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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    Perkasie, PA
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    1,995

    Default

    Thanks for the info Chrissy. It make sense that this would've happened before the importation ban. Do you know of any good sources where I can read more about this?

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  3. #42
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tacoma, Washington USA
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    329

    Default Hi Apsera

    There is a very old queen raising book from the thirties, it had a red color binding and i think it was the Alley book. It seems to me that this was the book that the five banded Italians were covered. Also there are archives in the old Gleanings and ABJ, that might give you a deeper set of facts. Those yellow bees were very popular and there was a belief that the more yellow bands, the better the white color was in the cappings, so they were popular with the comb honey crowd.

    My experience with these lines were they were far better at using for two-queen colonies than were the three banded Italians or Starline bees. It was a yard of Goldens, sourced from California, high in the Washington Cascades that i encountered a yard of hives errupt from the colonies when the truck drove up and the bees literally poured out of the hives like water out of a tipped bucket. There was a drought and everyone was at home. The other experience i had with the nastier type of this bee was a small single swarm that even with smoke would pour out if the cover was lifted and sting the back of the gloves. They had no respect for smoke. They were pretty, man were the pretty bees, but the bad lines were just not a type of bee to keep near humans.

    I have seen Caucasians and crossed Italians and Carniolan lines get tight when the weather was foul, but this was ongoing with some of the goldens. I don't know how long you have kept bees, but the depression era beekeepers i kept bees with believed the meaner the bee, the more honey to be had. Gentle meant you were alive afterwards. I am happy to see that few tollerate lines that are fiercely foul, there really are no medals for beeing the most stung.

    Chrissy

  4. #43
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    271

    Default

    Chrissy,

    Those Washington bees, do you know if they were subject to any predation? Bears, or other honey lovin' mammals? Just kinda curious, I remember reading that AHBs were subject to more disturbances and therefore tended to be more aggressive.

    Albert

  5. #44
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    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tacoma, Washington USA
    Posts
    329

    Default Albert it was a rare drought

    Hi Albert,

    It was a rare west of the Cascades drought, but the yard in question had no bears (i slept next to the buggers in a sleeping bag on the rocks that night) and in the morning the colonies fielded bees until the sun rose then shut down. Now mind you, all the yards in the area were under these conditions, but this yard of goldens (from a long ago gone Californian breeder) were just vicious. Though stirred up, five Carniolan colonies would allow typical manipulation. These also were in the yard.

    It was a very close friend of mines bees, he always got bees from the same breeder, and they always were hot as some state, but this time they were HOT. They were no nicer overall in the raspberries next season, but at least they did not pour out. He used silver paint and i still can close my eyes and see all that yellow coming out of them. The old golden lines are not the same bee as the Cordovan line.

    I had Cordovan when i first heard of them in the eighties, there is an orange color, they drifted a great deal and i had some AFB in one or two. Those came out of the state of LA. I sold the yard that year so i don't knoow how they were other than they were about like any normal Italians.

    Chrissy

  6. #45
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    Jul 2005
    Location
    Perkasie, PA
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    1,995

    Default

    Very interesting stuff. I'm going to see if I can find that book and any local keepers of these five banded bees. I'm definitely with you on not tolerating mean bees. I have no desire to use gloves or a suit. thank you very much.

  7. #46
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    Nov 2006
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    Tacoma, Washington USA
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    329

    Default I am thinking

    Aspera,

    I am thinking the five bandeds were most popular in the twenties and thirties up to early sixties, but the place where you might find that information would be in Gleanings In Bee Culture or American Bee Journal in the archives. You might want to dierect a question to either Editors, they are very up on what is in their archives and perhaps the most well read beekeepers on earth.

    Chrissy

  8. #47
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    271

    Default

    Morning Everyone!

    This conversation got me thinking about breeding in general, and how so few actually breed to any set of standards.

    I wonder why that is? I don't do the AI/II thing, nor do I purposefuly raise a dozen queens to requeen, but I do allow them to raise their own queens from selected eggs and larvae from a couple of good hives I have. These queens raise docile girls, don't propolize, and have good production. One also caps honey with a very light white wax. (I caught my youngest son, Bowie knife in hand, raiding the hive for some comb to chew on a few days ago!) Anyway The splits I've made this season are from those hives.

    I have two hives that propolize like crazy, so as soon as I feel comfortable with the process I will pull those queens and put in the appropriate frames of larvae. I'll put their eggs and larvae in another hive to be raised as workers.

