Bred for propolis production and/or prolific drawing of comb
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  1. #1
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    Default Bred for propolis production and/or prolific drawing of comb

    I am wondering if anyone knows of any honey bee breeders breeding lines which are heavy propolizers?
    I am also interested in finding out about honey bee breeders breeding lines which readily and quickly draw lots of comb?

    Thanks,
    Kyle

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Bred for propolis production and/or prolific drawing of comb

    You probably don't need to breed for that, just obtain some bees originating from the Caucasus Mountains.

    Caucasian bees are notorious for over-propolizing everything in sight. They don't do much, nor make much honey, but they sure can make glue!

    Use Beesource's search box for a thread titled, Caucasian Hunt from August of this year. Cerheza mentions that most of the stocks are now replaced, if not entirely wiped out in Russia.

    Some breeders with probable descendant bees bred here in America include Old Sol Apiaries in Oregon, and www.diablobees.org/suppliers.html

    I am currently overwintering some bees that are excellent comb repair girls. They are otherwise somewhat lackluster performers, but I WILL be breeding for this trait!

    To draw comb quickly, learn honey-in-the-comb production. Large colonies can crank out comb like few others, you might even "play chicken" with early swarming by combining 2 colonies in the springtime. Management of large colonies early in the spring is challenging, requiring lots of attention. The best way to determine that a swarm is imminent is when the bees start back-filling brood area with honey. At that time, you pull 2 combs from the brood cluster, replacing them with empty frames. This will delay a swarm.

    I practice this (combining large colonies in the springtime) some times to get combs drawn early for breeding season. I count bees flying in / out of the hives at certain times of the day, timing them for one minute, noting the temperature and conditions. Fly-out rate determines when I begin queen rearing.

    I don't combine my breeder queen colonies! I do this to donor colonies that will be either starter/finisher colonies or donor colonies

    If queen rearing is started too early in the year, I get poor quality queens, and won't have enough bee resources to raise good ones until later in the year. The fly-out rate in the hive must show significant increase has taken place before I start queen rearing operations.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 11-17-2014 at 08:20 PM.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Bred for propolis production and/or prolific drawing of comb

    I have no personal experience, but Caucasian honey bees are supposed to be heavy propolis collectors.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Bred for propolis production and/or prolific drawing of comb

    The caucasian bees I had were as good as any other bee is far as production goes. But they did proplize heavily making manipulation in the fall tougher when things started to get cooler and propolis was more brittle. Caucasian bees can completely make there own entrance reducer with propolis (at least most of mine did) leaving just a hole to go in and out. They had a compact broodnest come fall, winter well, seem to wait later till everything is fine before brooding though in spring(very frugal). Doesn't allow for early split(s). Which is no big deal as I make up nucs on the flow. They were a good bee to me. Ugly cappings for comb or section honey. But for yourself is fine. I went with carnies as I was doing round sections at the time. I wish I maintained a yard with caucasians looking back now......

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Bred for propolis production and/or prolific drawing of comb

    Quote Originally Posted by Clayton Huestis View Post
    I wish I maintained a yard with caucasians looking back now......
    That would have been cool if you had. You'd probably have a ton of beekeepers lining up to purchase queens from you.

    I have not raised many queens myself, so I don't think I'll be buying a breeder queen from Sue Cobey's Caucasians yet Maybe if I get good at raising queens, I'll be ready for a high dollar breeder Caucasian queen in the apiary.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Bred for propolis production and/or prolific drawing of comb

    Kilocharlie: Can you provide us with your fly-out rates (and temperatures and times of day) when you have determined conditions are 'right' for starting queen rearing? When, by the calendar, have these fly-out rates been 'right'?

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Bred for propolis production and/or prolific drawing of comb

    Fly-out rates depend on colony strength and temperature, but you should start watching in the early spring and wait until you notice a definite INCREASE in the cell builder colony. I usually check when the sun is about 4 "hands" above the horizon (outstretched arm, 4 fingers held tight at 90 degrees - farther North means fewer hands), or when it warms up enough that bees start really going out after the nectar & pollen and get busy for the day. This could still increase if it warms up even more later in the day, but you'll get a feel for it - THEY HAVE INCREASED in population, and the pollen is coming in. You can also open the box and take a look, see if they have increased significantly, that is, not from a tiny patch of brood to a small patch, but up to several frames of brood, and you should see some capped brood hatched out, and evidence that the queen is laying a lot.

