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USA Paralysis – Vicious Bee Breeding Historical Background

Quarterly Reports


USDA Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine,
Division of Bee Culture
Madison, Wisconsin
Period: Jul 1 – Sep 30, 1942

An unusually vicious temper was observed in only a few of the hybrid groups which reached its highest level in a few colonies of Group GxHxS.

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USDA Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine,
Division of Bee Culture
Madison, Wisconsin
Period: Apr 1 – Jun 30, 1945

Page #2. Two groups of resistant queens proved to be so vicious that it is almost impossible to handle them in full-strength colonies. Queens of this stock crossed with Caucasian drones produced workers of satisfactory disposition.

Page #17. Work Project t-1-5. Management of Bees for the Production of Bee Products. Groups Ma, Ra, and K deserve special mention. The Ma queens produced bees so vicious that it is almost impossible to handle them in full-strength colonies. The level of brood production from these queens is so low that it is unlikely this stock will prove practical for production. The Ra group contains representative colonies equally vicious as the Ma but on the whole they are somewhat easier to handle. Colonies headed by K queens, which are sisters of the Ra, show desirable characteristics, both in behavior and expected production. We are convinced that unless resistance can be retained upon top crossing with a gentler strain of bees, the present resistant lines will be unacceptable by and dangerous to the beekeeping industry. Large apiaries of bees as vicious as the two lines in question are almost certain to cause unsuitable relations between beekeepers and people of the community in which they operate. Future plans for the selection and breeding for resistance must take these factors into consideration. From an experimental standpoint it would be worthwhile to raise queens from one of the better yet more vicious Ma queens to be top crossed with drones from gentler stock, both for the purpose of testing their resistant character and temper.

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USDA Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine,
Division of Bee Culture
Madison, Wisconsin
Period: Jul 1 – Sep 30, 1945

Page #8. Lines S-36, Hr, and Ra appear superior in production. Lines F, Fa, and K show high production and are considered to have characteristics desired in good stock. Lines G-Ga and H-Ha showed a marked tendency for swarming, and this lowered their average production. Some attempted swarming and some actual loss of swarms occurred in all stock groups. Consequently, some of the better colonies were handicapped at some period during the flow whereas some of the retarded colonies had an advantage because of more storage space in proportion to their population. this situation will prevent a strict analysis of differences in the productive capacity of the several stock lines. This year’s tests indicate that artificially inseminated queens are as dependable as those naturally mated. We should, therefore, plan to use as many artificially mated queens as possible in future tests. Other noticeable stock differences were evident. The Hr group was exceptionally slow in sealing honey and used excessive burr comb. Several colonies in the H and Ha groups cut some of their brood combs down to the midrib without building them. The vicious temper of the Ma and Ra groups was almost intolerable. However, these lines built practically no burr comb and sealed their honey sooner than any of the others.

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USDA Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine,
Division of Bee Culture
Madison, Wisconsin
Period: Jul 1 – Sep 30, 1948

Page #18. The 123 queens were less prolific than the other lines tested. The bees were cross and production was low. It had many of the characteristics of the RA 3-way resistant stock of the same component lines tested in 1945 that showed good average production but extreme viciousness. This hybrid line has few desirable characteristics to offer. (Note: Ref (W39xW64)x(A18)

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USDA Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine,
Division of Bee Culture
Madison, Wisconsin
Period: Apr 1 – Jun 30, 1949

ABSTRACT: W.C. Roberts has been at Kelleys Island since April 5 making preparations for the queen-rearing project this year. Stephen Taber and William N. Edwards are carrying on the work this summer.

Page #2. Progress and Status of Work. W.C. Roberts has been stationed at Kelleys Island since April 5 making preparations for the queen-rearing project this year. A 20′ x 40′ x 8′ portable insulated steel building has recently been erected in one of the queen-rearing yards. The portable steel grafting house erected last summer was moved to this location. Mr. Roberts returned to Madison June 25 to carry on his work in bee breeding. Stephen Taber and his assistant William N. Edwards have taken over the queen-rearing work on the Island this summer.

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USDA Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine,
Division of Bee Culture
Madison, Wisconsin
Period: Jul 1 – Sep 30, 1949

ABSTRACT: At the start of the season the bees on Kelleys Island were in excellent condition. However, there was little nectar available throughout the summer, handicapping the production of queens severely. Approximately 1,500 queens were produced and distributed for testing. Large quantities of sugar syrup will need to be fed to insure satisfactory wintering of the colonies. More cases of paralysis were observed this summer than during any previous year. With one exception, all colonies suffering from paralysis were headed by (S-10 x W39)x(A18 x 16-3) queens, which suggests a stock weakness.

Page #2 Progress and Status of Work. “Kelleys Island Queen Production Project” A 20′ x 40′ portable insulated steel building was erected late in June to facilitate the project. The bees were in excellent condition at the start of the season. Queen rearing go off to a good start. However, except for a brief honey flow from sumac, there was little nectar available throughout the summer, which handicapped the production of queens severely. Very little rain fell during June, July, and August. Robbing bees were serious throughout the summer but special cages for putting over colonies while they were being worked were of some help. The production schedule fell below planned estimates. Approximately 1,500 queens were produced and distributed for testing. Honey reserves are too low for satisfactory wintering, which will make it necessary to feed a large quantity of sugar syrup before the 1st of November.

Page #4. “Paralysis” (Floyd Moeller) Paralysis became so severe in one colony in the Slotten yard that the colony was of no value. The condition was first noted June 3. After adding a quantity of brood from a triple nuc on June 20, the colony made some improvement but due to queen trouble, the colony was finally disposed of. Two other colonies in the same yard later developed paralysis, which was never severe, and recovered. In July two more colonies in this yard developed bad cases of paralysis. Both of these are very severe at this time. Two cases of paralysis appeared in early August in the Primrose yard – one is severe and the other mile, but both persist as of this date. A further observation was made to the effect that all five of the colonies severely infected with paralysis were of the stock line (S-10 x W39) x (A18 x 16-3). The two colonies that showed light infection and then recovered were of the line (Cau. x B149 x E-182 x Sh) None of the (S-10 x W39) x (A18 x 16-3) cases has recovered. This would seem to indicate some degree of resistance and susceptibility to the disease among the lines of stock. The means of spread is not well understood, but may be in large part by crawling bees. It has to this time been restricted to the two yards – Slotten and Primrose.