    I think that everyone who has a hive or two that meet their expectations of what a colony should be like, ought to raise queens from those hives, and bite the production bullet for the month. Of course if you time it right with brood expansion and swarm preparation, you might not miss much of the productive cycle. Not only will the new colonies be what a beek envisions, but you will also raise to your geographic/climatic conditions.

    Regards,
    Albert

  9. #48
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tacoma, Washington USA
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    329

    Default Having a broad base

    The problem as i see it is this...we have a number of commercial breeders who supply a large number of queens from a limited genetic base. If one narrows that base and the feral population drops as in the initial mite phase, then you have a very narrow genetic base to work from. What can happen over time is a lack of viable eggs being produced from your queens. Steve Tabers book gives this in some detail. I actually once had a carnolian queen who made workers that would not gather nectar other than what was needed and instead gathered and stored pollen only. That was a result of open mating in an area where there should have been ample drones not related to this queen at mating.

    The remedy is to assure a good saturation of non-related drones when mating. Genetics can be like a ball of yarn, if you tug here a knot forms and you tug there and another not forms. Nothing one does in breeding selection is isolated, each part will effect another in one way or another. It is by keeping tight records over time that one can see an effect and then only in the records at first usually. Egg viablity of 90 plus percent is important and if it falls under that you nootice very fast. Anything that reduces the amount of hatch, effects brood and today with mites damaging a certain amount of brood, diseases another, the grand total can be very high.

    Chrissy

  10. #49
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    271

    Default

    Chrissy,

    I do remember reading about that (the viability issue) in a tract on bee genetics. It has occured to me, but owing to the queens propensity to travel further than the drones, I thought that I might avoid the brood viability issue except in cases of an incompatible drone or drones. And that would just be a coincidental roll of the mating dice.

    I agree that the large scale breeders might tend towards a limited genetic base that fulfills their needs rather than the end users. But be that as it may, my temperment is such that I would rather do it by myself anyway.

    I keep records, mediocre at best in my opinion, as I am still learning what it is that I am looking for. But I tend to record inoccuous things along with the obvious: When the Robins showed up, which plants are in bloom, what other bugs are around, who came to dinner, etc. So far nothing has jumped out at me, but I figure sooner or later I'll see something that correlates with something seemingly unrelated.

    You sound like you know what you're about, so if I may, I will pose a question to you; in your opinion, what should the small scale beekeeper (100 hives or less I guess is as good a break point as any) do in terms of maintaining the genetic health, viability, and diversity of his colonies? Might as well throw in productivity while we are at it.

    I'm all for regional breeding myself. An acclimated bee is a happy bee. (I think...) But managment also plays a key roll in production.

    Anyway curious as to your opinion and comments.

    Regards,
    Albert

  11. #50
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tacoma, Washington USA
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    329

    Default I don't know your neck of the woods

    Hi there Albert,

    What can happen is this, a few beekeepers buy some queens. Maybe they have talked, one has been using brand X and pretty soon everyone has a few brand X and then a few swarms come out and establish a feral population. One always hope that the original producer is watching what they are doing. But lets say that for one reason or another the big breeder is at the line with genetics. As a few years pass the local genetics of the drone areas your queens mate in narrows enough to show up in certain areas of end result.

    Now of you have a great many beekeepers around and everyone has their favorite line and some are different, then there is no fear overall save chance, but if the field base is narrow to start with, then there can come trouble.

    The bad part is if a good trait is reduced, hygene, and foul brood establishes in a feral population. Then a whole area can become foulbrood prone. Feral colonies die from the disease, new bees swarm in, make a little honey and then disease wipes them out and your bee rob in the fall. I have know of such an area over in the west side of this state. Also, at one time the Lower Rio Grande valley in Texas was a place where foulbrood was heavy in feral populations.

    Those are just some ways that can limit developing a well developed local bee. The genetics need to be broad to begin with, loaded with drone populations that can carry the traits you are after. Almost all breeds of bees have a rough set of good traits, honing those takes decades. In genetics one thing gained is another lessened. The good part of that, is this is a lifelong love for many of us. I spent twenty years away from active beekeeping, but a few days were in all that where i was not thinking about what i knew from the twenty years active before that.

    Some folks are lucky enough to be in an area where natural pressures have left a fine drone population currently. Can those last? It depends on how many lines those "survivors" came from. To some degree, in most places where bees can be kept, there is yearly additions to the gene pool and this can add or subtract, depending on the interaction of those genetics already in an area.

    It is indeed rewarding to raise one's own queens. It is worth the effort to read every thing you can, ask those like Michael B, who have success, as to their take. Ask a good number and then try out some things you pick up and test your results. There is nothing so satisfying as a full, wall to wall frame of sealed brood from a queen one raises themselves. The long haul with queens is a lifelong study.

