Author Topic: Bee genetics  (Read 2371 times)

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Offline SouthAussieBeekeeping

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2018, 05:21:38 am »
If all my hives came from swarms, am I, to some extent, selecting bees with genes that encourage swarming behaviour? Is swarming behaviour influenced by genetics?

Offline apisbees

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2018, 11:16:27 am »
It can be but it can also be caused by lazy genetics in the beekeeper in that he did not provide for the bees in a way as to not give the bees any other choice than to swarm.
You could have a real prolific queen that is quick to build up and builds extremely populous colonies. and if that hive is cared for like colonies that have a inferior queen, They will run out of space and will enter swarm mode. Is it the bees or the beekeeper that didn't get to their needs in time. This all being said there are some hives or strains of bees that do swarm sooner and more often, but with out knowing the conditions or how the bees were cared for in the mother colony, you need to hive them and then make your own judgement on each colony.
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Offline Barbarian

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2018, 12:30:34 am »
Some strains of bees have a strong urge to swarm. It can be a good trait for the survival of the strain. Evolution and all that.

For the beekeeper, it is not welcome. Extra work, loss of bees, loss of honey crop, problems with neighbours. Sometimes a hive will swarm and swarm until there is nothing left.

It is possible to breed a strain of bees that has a reduced urge to swarm.
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Offline SouthAussieBeekeeping

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2018, 04:05:35 pm »
If I have hives that seem to always struggle and not do well whereas hives alongside them are booming, would it be worthwhile to replace the queen?

Offline tedh

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2018, 05:00:33 pm »
If I have hives that seem to always struggle and not do well whereas hives alongside them are booming, would it be worthwhile to replace the queen?

Definitely!  Ted
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Offline SouthAussieBeekeeping

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2018, 06:41:11 am »
Today I've done some research into different honeybee species, specifically focusing on Western honey bees. I found this:

http://beesource.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/table1beetraits.png

It states that the Apis mellifera ligustica, or Ligurian, Italian honeybee is the most productive honey production wise. Is this thought to be true? All things considering, it seems this subspecies would be best for me. The disadvantages of excessive brood reading seems like it could be largely mitigated with some forethought and maybe sugar feeding. Do you guys have much thought on comparing different subspecies of Apis mellifera in environments with winters that don't reach freezing levels, and that don't have Varroa or much pests/diseases in general?

Offline apisbees

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2018, 05:32:35 pm »
It was the preferred bee that was raised and promoted in California for years it builds up early to strong colonies. The problem is that this trait in the bee will also cause its demise in areas that have long winters. They brood up to early and then eat through their winter feed before spring. They will have brood that they will not abandon, too stay on the food.
In your climate I think they would do quite well, if you can keep the swarming under control.
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Offline SouthAussieBeekeeping

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #27 on: January 26, 2018, 06:15:02 pm »
Yeah, the wintering thing isn't a problem here. I've read that they're less inclined to swarm than other breeds which is part of the appeal to me.

I haven't confirmed, but it's quite possible that my bees are Apis mellifera mellifera. How would I be able to tell for certain? Would I be able to take some photos and have you guys tell me what subspecies they are? What sort of advantages and disadvantages would I have with these two different species?

This is a list of the queen bee breeders in my state:

http://www.aussieapiaristsonline.net/queen-bees-for-sale.html

I've worked alongside the man from Kangaroo Island who offers the pure Ligurian strain. I've actually read some articles that has me questioning whether they truly do offer a pure Ligurian strain. There's a few breeders who cross breed Ligurians with other subspecies. I'm just trying to work out which would be best for me, and whether I should seek to change the queens of my colonies with some queens from these distributors.

Offline SouthAussieBeekeeping

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #28 on: February 11, 2018, 01:11:06 am »
These are bees from one of my hives. They are predominately dark, but I've seen photos of bees that are dark coloured, and also allegedly Apis mellifera ligustica. Are these Apis mellifera mellifera?

https://imgur.com/a/UsWHa

Offline apisbees

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #29 on: February 11, 2018, 01:38:52 am »
you can not guaranty what a queen looks like or her breed by examining the workers. The hive population with in a single hive can very in how the workers look. By looking at the queen you may be able to see queen breed traits, looks and markings. but even this is not a totally reliable system. The only sure way would be to provide a bee sample for DNA testing. I would suspect that many beekeepers select breeders on looks and traits that are consistent with the breed they are selling. With bees being transported all around the world and into every reagion of the earth I doubt that you could come up with a pure strain of any type of the first bee species.
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Offline SouthAussieBeekeeping

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #30 on: February 11, 2018, 08:05:33 pm »
darn, I was hoping that I could get a good idea based upon just visually assessing. Do you know whether DNA testing is a costly exercise?


