Hoppingarner had some that correlated size with number of ovarioles. Seems like it was from thirty years ago or so...
I guess I read it 30 years ago... but it's further back than that, looks like 1959:
"In a recent communication, Hoopingarner and Farrar (1959) report that the weight of the queen honeybee is genetically controlled, and that a proportional relationship exists between body weight and the number of ovarian tubules. These statements corroborate the findings by Eckert (1934) who found that the number of ovarioles tends to be influenced by hereditary factors. In a subsequent study Eckert (1937) was unable to correlate number of ovarioles with actual brood production. Whether a queen with a greater body weight is capable of laying more eggs than a small and lightweight queen remained to be determined; hence the present study was undertaken."--Relation of Body Weight to Fecundity in Queen Honeybees R. Boch and C. A. Jamieson
In cattle, within the EPDs we can correlate birth weight with predicted calving ease. Bone structure can be correlated to milk production, a horned head is tied directly to certain reproductive characteristics...I won't get into.
So if measuring the head and thorax is supposed to relate to a larger abdomen, which then infers more ovaries and better production,
There would be no discrepancy in those findings.
environmental factors influence more of those Queen characteristics
Queen mothers with larger head and thorax means nothing but a big head and big shoulders
To be clear, I don't select for the size of the queen, but it does have bearing, which is why it is factored into Tarpy's model.
I'm just posing the question, hand off the pistol... lol
The point is are those reproductive traits passed on or developed
If you have, link me to addition reading which shows the relationship thorax size and increased reproductiveness
I think there's a point of diminishing returns though. A larger queen takes more energy to move around and lay eggs. Also, there's a maximum amount of eggs that can be laid in a given unit of time, so having the reproductive capabilities to exceed that, doesn't really give an advantage. I don't really tend to judge queens based on size, but I have seen smaller queens produced from walk away splits or smaller nuc's that may have been queenless typically don't perform well or last very long. Ian, I do think there are genetic components involved, most probably link directly to the nutrition of the larval queen but some queen lines could just produce smaller queens in general. I think for the most part, we equate a good sized queen as being a queen produced under ideal conditions and should then be able to be a top performer.
In reading this thread I do look at size as part of choosing a queen. But I also raise chickens and can't help but think of the meat birds that have been bread to the point that they can't fly anymore? Just Thinking.
That's the thought I'm after 👍
Ian - as a breeder of bees, I am FAR more interested in the size and especially the rate of buildup of the brood patches than in the size of the queen's head, thorax, or caboose.
Also high on my list is pollen collection, followed closely by honey production. Gentleness comes in quite a ways down my list. I didn't get into beekeeping thinking that I was not going to get stung. In the end of things, 50 more pounds of honey per colony average far outweighs the usual greater number of stings that non-gentle bees deliver. I know most beekeeps do not think that way, but I'm just trying to make enough money to expand this into a full-time job.
One morphological thing I do measure is proboscis length. Once I found a patch of flowers that the bees are attracted to, but are not pulling much honey from, I wondered if there were bees with a longer proboscis who might jump that nectar flow? Turns out that the Caucasian bee is a good one to breed in to get a longer proboscis. I got some to breed in, but unfortunately lost them to a spray rig. Since then, they have become a bit rare, but I have recently found a source, Old Sol Apiaries sells them.
>>One morphological thing I do measure is proboscis length.<<
You will have to explain that to me. Are you measuring your breeder queens toung length? And how exactly?
Or do you mean you are bringing traits into your breeding pool which will promote longer proboscis length
>>Gentleness comes in quite a ways down my list<<
I don't know, I like not getting stung. I'm a couple years fresh into rearing queens, easing my transition, this season I'm all in. Gentleness is one of my criterias near the top. I'll be propagating those selected traits only through drone colonies.
I actually take an average of about 100 workers, and the queen form a potential breeder colony. I use a dial caliper. They do not appear to enjoy this very much.
I also need to obtain some caucasian stock, just to bring up the trait - long proboscis, or "tongue".
Those sorts of things are proxies for the real thing. Colony performance. Can they survive mites/viruses, can they survive winter, how much honey they produce, how much honey do they consume? Get the proxy wrong and pay the price. Plus, there is that nature/nurture thing that confounds things. There is one problem with the black box approach, when bringing in new genetics, they may not perform as well as local stock. There are probably lots of things that the bees you have do really well, especially if you have been selecting them for a while. However, they may benefit from a few traits that new stock can bring. But if you wash the new stock out before they can make a contribution to existing stock, then there is no point.
However, there are molecular marker proxies that are being developed. Useful in that they are tied to the actual genetics of the thing. A person may bring in new stock and have some molecular markers that are unique to that new stock. You know that you have successfully integrated that trait when it starts showing up in the local population as you sample them. It can create a lot of flexibility and reduce chances of throwing the baby out with the bath water in various situations. In my TF operation, I certainly hope to use these kinds of tools to track what is happening in my population as they become available and reasonable cost. Through time it may be possible to develop dependable proxies using these tools.
Good luck with your queen rearing Ian.
>>Get the proxy wrong and pay the price. Plus, there is that nature/nurture thing<
Iharder, aside from picking the prodigy of your stock based on stacked boxes, which traits are you selecting for and how are finding them?
I've made it a practice to track my breeder queens through 2 years of assessments. One method of eliminating that youth factor which hides flaws