Page #6. Work Project I-g-2. Bee Management Investigations. I-g-2-5. Stock selection and inbreeding. (W.C. Roberts) The production phase of the Kelleys Island project was assigned to Stephen Taber and two assistants in late June. Thus the work of production and maintenance in inbred lines of bees could be renewed at Madison. Established lines were inbred for another generation and new lines were started from some of the outstanding hybrid crosses. Pedigrees of the nine lines (which we will winter this year) are shown in the diagrams. These pedigrees give a history of the lines for the last 4 years and show the matings made each year.

Page #15. Some of the principal distinguishing characteristics of the lines under test are given below. Detailed study of the season’s data has not been made at this time. The Kelleys Island line (S-10 x Cau) x (A-18 x 16-3) has bees of gentle disposition, seal their honey white to the bottom bar, and do not produce bur or brace comb even when heavily crowded. The top producing colonies in three of the four yards were of this line. In the other yard, the top producing colony produced only 5 pounds less than the highest yielding colony. In some colonies the tendency to propolize the entrance was shown, but not to excess. From the standpoint of handling characteristics and honey production, this is the best of the 1949 series. Some of the queens were lost due to an unexplained rather abrupt cessation of egg laying at various times of the season, which necessitated replacement of those queens.

The Kelleys Island line (S-10 x W-39) x (A-18 x 16-3) has some temper and is of a rather nervous temperament, probably due to the W-39 influence. The bees tend to build bur and brace comb, often to excess. These colonies produced crops well in the upper range, indicating superior performance of the queens. Five of the colonies of this line were the only ones to come down with paralysis and seem unable to recover, at least at present. This would indicate unusual susceptibility to this disorder.

The Kelleys Island line (S-10 x W-39 x Cau.) x (A-18 x 16-3) shows nervous “runny” tendencies, probably also due to the W-39 influence. The honey is well sealed and white capped. The tendency to build bur comb is not present, and they do not build much brace comb. Queens are large and prolific. Production is superior, except in the Slotten yard where only two queens are represented.

The Kelleys Island line (D182 x B149 x Cau.) x (A-18 x 16-3) is of mild disposition, does not build much bur or brace comb, and seals honey well. Production from this line is also superior. All four lines of queens from Kelleys Island were introduced in the fall and overwintered in the colonies to be tested.

The commercial line S-229 x Sh was average or below average in production. The queens were not as large as most Short stock but were of good conformation and quite uniform. The bees showed some temper. Line 50 x Sh had large light colored queens of remarkable uniformity with bees of some slight temper. Honey was not sealed as well as some of the other lines. Production was average or slightly below. The 51 x Sh line was one of the better Short crosses as far as temperament is concerned. Production was good. The 53 x Sh cross produced bees of mild disposition with a tendency to propolize the hive entrance heavily. (Caucasian characteristic) Production was average or above. The queens were darker in color than the other Short hybrids and somewhat smaller than the 50 x Sh queens.

The 1 x Sh hybrids showed bees of some slight temper. The tendency to build bur comb was notably absent. Entrances to some of the colonies were heavily propolized. Production was average or slightly above. The 3 x Sh cross produced bees with some nervousness, but not excessive temper. The bees built bur comb freely even when not crowded, but this characteristic was not clearly defined among all the test queens of the line. Production was well above average. Sister queens mated to Harrell drones (3 x Hr) produced gentle bees. Again the tendency to build bur comb was present. Production, however, in this cross was not outstanding. 5 x Hr and Hr x Hr queens were not outstanding, and produced average or below average crops.

The 111 and 112 lines were tested last year, and the queens representing these lines were in their second year. Production for both lines was well above average. The 112 x Sh hybrids produced bees with some temper. Production was good. Some of the colonies had a tendency to propolize the entrance. Queens of this line were of very good size and conformation and produced excellent quality brood. All of the colonies are being prepared for overwintering and necessary weight adjustments made to insure adequate winter stores. The four remaining cases of paralysis are being kept under observation, and, if their condition does not improve, they will have to be disposed of rather than to attempt wintering them. Test queens reared on Kelleys Island will be introduced this fall to the colonies they are to head next season.

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USDA Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine,
Division of Bee Culture
Madison, Wisconsin
Period: Oct 1 – Dec 31, 1949

ABSTRACT: Five colonies headed by (S-10 x W39) x (A18 x 16-3) queens still showed paralysis late in October, although of much less severity, and the colonies are being overwintered. A sample from one of these colonies is being observed for longevity study.

“Paralysis”

Paralysis in colonies headed by (S-10 x W39) x (A18 x 16-3) queens referred to in the Third Quarterly Report (Plus one additional colony developing late in the Zweifel yard) persisted late in October. Colony conditions appeared to have improved and the colonies are being overwintered. Only 62 queens were shipped during the 4 week period between August 15 to September 12. The reasons for this are many and interlocking, but, in general, our failure to control or prevent robbing during the dearth of honey flow in August and September is perhaps the most important.

We again experienced a shortage of drones in August, but this was remedied with only a short period of no matings in contrast with the 4-weeks’ period of 1948 in which drones were exceedingly scarce. Plans are being made to distribute cell building and drone colonies in several small yards instead of one yard. The number of stock colonies on the Island will be reduced next year to lower the population of bees on the Island so that competition for floral plants will not be so great. Any suggestions on methods to prevent or control robbing will be appreciated as we consider that our number one problem.

The exceedingly hot weather in July and August (Maximum 102′) on several occasions caused poor acceptance of cells in the swarm boxes, but this was not as serious as the sudden complete robbing out of finishing colonies that occurred several times. These factors reduced the number of cells available to put out but an epidemic of absconding in the mating yard (probably due to nucs being robbed out) during the last half of august almost completely stopped the shipment of queens. This occurred at the time we expected to ship queens to the Laramie, Logan, and Columbus laboratories. The result was that Laramie received only half of its order and the other laboratories none. When things got back to near normal again, we were able to produce two-thirds the number of queens promised the Madison laboratory and then closed down queen rearing to get the colonies in condition to winter.

