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So imagine you have a queen that can produce a colony with zero or negative mite growth (apart from severe initial infestation). Would you use her to make queens and pick drone colonies from other (maybe similar) desirable traits? Or would it be wise to make sure she produces 4-5K drones to mate with everything in the neighborhood, given they are essentially her clones?

You could also forget the part about mites and just say any exceptional quality you are actively trying to propagate after finding exceptional stock with an abundance of that trait.

I know there are folks on here who have truly forgotten more than I know on this topic. Please break out that wisdom. :D
 

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Assuming the quality you want is passed on thru drones, then you use her to make lots of queens, their drones will carry the genetics you want. If the genetics you want are passed from the queen, then you use her to make queens, because they will be what you are looking for.

In either case, if the thing you want is genetic, then you use her to make queens. The question is really, do you want those queens for what they are, or do you want them for the drones they will produce ?
 

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So imagine you have a queen that can produce a colony with zero or negative mite growth (apart from severe initial infestation). Would you use her to make queens and pick drone colonies from other (maybe similar) desirable traits? Or would it be wise to make sure she produces 4-5K drones to mate with everything in the neighborhood, given they are essentially her clones?

You could also forget the part about mites and just say any exceptional quality you are actively trying to propagate after finding exceptional stock with an abundance of that trait.

I know there are folks on here who have truly forgotten more than I know on this topic. Please break out that wisdom. :D
Both
let her make drones for 1 yard, put her daughters in another good/better yard for mating.
Her daughters drones would also run true so they could be next years drone pool against then next best queen.
Could even use green comb and move the frames once capped to other hives to get higher drone count.
GG
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The question is really, do you want those queens for what they are, or do you want them for the drones they will produce ?
Both
let her make drones for 1 yard, put her daughters in another good/better yard for mating.
Her daughters drones would also run true so they could be next years drone pool against then next best queen.
Could even use green comb and move the frames once capped to other hives to get higher drone count.
GG
All great points!

I knew I’d get some stuff I haven’t thought of.

I welcome more from the hive mind.
 

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Both.
It takes good weather, healthy bees and great drones/sperm to produce high quality queens.
Some years back there was someone locally who had a fundraiser campaign to start raising queens for local/Chicago beekeepers "to produce local queens and not rely on commercial ones that are not suited for the area ". When I inquired what the queens were going to mate with, the answer was that there's plenty of drones around. Guess those commercial drones were good enough for those local queens.

Not to take this off-topic, but one of the first 3 book that every new beekeeper reads should be The Honey Bee Biology by Mark Winston. Honey Bee Democracy by Tom Seeley should be there too. And Honey-Maker; How the bee does what she does.
Those should provide a good start.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Both.
It takes good weather, healthy bees and great drones/sperm to produce high quality queens.
Some years back there was someone locally who had a fundraiser campaign to start raising queens for local/Chicago beekeepers "to produce local queens and not rely on commercial ones that are not suited for the area ". When I inquired what the queens were going to mate with, the answer was that there's plenty of drones around. Guess those commercial drones were good enough for those local queens.

Not to take this off-topic, but one of the first 3 book that every new beekeeper reads should be The Honey Bee Biology by Mark Winston. Honey Bee Democracy by Tom Seeley should be there too. And Honey-Maker; How the bee does what she does.
Those should provide a good start.
Nice! Thanks 👍
 

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The drones would be more of a copy of the mother queen than daughter queens would be. The drones are little male queens flying around. I think the drones mated with, are at least and probably more important than the queen they mate with. The problem is getting enough drones out to be the dominate population of drones in the area.
 

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So while I agree both are very important, the following excerpt from am article that MSL sent me today explained this factor as well as I've ever seen it outlined:

'Indeed, the queen is the primarily element responsible for the overall genetics of each colony. However, the result of phenotypic measurement taken on the colony corresponding to the genetic contribution of the two generations present in the colony: The queen, and her daughters, who are the workers [8,9]. The queen does not contribute directly to the performance traits, but influences them through the contribution of her genes to her workers or through her egg production, whereas workers influence performance traits directly through the different activities they perform within the colony, for example, collecting nectar or cleaning cells [10].

