Emergency Queens - does it matter? - Page 3
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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Emergency Queens - does it matter?

    Marla Spivak has been saying the same for years. It gets really confusing for someone like me when I see beekeepers that think they are breeding for mite resistance, as an example, without ever addressing whether they have actually been breeding for innocuous mites. There are so many programs out there without any controls that I just usually ignore any claims and assume we are talking about unquantifiable differences that make comparisons impossible. When the differences have no metrics then a home grown, healthy, egg laying machine is just as good of a bet.

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  3. #42
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    Default Re: Emergency Queens - does it matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    A true emergency cell, which is built by the bees when their queen is unexpectedly killed, almost never happens in nature. it just happens around clumsy beekeepers.

    In nature queens are replaced by planned supersedure cells, or swarm cells, both of which happen when the old queen is still alive. These cells are normally very high quality and as they are planned, they are not "emergency". They are also raised from pre-prepared cell cups of the right size.
    what about the queens that are killed on mating flights? the hive would have make an E-queen if its to survive.

  4. #43
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    Default Re: Emergency Queens - does it matter?

    In a natural feral hive, and queen killed on her mating flight, perhaps by being eaten by a bird, would not have any brood young enough to make queen cells from and would be doomed to die.
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  5. #44
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    Re: Emergency Queens - does it matter?

    Thats exactly right. This is where natural selection comes in... The bear or skunk that attack feral hives and crush the queen during the process... would also have destroyed most of the resouces and killed a huge number of bees as well... these colonies general do not make it and thus the colonies that perfer higher safer loacations possibly with smaller entrances (as well as higher aggression levels to protect it better) will become more common...

    The same is true for teh mating flights of swarm cell queens from feral colonies... if each season predation kills off a higher number of the slow flying, bright colored, large queens because they are easier targets, then the surviving queens that will make up the majority of feral stock in the area will be faster, darker, and smaller... (and that works for drones as well, because if the drones fall to predation the new queens will fail too and eventually the colonies)...

    It's about the survival of what's best suited for the areas climate, avoiding predation, and locating and storing food when it is available.

    Again, e-queens are not ALL bad, but its "hit and miss" and not every operation can afford to cope with the ones that "miss"... Grafting is consistant and thus more productive for both bee and keeper.

  6. #45
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    Default Re: Emergency Queens - does it matter?

    I would never do a walk away split leaving them on there own to raise a Emergency Queen.
    And if you think that is what you have to do, at least feed them put in lots of nurse bees and go back in 3-4 days and knock off the sealed Queen cells BECAUSE they were started from a larva that was to old to raise a quality queen and leave the smallest larva in a cell that is constructed good and fed well and just leave one cell.

    Most of the time if you did do a walk away split the first queen that hatched will be, Queen (she will destroy the other queen cells) and she more than likely was started from a larva that was more that 24 hours old not near the ovaries of a good raised queen.

    And when you do have a good one turn out it was probably because the split was strong the the first hatched queen went with a swarm and left you one that was a raised from a larva of the proper age (Under 24 Hours old)

    In my mating nuc I will recheck after putting in cell in 4-5 days and see which turned out if i find Em Q Cells they are destroyed and another cell placed in the mating nuc.

    And if one does slip by me on my catch day of the nuc no laying queen and i see evidence of a EM queen i will let her go ahead and lay (mark Nuc) and use her and place in a mini nuc that has went to the point of workers starting to lay will use the queen to get this nuc back on trace in 5-6 days of her laying, will reuse her again in the same manner in another nuc. If you were to get 90% turn out on your nuc, 10 out of a 100 some times could use a laying queen to keep workers from laying. if you were to introduce anther cell in this nuc with no queen now for 2 weeks and two more weeks go buy before another queen can have hatching eggs lots of time the workers will start laying eggs resulting in unwanted drones in the area.

    You do not want the drones from laying workers to mate with your grafted raised queens (they will be Half kin) so by using this method it cuts down on these matings and keeps my mini nuc going.

  7. #46
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    Default Re: Emergency Queens - does it matter?

    Perhaps part of the problem is that we ARE trying to quantify the unquantifiable. What we want is a system of microbes, bees, mites etc. that can live in harmony. What we breed for are artificial measurements that may or may not measure something of value.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  8. #47
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    Default Re: Emergency Queens - does it matter?

    "The more I raise queens the less I think genetics has to do with anything and the more I think feeding does. In other words, the quality of a queen has much more to do with how she is fed that what her genetics are." M Bush

    Couldn't agree more. Poorly reared queens from superior stock will always under-perform well reared queens from an average stock; however there is an opportunity for well reared queens from superior stock that we can all strive for.