After taking up the nuc yard and consolidating the equipment, we were fortunate in getting a fall honey flow. Seven-hundred pounds of sugar were fed in September but robbing continued even during the very good honey flow from golden rod and aster during early October. Seventy-four colonies are being wintered on the Island and 23 on the mainland. All colonies were requeened with Island raised queens. Only 20 of these colonies have the proper queens for next season’s drones so some requeening will be necessary in March and April of 1950.

Page #8. “Stock Testing Reports” Reports on the performance of queens produced at Kelleys Island in 1948 are slow in coming in and in general very incomplete. Some cooperators gave good reports on individual colonies and supplied a comprehensive summary of general conclusions. Other cooperators just wrote a letter of regret that colony records were not taken. It is evident from the tests that the S-10 x Cauc (Red) queens were considered best by most cooperators. The other lines were in most cases inferior but in a few cases the S-10 x W39 (yellow) or S-10 x W39 x Cau (orange aluminum) queens were considered superior. In the majority of cases where the S-10 x Cau (Red) queens were best the D182 x Bur X Cau (aluminum) queens were in second position with orange aluminum and yellow following in that order.

In most cases the best Kelleys Island lines were considered superior to commercial stock in the same test yards. No general summary can be prepared at this time and a statistical analysis of the data may never be made because the records are incomplete. However, a few general impressions are indicated by a study of the records of the various tests. The S-10 x Cau (Red) line gave the best record of honey production, brood production and gentleness. The other lines were more variable and were often criticized for temper, nervousness, or slow to build up. In most cases the S-10 x W39 (yellow) was reported to be more vicious than the other lines. Some beekeepers considered this line gentler than their own stock, whereas other reported them to be very vicious.

Page #9: The records showed a general tendency for the S-10 x W39 (yellow) and the S-10 x W39 x Cau (orange aluminum) to be slow in building up in the spring. This is in general agreement with our observations of the queens in the cell builders at Kelleys Island. The cooperators who expressed a preference for the yellow or orange aluminum queens were located in areas having a honey flow that started later than in areas of cooperators who found the red or aluminum queens to be best. Although the records are only approximate, it appears that the queens that were one-half or one-fourth W39 had a tendency to reach the peak of brood rearing later than those queens having no W39. This seems to indicate that certain hybrids build up a population quicker than others. Location and time of honey flow may thus be very important in the selection of the most desirable hybrids.

It may be assumed that S-10 x Cau is a 75-day hybrid and S-10 x W39 x Cau is a 90-day hybrid. This conjecture, however, is based upon scattered observations. Cooperators often commented on the high quality or compactness of the brood from the Kelleys Island queens. Individual colonies, however, were often recorded as having spotted brood. These records occur mostly in S-10 x W39 (yellow) queens and indicate that the S-10 or W39 lines may have one sex allele that is the same as one of those in the inbred A-18 or 16-3 lines. S-10 and 16-3 were originally Short lines, while W39 and A-18 are both resistant lines and may be somewhat related or have a common sex allele.

Page #16. Due to its unusual susceptibility to paralysis, stock (S-10 x W39) x (A18 x 16-3) was hampered considerably in production. (Six colonies showed paralysis: 3 in the Slotten yard ((one lost)), 2 in Primrose, and 1 in Zweifel.) On the basis of relative yields, it ranks about eleventh among the sixteen lines tested. This line evidently is the more inferior of the four Kelleys Island crosses. Temper and nervousness is also associated with this line, probably due to the W39 breeding.

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USDA Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine,
Division of Bee Culture
Madison, Wisconsin
Period: Apr 1 – Jun 30, 1950

ABSTRACT: Fifteen cases of paralysis have been noted among test colonies. The disorder is confined to five lines of stock. One colony at the Hill Farm had American foulbrood. European foulbrood has been serious at the Sherwin and Hill Farm apiaries. European foulbrood in the queen yard has seriously affected bee breeding progress. Queens and drones from all lines have been produced so that each line will be further inbred one or two generations this season. A shortage of bees on Kelleys Island has curtailed the production of queens for distribution to cooperators. It is anticipated that the number of queens produced will be somewhat less than expectations.

Page #1 Progress and Status of Work. “Diseases” – Paralysis. It is interesting to note that the five cases of paralysis encountered last year were all of the stock line (S-10 x W39) x (A18 x 16-3) All hybrids received for 1950 tests from Kelleys Island were mated to S-10 x W39 drones. If stock has any relationship to the occurrence of paralysis, this would indicate that we can expect trouble.

Page #2. Already fifteen cases of paralysis have been noted among test colonies this year. The disorder is confined to five lines of stock at present. The (S-12 x Bur) x (S-10 x W39) line developed 6 cases of the disease among 20 colonies, 2 of which were very bad. The (A-18 x Bur) x (S10 x W39) line developed 4 cases among 18 colonies, 2 of which became severe. The (Hr x Gaf) x (S-10 x W39) stock shows paralysis in 3 colonies out of 20, one being severe. The (A-18 x Gaf) x (S-10 x W39) and (Bur x Hr) x (S-10 x W39) lines each have one case of the disease. Strangely, the (S-10 x W39) x (A18 x 16-3) colonies that had severe paralysis and recovered last year are excellent colonies this year and show no signs of the disease.

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USDA Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine,
Division of Bee Culture
Madison, Wisconsin
Period: Jul 1 – Sep 30, 1950

ABSTRACT: Page #2. Adult bee paralysis reached epidemic proportions in two yards, was severe in a third yard, and spread to all other yards before the end of August. With the exception of two colonies, the most devastating cases were confined to stocks containing at least 50 percent S10 x W39 blood lines. See Table 4.

Page #6. “Paralysis” Adult bee paralysis reached epidemic proportions in two yards, was severe in a third yard, and spread to all other yards before the end of August. With the exception of two colonies, the most devastating cases were confined to Kelleys Island stock. One Short and one Harrell colony represented severe cases. However, in these and the milder cases among commercial stocks the disease developed slowly. With Kelleys Island stock, they contained S10 x W39 either through the queen or drones.

