Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
410 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
In the early 80's Dr Orley Taylor, Kansas, did an experiment to study queen mating. Using transmitters and radar he followed queens and drones on mating flights in Kansas. As I remember , his conclusion was that queens fly at least 3,000meters from their hive before they mate. Drones never venture more than 1500 meters from their hive. This keeps a brother drone and sister virgin from mating. I was at a research lunchon at a table with 5 prominent queen breeders from California. Their jaws were on the table. Their breeder queens had been mating with mongrels hanging out in some distant oak tree. Since then mating yards have been arranged with mating nucs in a center yard and drone hives set in a circle around and about 3000 meters away from the mating nuc yard. So if you are raising drones in your yard for genetic diversity, who's queen are the mating with? Was Taylor's study correct?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,373 Posts
I focus on raising queens that are homozygous for the Cordovan trait, and they will only produce female offspring that are also homozygous for the Cordovan trait, if they are mated with Cordovan drones. Near my breeding yard I encourage my strongest production hives to produce drones. Since many of my homozygous Cordovan Italian queens produce many workers that are also homozygous for Cordovan coloration, they must be mating with their brothers, uncles, or cousins.

There are no other beekeepers within ten miles or more of my area that are keeping Cordovan bees. There may be some feral colonies founded by escaped swarms from my own hives. However, many of my homozygous Cordovan queens do not produce a high percentage of female offspring that are also homozygous for the Cordovan color trait. I do assume (perhaps I am mistaken), that some of my queens are mating with drones that are somewhat closely related to them, possibly even from their own hives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
107 Posts
Dr. Orley Taylor is probably right most of the time. People that I've worked with have seen queens getting mated right there in the queen breeding yard often enough. I worked in that part of the business for ten seasons and didn't see it so I guess that it doesn't happen a lot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
175 Posts
Last Spring at a Meeting of the Virginia State Beekeepers one of the presenters was discussing raising/breeding queens. His material contained pretty much the same information as you described being put out by Dr Orley Taylor. From a given hive the Virgin Queens fly twice as far to get mated as the drones fly to a DCA or there abouts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
102 Posts
So if I'm setting up beeyards in a circle around my house to saturate my area with the desired drones what is the proper distance to go, 1 mile 2 miles 3?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,309 Posts
Thanks for the good question, jjgbee!

This quesiton pertains to those of us (I guess I'm really talking about myself!) who aren't all that scientifically oriented, but who are planning to raise queens. I have two or three different strains of bees, all hygenic, etc. in my apiaries. Planning to use open mating... so what's the chance of getting decent queens, without having apiaries 3,000 yards apart? Or worrying about inbreeding, outbreeding, feral breeding, or whatever? Should we be concerned? Or are we simply worrying too much?
Thanks!
Steven
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,425 Posts
I'd be happy if I knew there were mongrels in the trees around here but until I brought a hive home last year to help in the garden, I hadn't seen a honey bee in my garden for the two previous years I lived here. Not one and I spend a lot of time in the garden. I don't know of any beekeepers within at least a four or five mile radius.

This spring, I'm putting hives in a yard about 4 miles from here. They will be from southern packages and I will want to re-queen them with locally raised queens from my home hive stock. I'd prefer those new queens didn't mate with drones from the package bee stock so that leaves my garden hive as my cell builder as well as the only known nearby source of locally raised drones. I'm hoping that the boys put a little extra effort into chasing down the ladies. Maybe go the extra mile, so to speak?

Wayne
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
314 Posts
A question that I have would be, do the queens have a direction that they go to mate ? As in generally south, west or other ? I do already know that they do go along prominent landmarks such as a tree line etc. Just wondering if they have a preference in direction.

Also, I would have to say that the more yards close with the queen rearing in the center would be the best. My situation is that I have a commercial beek real close to me and would have to do a pretty good job of saturation around me to ensure (hopefully) successful mating of choice stock.
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,039 Posts
Queens and drones find pheromone trails and landmarks to follow. DCAs (Drone Congregation Areas) are at points where treelines meet or roads meet. The queen will follow treelines and drone pheromones to find the DCA. I don't think they have a preference other than scent drifts downwind...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,797 Posts
drifts downwind...
I suppose one could take advantage of prevailing winds. If it's generally from the NW you could try to place drone yards to the NW of your mating yards. Of course, one spring the winds would be contrary.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
508 Posts
They just continue to amaze me.

On another note, technology has advanced a great deal since the 80's. Surely someone has used this technology to do some more research on the phenomena.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34,542 Posts
Queens and drones find pheromone trails and landmarks to follow. DCAs (Drone Congregation Areas) are at points where treelines meet or roads meet. The queen will follow treelines and drone pheromones to find the DCA. I don't think they have a preference other than scent drifts downwind...
According to Larry Conners and others at the ABF Con. in Orlando, once you locate a DCA remember where it is, because it is a long standing location. They are used for decades. Why is a good question.

I observed mating happening right above one of my apiaries a couple of years ago. So, I don't know if the drones followed the queen back to the hives or if they were after her as she took flight from the hives.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top