Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 44
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    767

    Default Would drone confinement help?

    Background info: I'm a TF (since 2005) beekeeper and last spring I raised a few queens (Nicot system) from my best varroa resistant colonies. I used larvae from the queens in only 3 of the most resistant of 13 colonies that came from feral swarms, trap-outs and/or removals. The yield from my 1st ever attempt to raise queens was 7 virgins ready to mate. Also, based on anecdotal evidence and observations (not scientific, mostly natural drop counts) I'm convinced that many of the feral bees in central NC area are resistant to varroa, pms viruses, etc, but lose the resistance over time (probably due to queen replacement) in a managed apiary.

    So I wanted to maximize the odds that the resulting virgins would open mate (I have no AI capabilities) with the feral resistant drones. My idea was to prevent the drones from my apiary from flying during the mating period (I know there are other managed hives within a couple of miles, but beyond my control). To do this I used queen excluder over entrances.

    Only 4 of the 7 successfully mated and 1 of these 4 simply disappeared about 3 weeks after starting egg-laying. The 3 new queens are currently heading thriving colonies. Based on drop counts, 1 colony is virtually mite-free and 2 colonies have average mite loads. There's no evidence of viruses.

    Questions: Would preventing the flying of NON-resistant drones help speed up the creation of a resistant feral population? Is this something we could ask the treatment beekeepers and perhaps the commercial beekeepers to do? Would a coordinated program (involving the release of resistant drones and the confinement of not-resistant drones) implemented nationwide for one are two breeding seasons fix the varroa problem?
    Triangle Bees

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,379

    Default Re: Would drone confinement help?

    If you block the drones you block the queens...

    I wouldn't worry about it. Odds are good that the queen will fly further than the drones and mate with some other drones anyway.

    >Questions: Would preventing the flying of NON-resistant drones help speed up the creation of a resistant feral population?

    I have never found preventing drones from flying to be a practical way to do anything. They will clog up the excluder with dead drones very quickly. Why not requeen if you don't like those genetics?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,172

    Default Re: Would drone confinement help?

    A way to significantly reduce the odds of your drones mating is to eliminate them.

    Place an empty frame in the brood nest - no foundation at all. The bees will fill it with drone comb. When it is capped, cut it out, into a pail, and then return it to the hive for refill. Feed the drones to chickens or pigs. Repeat every 10-14 days.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    767

    Default Re: Would drone confinement help?

    MB: "If you block the drones you block the queens..."
    I don't have drones in my mating NUCs with the virgin queens. The drones are in my production colonies and I want to prevent them from passing on their inferior genes.
    MB: "I wouldn't worry about it. Odds are good that the queen will fly further than the drones and mate with some other drones anyway."
    The odds are that the drones and queens will fly to the nearest DCA and get on with it. Do you have a reference to any research that indicates otherwise?
    MB: "I have never found preventing drones from flying ..."
    Preventing the drones from leaving the hive will certainly prevent them from mating with my queens or any local feral queens.

    Adrian: I'm not interested in wasting time/resources managing the mite load in hives that I will allow to die anyway. But, I will use the resources to start new hives with varroa resistant traits.

    Thanks for your replies!
    Triangle Bees

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee, USA.
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: Would drone confinement help?

    There are several breeding books that talk on how the queens will fly farther than the drones to avoid inbreeding.

    This is why drone colonies are placed away from the yard which contains the unmated queens. I have two drone yards for my queens each a little under 3/4 of a mile away

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,379

    Default Re: Would drone confinement help?

    >The odds are that the drones and queens will fly to the nearest DCA and get on with it. Do you have a reference to any research that indicates otherwise?


    Drone abundance, queen flight distance, and the neutral mating model for the honey bee, Apis mellifera. --Taylor, O. R., Jr.; Rowell, G. A.

    http://cabdirect.org/abstracts/19890...99E7B5DCD12C78

    "The results showed that the distribution of queen flight distances differed from the distribution of drone flight distances, with queens flying further than the peak in abundance of drones from their own colony. Where colonies with virgin queens occurred <1600 m from 2 or more other colonies, the queens mated predominantly with drones from these sources rather than drones from their own colonies."
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7

    Default Re: Would drone confinement help?

