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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
City Drones
The queen is only 1/2 the story. The drone's DNA will be part of the next Queen.
If you live in the city and can have only 4 hives you have no impact on drone DNA.
The Drones go a short distance to DCAs and the Queens "go long" … so you have no impact on drone DNA.
Where I live over half of the Beeks talk about how to treat. So the drones are 1/2 from treated hives.
Lots of the TF hives freeze drone comb to combat the mites so there are fewer TF drones
Are we shooting ourselves in the foot here? Under these circumstances the TF DNA will be diluted at the rate of 50% every 2 years.
Idea
What if we all agreed that the second year a TF hive over winters, we would all try to produce more drones?
If we put on an extra drone comb frame in honor of the others who try to do this work, could we up the odds of getting strong hives?
If everyone in a local environment did it at the same time and did splits 2 weeks later we could know the boys were on their way?
After that frame hatches out, those who wish to can go back to freezing drones can do so.

I am new at this. Do you have any thoughts?
 

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You are way overthinking it. Don't believe all this DCA stuff either. As soon as she jumps out the hive she'll have drones chasing her, that's my theory anyway. The other issue is, it's still a crapshoot. A queen mates with a lot of drones, so her daughters don't breed very true. That's a little mis-leading saying it that way though, but with bad luck, you can lose traits quickly...
 

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Unless there are many beekeepers in your club and they vastly outnumber those that treat, you'll not do much but perhaps improve your odds. So not "no impact" but very little. Some of those TF drones will mate.
 

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Much will may depend on how many older buildings there are in the city district, how much greenery, how tolerant people are of feral hives. Where I live the two closest towns have largely Edwardian and Victorian buildings, and many small churches, and the ferals have a strong foothold.

Other than that: yes, your idea is sound. I don't use drone brood but I have unlimited brood nests, encouraging strong hives to make plenty of drones. Every little helps anyway - and that policy might turn out to be more than a little.

I'd say go for it, and good luck Cathy.

Mike (UK)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for all the responses.

I will ask for interest at the next club meeting. We have 60 members who seem to come. We can take a poll and see what people think.
 

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The genetics for resistance to varroa is in the treated colonies as well as the non-treated. VSH began in colonies that were from regular stocks of bees, they were selected for their resistance after the resistance was recognized by the researchers. If you want to raise drones from treatment free stock well and good, you will have an impact on the breeding in your area. However, you will need to be prepared for losses, often very large ones. If you select drone colonies pick one that has gone 3 years and superseded it's queen successfully, only making it 2 years without treating is just average.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The genetics for resistance to varroa is in the treated colonies as well as the non-treated. VSH began in colonies that were from regular stocks of bees, they were selected for their resistance after the resistance was recognized by the researchers. If you want to raise drones from treatment free stock well and good, you will have an impact on the breeding in your area. However, you will need to be prepared for losses, often very large ones. If you select drone colonies pick one that has gone 3 years and superseded it's queen successfully, only making it 2 years without treating is just average.
Hi AR

Thank you for this. Please explain the losses part? I'm assuming the losses are to the VSH hive?

If you had a specially purchased VSH queen why would you wait for supersedure?

Cathy
 

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@Cathy - I think AR was trying to warn you about potential TF losses (which initially could be 80-90% or more) and not about a particular VSH queen being superseded.

You control the extent of the expected loss (at least somewhat) by the selection of the stock you are starting with.

He is suggesting that you look for drone producing colonies that naturally replace (supersede) their queen on a three year cycle - he is thinking that for them to supersede the queen on a two year cycle is nothing special.
 

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He is suggesting that you look for drone producing colonies that naturally replace (supersede) their queen on a three year cycle - he is thinking that for them to supersede the queen on a two year cycle is nothing special.
To survive, and be thriving after two years is a very promising start. I wouldn't wait for supercedure - I'd want the original mother's offspring, not her daughters' - particularly if local drone material is thought to be weak.

By '2 years' I'd mean been through 2 winters and come out strong for the third time. New colony builds, overwinters, goes through a complete one year cycle and looks good about now. Two years old but in her third year. 2013 queens now qualify.

If however they've been established colonies that have needed requeening, and have done well despite the established mite base, I'd be tempted to mark them up sooner.

Bought resistant queens from a reliable breeder could be used straight away.

It rather depends on what you have, and whether you think its above average for the location.

That's how I think I see it at the moment.

Mike (UK)
 

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"There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will."--Epictetus
How do you tell which things are beyond that power? Or is that beyond our power too?

Mike (UK)
 

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This scheme, briefly enriching unselected drones, sounds utopian.

The proponent would be well served to read the Page and Laidlaw 1982 papers on Closed Population models of Honeybee breeding, or Sue Cobey's popular explanations of her implementation of the Laidlaw breeding system, or the details that the Russian breeders have presented on their implementation.