    "Again, e-queens are not ALL bad, but its "hit and miss" and not every operation can afford to cope with the ones that "miss"... Grafting is consistant and thus more productive for both bee and keeper." rrussel

    I definitely agree grafting is the way to go for sure, but the hit and miss problems can be greatly reduced if one considers the timing and resources of the hive. With practice and observation there can be way more hits than misses. Again, there are definitely more efficient techniques for the beekeeper and the bees than inducing an "e-queen", I just have not seen enough science to back up some of the claims made in this thread and I am confident that as a challenge I could induce a colony to produce an e-queen to rival any. Perhaps some lines of bees are better at producing better e-queens than others, but I think it is mostly about timing and hive resources.
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  9. #48
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    Default Re: Emergency Queens - does it matter?

    JBJ, have you read, or heard of Dr. Tarpy's research on E-Queens? If you get a chance, and the opportunity, I recommend that you give it a read. Unfortunately I don't know where to find it digitally.

  10. #49
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    Default Re: Emergency Queens - does it matter?

    I agree with the statement that care and feeding influences the quality of queen, but feel that genetics also play an important part in the performance of queens.

    There is simple formula in genetics, Genotype + Environment = Phenotype. It is roughly 50% Genotype and 50% Environmental influences that result in the performance that we as beekeepers see. Unfortunately, the large majority of beekeepers do not have the opportunity to see what genetic selection can really do. Most stocks are heavily blended and produce a wide range of offspring.

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  11. #50
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    Default Re: Emergency Queens - does it matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    JBJ, have you read, or heard of Dr. Tarpy's research on E-Queens? If you get a chance, and the opportunity, I recommend that you give it a read. Unfortunately I don't know where to find it digitally.
    Here is a digital PDF

    http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/entomology/...et.al.2000.pdf
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  12. #51
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    Default Re: Emergency Queens - does it matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by JSL View Post
    I agree with the statement that care and feeding influences the quality of queen, but feel that genetics also play an important part in the performance of queens.
    Joe
    No doubt that genetics play a huge role, but until there are standardized ways of comparing beyond hyperbole then most of us on the purchasing end are stuck without any metrics and thus no means to choose. If I have a choice between a $17 queen and a $34 queen where both are "known" to be "good" queens then I will get the cheaper queen (maybe two at that price). If the producer had a metric that showed a characteristic that was important to me to be twice as good, then the higher price may take on some meaning. Until those metrics are available I will purchase cheaper queens.
    It really is a shame that bee biology is so far behind the times that we are still in this predicament. I'll bet we would have metrics if we were in the business of breeding drosophila.

  13. #52
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    Default Re: Emergency Queens - does it matter?

    "...until there are standardized ways of comparing beyond hyperbole then most of us on the purchasing end are stuck without any metrics and thus no means to choose." HVH

    The metrics are coming. We will be publishing performance and health data this year on a regular basis. Also, now that the honeybee genome is sequenced it wont be long before genetic markers for specific traits are identified so at least the genetic side of the equation will be easier to verify.
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  14. #53
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    Default Re: Emergency Queens - does it matter?

    Thanks for the reference to the article special K and Ray.

    While it was a fascinating article, I am still willing to play devils advocate on this one. There were several issues with the experimental design that I believe may have skewed some the results obtained. There area few quotes by the authors in the article to support my position like "...the magnitude of the current result may be inherently biased by experimental procedure." pg 100 And in the final paragraph, " Therefor the interaction between the intrinsic fighting abilities of queens and the indirect, yet largely unknown, influences of workers may regulate queen replacement in honey bees...", which I believe may allude to the issue with kin recognition.

    Also in experiment one, the cohort of younger queens did not get the same amount of time post hatching in situ for the wings and cuticle to cure. I think it would have been better to stagger the cohorts such that each group had equal time in situ post emergence before the fighting contest.

    How about this for an experiment: From a very large healthy colony remove the queen. After 4 days go in and remove all queen cells and add about 6 pounds of young nurse bees, extra pollen frames and feed. On the evening of the 4th day add a frame of EGGS ONLY of a known age (all laid in the same day). These could be the "emergency" queens to compare to another production technique. I would wager morphometric and performance statistics would be very comparable, and possibly better than some could graft.

    To be clear I am not arguing against grafting, it is clearly the most efficient and preferential means of production, I just have not seen convincing evidence that "e-queens" will be inherently inferior as some have implied. In fact the article did show no significant difference in ovariole number between the two study groups. "Ovariole number is considered to be a direct measurement of fecundity" p100
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  15. #54
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    Default Re: Emergency Queens - does it matter?

    But if you put in a frame of EGGS ONLY to a hive, that isn't doing an emergency queen (under typical circumstances). When you give the bees an emergency stimuli, they don't take eggs and wait for them to hatch, then turn them into queens.