    Chrissy

  12. #51
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    271

    Default

    Well said Chrissy, well said.

    Regards,
    Albert

  13. #52
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Southern Oregon
    Posts
    1,158

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by George Fergusson View Post
    Just what were the circumstances of this takeover attempt?
    I had a cell builder that developed a rogue queen that was behind and an excluder. I went to dispatch her one afternoon and found a marked queen from one of my mating nucs being balled by bees loyal to the rogue queen. I am 100% sure it was a queen I had marked in a mating nuc about a week before. I have seen several times absconding swarms from small mating nucs head straight towards queenless cell builders. I now use excluders between all three boxes in the cell builder units.
    John
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  14. #53
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    2,998

    Default

    I'll differ a bit with some of the opinions in this thread.

    A queen with known genetics is ALWAYS preferable to one that is unknown.

    If you are using queens with unknown genetics, you are doing experimental work, it is not founded in solid and practical beekeeping for production purposes.

    It is perfectly feasible to take a group of colonies with unknown genetics and select the best ones to produce queens. In a generation, you have known genetics.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  15. #54
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,748

    Default

    >A queen with known genetics is ALWAYS preferable to one that is unknown.

    A queen of known poor genetics is not preferable to one that is unknown.

    If unknown genetics means I don't know where they came from, then I'd have to disagree completely. I don't care where they came from, I care what they are.

    If unknown genetics means I have no idea what traits they have, I still might find they have traits I want and I don't have in the queen of known genetics.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  16. #55
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tacoma, Washington USA
    Posts
    329

    Default Regarding unknown genetics

    If one is in a situation as am i, unkown genetics could be a problem. Feral colonies are minimal here, so there is a risk one colony would provide all my drones--F2 would be a sad state. However, since genetics is not a rock, when they are combined F1s can be much enhanced as to traits. There is no such thing as unknown genetics in truth, there are simply different combinations, so, if the egg viability is high in out breeding to a local population with ones queen stocks and there is an increase in desired traits, then it stands to full reason that there is a population of feral or unkowns in ones mating area that are useful.

    One does not test breeders for production. Breeders are from tested lines. A breeder may not be a superior queen, many of the Starline and Midnight queens were at the limit of line-breeding when their daughters were outcrossed to produce very high quality queens.

    One falacy in breeding often done in commercial operations in search for breeding stock, is to breed from the highest producing colonies. Anyone who has two-queened a bit can understand that some of these supposed super colonies are in fact supercedures in process. Just because you do not see a second queen does not mean she is not there. Brood frame counts that exceed a single queens ability to lay over a given period is the only way to know. Breeding from the best producers is not a sure way to reach a production goal.

    All that said, the search for breeding stock is best done anywhere there exists potential lines to use in such a program. Since a broad genetic base has the most potential initially and is the surest way to insure egg hatch rates that are high, there is ample reason to seek out unrelated lines and include them in a program. These days breeding for pure breed is of less overall value than is breeding towards bees that have ample tools to first survive and then prosper--in that order. Some of those traits are in bees i have not met yet.

    Chrissy

  17. #56
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,373

    Default Queens and pheromones

    The mini mating nuc where I installed the queen that began this thread has about a cup of young bees, most were shaken from my Cordovan Italian colony. They have been very inspired by this mystery queen - they drew 3 mini frames of small cell wax foundation into perfect small cell combs and filled them with pollen and honey. Two other frames were given to them as sealed combs of honey. I was mystified by the lack of eggs, until I located the queen crawling around on the bottom of the hive. Apparently she was injured somehow and does not seem to be able to walk normally, lay eggs, or even mount the comb.

    So I caged her and set her aside, then mounted a sealed queen cell into one of the combs. Minutes later all the bees in that nuc absconded and were out of sight in less than a minute, during this time 30-40 clustered on her in the cage (which was setting on top of another nuc), and remained with her. So I returned her, in the cage, to the nuc. In about 5 minutes those that had left, returned and again joined her in the mini nuc. I hope the bees permit this queen cell to hatch so I can get a healthy mated queen in place of this mysterious and damaged queen.

    I have gained new respect for the influence a queen can have on groups of worker bees.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 04-19-2007 at 01:08 PM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  18. #57
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Skull Valley, Az
    Posts
    289

    Default tell jerry

    Hi Joseph. Jerry Seinfeld needs to know--his bee movie is going to have the worst effect on popular knowledge regarding honeybee colonies. I am sure the psychic power of the queen holds everything together.

    Those colonies I got from you at Easter are buzzn right along. Thnx.
    Tom
    BBZZZZZ

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