genetics question

    A pure Italian queen open bred will produce offspring that are 50% Italian from non Italian partners. To say a hive is a mix of Italian and carniolan represents what? If an artificially inseminated carniolan queen heads an Italian colony than in roughly 6 weeks the colony will be 100% carniolan. However, every time the queen is superseded, or otherwise replaced the colony is subject to dilution by 50% from the lines of which she is mated. Her offspring who become queens will then produce offspring that carry only 25% of the original genealogy. The next supercedure will result in offspring of only 12.5% of the original, and so on. This of coarse does not account for infusions from drones who may carry gees from the original genealogy.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Genetics question

    Thanks for the explanation everyone. That makes sense. I purchased my bees from a commercial bee guy and when I asked what kind of bees they were he just said a mix. They do all look a mix of colors. I didn't think to ask what the queen was. She's pretty dark in color.

    On a side note, I brought the wood box inside my garage and sprinkled sugar water on them. They seem much better. Glad I could save about 100 bees.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Red Bud, IL, USA
    Posts
    634

    Default Re: Genetics question

    As a side and totally inconsequential note. Sometimes you can see a hive's dominant color change over time, not a massive overnight thing but you'll notice variance changes. I've never read anything that clearly defines if the sperm in the queen's spermathecal is stratified/clumped or a homogenous mix.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    helenwood,tn.usa
    Posts
    323

    Default Re: Genetics question

    when they say mix they mean they don't know. the majority of bees in America are mixed or mutts if you prefer. it' like dogs people are always guessin what breed their mutt dog is and if they get a genetic test done they are often completely surprised. just cause it looks like it don't mean it is.
    first colony out of a log 1983 beekeeping about 15 years. Warning i could be an idiot. I'm from South Jersey.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Penobscot County, ME, USA
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: Genetics question

    Quote Originally Posted by Eikel View Post
    As a side and totally inconsequential note. Sometimes you can see a hive's dominant color change over time, not a massive overnight thing but you'll notice variance changes. I've never read anything that clearly defines if the sperm in the queen's spermathecal is stratified/clumped or a homogenous mix.
    Being completely devoid of any actual knowledge/education on this point, I would want to guess that it might be similar to LIFO inventory system (Last In, First Out) since it doesn't seem to me that there would be a method of 'mixing' the sperm...although it is conceivable that the 'edge' between one donor and the next could become a little blurred.

    I must admit to having some idle curiosity about this subject myself, of which I was reminded yesterday when I inspected a hive headed by an open-mated queen raised from a VSH x Carni hybrid last Summer and I observed a number of fuzzy little new Italian-looking bees. (I have one Italian hive...which I have forgotten how old the queen is, something tells me that she is probably nearly done.)
    If you want to be successful, study successful people and do what they do.
    Zone 4a/b

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