    Instead, they look around the hive and find young larvae to turn into queens. They will select larvae anywhere between 12 hrs old and 36 hrs old. That is in a sense the problem. If you have a 36 hr old larvae (that was fed to be a worker for 36 hours), and 10 different 12 hour old larvae (that was fed to be a worker for 12 hours), the 36 hour old larvae will emerge a day before the 12 hour old larvae every time.

    In grafting your goal is to get the youngest larvae, and get them fed an abundance of royal jelly for their entire larval stage. By contrast, in an emergency queen situation, the goal is to get the oldest larvae (within a certain window) and turn it into a queen. This is almost the exact opposite goal of grafting, and you are likely to get a very different set of queens by doing so.

    I'm not saying the study was perfect, but do you think the environmental designs turned the entire study on it's head? Maybe, but I don't think so.

  16. #55
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    Re: Emergency Queens - does it matter?

    And I thought that I was the only one that evaluated a strains ability to produce viable e-queens to test their suitability...

    Basically, certain conditions have to be met to raise the success rates of e-queens, even then, they are not consistently as productive as grafted, supercedure, or swarm queens... thus the production of e-queens is just not feasible for large operations and certainly not for resale to others...

    I think that we have gotten somewhat off subject on this thread though... the discussion was "e-queens, does it matter"... I think it does matter... sure, there are good e-queens, but there are ways to produce good queens on a more consistent basis putting the operation at less risk of loss.

    So in my opinion... e-queens are ok for small operations that have the experience, time, and resources to judge their performance, replace failures, and not take major losses from those failures...

  17. #56
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    Default Re: Emergency Queens - does it matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by rrussell6870 View Post
    and not take major losses from those failures...
    With 5 frame nuc prices hovering around $120, and queen prices around $25, to me it is a major loss when you lose a full colony (or even a smaller colony) because of a poor queen, of any kind. The question is which one are you likely to loose less often on.

    At those numbers, I'd have to successfully raise 5 emergency queens for each emergency queen that was a poor performer. I don't think I can ensure that I'm able to do that. Even then, you are only $5 ahead in the long run.

    Hopefully you would be able to jump in before the whole colony is lost due to a poor queen, but I think the point is still there. Do you want to risk taking the loss, especially over $25? I don't. I have seen the performance of grafted, supercedure, and swarm queens in comparison to emergency queens, and the performance overall is hands down against the emergency queens. But if you aren't convinced, so be it. Consider it $25 worth of insurance to save a $120 investment (or make your own, and yes I realize not every queen that you purchase ensures the colonies healthy thrivance).

  18. #57
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    Re: Emergency Queens - does it matter?

    Well said...

    There are really good e-queens and there can be really poor grafted queens... but again we are not trying to measure the worth of a good e-queen vs a good grafted queen...

    I guess the question that one would have to answer for themselves before deciding to create e-queens vs other types of queens would be...."can I distinguish between a good e-queen and a poor one, and can I do so in time to produce another or maybe even a few others before losing the colony"... and next is..."is the risk and effort really worth it"... most look to e-queens because they feel its simple... however, to keep from having losses, you will end up checking the colonies over and over and over again... and manipulating them to produce more queens when you find duds.... so they end up being more work...

  19. #58
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    Smile Re: Emergency Queens - does it matter?

    Hello friends,

    This is how we do it on a regular basis;

    The only way to pick the right larva age with a 4 frame walk away nuc is to use your hive tool....

    You take 1 frame of honey,1frame of pollen,1frame of capped brood,1frame of just hatched larva.
    Take your hive tool and scratch 2-3 pieces of comb down(2" x 1/4") till close to the 20 hour old larva.

    Shake the bees of 2 more broodframes from parent hive into the nuc.

    Close the nuc and move it 3 miles away and leave it alone for 25 days.

    This method gives us a 80+ % succes rate of a good mated young queen!

    All the best,

    Martinus
    Patience is a virtue

  20. #59
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    Default Re: Emergency Queens - does it matter?

    That system appears to be almost the opposite of a walk away split.

    I thought the point of a walk away split was to split the hive in two, then walk away.

    By adding a frames of brood, nectar, pollen, manipulating the cell shape, shaking in nurse bees, moving X miles away, and placing it all into a nuc essentially creates a cell builder colony. Except instead of adding grafts, you add larvae on comb.

  21. #60
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    Default Re: Emergency Queens - does it matter?

    Yes that's what he's doing. Although the other important thing is he's scratching out part of the comb with his hive tool, allowing the bees to build a better queen cell.

    I think the idea has merits and ought to be better than a standard walk away split, although I haven't tried it so can't say for sure.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

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