Page #7. The first indication of paralysis usually was indicated as mild and within 5 to 7 days the majority of bees were affected. In many colonies from 1 to 3 gallons of dead bees would accumulate in front of the hive within a few weeks. In most cases queens were superseded, although in one of the worst cases brood rearing was maintained at an excessive level, yet the colony population remained static or decreased. In a few cases where infection and supersedure occurred early, the colonies appear free of paralysis.

Two of five (S10 x W39) x (A18 x 16-3) colonies overwintered showed severe infections during December 1949 that lasted until the close of brood rearing. These survived the winter in excellent condition and built up splendid populations. They did not show paralysis this year until midsummer. The cases changed from mild to severe in 4 or 5 days. In order to handle 245 queens for test next year, they were established in nuclei above main colonies. The nuclei were made irrespective of the presence of paralysis in the colonies. We intended to unite the nuclei to the colonies below early in September but further consideration of the relationship between stock and paralysis suggests the advisability of allowing the nuclei to develop new populations.

By so doing we may get some indication of differences in stock susceptibility by comparing the bees in the nucleus with those in the colony below. By delaying the uniting of the nuclei, we will accomplish two purposes – (1) a check between stock lines and paralysis and (2) possibly provide populations more capable of overwintering where paralysis was severe. Especially noted was one colony divided the first week in August to establish a young laying queen on top. The nucleus showed no symptoms of paralysis the middle of September whereas the main colony below developed a severe case.

Page #10. During August and September, queens produced at Kelleys Island for 1951 tests were introduced. The plan calls for 9 lines with 20 queens in each line. To date, all but two of the lines have been introduced. Five commercial lines were also secured for test – 20 queens from Davis, 20 queens from the American Bee Breeders Association (ABBA), 26 queens from Short, 20 queens from Rossman and Long (G42 xS10 breeding), and 20 queens from Kelley (Hr x S10 breeding), making a total of 180 Kelleys Island and 106 commercial or 286 queens in all for 1951 test. Some losses are expected but the numbers should be adequate to provide 15 to 20 queens from each line. Losses incurred at introduction or shortly after are being compensated for in part by Dr. Robert’s replacement queens of the breeding (MxE) x F, (MxE) x Naturally Mated, and (YFxD) x T. Table 2 shows the queen losses to date.

A new method of queen introduction was tried this fall. One brood chamber with an auger-hole entrance, turned to the rear was used to establish a nucleus above the inner cover with the escape hole screened. All older bees than drifted back to the old colony below, leaving younger bees above – a desirable condition for queen introduction. The Ashurst paper push-in cages were employed. They worked satisfactorily and eliminated extra work and disturbance experienced when removing the wire push-in cages. Introduction loss other than for cause was 1.6 percent. Closer observation might have explained the loss of the four queens recorded as not accepted. The majority of nuclei were made 1 to 3 days prior to caging the new queens. Seven losses resulting from virgins or queens in nuclei were due to apparent queenlessness or unobserved queen cells.(Three mother and daughter colony units were observed, two of which involved losses of queens caged.)

The greater loss of queens this year over that experienced in 1948-49 can in part be explained by the epidemic of bee paralysis and a shortage of help in manipulating colonies. In late July when extracting was begun, colony manipulation was neglected, allowing any queen cells present to mature and emerge. Colonies afflicted with paralysis invariably commenced queen cell building. This is largely responsible for the average of 36 percent of original queens surviving among the Kelleys Island stocks mated to S-10 x W39 drones, as compared to 57 percent of original queens of the commercial stocks surviving and 53 percent of queens of the Short top-crosses carried for a second-year test. Of the 25 Kelleys Island queens carried over for a second-year test, 32 percent of the original queens survive.

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USDA Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine,
Division of Bee Culture
Madison, Wisconsin
Period: Oct 1 – Dec 31, 1950

ABSTRACT: Page #2. Data on queen cell and queen production at Kelleys Island for the season of 1950 is summarized. Over 1,600 test queens were produced but only 1,225 were shipped. A comparison of the 3 years of queen production at Kelleys Island shows that progress is being made in solving the problem of losing virgin queens due to robbing and insufficient drones during the last half of the season. Data is given to indicate that the number of test queens produced each season can be increased most readily if more nuclei are stocked in the months of May and June.

Paralysis was the major factor in the poor showing of the test queens produced in 1949 and tested by commercial producer in the summer of 1950. Where paralysis was not present, some test colonies had remarkable records of production and exceeded commercial stocks by large margins. A study of the survival of original test queens was made and the results tabulated. Survival among all stocks is much lower than normal. This is explained by a higher incidence of swarm preparations and the occurrence of paralysis disease among the Kelleys Island stocks top crossed to (S10 x W39) drones. A total of 241 test queens were successfully introduced to colonies for 1951 test.

Paralysis disease persisted in late October but may have been subsiding. Nine cases of the disease were found in late September, making a total of 77 cases for the season. Nuclear divisions into which 1951 test queens were introduced during August had fewer paralyzed bees than their respective parent colonies below. This strengthens evidence that susceptible stock was the basis cause for the high incident of the disease.

Page #12. Most cooperators reported some paralysis in their test colonies. Some beekeepers, however, were unable to differentiate between paralysis and nosema. Several cooperators reported differences between yards in the incidence of the disease, although the queens in each yard were of the same breeding.

Page #14. Paralysis was not noticeable or appreciably evident in the stock colonies or in the cell building and finishing colonies on the Island in the summer of 1949. Since these colonies were the source of the S10 x W39 drones that mated with the test queens, it must be concluded that the question of heritability of susceptibility to the disease is not established. We, however, do not plan to repeat these identical crosses for large-scale tests again in the near future.

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USDA Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine,
Division of Bee Culture
Madison, Wisconsin
Period: Apr 1 – Jun 30, 1951

ABSTRACT: Robert Kleba was employed under letter of authority at Kelleys Island starting April 2. W. C. Roberts was at Kelleys Island on May 21 to 24 and June 25 to 28 to direct the queen rearing work by Mr. Kleba. Similar to the epidemic of paralysis encountered in Kelleys Island stock last year and due to the unfortunate selection of S10 x W39 paralysis – susceptible drone stock for securing matings, we are now faced with an epidemic – this time being VICIOUS bees due to another unfortunate selection of A-18 x Bur – drone stock for mating on Kelleys Island last year. There are apparent differences between the lines, both in temper and in other characteristics, so an effort will be made to carry the tests through to completion.