All these characteristics of genetic model specific to the honey bee have long been difficult to model statistically by computer scientists and statistician in comparison with other animal productions. Notably because of the presence of two distinct groups of father (Figure 1) involved in the expression of the phenotype of a colony: The fathers-of-queen group and the fathers-of-workers group [11].'


In other words, as has already been described and experienced by most of us, a colony is only as good as the drones that a queen (no matter how stellar) has mated with.

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
The drones would be more of a copy of the mother queen than daughter queens would be. The drones are little male queens flying around. I think the drones mated with, are at least and probably more important than the queen they mate with. The problem is getting enough drones out to be the dominate population of drones in the area.
That is the essence of my question. But my kindergarten ignorance on what mom and pop contribute gets in the way.

If a drone is an exact replica of the queen that laid his egg, how much of that greatness can he pass on? That kind of thing. But this is opening my eyes to things I hadn’t considered.

To the second point, I have a good deal of isolation from other beeks, but being surrounded by trees means feral influences far beyond my control.

For several years I had 3 types of bees (appearance-wise) coming from 3 different directions that would feed on anything I left outside. One of them died last winter and it’s very likely a swarm from my own bees will end up in that tree. The other two I haven’t found.

At this point if I assume 2, plus 2 unknowns, plus 1 for my brother’s feral hive, against 25ish colonies here, I think I can exert a decent influence even on open mating. Again, I may be basked in ignorance. It would not be surprising.
So while I agree both are very important, the following excerpt from am article that MSL sent me today explained this factor as well as I've ever seen it outlined:

'Indeed, the queen is the primarily element responsible for the overall genetics of each colony. However, the result of phenotypic measurement taken on the colony corresponding to the genetic contribution of the two generations present in the colony: The queen, and her daughters, who are the workers [8,9]. The queen does not contribute directly to the performance traits, but influences them through the contribution of her genes to her workers or through her egg production, whereas workers influence performance traits directly through the different activities they perform within the colony, for example, collecting nectar or cleaning cells [10].

All these characteristics of genetic model specific to the honey bee have long been difficult to model statistically by computer scientists and statistician in comparison with other animal productions. Notably because of the presence of two distinct groups of father (Figure 1) involved in the expression of the phenotype of a colony: The fathers-of-queen group and the fathers-of-workers group [11].'

In other words, as has already been described and experienced by most of us, a colony is only as good as the drones that a queen (no matter how stellar) has mated with.

Difficult to model indeed.

One trait I thought I could really capitalize on with Russians is their tendency to keep charged queen cells. I noticed 2 things related to this.

1. This trait breeds out quickly. I heard Stephen Coy say this recently and I had already come to this conclusion. If 10% of your work force is Italian, they will not cooperate with keeping spare queens-in-waiting lying around (or possibly building cells to start with).

2. They may not view these pre-prepared QCs the same way we do. You might do a split with 2 QCs ready to cap (so 10-12 days from a queen emerging). They are about as likely to completely tear down both and start a new set, pushing this date at least 5 days further out.

disclaimer: My observations on this are from 2.5 summers with these bees and only a few instances of weirdness. Haven’t drawn solid conclusions as experience and sample size are minuscule.

Thanks Russ, I’ll try and give this more attention when I’m back on my laptop. I still feel like a caveman doing much typing/clicking etc on my phone. 😂
 

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I had the same quandary with strategy when bringing in some Buckfast queens to mix with my dominant Carni X italian bees. I decided to make sure there was lots of drones produced in both colonies and do a mix of larvae in each graft. Instead of trying to think it out I got lazy and just opted for the most diversity!
 

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Difficult to model indeed.
True enough- the thing I took away from it is that if we want good stock, we have to remain focused on good queens and good drones- and these in abundance.

Overly simplistic I know, but it is kind of sobering to realize that this year's drones loom large over next year's queens.
 

