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Winter is getting to be long. I have been looking at VSH info on the Harbo site, watching Michael Palmer videos, and waiting for spring and this thought dawned on me after MP showed a requeened nuc in which the bees had been cleaning up chalkbrood.
What if when selecting breeder queens with the most solid pattern we are actually selecting for the least hygienic bees? :eek: Could that be possible? Could we be eliminating queens from consideration as breeders because their progeny have caused the brood pattern to be spottier because they are removing mites or problem larvae. :scratch:
 

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When we select our breeders we look for a solid brood pattern, but do a hygienic test to check them as well. Many queens with solid brood patterns get rejected for just that reason.
 

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Winter is getting to be long. I have been looking at VSH info on the Harbo site, watching Michael Palmer videos, and waiting for spring and this thought dawned on me after MP showed a requeened nuc in which the bees had been cleaning up chalkbrood.
What if when selecting breeder queens with the most solid pattern we are actually selecting for the least hygienic bees? :eek: Could that be possible? Could we be eliminating queens from consideration as breeders because their progeny have caused the brood pattern to be spottier because they are removing mites or problem larvae. :scratch:

Very good observation Adrian: We had the team from the beeinformed project here last week testing for our 2014 breeders.
( see http://beeinformed.org/about/tier5/ if you are unfamiliar with what this is )

One of the guys mentioned the same thing when we were out giving the test subjects their annual drink of liquid nitro.... I do have the hygienic test results back but don't have brood ratings in hand at this moment. Will take a peak when we get all the rest of the data back and post correlations accordingly. Somewhere in all my piles there is the data from the the past few years............ hoping to see if it shows a trend.

The big question is it better to use breeders who test out in the mid range. Similar to 55-80% as opposed to using all 80%++++????????


Always more questions than answers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :eek:
 

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I like to look at the larva. Look for older larva in the middle and the closer to the edge you get the younger they well be. That is the best way to tell if its a good laying pattern.
 

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I like to look at the larva. Look for older larva in the middle and the closer to the edge you get the younger they well be. That is the best way to tell if its a good laying pattern.
I think he is talking about, a solid brood pattern, would mean that hygienic behavior does not exist, where as a brood pattern that may not be solid, could be taken as a poor laying queen, which could be very hygienic or over hygienic, making you think bad queen.
 

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I think he is talking about, a solid brood pattern, would mean that hygienic behavior does not exist, where as a brood pattern that may not be solid, could be taken as a poor laying queen, which could be very hygienic or over hygienic, making you think bad queen.
Yes that is exactly why I judge a queens laying pattern buy the young larva. If you judge her from the capped brood it could be misleading if they are hygienic bees. People kill queens that my have a bit of a spotty pattern thinking it is a bad queen but its actually hygienic bees doing there job. So, when judging a queens pattern, look for the larva pattern not capped brood.
 

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Deepsouth - Thanks for the info. Makes lots of sense looking at larva versus capped brood when you think about it. Once again, retrain my eye when doing inspections.
 

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Great thread. Are there any good references or articles on interpreting brood? I know I need to learn more about it. I've posted this picture before with little resultant input that I recall...



Both frames from the same hive. The black frame is pf125 and the wooden one is regular ritecell, but clearly one frame of brood does not give a clear picture at first glance.
 

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Yes that is exactly why I judge a queens laying pattern buy the young larva. If you judge her from the capped brood it could be misleading if they are hygienic bees. People kill queens that my have a bit of a spotty pattern thinking it is a bad queen but its actually hygienic bees doing there job. So, when judging a queens pattern, look for the larva pattern not capped brood.
:thumbsup: :thumbsup:
 

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>What if when selecting breeder queens with the most solid pattern we are actually selecting for the least hygienic bees?

Exactly. And we've been doing it for a century or more now...

>Could that be possible?

I think it's obvious.

>Could we be eliminating queens from consideration as breeders because their progeny have caused the brood pattern to be spottier because they are removing mites or problem larvae.

Of course we have been.
 

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Spotty brood does not mean your bees are hygienic. However, indeed, if you've got perfect brood pattern, and your mite counts are off the chart, you aren't prioritizing the right things.

I'm thinking the best indicator is old larvae. This way, you can evaluate brood viability as well as the queen's laying pattern, without getting misled by hygienic behavior.
 

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Shotgun Brood can be caused by many things. Queens that have mated with drones of the same sex alleles will produce haploid drones that will get eaten out as soon as they hatch. Diseases can cause shotgun brood. Hygienic traits can cause shotgun looking brood. It is really up to the beekeeper to investigate the cause of the shotgun brood.
 

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Shotgun Brood can be caused by many things. Queens that have mated with drones of the same sex alleles will produce haploid drones that will get eaten out as soon as they hatch. Diseases can cause shotgun brood. Hygienic traits can cause shotgun looking brood. It is really up to the beekeeper to investigate the cause of the shotgun brood.
That's quite correct, and indeed that's also something to consider, which goes to say that there's no perfect indicator, as with anything else. Checking larvae, regardless of age, cannot tell one just how much of a spotty brood can be attributed to a poor laying pattern, and how much of it is due to hive health, brood viability, and drone diploidy. All of which are imperfect indicators on their own.

The more you learn, the less you know.
 

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Here is the pitfall to selecting for traits WE believe contribute to success rather than using success as the measurement for success. We ASSUME that an unbroken brood pattern is a good thing and breed for it and we end up with bees that lose their hygienic behavior. We ASSUME that a broken brood pattern is a good thing and we breed for it and we end up with bees that are either too inbred or too hygienic. We breed for bees the remove brood and we end up with bees with OCD who remove all the brood. What we need to do is breed from successful healthy colonies and stop looking at the details. The details are misleading. The end result is not misleading. We need to breed for the big picture, not the easily misinterpreted and misunderstood minutia.
 

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To play the part of devils advocate. Haven't we been breeding for solid brood pattern, which would have suppressed the amount of hygienic specific recessive genes in nature? Furthermore by breeding for it aren't we in a way reestablishing the natural balance that may have contributed to bee health a hundred years go? Studies have shown that VSH can help with lowering varroa counts, and virtually eliminating brood diseases -isnt that a healthy colony?

In the big picture I agree with you, but I dont have bees that I have been breeding for 40y to get those healthy genetics -you do!
 

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> I dont have bees that I have been breeding for 40y to get those healthy genetics -you do!

I don't either. All of mine were dead several times after Varroa showed up and before I regressed them. After that was accomplished I started gathering feral bees that are naturally selected to survive and thrive. (They swarm when they thrive, not when they fail).
 

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David LaFerny - I am just starting to learn reading brood patterns and can't comment on the spotty-ness of the brood pattern. But, judging from the lack of space between the capped honey and the edge of the brood pattern, it looks like that hive is getting ready to swarm, especially the wood frame one if the frames are from different hives. Just a newbie's opinion.
 

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Both frames are from the same nucleus hive. The picture was taken last year. What you can't tell from the picture is that the spotty one is solid brood. I think that there were misses in the first round of eggs (or larva that were removed) and the queen went back and filled in the gaps. Then when the first round emerged the fill ins - being newer - are still capped. I had a small amt of efb in my yard at the time which may have been the cause.
 

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I agree with Michael... I do not know enough about bees to accurately predict which traits/characteristics will impart long term benefits/resistance to the bees, so I look to and and measure the end goal. If I want to improve honey production, I measure honey production not some other trait or characteristic I rationalize will improve the bee's honey producing ability.

Joe
 
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