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  1. #1
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    Default Are they survivors?

    Wondering what to breed from.

    I've got 5 hives left from my 1st year about to start their 4th year. All have swarmed or superseded at least once over the last 3 years which mean none have their original queen, but rather a daughter or granddaughter of the original queen. Are these considered survivor colonies?

    Also have about 8 other hives starting their 3rd year that are captured swarms from my surviving 1st year colonies. These also have superseded their original queens so again they are at best daughters of the original queens.

    I keep hearing "breed from your best survivors", so should I take grafts only from the original "surviving" 5 hives or should I consider the best of the 2 year old hives which may in fact have older queens?

    No, none of the queens were ever marked. I hope to raise about 40 queens.

    Thanks,

    Don


    4y, 40h, tf

  2. #2
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    May 2009
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    Flora,IL
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    Default Re: Are they survivors?

    Have you ever done mite checks on them?? and do you let them swarm on purpose?? My gut tells me that they are good, while swarming is a bit of a brood break, its not a full break. supercedure can be a full break, or a bit of overlap. But I apparently don't know much about the topic...

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Are they survivors?

    way to go d! those are certainly survivors in my book. i would consider grafting from either set, perhaps even grafting from the 2 or 3 colonies that you are most happy with.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Hamilton, Alabama
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    Default Re: Are they survivors?

    What was the original stock source of your queens?

    I would test the colonies for mite load, hygienic behavior, and mite grooming before raising queens from them.
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Are they survivors?

    Charlie - Yes on the mite checks July & Sept. Not all hives but I checked about half. Fall sugar shake.counts were all below 3%, most in the 1 - 1 1/2%. No, to letting them swarm on purpose, just rookie mistake the 1st year.

    Peg - I've killed my share, nothing to be proud of yet. I will be trying to graft from 3 or 4.

    Dar-Swarms and cutouts, have never bought a bee. Try to keep only known feral stock. I'll do spring mite counts like you suggest.

    Thanks all

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    Jackson, MO
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    Default Re: Are they survivors?

    If they live, they are survivors. I've tried raising queens from dead hives and I could never get it to work. I stick with live, survivor hives.

    However, my criteria is this: do my bees survive the way I want to raise them and the way I want them to produce honey? For example, I think swarming is an excellent way to create an early season brood break. Randy Oliver is all about making periodic dents in the mite population, i.e., brood breaks, to set back the population rather than allowing the mite loads to explode near the end of the season. Allowing swarming, intentional or not, creates the brood break and puts a dent in the mite population.

    But (and there's always a but) I don't want my hives to swarm as it reduces my honey crop. So my "real" survivors come from hives that I keep from swarming. These hives do not have the luxury of a brood break. However, early season powdered sugar dusting, done several times about a week apart, works to reduce (temporarily) mite populations.

    I do not claim to be a treatment-free beekeeper or a "Bond" live and let die beekeeper, but I breed queens from what survives under my management, for better and for worse, in the ways I manage my bees to produce honey. If the bees can survive my incompetence, I'm looking to breed more of them.

    As you become more experienced, you'll figure out what works for you and what works with you. You'll raise bees from what works in your area. I think you're off to a great start.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO https://www.createspace.com/4106626
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Are they survivors?

    Quote Originally Posted by D Semple View Post
    All have swarmed or superseded at least once over the last 3 years which mean none have their original queen, but rather a daughter or granddaughter of the original queen. Are these considered survivor colonies?
    This must surely be the case with nearly all "survivor" hives. By the time they've been around long enough to be called survivors, chances of them having the original queen is remote.

    My opinion is go with your gut.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Are they survivors?

    I think it is really hard to determine what it is your "best" queen to breed from:

    If the mite count is low, does it mean that you are choosing the "best" as being the most hygienic?

    If there are a lot of bees in the colony in the spring, compared to the others, does it mean that you are selecting for early brooding tendencies? That trait would be great for the winter of 2011, but not for this winter.

    Are you choosing the one that made the most honey? If so, are you sure that all the variables were controlled for. For example, because of its place in the apiary did it gather more drifting bees.