    Quote Originally Posted by db_land View Post
    So I wanted to maximize the odds that the resulting virgins would open mate (I have no AI capabilities) with the feral resistant drones. Would preventing the flying of NON-resistant drones help speed up the creation of a resistant feral population? Is this something we could ask the treatment beekeepers and perhaps the commercial beekeepers to do? Would a coordinated program (involving the release of resistant drones and the confinement of not-resistant drones) implemented nationwide for one are two breeding seasons fix the varroa problem?
    If we consider how difficult it seems to be, for an average beekeeper, to raise queens, something like what you mentioned, a large scale drone production would be a good idea. We could even make more breeding progress, by just concentrating in raising drones. Those beekeepers, who can raise queens, they would do it, of course, but the rest, they would just raise drones. A lot, from their best hives. Using excluder to prevent poor drones: there might be some idea, but considering how laborious and unnatural it is, I would forget about it.

    The power of haploid drones is very much under valuated in bee breeding. In selecting queens and hives, we make hell of a lot mistakes, because we only see the phenotype. With drones, by the fact that only one set of chromosomes is present, there is much harder and more precise selection taken place.
    Last edited by Juhani Lunden; 12-20-2013 at 10:40 AM.
    Treatment free, honey production, isolation mated queens, www.saunalahti.fi/lunden/varroakertomus.html

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    767

    Default Re: Would drone confinement help?

    Thanks Michael and Kamon for the info re queen and drone flying distances for mating. I am new to queen rearing. In the Kansas plains study the mating NUCS and drone donor hives were arranged in a straight line in wide open spaces ... I don't question the conclusions drawn in that experiment. In Joe Horner's system (reference below) his 12 drone donor hives are within a "stones throw" of the target mating NUCs. But in his case his operation is in a valley and sometimes the entire valley becomes the DCA. Seems to me, the distance and direction flown by both queens and drones depends on several conditions such as landscape layout, time of day, weather (like temp, wind, etc).

    Reference: ABJ, volume 153 no. 8, August 2013 "The Buzz Down Under Part VI Joe Horner's Closed Mating Season by William Blomstedt.

    Juhani: In my particular case the good drones (naturally mite resistant genetics) comprise the surrounding feral population; the non-resistant drones are in my hives and the hives of other beekeepers in the area. My hypothesis is that if I confine my drones and can get my fellow beeks to confine their drones during the few days that my virgin queens will be flying to mate, the mating will be most likely to occur with the resistant feral drones --- effectively transmiting the natural varroa mite/virus resistant genetics into my operation.

    Ergo: If thousands of mite resistant drone colonies were strategically located throughout beekeeping areas of Finland during the peak weeks of mating season and all other drones confined/eliminated during this same period, the resistant genetics would dominate. Do this for 2 or 3 seasons and all varroa mite treatment could likely be stopped.

    Thanks
    Triangle Bees

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    salisbury, wiltshire, united kingdom
    Posts
    70

    Default Re: Would drone confinement help?

    Juhani: In my particular case the good drones (naturally mite resistant genetics) comprise the surrounding feral population; the non-resistant drones are in my hives and the hives of other beekeepers in the area. My hypothesis is that if I confine my drones and can get my fellow beeks to confine their drones during the few days that my virgin queens will be flying to mate, the mating will be most likely to occur with the resistant feral drones --- effectively transmiting the natural varroa mite/virus resistant genetics into my operation.

    DB and Juhani
    I do not know what its like in your respective countries but the chances of getting that degree of co-operation between beekeepers in the uk is very slim, I know some queen breeders that have queens of a certain line that want to maintain that line actually give quens free to their neighbours to try and maintain the genetics in a given area but the uk is very small compared to the US

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    767

    Default Re: Would drone confinement help?

    beebreeder: I know most (if not all) of the beekeepers within a 5 mile radius of my apiaries. None of them are commercial or even large sideliners; some are more like "bee havers"; I think all are concerned about the welfare of bees. A program whereby a coordinated effort is made to confine/eliminate our non-resistant hive drones while flooding the area with a diversified mix of varroa mite resistant drones during a limited time period (1 or 2 weeks?) when genetically mite resistant virgin queens are released for mating would be feasible --- especially if such a program was offered/promoted by reputable scientist and breeders. For example, one approach might be for breeders to supply each beekeeper in a limited/defined area with a 3 lb package of resistant drones and 2 or 2 resistant virgin queens ready for mating. The beekeepers would provide the queenless mating NUCs and coordinate the confinement/release based on local conditions. Once established, I think the resistant genetics would take over an area quickly and possibly snowball into adjacent areas.

    Do you think any queen breeders could be talked into trying something like this?
    Triangle Bees

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    salisbury, wiltshire, united kingdom
    Posts
    70

    Default Re: Would drone confinement help?