Page #7. I-g-2-6 Production of hybrid queens for testing under commercial conditions.(W.C. Roberts). Production of queens on Kelleys Island has been satisfactory during the quarter, and all order have been filled according to schedule. Approximately 175 queens were mailed out previous to June 26 and another 100 queens will probably be sent out before June 30. Four-hundred-eighty nuclei were established previous to June 25, and adequate numbers of bees and brood are available to establish all the remaining nuclei within the next 2 weeks. The delay in getting the yard completely established before the end of June was due to difficulty in obtaining adequate numbers of queen cells for establishing nuclei.

Mr. Kleba has had some difficulty with acceptance of cells in the swarm boxes, but this situation is rapidly improving. I-g-2-7 (Farrar) The unfortunate mating of all Kelleys Island queens to drone source A18 x Bur has resulted in bees so vicious that this is no satisfaction in working them. It has been necessary to use bee gloves for the first time. In past years where a vicious line was experienced, the number of colonies represented only a small part of the total. There are apparent differences between the lines, both in temper and in other characteristics, so an effort will be made to carry the tests through to completion. Ribbands of Rothamsted reported that nurse bees could be converted into field bees by treatment with CO2 (Changes in Behavior of Honeybees Following Their Recovery From Anesthesia, The Journal of Experimental Biology, Vol. 27, Nos. 3 & 4, pp. 302-310, December 1950.).

To determine the effects of CO2 on the behavior of bees, four 2-pound package colonies were established at the Hill Farm. Two of the packages were anesthetized with CO2 for 5 minutes at the time of introduction and again 4 days later. The other two were handled in the usual manner to serve as checks. The gassed colonies gained approximately 1 pound during the first 4 days compared with 4 pounds for the two checks. Queens in the former remained shrunken and produced few, if any, eggs, whereas those in the checks started laying immediately. Prior to the second treatment with CO2, 500 bees were marked with distinctive color in each of the four packages. Bees marked in the treated colonies were observed in colonies throughout the yard even though the test units were well isolated.

Marked bees identifying the check colonies have not shown up in other hives. Several questions may be raised. Did the queens fail to lay because the bees in the gassed hives failed to feed them? Did the bees drift because treatment with CO2 caused them to lose their sense of orientation or because the queens were not laying? Similarly, did the lower gain of the gassed colonies result from the fact that their queens did not lay or from the change in behavior of the individual bees? Further studies along these lines seem desirable.

Page #12 ” Temperament of Bees” Similar to the epidemic of paralysis encountered in Kelleys Island stock last year and due to the unfortunate selection of S10 x W39 paralysis – susceptible drone stock for securing matings, we are now faced with an epidemic, this time being VICIOUS bees due to another unfortunate selection of A18 x Bur drone stock for matings on Kelleys Island last year. The (A18 x Bur) x (S10 x W39) stock tested last year was outstandingly vicious, so the choice of A18 x Bur drones for Kelleys Island last year was expected to be unfortunate and it was. All Kelleys Island stocks being tested this year are vicious, with some variations in the queen lines. The temper of these bees is such that unless a honey flow is in progress, they cannot be manipulated without the use of gloves and adequate clothing. Even with a flow on, they are far from gentle.

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USDA Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine,
Division of Bee Culture
Madison, Wisconsin
Period: Jul 1 – Sep 30, 1951

ABSTRACT: An abstract summary is submitted in lieu of the Third Quarterly Report due to pressure on field work, resulting from a shortage of help for completion of the field work.

Page #2.The honey flow ended approximately July 25. Colony yields appear to average 150 pounds surplus and range from less than winter stores to in excess of 300 pounds surplus. European foulbrood infections and extremely vicious bees that increased difficulties in colony management largely contributed to the wide spread in production. Stock differences will be summarized when data is completed and analyzed. Extracting of honey was made difficult by inadequate space for handling the large volume of super equipment, no satisfactory method for uncapping honey, and considerable amount of granulated honey in the comb affecting straining. The finishing of extracting had to be postponed as it stimulated robbing among the breeding colonies and nuclei located in the immediate vicinity. Considerable loss of queens resulted from the excess robbing.

Page #3. Attendant bees from approximately 300 cages of queens received were examined for Nosema. Approximately 40 to 50 percent contained infected attendants. An analysis of this problem is being undertaken by caging queens removed from colonies with varying numbers of inoculated attendant bees for 4 to 8 days. Over 200 queens will be examined to determine what infection results from this association. Two colonies of bees removed from the refrigerator showed 100-percent Nosema infections. Cause or significance of this has not been clarified. I-g-2-6.

Data on production of queens on Kelleys Island for the year has not been summarized, but indications are that it will exceed that of any other previous year. All test colonies are being requeened by uniting nuclei that had been established on top after first removing the old queen. Over 300 queens were introduced into the nuclei during August and September. Losses among the introduced queens were approximately 10 percent and appear to be explained by (1) extremely vicious bees; (2) presence of the colony’s queen in the nuclei just prior to caging the new queen; (3) the condition of queens on arrival as indicated by high Nosema infection among attendants, dead attendants in certain groups from Pelee Island (most accepted Pelee Island queens required several more days to lay than from other sources), and notation as to the poor quality of queens at the shipping point; and (4) certain queen lines seem more difficult to introduce. The problem of vicious bees appears to be of greatest importance.

Page #4. Vicious bees necessitated wearing of two layers of clothing, bee gloves, and removing honey by means of bee escapes. These procedures still were not adequate to prevent considerable stinging. All the field operations were materially slowed up as a result. I-g-2-9. Little work on this project was possible due to European foulbrood and demands of other work in handling the test colonies.

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USDA Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine,
Division of Bee Culture
Madison, Wisconsin
Period: Oct 1 – Dec 31, 1951

ABSTRACT: During the season 1,262 hybrid queens were shipped from Kelleys Island. This compares favorably with previous years. Over 250 of these were shipped to Madison and Laramie. twelve different hybrid queen combinations – mated to the (M x E) drone population at Kelleys Island are available for test at Madison. Five of these hybrids will also be tested at Laramie.

