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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I remember reading a post that mentioned that unfertilized eggs (in drone cells) can be fertilized by mixing drone semen with a little bit of honey and putting a small amount of the mix in with an egg in a drone cell.

Then those now resulting female larvae can then be used to be raised as queens with known genetics. (But she still needs to mate.)


Has anyone tried this? What were the results?

Do the bees allow fertilized eggs in drone cells to fully develop?


Thanks
 

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I can't immediately put my finger on the reference, but I recollect that the eggs needed to be placed in a queen cell to get the bees to make a queen. I was fascinated by this concept (daughter queens that are clones of the queen mother). I have not done this myself (yet).
 

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If this technique works, how would you figure it would produce clones of the queen that laid the egg?

Since the egg in question is fertilized by a drone/father who may or may not even be related to the queen that laid the egg. Your clone hypothesis would only be true if the unfertilized/haploid egg, laid by the queen, were actually an unfertilized/diploid egg, somehow sharing a precise match of the mother queens own DNA - not being remixed, at all, by sexual cell division, mitosis.

If you fertilized a queen's egg with sperm from one of her own drones (only those receiving the divergent sex allele), would develop. And, that would ensure that the queens produced thereby, would all be carrying only a limited pair of sex alleles. Then, if they mated with drones carrying the same sex allele that they carry, all the "fertilized" eggs with the same sex alleles, would not grow into healthy, adult, worker bees.
 

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I sure hope the bees can keep this straight.
:)
Just thinking (*dangerous*) - In the event of a zombie apocalypse where I have no queen but can't get one from anywhere, I could theoretically generate one, even from laying worker eggs, correct? I may have to try this next spring. This past spring when I set up my nucs, a couple of them didn't trhive and ended up with laying workers I may have to try this just for fun. It may not be a great queen, but in an apocalypse scenario, any queen is better than none. You could then work on developing a good queen. I'm not seriously concerned about an anpocalypse, but it's fun to think through how some things would play out.
 

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:)
Just thinking (*dangerous*) - In the event of a zombie apocalypse where I have no queen but can't get one from anywhere, I could theoretically generate one, even from laying worker eggs, correct? I may have to try this next spring. This past spring when I set up my nucs, a couple of them didn't trhive and ended up with laying workers I may have to try this just for fun. It may not be a great queen, but in an apocalypse scenario, any queen is better than none. You could then work on developing a good queen. I'm not seriously concerned about an anpocalypse, but it's fun to think through how some things would play out.
Nope, this won't work. Laying workers' eggs are not fertilized: they therefore only lay drones.
 

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> Laying workers' eggs are not fertilized: they therefore only lay drones

Perhaps you should read the original post again. The premise is that the eggs would be fertilized by applying drone semen manually, that is, by human. :)

The whole process indeed may not work, but the whole point of the discussion is to intentionally start out with unfertilized eggs, and ending up with fertile queens.
 

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Joseph C

I used the word "clone" a little loosely since the produced queen's DNA would be subject allele rearrangement so it would not technically be a clone. My assumption is that you would use drone sperm from a drone from the mother queen. If the daughter queen mated with drones from the original queen mother than there would clearly be problems with the same sex alleles with the daughter worker bees. Your point about the drone eggs with drone sperm from the same queen only producing a queen if the drones had divergent sex alleles (add by inference the drones that had the same sex alleles would not develop into viable queens) is well taken. The daughter only having two sex alleles would predispose her to having a shotty brood pattern. I am not a bee genetics expert and have no hands on experience with raising queens (just an armchair book learned mall-ninja-bee warrior lol).
 

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>Do the bees allow fertilized eggs in drone cells to fully develop?

Not if you leave them in the drone cell and still horizontal. If you fertilize a row of them and cut that comb and wax it vertically in a cell starter you can get them to raise them as queens... it's not as reliable and predictable as you might like...
 

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>I wonder if the "shell" around the egg is permeable, and if sperm would be able to penetrate the shell after the egg was in the cell.

Which is the cause, I think, of the unreliability of the method. The thing that IS reliable is that you got to choose the drone. It's a fun experiment, but in my opinion it's too much work for too unpredictable of a result. The honey seems to be necessary and I've assumed it was to activate the sperm, but it may also be to soften the "shell".
 

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Why would one do this w/ already fertilized eggs available? I must have missed something.
 

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But she isn't laying fertilized eggs? Or are the drone eggs from a different VSH source?
 

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The beekeepers here in England...I'm visiting...are very up on biology. This for taking their "modules", on the way to taking the national exam. I was told today, that the egg shell is open a bit on one end so the sperm can enter. It's this end that is attached to the cell bottom when the queen lays the egg. Difficult to understand how an egg already in a cell would be fertilized under such circumstances...whether or not you added diluted honey to the cell to, in some way, soften the egg shell to make it permeable.
 

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I believe the semen would already have all necessary components to fertilize the egg, it it were possible.

I guess the next question would be are you trapping drones as they hatch and keeping them until they mature, sexually? Otherwise, unless you had a marker like cordovan color how do you know a drone came from the colony it was collected from?

Tom
 

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The beekeepers here in England...I'm visiting...are very up on biology. This for taking their "modules", on the way to taking the national exam. I was told today, that the egg shell is open a bit on one end so the sperm can enter. It's this end that is attached to the cell bottom when the queen lays the egg. Difficult to understand how an egg already in a cell would be fertilized under such circumstances...whether or not you added diluted honey to the cell to, in some way, soften the egg shell to make it permeable.
That's interesting. I'll have to try experimenting with that.

I believe the semen would already have all necessary components to fertilize the egg, it it were possible.

I guess the next question would be are you trapping drones as they hatch and keeping them until they mature, sexually? Otherwise, unless you had a marker like cordovan color how do you know a drone came from the colony it was collected from?

Tom
Identifying drones is only useful if you want to instrumentally inseminate queens. In those cases, yea, you can raise drone brood with an excluder and come harvest them when they are mature, from what I read.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
This would actually remove a step in producing queens, compared to Instrumentally Inseminating queens to raise daughter queens. The egg is already laid.

With drones, I suppose you could bring in selected drones from another isolated site or you could use colour as a way to identify the mother of the drone. For example, one Cordovan hive in a site with only Carniolans in the other hives.

Either way, it still takes a few batches of brood from the daughter queen before you can see if the desired traits have been passed on.
 
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