    We have such a project in the UK, its being done slightly differently but with the same aim, I know Ron well and he spends countless hours in this project, have a look at this website to see what he is up to http://www.swindonhoneybeeconservati...bout%20Us.html

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    482

    Default Re: Would drone confinement help?

    Quote Originally Posted by beebreeder View Post
    My hypothesis is that if I confine my drones and can get my fellow beeks to confine their drones during the few days that my virgin queens will be flying to mate, the mating will be most likely to occur with the resistant feral drones
    That would work just fine, if drones stayed with the same hive, but, they dont. They drift from hive to hive. If your drones have been flying for a week or two, there is just as much chance you will be trapping the feral drones in your hive, and the bad ones, will be happily flying from the feral hives. I read an interesting paper, where drones in 4 colonies were all marked, each colony with a different color. After a week, open it up and see what color drones were in which hives, and it was pretty much an even mix.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    salisbury, wiltshire, united kingdom
    Posts
    70

    Default Re: Would drone confinement help?

    I have done that myself, apiary only had eight colonies in it, on inspection I pulled the drone comb in one on emergence day and marked drones green as they emerged, the following week every colony had green drones in it so yes i agree drone drifting is a problem

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    767

    Default Re: Would drone confinement help?

    I agree about the drone drifting problem. I would need to somehow trap/prevent the non-resistant drones from ever leaving their hive and also stimulate more drone rearing in the resistant hives. This could get labor intensive unless there's some kind of drone trap device external to the hive that traps the drone on it's 1st attempt to leave the hive).

    beebreeder: Thanks for the Swindon Honeybee Conservation Group link. They are clearly succeeding with this concept and it sounds like they have already made substantial progress. Implemented on a large scale, the spread of varroa resistant genetics would occur rapidly. I would be worried about genetic diversity in the Swindon project case -- maybe some of the large queen breeders could help with that.
    Triangle Bees

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    salisbury, wiltshire, united kingdom
    Posts
    70

    Default Re: Would drone confinement help?

    The trouble with trying to trap in drones in any strong colony is that when they have the instinct to fly they just all pile out together and can block the hive entrance, here because they are not very resiliant they just die trying to get out, we had this happen on an association colony that had a pollen trap on and the drones just could not escape, the colony nearly melted down with the lack of airflow due to the blocked entance

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,379

    Default Re: Would drone confinement help?

    Back in Henry Alley's day they had a drone trap that had an excluder on the front (that kept them from leaving) and a "trap" area above the exit that they would go up into trying to get out and they would get trapped there. The current entrance guards for sale do not seem to have that chamber to trap them. My experience is the same as beebreeder's. They just clog the excluder that is on the entrance. You can give them a bit more room by putting the excluder on the bottom (and, of course, one above the brood nest) but they still clog up and have to be cleaned out almost every day.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  17. #17

    Default Re: Would drone confinement help?

    Quote Originally Posted by beebreeder View Post
    The trouble with trying to trap in drones in any strong colony is that when they have the instinct to fly they just all pile out together and can block the hive entrance, here because they are not very resiliant they just die trying to get out, we had this happen on an association colony that had a pollen trap on and the drones just could not escape, the colony nearly melted down with the lack of airflow due to the blocked entance
    Aren´t you using Dartmoor station?
    Treatment free, honey production, isolation mated queens, www.saunalahti.fi/lunden/varroakertomus.html

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    767

    Default Re: Would drone confinement help?

    So I would need to invent a drone trap that is external to the hive and that captures the drones as they exit the hive in such a way as to not block the hive entrance/exit. I assume most queen breeders (who are trying to achieve pure queens and/or queens with specific genetic traits) use II and/or isolated (from unwanted drones) mating apiaries and/or flooding the mating apiary location with their desired drones and/or some combination(s) of all of these approaches? Do breeders sometimes share/use the same isolated mating apiaries? Thanks
    Triangle Bees

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,379

    Default Re: Would drone confinement help?

    I would only keep queens I would want to mate from. Then you don't have to worry about it.

    Here are some pictures of the real deal:
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...Queen-Bee-Trap
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  20. #20

    Default Re: Would drone confinement help?

    Quote Originally Posted by db_land View Post
    Do breeders sometimes share/use the same isolated mating apiaries? Thanks
    In Europe there all dozens of mating stations, which are used by various race clubs and associations. For instance in the Baltic see, near the south coast, there are lots of islands, couple miles from the continent used for this purpose. To use such a mating station together with other beekeepers, is a very good idea. Doing it alone (as I) is quite expensive and requires a lot of work per queen.
    Treatment free, honey production, isolation mated queens, www.saunalahti.fi/lunden/varroakertomus.html

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads