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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.


So you are saying that the open bit is effectively sealed off by the process of being attached to the bottom of the cell?

Maybe the diluted honey does not actually soften the "shell", but maybe it is helpful in "re-exposing" a tiny part of the open bit of the egg and allowing some access to fertilize the egg? If the honey is able to dissolve some of the adhesive material the queen uses to attach the egg--even by just a tiny bit--it seems conceivable that this process might work if you had freshly laid eggs to work with? Of course, what I have just written is speculation on what might be happening in cases where this process ends up working.

I think that this is worth investigating and could be an inexpensive way to do some line breeding.

To be honest--if it were someone other than Michael Bush who posted that this process can work, I think I would be just as skeptical as the harshest criticism posted on this thread.

I do think that the process would be difficult (maybe not as difficult as II, but still difficult). Now what would really be a feat would be to raise a few queens with this method described in this thread and then use II to further control the drones used. In this case, if you were able to make sure you had only genetic material from one queen (i.e. if all drones and drone eggs used are from the same queen), do you suppose that any resulting viable worker offspring would make a few tiny banjos and start playing "Dueling Banjos" out on the landing board? Or does it take one more round before they pull out the banjos? :lpf:
 

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There was a post on here ,possible 6 or 7 years ago I believe it was from a beekeeper in Wyoming who described this process, apparently it was first done by a German beekeeper many years previously, I did find the original documentation on the web, but I have no idea where.
 

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To be honest--if it were someone other than Michael Bush who posted that this process can work, I think I would be just as skeptical as the harshest criticism posted on this thread.
Lots of things work, but how practical is it? How often is it successful compared to other ways of doing the same thing? Maybe the cell is flooded deeply enough to cover the bottom of the egg making the portal available for sperm to enter the egg. I sure don't know.

How are eggs fertilized when a queen lays a fertilized egg? Is there really only one opening in the surface of the egg by which sperm can enter? Where would one find such information?
 

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When I first read this thread, I thought you were trying to reinvent the wheel. But when I realized what you were getting to, Poor mans way to II, I was somewhat intrigued. It might just work on a limited scale. You could raise a small few queens and use those for your graft donors for larger scale production once they had been evaluated. For those that do cut comb, your cell is already larger too. Bonus for you.

Too bad Glenn Apiaries is no longer selling VSH II Queens. Your drone mothers VSH traits will have to be raised or purchased elsewhere. I would assume after the egg is laid you have a very small window of opportunity to introduce the semen. I would almost have to see it to believe it tho...

Take a look at this photo.



This was a frame out of my Glenn Pure VSH II hive as a walk away nuc. It had several queen cells in it, including this one which interestingly appeared to be on drone cells. I assume it never hatched. But if this drone cell had been manually fertilized by the method described above, it would have a whole new meaning, wouldn't it?
As Mr. Spock would say: Fascinating :)
 

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He might also say, "Illogical".

Anatomically it appears that an egg passes by the spermathecal gland where a sperm is either added to an egg or not. How in the world an unfertilized egg would get successfully impregnated w/ a sperm after being laid in a honeycomb cell is beyond my imagination. One would have to incubate the comb away from any bees because, would worker bees be inclined to remove the contents of cells which naturally were not supposed to be there?

Is this Thread all speculation? Or is there real evidence and data showing that this has been done? Successfully done?
 

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He might also say, "Illogical".

Mark, you always make me laugh

"I have been and always shall be, your friend"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPkByAkAdZs

Innovation is problem solving. Problem solving is innovation. I would say speculation fits somewhere in the middle.

Quote: Albert Einstien:
"If I had an hour to solve a problem, I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about problem and five minutes thinking about the solution"

According to a publication I read recently, "25 % of failures come from people trying to solve the WRONG problem."

Just a few thoughts, might apply to may aspects of beekeeping.
 

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I'm thinking fly by the seat of your pants on this one, if no detailed info is available. But it could be fun for those thinking about investing in II equipment to fiddle around with. See if it is something they want to pursue before spending those $$.

I'm with Mark on this one. Seems a bit unlikely-but since I've never tried it and am not a scientist (I just play one on beesourse) My opinion is pure speculation.

I mean, You'd have to expose the egg to semen before any cell division took place. Or does cell division not take place until it hatches? It IS still an egg up to a certain point. But like a chicken egg, once laid it is past the point of fertilization. Bees are not mammals, their extraordinary reproducing methods are unique.
I look forward to someone with some actual knowledge to chime in here.
 

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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.
Well, how would it work? How would the sperm get into the egg?

Asking a thought out loud. When a chicken is about to lay an egg, isn't the egg shell permeable enough to allow sperm to penetrate and then soon afterwards it isn't? Has anyone ever butchered a hen and found an egg in her? The shell is somewhat transluscent and maliable.

Not that insects and birds are analogous.

Is this something special for Halloween? The production of Frankenqueens, perhaps? :)
 

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I have asked a cpl people that I thought should know how plausible such a thing as we are discussing might be. Not likely is the consensus so far.

What I haven't found so far is other than the egg passing from the ovaries down the oviduct passing the spermathecal gland and then passing out the tail end of the queen into the cell. But I have found no written description of how the sperm enters the egg. No mention of the permeability of the cell wall and no description of a hole in the end of the egg by which sperm enters the egg.

I have never heard of such a hole in any egg cell in any reproduction system. Has anyone else?

Where should I be looking for what I am looking?
 