Page #2. Excessive temper characterized the stock from Kelleys Island produced in 1950 and tested this summer. This temper was so bad that all colony manipulations were seriously impeded, resulting in incomplete colony notes. Many of the best colonies went out of condition due to swarm preparations that seriously affected yields. European foulbrood reached epidemic proportions, greatly influencing yields and distorting the general conclusions. Forty cases of European foulbrood were recorded, with possibly again that many that were not recorded. Production records, in view of the above conditions, were used only to generalize on the potentialities of the stock lines. All Test colonies were weighed in October and final production records tabulated. All test colonies showed an average yield of 157.5 pounds – maximum 363, minimum -72. Only eight cases of paralysis disease, four of which were bad, were observed this season. All of these cases were either Short stock or contained the S-10 line.

Page #14. Detailed observations on queens and brood were restricted to fewer occasions than in the past due to the excessive temper characterizing most of the stock being tested this season. Colony manipulations were modified somewhat, also due to this cause. Bee gloves and coveralls, frowned upon by progressive beekeepers as cumbersome and unnecessary, had to be used even during the height of the honey flow to avoid unbearable amount of punishment. Paralysis disease has been much reduced this season, only eight colonies showing any evidence of the disease. Five of these were commercial Short stock, two of (W42 x S10) x (M x E) stock, and one was a (Hr x S10) x (A18 x Bur) colony. Four of the cases were very mild and four were bad. Three of the bad cases were of commercial Short stock and one was of the (W42 x S10) x (M x E) stock. All of the cases were either Short stock or contained the S10 line. It will be recalled that the S10 x W39 matings in past years resulted in unusual susceptibility to paralysis. Experience this year points strongly to the Short stock portion of this cross as carrying much of the susceptibility.

Page #15. Test queens for 1952 were introduced during August and September. The program of testing has been modified for next year to get a better evaluation of stock before it is released as well as to broaden the scope of stocks being evaluated.

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USDA Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine,
Division of Bee Culture
Madison, Wisconsin
Period: Jan 1 – Mar 31, 1952

Page #6. I-g-2-6. Production of hybrid queens for testing under commercial conditions. (W.C. Roberts) This project is in a state of uncertainty. There appears to be little likelihood that any work will be carried on at Kelleys Island this year due to the decision of the Cooperative to conduct queen rearing in South Georgia. The move was necessary to keep the project on a self-sustaining basis. Twelve queens for the production of drones were removed from Hill Farm stock colonies and mailed to South Georgia January 31. According to reports, the Cooperative will have hybrid queens available for distribution about April 15.

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USDA Entomology Research Branch,
Section of Beekeeping and Insect Pathology,
Madison, Wisconsin
Period: Oct 1 – Dec 31, 1954

Report now labeled Administratively Confidential, with following: This report is not for publication in whole or in part without prior approval by the Chief of the Branch. General stock characteristics are summarized in table 11, page 18.

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USDA Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine,
Division of Bee Culture,
Intermountain States Bee Culture Field Laboratory
Period: Apr 1 – Jun 30, 1945

R.L.P. 12. rearing of daughters from queens showing resistance to American foulbrood (H.B. Parks, Collaborator, Texas Agricultural Experimental Station).

Page #6. Artificially inseminated queens, 1945 testing. Table 2 gives a comparison of the 1944 results with the 1945 preliminary results. The W64 line again showed 100 percent negatives plus recoveries but only 46 percent negatives. The W39 line results were complicated by the fact that 8 of the 12 colonies under tests were killed on Sept 10, because of the extremely vicious temper then exhibited. This viciousness was a source of increasing difficulty all season. It is very probable however that this group would have been 100 percent negative plus recoveries if they had gone to the end of brood rearing since none of the non-recovery colonies showed more than 1 or 2 diseased cells at the time the colonies wee killed on September 10.

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USDA Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine,
Division of Bee Culture,
Intermountain States Bee Culture Field Laboratory.
Period: Apr 1 – Jun, 1946

The three queen lines that have been under observation and included in this analysis are as follows: The W64 (Stugar, Yugoslavia, Carniolan) 1939-1945; the W39 (Piana, Italy, Italian) 1937-1945; the A18 (Iowa, Mraz hybrid) 1937-1944.

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Bee Culture Research Investigations,
Southern States Bee Culture Research Lab
Baton Rouge, La.
Period: April 1 – Jun 30, 1960

Quarterly Progress Report labeled Administratively Confidential.

Page #13.BR 14-60. To obtain information on semen and eggs of the honey bee (S.Taber,3rd) Experiments on Semen –shipment: The work this season on this problem has continued some of the work started in the fall, and summer. Two shipments of semen were received from Dr. W. E. Kerr, in Brazil. The first arrived in very poor condition and no inseminations were possible. The second made according to my instructions was quite satisfactory and semen arrived in good condition. Four queens were inseminated, all are laying fertilized eggs. According to Kerr this particular stock (Apis mellifera adonsonii) is quite vicious but a tremendous honey producer. At this time virgins are being reared from these queens and Kerr has been asked to send additional semen from this stock. Three tubes of semen mailed to Kerr in one shipment were received but queens inseminated with the contents of the tubes died. Two additional shipments of semen, 3 tubes each have been made to Kerr, one sent airmail special delivery and the other sent regular mail special delivery.

The results of these shipments are not known yet. Four shipments of semen have been received from Dr. F. Kohler, Wursburg, Germany. He has been working on this problem independently and his shipping tubes are somewhat different but show promise of improvement over the method used here. Semen is placed in very fine capillary plastic (polyetgelene) tubes, the tubes are sealed at both ends. These are then placed in a larger aluminum tube to provide protection. The whole package is quite light and virtually damage proof. However, the semen which he has shipped has all arrived in very poor condition. I think the reason is because of the various diluents he has been using and the inclusion of mucus. Three inseminations have been made with very poor quality semen, results of the inseminations are not available at this time. One shipment of semen has been made to Dr. Kohler, but no results are available. One additional shipment of semen has been made to Illinois, and the results of this shipment are unknown.

