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  1. #1
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    Default keeping new queen from mating w/ siblings... overkill?

    I plan to raise some queens in 2014. To prevent the queens from mating with sibling drones I was thinking of bringing my mating nuc to a yard about 4-5 miles away from mom and brothers and sisters. Is this practically speaking unnecessary?

    Phil

  2. #2
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    Campbell River, BC, CA
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    Default Re: keeping new queen from mating w/ siblings... overkill?

    I have wondered about this same question, but dont have the option of moving things to another location. We plan to try raise one round of queens, I know of at least two other folks keeping bees within a few miles (as crow flies, much longer drive) of our spot. We have 10 colonies, 7 of which share the same paternal great great grandmother, and one of those will be the mother hive for our queen round. 3 of our colonies are from a totally different line, queens from a different source.

    My wondering is, at what point do I have to get concerned about the potential for inbreeding ?

  3. #3
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: keeping new queen from mating w/ siblings... overkill?

    "Is this practically speaking unnecessary?" Pretty much.

    "My wondering is, at what point do I have to get concerned about the potential for inbreeding ?" Virtually never.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  4. #4
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    Default Re: keeping new queen from mating w/ siblings... overkill?

    Quote Originally Posted by grozzie2 View Post
    We have 10 colonies, 7 of which share the same paternal great great grandmother, and one of those will be the mother hive for our queen round. 3 of our colonies are from a totally different line, queens from a different source.

    My wondering is, at what point do I have to get concerned about the potential for inbreeding ?
    Let's see, sharing the same maternal or parternal great great grandmother. Grozzie, my head is hurting now.

  5. #5
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    Apr 2010
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    Tipton, TN, USA
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    784

    Default Re: keeping new queen from mating w/ siblings... overkill?

    The queens are suppose to fly 2+ miles away to dca (drone congregation areas). According the books they fly low to avoid local drones, but I have no idea if that is true.
    Solo for the last 4 Years, ~60 Hives, TF + Oils.
    http://tradingwebsites4bees.com

  6. #6
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    Jun 2011
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    Campbell River, BC, CA
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    Default Re: keeping new queen from mating w/ siblings... overkill?

    Quote Originally Posted by philip.devos View Post
    Let's see, sharing the same maternal or parternal great great grandmother. Grozzie, my head is hurting now.
    hehe. One original queen. Splits and swarms over 3 years, we now have 7 hives that trace back to her. Dont ask me where the papa side of the equations came from, I have no clue, and dont really care either.

    good to know that others agree, worrying about inbreeding is probably overthinking the whole issue.

  7. #7
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    Apr 2012
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    Gainesboro, Tennessee, USA.
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    Default Re: keeping new queen from mating w/ siblings... overkill?

    Raising a few dozensor more won't matter that much. Yes you can inbreed. But not at that small of a level. When you start talking several hundreds to thousands and start having to use drone colonies to mate all the queens then that's where you have to watch it.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: keeping new queen from mating w/ siblings... overkill?

    Quote Originally Posted by grozzie2 View Post
    hehe. One original queen. Splits and swarms over 3 years, we now have 7 hives that trace back to her. Dont ask me where the papa side of the equations came from, I have no clue, and dont really care either.

    good to know that others agree, worrying about inbreeding is probably overthinking the whole issue.
    Thanks grozzie, and all others that have responded.

  9. #9
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    Jul 2012
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    Jackson, MO
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    Default Re: keeping new queen from mating w/ siblings... overkill?

    All my queens go out and mate with the feral drones that hang out in the woods nearby.

  10. #10
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: keeping new queen from mating w/ siblings... overkill?

    >Is this practically speaking unnecessary?

    Yes. The queen might fly that far anyway, but the drones probably won't... you may even get the opposite effect you want...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
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    Nov 2013
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    Mt Juliet TN USA
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    Default Re: keeping new queen from mating w/ siblings... overkill?

    I have wondered about how anybody knows where the queen goes to mate. I was at a bee seminar Saturday and one of the speakers said the queen goes two miles to mate so he puts drone colonies about that far from his mating yards. and all that may be true but how does anyone know and how does the queen know when she leaves the hive to mate which way to go to find drones?

  12. #12
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    Sep 2010
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    Auburn, Washington, USA
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    Default Re: keeping new queen from mating w/ siblings... overkill?

    I suppose I will stir up the discussion. Have you folks seen "more than honey", the scene from carnica production, where the queen must have been mating about 50 yards from the mating nuc with 500 drones in her following?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjjqW_z1z4w at 30:29.

  13. #13
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default Re: keeping new queen from mating w/ siblings... overkill?

    You must remember sex allele incompatibility too. It helps prevent inbreeding somewhat as if she is inbred too much, she won't be very viable to begin with. Aram, I've always wondered the same thing.... Drones around hives where virgins are is common, and I assumed as soon as she comes out she's fair game and any drones in the area that spot her would be off to the races....

  14. #14
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    Default Re: keeping new queen from mating w/ siblings... overkill?