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Mark, none of the links below are exactly what you are seeking, I suspect. But here is a start:

The egg is filled with cytoplasm, a nucleus, and a yolk. The nucleus is near the big end of the egg and plays a major role in the development of a future bee. A newly fertilized honey bee queen will have nearly seven million sperm stored in a special pouc h - the spermatheca. Sperm can be stored there, apparently in somewhat of a suspended animated state, for several years. Adult female worker bees can't do all this hence a major difference between the anatomy and physiology of workers and queens. The adult, fertile queen has a muscular valve and pump which are used to withdraw a small amount of sperm from the spermatheca, pump it down the duct to an opening in the vagina where a vaginal valvefold forces the egg's micropyle (an opening in the larger end of the egg) against the opening of the vaginal sperm duct. The connection made, one or more sperm is passed into the egg. The newly fertilized egg becomes diploid (a full chromosomal content) and develops into a female. Shut down the entire sperm-releasing mechanism and the egg remains sperm-free, resulting in a haploid egg (one half of the chromosomal number). The unfertilized egg becomes a drone.A queen can seemingly tell a worker cell from a drone cell by measuring the cell diameter with her front leg s and will deposit the appropriate egg. However, mistakes are occasionally made. Nurse bees, ever alert to errors, clean up the mistake by eating the errant egg.

http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/eggdevelop_early.html
Note in particular, the reference to the egg's "micropyle ".

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http://digitalcollections.sit.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1916&context=isp_collection

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http://books.google.com/books?id=F3...e&q=fertilize queen egg micropyle bee&f=false

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http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFile...--Metamorphosis of the Micropylar Chorion.pdf

I do not want to give the impression that I necessarily understand any/all this material. :eek: I simply know how to start with simple searches, then use keywords found in the initial results to find more documents. :lookout:
 

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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.
I thought that was the purpose of II, rich mans or poors mans. Why go to the effort to II with semen that you do not know the source of?

Tom
 

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I still have a hard time understanding how this is possible. Cell division is going to start taking place very soon, if not immediately, after the egg is laid. Once cell division starts the game is up, you can't add more dna to the process. You only have one set of chromosomes in the haploid sperm to combine with one set of chromosomes in the haploid egg.

If this were possible you would have to do it with an egg that was just laid.

Tom
 

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Had a link passed on to me about this subject by a friend.

1. Preparation of drones/semen:

Let the queen lay unfertilised eggs in drone combs about 40 days (24 days development + ca. 16 days for sexual maturity)before AF. These drones should hatch under controlled conditions to be sure about their origin. If e.g. marked with colour paint on their thorax, they can be allowed to freely fly because only a few are needed (one?).
Here comes the most difficult part:
Fill a sterile syringe (volume about 1 ml) about half with sterile sperm dilution buffer (same as used as a stop solution in AM). Attach a sterile glass capillary (about same as with AM) to the syringe and make the dilution buffer fill the capillary, then draw back to make a small volume of air enter the capillary. This air bubble is used to separate the semen from the dilution buffer (this large portion in the ‘back’ of the syringe). The semen of one selected drone (about 1 ul) is then collected in the glass capillary (same procedure as with AM). Thereafter, draw about eight to ten times the volume of the semen (i.e. 10 ul) of semen dilution buffer into the syringe and mix the semen and this small volume of buffer through repeated draw and push cycles on a sterile glass plate. The prepared, diluted semen can be used several hours if stored at room temperature and in the dark.

2. Preparation of unfertilised eggs:

In the morning, cage the queen on one side of a empty fully drawn drone comb. It takes some time till she begins egg laying. In the afternoon transfer the queen to the other side of the same comb. Now, she will continue egg laying after a few minutes. These eggs can now be used for AF. (My comment: In another article I read that if unfertilised eggs will enter development spontaneously after about 4 hours. So in practice, one could wait about 2-3 hours before taking the drone comb to ensure that enough eggs were laid).
The syringe with the diluted sperm is pushed so that the diluted sperm forms half a droplet at the end of the glass capillary. A egg to be fertilised must now be covered with diluted sperm at it’s upper 25 % (the free end of the egg not being attached to the cell)for a second. That’s it! To prevent the sperm from drying, the droplet is drawn back into the syringe each time after AF. Be sure to mark the respective cells (using e.g. an overhead transparency) on the comb.
The comb with AF-eggs is then transferred to a previously dequeened colony. After 3 days the larvae can be grafted as usual. The raised queens can be used for AM too, of course.

If queens are reared from AF-eggs and mated uncontrolled, you may profit from heterosis effects (in workers) in each generation, but at the same time keep ‘your’ race/breeding line/etc. ‘pure’. But one can think of many more applications. Compared to AM, time schedules are reduced significantly.

Except from the syringe and the glass capillary, you do not need any special equipment. For sterilisation you can use a high pressure cooking pot (about 120 degrees Celsius, 20 min)

+ This if the link works.
http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=14767
 

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Thanks Graham and Pete, good info there.

I thought it was the size of the worker cell that caused the egg to be pressed again the sperm duct on its way out. Either way it is fertilized AS the egg is laid. So it makes sense that there is a window of opportunity for the egg to be fertilized after it is laid.

The timing just complicates the process a bit in that you need to place a queen on empty comb, put a frame sized queen excluder on the frame and put the frame in the hive. Then come back 4 hours later to fertilize the eggs. I suppose it gives you time to catch the drone(s) and prepare the syringe.

Another thought I had about this is that you don't need to graft!

If you use the OTS method of removing the bottom three walls of the drone cell, the bees will treat it as a queen cup. Last season I tried OTS by using tweezers and pulling the bottom walls out of several (worker) cells with eggs or young larvae and the bees made a couple of queen cells.
 
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