    I always hope to see about 25 or more bees flying in and out at any moment of a 2-deep or 3-medium box colony. If it was below that a week to 10 days earlier in better conditions, then it's time to start the drone and queen calendars. Larger colonies will go 100+ bees per minute, smaller colonies you really have to get a feel for - they don't throw nearly as many foragers out the front door in the morning.

    On good years, when my 2-deep box-tall colonies (I actually use 3 mediums) start hitting 65 to 80 bees per minute, I combine another hive to make a super-strong "bee bomb" cell builder (starter/finisher) colony, and proceed along the lines that Michael Palmer uses, although I'll use a Cloake Board if the cell builder colony is 4 or 5 boxes tall. I still use MP's / Brother Adam's method of importing 7 or 8 frames of capped brood from nucleus colonies, and I subtract a box to crowd them real good (all the same number of bees in 1 or 2 less boxes) if they need it - this gets them in swarming impulse mode real quick.

    It will be different up there in the North and in other locations (I'm in Southern California), and different with different strains of bees, but the critical things are the increase in brood patch size and the pollen coming in, so watch and adjust your rates to your bees. If you have a hive scale, wait for the weight to increase.

    If you have plenty of colonies, you can indeed push some ahead in the year and try to make some early queens. Some years, nature will be very good to you and you'll get away with it. If you only have a few colonies, it may well be better to play it conservative and start a bit later.

    In summary, this is what military folk call a SWAG, a "Scientific [email protected]$$ed Guess". Use the sense of feel, use the bees-per-minute rate, but try to know when they have increased enough, and you're seeing more pollen on their legs, to make powerful cell builder colonies that feed kilograms of royal jelly to make GOOD queens, not just early queens that will probably get superceded in short order. If they supercede a lot of your queens in the spring, you miss a lot of the main nectar/pollen flow. This takes a big chunk out of your honey poundage and/or nuc sales later in the year.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 11-20-2014 at 02:36 PM.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Bred for propolis production and/or prolific drawing of comb

    One more update - Washington State University has, imported germplasm from A.M. Caucasia, and is testing them in the area they keep isolated in a sea of wheat, APHIS USDA. You will likely be able to obtain some of them after the usual 2-year quarantine which may now be over.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 12-02-2014 at 03:33 PM.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Bred for propolis production and/or prolific drawing of comb

    They've had caucasians for awhile charlie, $750 for a breeder, not sure if you can get open mated ones.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Bred for propolis production and/or prolific drawing of comb

    Quote Originally Posted by kilocharlie View Post
    One more update - Washington State University has, imported germplasm from A.M. Caucasia
    Yes, that occurred in 2008.

    Might want to checkout: http://entomology.wsu.edu/apis/breeding-program/queens/
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Bred for propolis production and/or prolific drawing of comb

    I might float the $$ for one next year, but I'd need more resources to get queens out if there's any interest. I posed the question earlier in the year, and no one really seemed that interested in them, except for some folks up in Canada. I'm planning on talking to a fellow beesourcer about raising queens for me on more of a commercial scale, will keep you guys updated.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Bred for propolis production and/or prolific drawing of comb

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    I might float the $$ for one next year, but I'd need more resources to get queens out if there's any interest. I posed the question earlier in the year, and no one really seemed that interested in them, except for some folks up in Canada. I'm planning on talking to a fellow beesourcer about raising queens for me on more of a commercial scale, will keep you guys updated.
    Please do let folks know how things progress.
    Thanks,
    Kyle

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Bred for propolis production and/or prolific drawing of comb

    We are very happy with our Caucasians from Sue...

    We will be sending some drones back to her off of the best overwintered queens in March for a collaborative project as well as getting a couple more pure breeders from her. This is our first winter with them and it will be a good opportunity to select for traits that fit our management style. August hygienic behavior testing yielded some very encouraging results. We anticipate broader availability this season. I prefer to move cautiously with new stock before widespread incorporation. This year we will have open mated F1s, open mated F2s and some daughters from selected F1 drones ii back crossed to Sue's virgins to play with.
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

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