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    I've always wondered the same thing.... Drones around hives where virgins are is common, and I assumed as soon as she comes out she's fair game and any drones in the area that spot her would be off to the races....
    In isolated mating apiaries it quite common to see AVM.

  15. #15
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    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
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    Default Re: keeping new queen from mating w/ siblings... overkill?

    A study has shown that a DCA will have in it drones from every apiary that is in flying distance of it. This would mean that for a queen to mate with only related drones there would be no other un-related colonies within 2 or 3 miles of the DCAs she is able to reach. This would be vary unusual in nature.
    37 years - 25 colonies - IPM disciple - naturally skeptic

  16. #16
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    Jackson, MO
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    Default Re: keeping new queen from mating w/ siblings... overkill?

    So there have been witnesses to a "drone collection area", the majical place where the drones hang out? Is it a limb on a tree where they all hang out? Or, when a virgin queen flies out, does the phermone she secretes act as an attractant and all drones in the area, down wind, swarm to her?

    I googled it and came up with zip.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: keeping new queen from mating w/ siblings... overkill?

    Drone Congregation Areas are areas often several hundred yards in diameter that the drone fly to and orbit while they wait for a virgin queen to arrive. The virgins are not usually mated until they fly into the Areas, though there are reports of their being mated on the paths between DCAs. The Areas are in the same locations from year to year, usually they are on the protected south slope of hills, over open areas in forested country or at the intersections of forested fence lines, to name a few terrain types. I believe no one is sure why the drones select these areas.

    The virgins probably follow pheromone trails left by the drones as they go to the DCAs instead of the males following the virgins to them. DCAs have been located from 50m to 500m from apiary sites so the queens have many chances to mate. I personally believe the queens will not pass a DCA to fly miles to mate, I think if the DCA has many drones in it she will mate. Mating flights are dangerous for virgins, why would she take unnecessary chances.

    There are some videos on the web showing the use of tethered queens suspended from balloons. Search Honeybee Queen mating.
    37 years - 25 colonies - IPM disciple - naturally skeptic

  18. #18
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    Default Re: keeping new queen from mating w/ siblings... overkill?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdmidwest View Post
    So there have been witnesses to a "drone collection area", the majical place where the drones hang out?
    I googled it and came up with zip.

    Drone congregation areas


    ‘There is a natural occurrence to be met with upon the highest part of our down on hot summer days, which always amuses me much, without giving me any satisfaction with respect to the cause of it; & that is a loud audible humming of bees in the air, tho’ not one insect is to be seen. This sound is to be heard distinctly the whole common through, from the Moneydells, to Mr White’s avenue-gate. Any person would suppose that a large swarm of bees was in motion, & playing about over his head. This noise was heard last week on June 28th.’

    Gilbert White, ‘A Natural History of Selborne’

    The above writing is believed to be the earliest known reference to what we now call a drone congregation area. (DCA)

    Although a lot of research has been carried out into drone behaviour in DCAs, no one has yet satisfactorily explained why the DCAs occur in certain places, and even more mystifying, why they persist in the same places year after year. (The DCA referred to by Gilbert White is still in use today.

    Virtually all drones die in the previous autumn, so how do the new drones know where to go? Light distribution and the contour of the horizon seem to play a part in choosing a site Pechhacker 1994) and Zmarlicki and Morse determined that most DCAs seem to be located over an open area of land of about a hectare, protected from strong winds .Obstructions such as high buildings and tall trees are avoided, but not all open spaces are used. The flyways connecting the DCAs tend to follow lines of trees or hedges, etc . There may be several DCAs adjacent to each other. One study showed that a 10 sq k. area next to an commercial apiary contained at least 26 DCAs and 18km of flyways. Based on radar images a DCA was defined as an area approx. 100m in diameter, where the drones fly at a mean height of 25m-it depends on wind velocity. The stronger the wind, the lower the drones fly.

    POETRY BREAK

    The night is still young and our drinks are yet long,
    The fire's burning bright and here brave is the throng,
    So now I will sing you a sooth little song
    Of the busy brown bee - with a ding and a dong.

    —J. R. R. Tolkien, Natura Apis (A drinking song)

    Many drones seem to stay faithful to one DCA, but may visit another in the same general direction. Two to three miles seems to be an average distance for a drone to fly, but they have been known to travel up to 5 miles. For a queen rearer wanting pure matings from a mating apiary, it seems that this is the minimum distance there must be from any other hives, or else a physical barrier of 500m or more must be present. The parentage of a sample of drones was tested in Germany in 1998, and the conclusion reached was that all the colonies in the area seemed to send roughly the same proportion of delegates to the meeting, thus minimising the chances of inbreeding. (C.Collinson, Bee Culture, Sep. 2008) Because mating takes place in flight, it is difficult to observe.

