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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wondered what is the probability of genetic inheritance staying stable and continuing when you try to get certain traits of bees?

Part of this has to do with 'Is it worth it to be buying into certain types of bees, if I can't know the descendant queens etc will also have those traits? (Or a % of them at least?)

Examples; VSH queen, MN Hygienic, Cordovan, Russian hygenic, Starliner, Saskatraz, etc?

When you go out and get these how can you tell how much of the descenant queens will also have those same hygienics, or whatever you are trying to get?

Or would a certain percentage of the bee yard also need to be the same type to help insure descendant queens get these same traits?
 

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I am linking below an article written by Rusty Burlew which explains the difficulties in maintaining honey bee genetics in your colonies:

 

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The nature of bees is the genetics are temporary unless they are maintained by selection pressure (natural or otherwise )
ASU had a high pollen hoarding line and low pollen line maintained by II for 20+ generations and used for research ... Staff changed, interest was temporarily lost and in one year the lines were lost..
The longstanding fix (going back at least 3,000 years) is to import queens to your apiary on an ongoing basis, often yearly or every other year to maintain the apiaries traites (low swarming, high honey production,gentleness, etc )

buying queens with a given set of traits is a cost of doing business, not an investment in future years
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The nature of bees is the genetics are temporary unless they are maintained by selection pressure (natural or otherwise )
ASU had a high pollen hoarding line and low pollen line maintained by II for 20+ generations and used for research ... Staff changed, interest was temporarily lost and in one year the lines were lost..
The longstanding fix (going back at least 3,000 years) is to import queens to your apiary on an ongoing basis, often yearly or every other year to maintain the apiaries traites (low swarming, high honey production,gentleness, etc )

buying queens with a given set of traits is a cost of doing business, not an investment in future years
Thanks to you and the others also.

That's sad they lost their work so fast, re: the ASU comment.

Thanks also to the other guy for the Rusty Burlew link.

That does seem frustrating that it can be hard to maintain genetics I guess. I guess its both a pro and a con.
 

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Even though actual bee breeding on a small scale is almost impossible without II,that is no excuse not to bring positive traits into your own queen rearing operation.

Every year I purchase a few Certified Rus queens.
Every time I lose a swarm,I think about how I am improving the genetics of the feral population that mates with my Russian/survivor virgins.

By purchasing mite resistant stock,even at a greater cost,we are supporting the effort of those breeders who are investing time and effort in developing a better bee.
We are also sending a message if we refuse to buy the same old mite susceptible run of the mill queens.
 

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It seems that bringing in special queens would fly in the face of the "local survivor stock" movement. I think we have to pick a horse and stay on it. Either I want to attempt to flood an area with Russian/VSH/etc stock in an attempt that some genetics stick, or I want to breed strictly from "survivor stock" in hopes of a locally adapted bee. I see value in both approaches. But I do not see how one will not dilute the other if both are practiced in the same area.
 

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It seems that bringing in special queens would fly in the face of the "local survivor stock" movement. I think we have to pick a horse and stay on it
Yes is does. no we don't
Sure locally adapted stocks are better... the question is there any real local stocks in most areas the US do to all the movement?... the north complaints about southern queen etc but the Canadians don't seem to have any problem over wintering NZ packages
look at the people who have been successful (not counting hobbyists with a few hives), they either started with a massive population (weaver) or like Webster and Comfort didn't get very far till they imported genetics..
It would seem a far easier task to import mite resistance and then select for local perforamnce , Then take whatever "local" stock (escaped swarms form last years imported packages?) and select for both.
even though actual bee breeding on a small scale is almost impossible without II,
moonlight mating is easily accomplished and gives you around 85% control
It not that people can't, its that they won't


By purchasing mite resistant stock,even at a greater cost,we are supporting the effort of those breeders who are investing time and effort in developing a better bee.
We are also sending a message if we refuse to buy the same old mite susceptible run of the mill queens.
yep
 
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Jack: If my goal is to breed from local survivor stock, then I need to be raising my own queens and flooding my outyards with drones. Introducing other genetics from outside, is counter to my efforts.

Likewise, if I am attempting to isolate the trait of your imported Russian queens, why would I want to dilute that with capturing feral swarms and bringing them into my apiaries?

As difficult as it is to move the needle on genetics in a honey bee population, the idea of simultaneously swirling all of it into a pot and hoping, by annual culling, to pick off only the best traits from each just seems like spitting into the wind to me.

Honestly, I think there is a lot of wishful thinking in either approach alone, much less swirled together.

But that is just my take on it. I have an open mind.
 

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It will probably depend on the trait as well, and how many colonies you have relative to the "background noise" of other colonies within a few miles.

I've heard from a number of beeks (and seen a teeny bit of evidence too, below) that a large apiary may have enough drones nearby that a new queen is chased as soon as she leaves the hive.

So if your apiary has lots of drones - one frame, or about 3000, per hive at least, which I have deliberately done in my apiary (around 20 hives) - you might be able to swamp out those "foreign boys from away".

I would wager this works well for defensiveness - that seems to be a trait that a small apiary can successfully select for and maintain.

I am sure this does not work for VSH - it has been documented that the trait conferred by the queen drops just the way you would expect if you halved the VSH influence each generation.

I'm working in my apiary to select against "enthusiastic swarming" - bees which will swarm no matter the amount of drawn honey supers you give them for room. I use 2 queens with known low-swarming tendencies each year - second year is this year - as the queen mamas. I cull the worst offending queen's drone brood too, when I pinch those queen cells. When a hive does swarm, I will pop queen cells and replace the "genetic material" with eggs/larvae (or queen cells, or queen, depending) from a sister who "behaved". Of course that assumes I was doing my job with giving them enough room to store nectar!

61623
 

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I am sure this does not work for VSH - it has been documented that the trait conferred by the queen drops just the way you would expect if you halved the VSH influence each generation.
the latest work suggests otherwise Selection of VSH-derived “Pol-line” honey bees and evaluation of their Varroa -resistance characteristics


I would wager this works well for defensiveness - that seems to be a trait that a small apiary can successfully select for and maintain.
perhaps... perhaps not
The question is are you making any gentinic head way (breeding) or are you simply culling what you don't like and promoting what you do (stock selection)
I Have often used a black and yellow queen reference...some people feel one color is better... ie yellow makes more honey, black is more winter hardy...what ever..
its a simple matter to raize queens and pinch all of the color you don't like regardless of the background genetics(doesn't matter the ration of black to yellow 50/50 10/90).. the effect is you hives are headed by queens you feel are superior... but you haven't controlled the genetics or mating, just selected what is placed in your hives and removed the unwanted genetics.. that's the power of grafting and having more queens then you need, you can be selective, and that's about the best many of us will get to.

The flip side is when you start being selective about what queens you use...ie you bring in a VSH queen and graft off her... you now have strong VSH traits in the f-1s ... but some will suck and some will be great.. the key is next year to graft off the one that is great instead of letting the average and poor ones rear there own f-2 queens witch will likely be even worse
again this is the power of grafting to help maintain traits, the smaller you are, the more often you need to return to the source for a pure sample
 
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