Page #14. There has been no chance to study the implications of light eggs versus heavy eggs, in so far as a practical aspect of the problem is concerned. The logic that a small queen might lay small eggs and a large queen larger eggs or that a queen of equal size but laying smaller eggs than another could for this reason lay more eggs, is not necessarily so. These questions and others will have to be examined. Two shipments of semen were received from Kerr during the quarter. The first was especially unsatisfactory, causing death of all queens. The second has just been used and the queens have just started laying so that it will be some time before success or failure is known. If these are successful, it will mean that we now have bees which are 87.5 per cent adonsonii.

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Bee Culture Research Investigations,
Southern States Bee Culture Research Lab
Baton Rouge, La.
Period: Jul 1 – Sep 30, 1960

Quarterly Progress Report labeled Administratively Confidential.

ABSTRACT: Experiments with septicemia disease in artificial insemination showed several antibiotics effective in retarding growth in agar plate cultures; however, various tests with Chloromycetgin and other experiments with this disease, suggest limited usefulness of antibiotics and that the disease is best kept under control by sterilization of instruments and hands between insemination operations. Egg development times were determined for a number of queens and for several samples of the same queen.

These sample averages varied from about 70 to 80 hours. Sample variation from one queen varied in their extremes 10 hours or more in development times. Egg development times were measured in hive and laboratory incubation. Some differences may exist between the two. Semen was successfully sent to Germany, Iowa, and California. Semen was successfully sent to and returned from Austria. Reports of other shipments are not complete. Egg transfers and queen rearing experiments are on extension of the 2nd Quarterly Report. Over the season 2,310 eggs have been transferred and of these 1,582 were accepted. Queens raised from eggs are generally good if the eggs hatch first in a swarm box. Eggs which hatch in queen cups placed in usual queen rearing colonies develop into poor queens, intermediate forms or even workers.

Page #11. 7-Temper and Manageability. Temper, quietness on combs, and similar factors which influence handling of bees were noted at most observations. The rating, except in instances where a colony was noticeable different, were broad comparisons. No accurate measure of temper was developed.

Page #16. “X” Characterization of Line. General: This line, in spite of its nervousness and mean disposition, was the outstanding line under test. It was also the least inbred. It had the highest honey production, was second only to “B” in pollen storage, had the best B/H and E/B ratios, the highest brood average and the best brood pattern of any group. Of the six colonies set up for test, one superceded prior to the data taking period and one failed, queenless, on 5/19/60. Queen cells in various stages were observed in all colonies at various times but there was no serious effort to swarm of to supercede in splits of severe crowding, except in the supercedure colony 36 which tried to swarm about 5/19. The colonies were above average in population throughout the test period. Burr comb was perhaps more plentiful in this line then in any other but it is doubtful that this can be considered a line characteristic since these colonies were stronger and possibly more crowded than some others. There was no disease in any colony during the test, except possibly nosema which was doubtless present in all colonies.

Page #17. “B” Characterization of Line. General: Not an outstanding line in any particular. Colonies were average or below average in development and production, inclined toward nervousness and meanness and susceptible to European Foulbrood. Honey production was closely comparable in all colonies but exceeded by “I” and “D”. The ratio of brood to honey was above average, exceeded only by “X” and would have been better except for colony 37 which produced more brood than any colony of the group but was third in honey production. The line rated 7th in ratio of pollen to brood but the maximum amount of pollen stored was in B-17. There were no supercedures in the line and only one colony failed during the test. In spite of general resistance to wax moth infestation Colony B-1 was finally almost destroyed by moths.

Page #18. “B” line cont’d. Wax Moths. Moths were found in combs in Colonies 10, 17, and 25. Bottom boards, with the exception of 25 were generally clean and no wax moth larvae were found there. Reaction to Smoke was interesting in this line. Bees had a tendency to collect on top bars or to boil over the edges of bodies during manipulation and especially in Colony 37 could not be driven down by smoke. Similar to the “S” line in this respect.

Page #21. “Y” Characterization of Line. General: In spite of the fact that these colonies were good in population throughout the test the line excelled only in the P/B ratio and possibly in resistance to wax moth. Of the 5 colonies set up for test, two colonies superceded prior to the data taking period and one failed on 4/6/60. One test colony #35, and one supercedure colony, #8, had E.F.B. The colonies were gentle, quiet and possibly as easy to handle as any group. However, colony 12, a supercedure colony, was nervous and nasty; qualities which may be forgiven in part since it was one of the strongest colonies and the highest producer in the yard.

Page #22. “L” Characterization of Line. General: This is a difficult line to evaluate. The colonies divide into two groups: 15 and 16 which were alike and uniformly poor throughout the test period and colonies 21, 24, and 33 which were average or above. There were no supercedures prior to the data gathering period and no colony failures during the test which is similar to the “B” and “T” lines. The line is susceptible to “paralysis” with all colonies showing SHINY bees to a certain extent during most of the test and severe symptoms in Nos. 15, 16, 21, and 24 until 4/6. European foulbrood was present in Colony 33 during most of the test period and in Colony 21 on 4/20. In spite of disease the line ranked 4th in honey production and only one colony had any wax moths. The line is inclined to be cross, equal to “B” and exceeded only by “X”, but is fairly quiet on the combs. There is a definite indication that stronger colonies would be harder to handle and Colony 21 was definitely MEAN.

Page #26 “S” Characterization of Line. General: Of the three colonies started, two were superceded early and only one colony was available for test. Although the colony was below average in most respects it had some distinctive characteristics. The bees were nervous and irritable but not exactly cross. They did not respond to smoke, flew from frames easily and could not be driven down from top bars or edges of hives. Sometimes a trail of bees would boil over from the second brood chamber, run down the side of the hive and go in the entrance. Presumably they ran up the inside wall and repeated the performance. Both supercedure colonies were downright nasty to handle. Another characteristic different from most lines was the presence of “Lace” comb, a thin line of white wax along the edges of the top bars. The behavior of this line shows a resemblance to the old “black” or German bees. No disease was found in Colony 27 but both supercedure colonies showed E.F.B. at one or more observation periods.