    Modern technology such as radar, combined with the technique of tethering a virgin queen to a moving line, has shown drones detecting a virgin forming a long comet- shaped tail behind her. Recent studies have shown that the drones find the virgin primarily by smell. One of the components of queen substance, called 9-ODA, attracts drones during mating flights. (Apis UK, July 2008). However, it has also been noticed that drones will momentarily chase anything that moves, butterflies, dragonflies or a thrown stone, so presumably eyesight plays a part as well.

    Drones have to be very fit and well developed to mate with a queen. In addition to the excellent flying power needed to catch the queen, they must have ample supplies of spermatazoa, as only a fraction of each ejaculate will migrate to the queen’s spermatheca. (Woyke and Jasinski, 1973) In a series of studies made by Duay et al, in 2002, it was shown that the effects of parasitism by Varroa destructor in the larval stage, could seriously affect the drones ability to mate. A significant reduction in drone body weight resulted from invasion by only one female varroa mite, and two or more mites reduced drone life expectancy so much that sexual maturity was seldom reached. Varroa parasitism by only one mite hardly affected flying power but sperm production was reduced by 24%. In those drones that survived, two female mites invasion resulted in greatly reduced flying power and a sperm reduction of 45%. Other interesting facts to emerge are;

    1. Drones like it hot. Flying to a DCA and gathering enough drones to form a comet only occurs at 18C or above.
    2. They are very good time keepers, generally flying between 2.00pm and 6.00pm This varies according to the weather.
    3. Drones returning to the apiary outside these times were not interested in a queen.
    4. Maximum flight height in flyways is 21m, but in DCAs it can reach 50m.
    5. Drones can make several trips to a DCA in an afternoon, returning to the hive to refuel when necessary. Each mating flight lasts about 30 mins.
    6. The number of drones in a DCA can vary enormously, from hundreds to thousands.
    7. Usually, 7 to 11 drones will mate with a queen. About 90 million sperm will be deposited in her oviducts, and a mixture of about 7 million of them will be stored in her spermatheca

    Mating

    The actual process of mating has now been documented quite thoroughly. drone mounts a queen and inserts his endophallus and ejaculates his semen. During ejaculation he falls backwards and his endophallus is torn from his body, remaining in the queen. Any subsequent males mating with the queen dislodge the previous drones endophallus and leave their own in its place. The drones die quickly with their abdomens ruptured in this fashion. The queen returns to her hive still carrying the endophallus of the last male to mate with her. Beekeepers call this the ‘mating sign’ It will be removed by the nurse bees. The process is described very clearly in ‘The Biology of the Honeybee’ by Mark Winston.

    The Down-and-Out.

    Once the mating season is over, the ‘raison d’etre’ of the drones is gone. Only in queenless or very well provisioned colonies will some be allowed to overwinter in the hive. There is no sentimentality in nature, and drones with no function to perform are simply a drain on valuable resources, ie honey stores. In the autumn they are refused entry to the hive, or have their wings bitten and are forcibly ejected, to die of cold and starvation.

    BIBLIOGRPHY

    ‘Bees, Biology and Management’ by Peter G. Kevan.

    ‘The Biology of the Honeybee’ by Mark L. Winston.

    ‘Anatomy and Dissection of the Honeybee’ by H. A.Dade.

    ‘Bee Genetics and Breeding’ edited by Thomas Rinderer

    ‘Drone Congregation Areas’ by C. Collison. (Bee Culture, Sep 2008)

    ‘Beekeeping’ by Kim Flottum.

    ‘Pheromones of the Social bees’ by John Free.

    ‘The Honey Bees of the British Isles’ by Beowolf Cooper.



    And why is understanding of drone behaviour so important? Understanding drones may well be the key to controlling varroa. Drones range over a 5 mile radius. Workers range over a 3 mile radius. Drones are tolerated , even welcomed in strange hives. Worker bees are prevented from entering starange hives unless they have a full load of honey. For the varroa mite to spread it needs to defferentially lay in drone cells . This behaviour has evolved within the primary host/parastite, that of apis cerana/Varroa destructor. Those who keep the Honey Bee, Apis melifera, have long noticed the preference for varroa to lay in drone cells. This has lead to the destruction of drone cells becoming an indicator of varroa infestation . Stimulation of the queen to lay whole frames of drones which are then destroyed is now a regular part of Integrated Pest Management IPM.
    __________________

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Lipik, Croatia
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    61

    Default Re: keeping new queen from mating w/ siblings... overkill?

    I read once that they found drones I think was mentioned 80 km from original hive ( moving from apiary to apiary without "returning")..

  20. #20
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    Jul 2011
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    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
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    Default Re: keeping new queen from mating w/ siblings... overkill?

    beekuk - fascinating stuff. Thanks!

    One of the most critical factoids is worth noting again:

    Varroa parasitism by only one mite hardly affected flying power but sperm production was reduced by 24%. In those drones that survived, two female mites invasion resulted in greatly reduced flying power and a sperm reduction of 45%.

    The above, plus the common knowledge that varroa mites prefer to parasatize drone larvae is very scary indeed.
    --shinbone
    (3rd year, 12 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)

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