    In my apiary a queen gets a chance if she has survived the winter, her offspring are not more testy than the offspring of others, and there are no obvious diseases present. I don't test for mites, I use brood breaks.

    I am in favor of moving along the genes of more queens if possible, because I think our evaluations can be subjective and the variation may prove useful down the road.
    ,

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Are they survivors?

    FusionPower - Dar - When looking for grooming traits, anything more then just looking for dead mites that look like they have been chewed on?

    Oldtimer - thanks for all your post, appreciate your wisdom and glad you share it.

    Grant - great post, many good points, thanks. (Also like your humor) Agree with you that you need to tailor your bees to suit your own management, as much as the local conditions.

    Adrian - I agree with your last sentence and after reading many threads I'm going to follow the advice to look at culling the bottom 20 - 33% out and not select for the very best individual but raising queens from my best 4 or 5.

    Thanks for all the input,

    Don

  10. #10
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    Hamilton, Alabama
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    Default Re: Are they survivors?

    Put a white sheet of cardboard or similar in the colony at the bottom board and see how many chewed on mites show up in the debris. If there are lots of mites present, count the mites in 1 square inch and count how many of them are chewed on. Keep in mind that a highly hygienic colony may not have many mites. This is the problem I run into. My bees don't have enough mites to check for mauling behavior. This is one reason why I chose to bring in some queens that were selected specifically for mite mauling behavior.

    The objective is to select for breeding when:

    total mite count is low
    or
    percentage of chewed on mites is high but not if the total mite count is overwhelmingly high.
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    McClure, OH
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    Default Re: Are they survivors?

    Try to pick at least 3-4 to keep going.

    I would go with the strongest, then pick the ones which you like working best. Some other ideas: the ones that made the most honey, the strongest spring cluster, cleanest bottom board, prettiest queen ( on this last one).

    If you feel like it, you can also try freezing a section of comb and select for hygienic behavior as found here: http://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/...ienic-Behavior

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Are they survivors?

    Lots of good suggestions and useful points. At this point in your adventure I agree that taking out (requeening) the clear losers is the best way to go. I'd take your queens from a cross section of what look like the top 60% or so, and cull the bottom 20% or so.

    If any of your original appear to have been more successful in giving good daughters, mark their (or their offspring's cards up a bit.

    I would avoid artificial brood breaks - there are several drawbacks, and the practice is in its breeding effect no different to chemical treating.

    This is a combination of art and science. Do everything you can to set conditions that will allow you to make better judgements in future.

    Keeps records so you know which make better daughters.

    Develop techniques for locating specific traits but be cautious about concentrating any. A mix probably works best.

    Look out for anything you do that might have artificially aided colonies, thus advancing their scores undeservedly. Lots of splitting or deliberate brood breaks come under this heading.

    Mike (UK)
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Are they survivors?

    Dar - Thanks, is there any consensus on whether allogrooming or autogrooming are dominate traits.

    Merince -agree and thanks for the link.

    Mike - regarding forced brood breaks, in theory you are correct but you've got to live to fight another day and you can't breed from dead bees. I think you underestimate the enemy, given a level playing field (uniterrupted brooding) varroa flat kicks ass. Study what the Germans are doing with their breeding program and their results.


    Thanks again all. ...Don

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Are they survivors?

    Quote Originally Posted by D Semple View Post
    Mike - regarding forced brood breaks, in theory you are correct...
    That's the important thing - to understand that brood breaks are not a long-term solution. It appears to be contentious, and I'm glad you agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by D Semple View Post
    but you've got to live to fight another day and you can't breed from dead bees.
    I understand that too.

    Quote Originally Posted by D Semple View Post
    I think you underestimate the enemy, given a level playing field (uniterrupted brooding) varroa flat kicks ass.
    It might be worth opening that out a bit. Some varroa does, with some bees. It tends to be in situations where the bees haven't been exposed to varroa before, or where they have been conditioned by treatments (including brood break regimes) to think that is the case, as it were.

    In situations where mites and bees have had a chance to get to know each other, the mites are less fucund and the bees better able to manage them.

    (You, I understand, are trying to breed from the former setting toward the latter.)

    Quote Originally Posted by D Semple View Post
    Study what the Germans are doing with their breeding program and their results.
    There are breeding programs going on all over the place, taking many different forms and varying results. (One of the more effective seems to be happening wherever people aren't involved). I've been undertaking my own for several years.

    Back to your point: "I keep hearing "breed from your best survivors", so should I take grafts only from the original "surviving" 5 hives or should I consider the best of the 2 year old hives which may in fact have older queens?"

    Given that you have just a few hives and probably highly fecund varroa I would say neither action is likely to achieve much - or rather - you are in the hands of your locality - away from treating apiaries and with a feral population there's a good chance; near lots of treaters and a commensurate sickly feral popultion, things look grim.

    So you have to factor that into your choice. With predominantly resistant drones in the air, both choices offer about the same likelihood of a good result.

    With non-resistant drones dominating, your second generation is, all else being equal, more likely to be weake than the first. So go with the original queens.

    However, with your small numbers its unlikely that rationalising along those sorts of lines is any better than tossing a coin. What I'd do is split the heck out of all of them, and get your numbers up, mating in likely looking spots. Then treat all equally, at a level designed to show the weaker, and go from there.

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 01-11-2014 at 09:11 AM.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Are they survivors?

    1 quick point then you can have the final word, I'm done with this thread

    Through my experience I've found bees shuting down on their own during dearths is a great thing and something to breed for. One more tool in the TF arsenal.

    Thanks for your patience folks

    .....Don

    4y, +/- 40h, tf

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Are they survivors?

    Quote Originally Posted by D Semple View Post
    Through my experience I've found bees shuting down on their own during dearths is a great thing and something to breed for. One more tool in the TF arsenal.
    that's an excellent point don, and the main reason i avoid feeding. i believe it's better to have bees that are good at cycling their brooding up and down in response to the (forecasted by the colony) natural flows. it's pretty amazing how well they are able to do that, especially considering that those decisions have to be made a month in advance.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Are they survivors?

    This part is a puzzle ....

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    There are breeding programs going on all over the place, taking many different forms and varying results. (One of the more effective seems to be happening wherever people aren't involved). I've been undertaking my own for several years.

    Mike has a breeding program going, but "people" aren't involved?
    Perhaps space aliens are directing the program?








    Graham
    --- Victor Hugo - "Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Are they survivors?

    Quote Originally Posted by D Semple View Post
    Wondering what to breed from.

    I've got 5 hives left from my 1st year about to start their 4th year. All have swarmed or superseded at least once over the last 3 years which mean none have their original queen, but rather a daughter or granddaughter of the original queen. Are these considered survivor colonies?

    Also have about 8 other hives starting their 3rd year that are captured swarms from my surviving 1st year colonies. These also have superseded their original queens so again they are at best daughters of the original queens.

    I keep hearing "breed from your best survivors", so should I take grafts only from the original "surviving" 5 hives or should I consider the best of the 2 year old hives which may in fact have older queens?

    No, none of the queens were ever marked. I hope to raise about 40 queens.

    Thanks,

    Don


    4y, 40h, tf
    Well, what do you think? They are alive, aren't they? Does it really matter? Grow queens from your best hives. Figure out what you like about them and grow queens from those and be happy.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Are they survivors?

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    However, with your small numbers its unlikely that rationalising along those sorts of lines is any better than tossing a coin. What I'd do is split the heck out of all of them, and get your numbers up, mating in likely looking spots. Then treat all equally, at a level designed to show the weaker, and go from there.
    When I wrote that I was under the impression you had just those 5 hives Don, I hadn't noticed this at the bottom of your OP:

    "4y, +/- 40h, tf"

    Can I ask: what is your primary assay method for locating resistance?

    Mike (UK)
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Are they survivors?

    Quote Originally Posted by D Semple View Post
    I keep hearing "breed from your best survivors", so should I take grafts only from the original "surviving" 5 hives or should I consider the best of the 2 year old hives which may in fact have older queens?
    Perhaps you're putting too much thought into it. If a hive is at least two years old, treatment free, and as the other traits I want, I will graft from it. My winnowing process is so steep, I'm not terribly concerned about anybody making it out who shouldn't. Also, always use multiple queens. Graft one cell bar from each queen, or however you see fit.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

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