Offline Lburou

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #31 on: February 11, 2018, 10:42:03 pm »
darn, I was hoping that I could get a good idea based upon just visually assessing. Do you know whether DNA testing is a costly exercise?
It is easy to get hung up on phenotypes, but it is really more about how those bees behave and perform in your location than anything else.  Sample bees available to you from local sources, then choose from those you like best and propagate those bees.  You can order in a queen from time to time too.   JMO   :)
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Offline SouthAussieBeekeeping

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #32 on: February 11, 2018, 11:33:36 pm »
It's just I don't what species my bees are, some of my hives are doing well but it's possible if I had Ligurians, they'd do even better. I guess I'll just replace the hives that aren't doing well with Ligurian queens, and then see how they perform.

Offline Lburou

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #33 on: February 11, 2018, 11:46:03 pm »
It's just I don't what species my bees are, some of my hives are doing well but it's possible if I had Ligurians, they'd do even better. I guess I'll just replace the hives that aren't doing well with Ligurian queens, and then see how they perform.
That sounds like a good plan to me Omni.  :)
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Offline riverbee

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #34 on: February 22, 2018, 04:13:10 pm »
great thread omni, i have pinned this as a topic sticky, some great questions and great information.

also please post back about what you decide to do, and update with any progress!
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Offline Les

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #35 on: March 28, 2018, 07:49:32 pm »
This was a great thread!

Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #36 on: April 19, 2018, 04:46:54 pm »

   I have struggled for several years with genetics, trying to bring in bees that are mite resistant. Minnesota hygenic, etc, etc...  and to be honest, some of them seemed to do well, and some of them didn't, as far as the mites were concerned. Some did great with mites, and horrible at producing honey, OR overwintering.. some overwintered well but were horrible at controlling mites.
   I admit that i have more or less given up at this point. We do not have africanized bees, so I routinely end up with mutt queens if I don't stay on top of requeening and keep really good records..   With the number of hives I am working with, that is getting to be difficult...    My primary concern is overwintering. Then production, and then temperment...   Bees that survive unbelievably crazy winters, like the one we just had are GOOD bees!!!   I will be paying attention to which hives produce the best honey crops, and these are the hives I will grow from next spring.

   Ordering queens has proven to be quite a crapshoot in my experience. That amazing POL Golden queen you put in a hive is laying well, but the bees built queen cells to replace her almost as soon as she was laying....   Using my own queens from survivor hives has proven to be a LOT more beneficial in longevity, survival, and production... so KNOWING the background of my bees is no longer important to me, so long as they LIVE, and they give me extra honey!!   ;D
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Offline SouthAussieBeekeeping

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #37 on: April 19, 2018, 09:47:36 pm »
Very interesting LazyBkpr. Sounds like you've got a lot more things to be mindful than I do, with needing bees to be protective against mites and have good overwintering issues. I need to do better documentation myself.

I've decided myself that I want Ligurians in my apiaries. Problem is, every consecutive generation will lead them breeding with the native Dark European Honeybees and become progressively less Ligurian. I can buy Queens from Kangaroo Island, that way they'll be a much purer strain of Ligurian than queens bought from the mainland, so my bees will have more Ligurian genetics over the course of a number of generations. Still just trying to work it out all.

Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #38 on: April 19, 2018, 09:51:50 pm »
If you only have a few hives, even ten, you will have an easier time requeening with a pure strain every two to three years. It is lettign them raise their opwn queens, or raising YOUR own queens that will dilute those pure (ish) lines. It is possible to do, and to maintain, if your willing to put in the time...    I have been accused of being a bit lazy  :P
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Offline SouthAussieBeekeeping

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #39 on: April 19, 2018, 10:24:26 pm »
I have to wonder then, if I can't breed my own somewhat predominate strain of Ligurians due to my virgin queens mating with local feral Dark European Honeybee drones... then how would these breeders do that? I'm skeptical of buying these apparent Ligurians off these breeders as I have no way of verifying or really knowing what they are actually selling. I figure I'll send an inquiry message of sorts, expressing interest in Ligurians and asking them a little bit about their operation. I also have the option of buying Ligurians from Kangaroo Island, which is a bee sanctuary that has the purest strain of Ligurian in the world. I'm not sure if it'd be best to buy queens exclusively from Kangaroo Island, or if trying Ligurians from other states might be worthwhile as well.