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Some questions that pop into my head are, "How big is your apiary?" and of course. "Are there many other bees within 5 miles?" If the answers are "Very big" and "Not many", then the drone flooding strategy is an option.

You have, in the course of a season, opportunities to make queens as well. I would start a calendar for each, drone rearing and queen rearing, and go build up an appropriate number of nuc's, frames, robber screens, and feeders.

Identifying the specific traits that are "desirable" and determining which are drone-passed and which are queen passed and selecting for subsequent generations will likely get you farther that lumping traits together as "Good bees" and "Bad bees".
 

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With 25 colonies and not very many other bees in the area, you'd likely be best off making a batch of queens from her this season, requeening all your colonies with her F1 daughter queens, and drone flooding AND raising F2 queens next year.
 

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If a drone is an exact replica of the queen that laid his egg,
breeding would be easer if this is how things worked
a drone is a random 1/2 of the queen just like an egg is a random 1/2 of the queen, but drones don't have a father so there is no outher 1/2... they are haploid (a single set of unpaired cromizones) but even so, there is much variation, 65,536 different chromosomal combinations to be exact... so they are not "clones" as some people think... there sperm on the other hand is (do to be haploid) a clone of the drone (a useful research traite, single drone insemstion) so in laymans land, it may be easer to view a drone as a queen's sperm cell..
but wait, there's more headake to come! as the drone is haploid the egg gets ALL for the drones DNA and only 1/2 of the queens (another reason for SDI)..

In other words, as has already been described and experienced by most of us, a colony is only as good as the drones that a queen (no matter how stellar) has mated with.
The use of II breeders refutes this stament.. you can push enough of a trait so that it survives a few out crosses.. it also matterss if the trait is domainat, recessive, additive ,maternal ,or paternal
Overly simplistic I know, but it is kind of sobering to realize that this year's drones loom large over next year's queens.
or that this years queens' will create next years drones baised on the year before dones, and that effect your year 2matting and year 4 apiary performance o_Oo_O

so given the above statment...
if I was in the OPs shoes. I would graft the crap out of the "golden goose" queen and create as many daughters form her as I could.. not just to serve as (hopefully) rockstar producton hives, but next years drone mothers as well, hedging against loss of the line witch is a posabuilty if you just use her for drones (assuming you not a II guy)
 

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or that this years queens' will create next years drones baised on the year before dones, and that effect your year 2matting and year 4 apiary performance o_Oo_O
Leave it to MSL to see my breeding conundrum and raise it. 😉

It seems safe enough to say whether relying on II or open mating, one must invest heavily in drones to have any hope of a sustainable breeding operation.
 

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sure...
you can't breed anything if you only control 1/2 of the equation

but you CAN select for the best you have every year with the hope the trait is stronger enough to survive one out cross an then reselect form the vairibul off spring and repeat.. thats stock selection/propagation not breeding
you won't gain anywere near as much ground as breeding, but you will be much better off then random splitting
 

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With 25 colonies and not very many other bees in the area, you'd likely be best off making a batch of queens from her this season, requeening all your colonies with her F1 daughter queens, and drone flooding AND raising F2 queens next year.
would this plan of yours cause Haploid Diploid issues having the F2s mate of F1 drones? is that not sister brother issues.

IMO follow your plan BUT buy a Russian breeder queen for the (F2's) since @joebeewhisperer like them.

so make a pile of F1s replace a bunch of the queens needing refresh, Next year with the survivors bring in a different queen mother for the next gen leveraging from the many F1s.

GG
 

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If you are drone flooding and mating your queens in the same yard, YES! They will and do mate with siblings. Generally not much of an issue the first time, but if this practice is repeated annually, you'll be seeing recessive traits sooner or later.

My new stock queens raised (last year) from stock brought in from other apiaries far away, go to a mating yard / DCA in a canyon more than10 miles from my heirloom stock. I put several drone colonies there, selected for traits to be introduced to last year's best imported queens' bloodlines.

I bring drone stock (selected for traits desired to add to the heirloom bloodlines) from other apiaries to mate with my heirloom stock in my regular bee yard nearer home.
 
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