In short, the population benefit (i.e. how the action shifts the population norm) would prove miniscule (or counter-effective) compared to the human effort expended.

Cite: Closed Population Honeybee Breeding. 1. Population Genetics of Sex Determination
DOI: 10.1080/00218839.1982.11100513
Robert E. Page Jr. & Harry H. Laidlaw Jr.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hi

Thank you all for the data and the referrals. I will read them all.

So - I think what you are telling me is even 60 beeks is too small. As a dog breeder I will think about it this way ...
My puppies would not be poodles if 99% of the available breeding males were wolves.

Cathy
 

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In short, the population benefit (i.e. how the action shifts the population norm) would prove miniscule (or counter-effective) compared to the human effort expended.
Does the scientific paper use the vague terms 'benefit', 'miniscule' 'effort expended'?

Let's suppose the 'effort expended' by 'a number' of beekeepers was individually 'miniscule', what would be the proportion of effort to effect?

As you can see (I trust), these terms are meaningless. Quotes would be meaningful. Quotes surrounded by (your) text indicating their relevance better still.

The small effort of systematic treatment undertaken by beekeepers has a dramatic genetic effect. Think about it. Its opposite will do the same.

Quite how much an individual beekeeper can achieve is, furthermore, dependent on the environmental context. As well as being inherently vague to the point of meaningless, your general statement ignores this factor too.

Mike (UK)
 

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>How do you tell which things are beyond that power?

Controlling the open mating of queens is now and always has been beyond everyone's power. Why worry about it? Worry about what you CAN control.
If you can shift the odds favourably why not do it?

You can arrange matings in better and worse places

You can influence the proportions of better drones in your own backyard

Breeders (of bees) have long advised this.

It might not be in your full control - but that's not the same as saying you can't influence the outcome.

Why not make a start - and persuade your friends to do like wise.

At the very least start thinking about it. If everybody thought about it we'd be in a very different position. So its a good plan to talk about it!

Mike (UK)
 

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I run hives in downtown Austin, There are MANY more beekeepers in my area than are in the local club(s). I find out about new ones every week. While concerns over africanized genetics exist, this is also a friendly area for treatment free bees beekeeping with a major local supplier of queens.

My open mated queens have had no issues with aggressive behavior and are long lived (possibly better than many purchased queens). As we do a bit of "home consulting" what I have observed is that the majority of hives are poorly managed in regards to regularly applied treatments and swarming, also top bars hives and foundationless comb is common (read: plenty of drone comb). Also, mean bees are not tolerated in areas heavily populated by humans so I expect those genetics don't persist.

In short, I've found there are a lot more hives in the area providing desirable drones to the DCA than I thought - allow open mating and see what you get.
 

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CathyC;

Rule number1, You can only work with what you have, and set realistic goals.

Rule number 2, Don't wait until you think you can have it perfect, things are never perfect.

Rule number 3, Do something, even if it is wrong, do something. Nothing ever gets started unless someone does something.

Rule number 4, Evaluate procedures, and identify mistakes.

Rule number 5, When you make a mistake, suck it up and keep going. Remember those mistakes, and don't make them again.

Rule number 6, Never quit, at least until you have proven to yourself that you are flogging a dead horse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thank you for all the input. I’m a little encouraged and a little discouraged. But the discussion has changed my thinking.

People have mentioned the size of the feral community. We have lots of forest. Genetic drift is certainly happening in that population. Given this, the varroa as a cropper is likely to concentrate resistant genes. The varroa will modify our bees over time. They may become more like the Asian Honey Bee.

So here is my assumption: Suppose the virgin queens are mating with an average of 13 males (or 9 or 12 depending on the paper). Suppose then the average healthy hive has a chance to impregnate 9 to 13 virgin females.

Here are the further questions: So does a single breeding from a resistant hive help? What percent of the hive population has to want to yank varroa out of the cells, or clean each other to help a hive survive? What percent of the pupae have to smell bad to varroa or emit a chemical to limit varroa fecundity, to help a hive survive? Surely it is not 100% of the bees and surely the traits are not all recessive or the F2 generations would not be more successful than the average hive.

One wants to not to control, but to help… Splits only benefit me. Drones benefit other hive owners.

Here is the revision to the idea: So if I can only have 4 hives in the city and I have a friend. If one of my hives lives long and prospers, I can make splits. But I could also ask that queen to make capped drone brood at the rate of one frame every 3 week without hurting the hive. Every 3 weeks I could put that drone brood into my other 3 hives and after 9 weeks all my hives would be supplying the better drones. And they could go into 3 of the hives of my friends after 18 weeks. That is 42,000 drones. People who treat could also participate by having TF drones. Some don’t feel it would hurt them. If 60 people with 4 hives each do this with the 30 better hives out of 240, and each of those hives contributes to the genetics of 9 to 13 hives for 2160 to 3120 matings …

In a 250 square mile area, is that too small to have an impact?
 
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