Preserving Genetics
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Lake County, Illinois
    Posts
    50

    Default Preserving Genetics

    By way of introduction, I try to be treatment free with very limited success over period of 10 years. I do have to purchase new nucs frequently to start the season.This year despite sub zero temps, I have one hive in particular that has not only survived but is booming. I have one deep, a queen excluder and and one shallow(super) along with a top entrance above the excluder. My question is very basic for experienced beekeepers. How do I preserve the queens genetics in this hive. Is it too early to split, and if not what is the best method of splitting. I do not see queen or replacement or swarm cells. If I split and add a new queen to one part of the split won't I be replacing the genetics of the existing queen?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Red Bud, IL, USA
    Posts
    1,768

    Default Re: Preserving Genetics

    Split and let the bees raise their own queen from the available larvae. The genetics are still going to be "diluted" through open mating but hopefully the new queen retains most of her mother's traits.
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Huntsville, Alabama
    Posts
    721

    Default Re: Preserving Genetics

    Agreed with Eikel. Take 2-3 frames of bees, open brood and honey from the original brood box, making sure the queen in not on one of these frames. Put them in a nuc box and allow them to make a new queen. You'll still have 1/2 of her genetics in the new queen. Some people just take the new box and set it elsewhere in the yard(walk away split). I have always taken the new box 2-3 miles away for a week and then moved it back.
    30 hives and counting...
    Huntsville, AL: Alabama's best kept secret

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Powhatan, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    339

    Default Re: Preserving Genetics

    I would change the above recommendation for the following reason.
    It takes lots of nurse bees to feed a developing larvae to produce a guality queen.
    A few frames of bees in a split has not got the resources. Reverse the plan by moving the old queen to the nuc.
    This leaves the strong hive to make the cells. You can move a couple after they are capped if you want to make more splits.
    The developing Queens will be better fed, as well as the strong hive will store more nectar during the brood break since there will be a period with no brood to feed.
    If all else fails you still have the original queen in the nuc as a fall back position.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,550

    Default Re: Preserving Genetics

    A well fed and well bred queen of mediocre genetics is better than a poorly fed or poorly bred queen of excellent genetics. Make sure the colony raising the queen has plenty of bees and resources to feed the queen.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Warren County, NJ, USA
    Posts
    495

    Default Re: Preserving Genetics

    youre in illinois? a deep and a shallow at this time of year you consider booming? even when i was playing the treatment free game i woulda pinched that queen. consider obtaining some better stock.
    but to answer your question, since it is only one hive i would check them every 7 days for swarm cells. once you see them then split however you wish with those cells.
    best not to let the splits raise queens.

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