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  1. #1
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    Question Cordovan carniolans or causasians

    Hi, I've asked this question as a side question in another thread, and thought it was worth having its own thread.

    Here and there, I've read that the cordovan gene shows up as purple in darker colored bees. I was wondering how commercial bee breeders don't sell these? So far, I've gotten one answer:

    Quote Originally Posted by johns bees View Post
    It is because of cost.. I talked with Sue Cobey in 2012 at her queen rearing class and I was told that it cost alot to rear carniolan cordovan bees
    But I just can't imagine how maintaining a color mutation gene would be any more expensive in darker mutts than in lighter mutts (carniolan types vs. italian types). Save for the arbitrary color preferences (I know lots of people love the golden bees), a color mutation keeps all of its interests no matter how it manifests itself, as long as it's distinguishable from others of its kind that lack the gene, be it by being golden or by being purple. And while I can see how incorporating genes that originate from italian types into carniolan types, while trying to backcross to retain the carniolan characteristics, can require a few generations of work, instrumental insemination should make it a relatively straightforward process?

    Has anyone else heard of these purple carniolan cordovans? What they were like? And why one can't find them anywhere?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Cordovan carniolans or causasians

    Do you do any seminars, seems like I could learn alot from you. G

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Cordovan carniolans or causasians

    I've seen photo's of dark Cordovan's, but I've never seen them in person, let alone kept any. It would definitely be interesting to keep some for the novelty.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Cordovan carniolans or causasians

    Can you post a picture of the purple queen? I;ve never heard of em. Unless breeders are using artificial insemination who knows what those genes really are. I don't buy into the hype, don't like buying non-local queens unless I have too. Im one of the few that like dark queens. I let em mate freely, mutts are fine with me. Chances are they mate with feral hives and those genetics are somewhat proven. We have plenty of feral hives in Louisville, lots of houses and big old trees.

    I got a nice mutt queen in one of my hives that orignated from an old big feral hive in an abandon bourbon aging barn, 3 queens down the line from the original. Shes a bomber, huge, very nice. The hive is doing fantastic She kinda looks purple, black brown almost like a dark walnut woodgrain. Shes pretty!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Cordovan carniolans or causasians

    I took Dr. Sue Cobeys queen rearing class in august of last year and asked her why don't carniolans come in the cordovan color. She told me that carniolans do come in cordovan that they are more of a purple than the golden orange that you see in Italians. She went on to tell me that it was not cost effective to breed them .
    Johgns Bees

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Cordovan carniolans or causasians

    Quote Originally Posted by biggraham610 View Post
    Do you do any seminars, seems like I could learn alot from you. G
    I actually learned most of what I know from the internet. There are a few websites with very good and detailed information on bee genetics. It's all out there!

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    I've seen photo's of dark Cordovan's, but I've never seen them in person, let alone kept any. It would definitely be interesting to keep some for the novelty.
    Do you have pictures to share? When I tried looking for some, with google images, the results seemed like random pictures of all other kinds of queens. And indeed, it'd be interesting to keep some. I'm incorporating a few mutations into my carniolan-only (for now) stock soon, through artificial insemination. It should allow some quick results, because I could see how trying to work with recessive genes like this one could take quite a while when relying on open mating.

    Quote Originally Posted by burns375 View Post
    Can you post a picture of the purple queen? I;ve never heard of em. Unless breeders are using artificial insemination who knows what those genes really are. I don't buy into the hype, don't like buying non-local queens unless I have too. Im one of the few that like dark queens. I let em mate freely, mutts are fine with me. Chances are they mate with feral hives and those genetics are somewhat proven. We have plenty of feral hives in Louisville, lots of houses and big old trees.

    I got a nice mutt queen in one of my hives that orignated from an old big feral hive in an abandon bourbon aging barn, 3 queens down the line from the original. Shes a bomber, huge, very nice. The hive is doing fantastic She kinda looks purple, black brown almost like a dark walnut woodgrain. Shes pretty!
    I've read of them, but never seen them. Hopefully by the end of the season, I may have some pictures to share! Otherwise, certainly by next season. Are other traits associated to the cordovan gene? Maybe, I guess that's what I'll find out with my II program. Can't know without trying. I can tell you that I like the darker queens better too, though! As for feral hives, I have a somewhat aversion to them, because they tend to be defensive, and I value gentleness greatly. Having your virgin queens mate with drones from hives other than yours can only be good as far as heterosis goes, though, and thus keeping your stock strong.

    Quote Originally Posted by johns bees View Post
    I took Dr. Sue Cobeys queen rearing class in august of last year and asked her why don't carniolans come in the cordovan color. She told me that carniolans do come in cordovan that they are more of a purple than the golden orange that you see in Italians. She went on to tell me that it was not cost effective to breed them .
    Johgns Bees
    I'll have to test that assertion of hers! I'm beginning queen breeding, so I can produce a lot more than I can sell. I'll try to find out why she would say this (because it requires II? because it will inevitably cause inbreeding and higher diploid drone ratios? because the gene combinations are less viable?)