Page #33. Experiments on shipment of bee semen (continued from 2nd Quarter) Dr. F. Kohler, of Wursburg, Germany, reports that he used semen sent to him to successfully inseminate queens. Semen sent to Illinois and California was successfully used to inseminate queens. Four tubes were sent air mail to Dr F. Ruttner, in Austria, with instructions for him to use two tubes for inseminations of his own and to return two to Baton Rouge. Upon receipt of this returned semen from Ruttner, one tube was immediately used to inseminate 4 queens. Three of these produced fertile workers. The other tube was kept for 3 weeks so that it would have been possible to have inseminated daughters of the first insemination with the second insemination. Inseminations with the second tube were unfortunately all unsuccessful. However, they were made at a time when we were having a great deal of trouble with septicemia infections killing inseminated queens, so that the disappointment in the second tube cannot be blamed entirely on the semen. Additional shipments of semen were received from Kohler as described in the last Quarterly Report, but no successful inseminations were made from them. Other shipments have been made from Baton Rouge to various people, but reports are still not complete.

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Bee Culture Research Investigations,
Southern States Bee Culture Research Lab
Baton Rouge, La.
Period: Apr 1 – Jun 30, 1961

Quarterly Progress Report labeled Administratively Confidential, with following: This report is not for publication in whole or in part without prior approval by the Chief of Investigations.

ABSTRACT: page 1. Work Project ENT c10 – Bee Culture Investigations, including other pollinating insects. BR 4-61. To develop methods of measurement of “temper” in honey bees as a basis for genetic study. BR 7-61. To improve individual artificial insemination. BR 11-61. To obtain information on semen and eggs of the honey bee.

Page #9. A shipment of one tube of semen of A. mellifera adonsonii was received from Dr W. Kerr, four inseminations were attempted, 3 queens died immediately, the fourth is still in doubt.

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Bee Culture Research Investigations,
Southern States Bee Culture Research Lab
Baton Rouge, La.
Period: Jul 1 – Sep 30, 1961

Quarterly Progress Report labeled Administratively Confidential.
BR 4-61. To develop methods of measurement of “Temper” in honey bees as a basis for genetic study.

Page #2. In cooperation with the Ontario Agricultural College stocks of bees are being established from immature stages brought to Baton Rouge from England by Dr. Smith, of that Institution. Queens and drone pupae in gelatin capsules, young larvae on royal jelly, and fertilized eggs were included. Three stocks were represented: Adam 1, Adam 2, and Russian. Good sexually mature individuals were obtained from all categories in all stocks except the Russian drones produced very little semen. Virgin queens of all lines were shipped to Ontario for natural mating there and drone production. Artificial matings were made between the virgins and drones of each Adam line and some of those shipped to Ontario and some to Madison for virgin production.

The Russian imported drones were unusable but a few queens were inseminated with semen shipped from England. Virgin daughters of all of these were mated artificially with sons of queens of imported larvae, and this stock can be considered secure in this country. Similar queens have been shipped to Ontario and Madison for establishment of stocks at these places. Although all methods of importation were successful, the most practical method of establishing a stock appears to be by importing larvae or eggs and then semen when the virgins are ready to be mated.

Page #3. BR 4-61. To develop methods of measurement of “Temper” in honey bees as a basis for genetic study. (Roberts) During the season we have produced over 25 two-way hybrids and 20 four-way hybrids for temper studies. The single hybrids are established in nuclei and the multiple hybrids are now in colonies. Variances in temper of these bees are observable but difficult to measure. So far we have not obtained a “yardstick.”

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Entomology Research Branch,
Apiculture research Branch,
Southern States Bee Culture research Lab
Baton Rouge, La.
Period: Jan 1 – Mar 31, 1962

Quarterly Progress Report Labeled Administratively Confidential.

BR 4-62 Temper of Bees, page 3. BR 9-62 Studies on semen and eggs of the honey bee. (Taber) Several new ideas have been developed to further extend the usefulness of sperm shipment and storage. As yet these trials are in a very preliminary stage and no report will be made on them at this time. The Apis mellifera adonsonii. Stock that was lost during the late spring because of neglect has been re-imported with two successful shipments of semen from Dr Kerr, in Brazil. This stock will be available for tests by the various interested people by the end of the summer. Stock of over 90% adonsonii is now available and with a little inbreeding this will be taken to over 95%.

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Entomology Research Division,
Bee Management Investigations
Madison, Wisconsin.
Period: Apr 1 – Jun 30, 1966

Quarterly Progress Report labeled Not For Publication, with following: Not for publication without prior approval of the Entomology Research Branch of the Agricultural Research Service or for use in sales promotion or advertising which expresses or implies endorsement of the product by the Branch, Service, or the USDA.

Page #7 As a first step in evaluating the colonies in this test group, a brood count was made June 29. This is shown in table 3. The colonies will be moved into a 50 acre alfalfa field at Arlington Farm in August. Undesirable handling qualities of runniness and some temper were noted in most of the APC stock, both high and low lines.

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Apiculture Research Branch,
Bee Management Investigations
Madison, Wisconsin.
Period: Oct 1 – Dec 31, 1969

Quarterly Progress Report labeled For Official Use Only. This progress report includes tentative results for research not sufficiently complete to justify general release. Such findings, when adequately confirmed, will be released promptly through established channels. Therefore, this report is not intended for publication and should not be referred to in literature citations.

Page # 4. Temper in the CrPC stocks (for which we did not keep production records) was excessive. Because of this unwanted temper, we will discontinue further cranberry selections in these lines.

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Apiculture Research Branch,
Bee Management Investigations
Madison, Wisconsin.
Period: Apr 1 – Jun 30, 1970

Quarterly Progress Report labeled For Official Use Only. This progress report includes tentative results of research not sufficiently complete to justify general release. Such findings, when adequately confirmed, will be released promptly through established channels. Therefore, this report is not intended for publication and should not be referred to in literature citations.

Page #7. Paralysis. One colony of miscellaneous stock had severe paralysis June 4, lost most of its population, went queenless, and had to be replaced. This is the first case of severe paralysis seen for many years at Madison. (F. E. Moeller).