Keith Delaplane on queen rearing:
from:Recently, he's been exploring commercial honeybee breeding practices and has uncovered evidence that he hopes will take bee breeding in an entirely new direction. Breeders have been trying with limited success to select specific traits such as honey production or resistance to the Varroa mite - suspect No. 1 in colony collapse disorder. But that's the opposite way to go with bee colonies, which are what scientists call a "superorganism," Delaplane explained.
The hive's honey is like fat, a stored-up food supply; the bees' group decision-making is like the brain; and beeswax is like the liver of a single animal. The unit of natural selection with bees is the hive, not the individual, and hives strive for genetic diversity, he said. When Delaplane experimented by introducing more genetic diversity into hives instead of trying to narrow it, he found that everything improved - resistance, honey production and general hive health.
"I think we're barking up the wrong tree," he said. "You can't do it like other animals. The colony resists genetic narrowing."
"Bee researcher inducted into British order"