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Cordovan carniolans or causasians

    Are other traits associated to the cordovan gene?
    From Tom Glenn's site:

    The cordovan color variation does not constitute a different race and is not known to be inherently linked with any other physical characteristic or behavior. In fact, any stock can be transformed to cordovan color in two generations of a cross and backcross to cordovan drones.

    HTH

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

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Cordovan carniolans or causasians

    Sorry, I don't know where to find photo's anymore. It was many years ago, when last I saw them.

    I too noticed the curious results I got when searching for "dark cordovan queen", on google. Many of the photo's that came up, were some of my own photo's.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Cordovan carniolans or causasians

    Quote Originally Posted by Dominic View Post
    But I just can't imagine how maintaining a color mutation gene would be any more expensive in darker mutts than in lighter mutts
    I suspect what she meant was that anything in addition to the existing list of breeder's criteria is going to add extra effort. Extra effort = extra costs. Breeders like Sue have their hands full just maintaining their stock true to their standards and incorporating necessary improvements. I suspect that a color mutation is pretty low on her priority list. There must be an enormous amount of effort just keeping the NWC breeder stock progressing. I can't imagine adding a parallel branch.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Cordovan carniolans or causasians

    I have a purple queen that was cut out of a baptist church this spring. They are not the fastest builders in my yard, but I have an affection for her due to her color. I have been very curious as to what genetic cross would give this color. Now I know...or at least have some clue....Thanks guys great thread!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Cordovan carniolans or causasians

    Quote Originally Posted by Huntingstoneboy View Post
    I have a purple queen that was cut out of a baptist church this spring. They are not the fastest builders in my yard, but I have an affection for her due to her color. I have been very curious as to what genetic cross would give this color. Now I know...or at least have some clue....Thanks guys great thread!
    I love my purple queen too, she is a beauty!!!. I would never think about replacing her. I love them dark bees. One of my splits from the purple queen (1.5 months old) produced a jet black queen. She looks like a fly, not my favorite but still cool.

    The majority of older colony tearouts (survivors) we find are dark bees, not those wimpy italians.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Cordovan carniolans or causasians

    Quote Originally Posted by burns375 View Post
    I love my purple queen too, she is a beauty!!!. I would never think about replacing her. I love them dark bees. One of my splits from the purple queen (1.5 months old) produced a jet black queen. She looks like a fly, not my favorite but still cool.

    The majority of older colony tearouts (survivors) we find are dark bees, not those wimpy italians.
    A thought has occurred to me the other day, and brought me to revive this thread...

    Does anyone know more about the genetics of the honey bee colors? The texts I find only really mention the cordovan trait vs. the italian wild type, which it is recessive to. But how do the italian and carniolan wild types interact with each other?

    Here I was assuming that there were at least two color genes, and that the cordovan gene was more of a color expression gene than a color determination one (i.e. colors MORE, or ELSEWHERE, but not DIFFERENTLY).

    It has occurred to me that the answer is perhaps much more simple. Maybe there is just one color body color gene, and that the cordovan gene, instead of being recessive to the carniolan wild type like it is to the italian wild type, is co-dominant with the carniolan wild type. Thus, cordovan homozygosis will express as the traditional cordovan color we are used to, cordovan/italian heterozygosis will express as the traditional italian color we are used to, but cordovan/carniolan heterozygosis will express as purple.

    If this is the case, it would explain why Sue stated that purple bees are a lot more expensive to breed (requires both wild type dark bees and cordovan bees!).

    Burns, did you have multiple offspring daughter queens from your purple queen? What do her workers look like?

    I think we are one step closer to understanding this mystery.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Cordovan carniolans or causasians

    I have not split my purple queen yet, I hope to next spring.....very curious what her daughter queens will look like. However, her worker daughters are both darker carniolan colored and lighter italian colored. As they were a cut-out, and I do not know many of the beekeepers in that area, I have know idea their lineage. The yard she is in contains all colors....ie, gold queens, black queens, and tiger striped queens, so it should be very interesting next spring!

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Cordovan carniolans or causasians

    Quote Originally Posted by Huntingstoneboy View Post
    I have not split my purple queen yet, I hope to next spring.....very curious what her daughter queens will look like. However, her worker daughters are both darker carniolan colored and lighter italian colored. As they were a cut-out, and I do not know many of the beekeepers in that area, I have know idea their lineage. The yard she is in contains all colors....ie, gold queens, black queens, and tiger striped queens, so it should be very interesting next spring!
    Would you have pictures to share? And you, burns375?

    Seems like it's hard to come by photos of the different colors queens come by. Something I'll try to remedy when my breeding program is up and running, for sure!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Cordovan carniolans or causasians

    I will try the next time I'm in the hive.....I squished a queen by accident in June.....lesson learned...since then when I inspect I simply look for larvae, and not the queens, but I would like a photo of this queen for myself as well.

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