Author Topic: Bee genetics  (Read 1425 times)

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Offline omnimirage

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Bee genetics
« on: January 12, 2018, 02:04:10 am »
I've come across some people arguing to use bee swarms, rather than to buy queen bees. The argument was that, bee swarms have grown strong enough to be able to split off and adapt to one's local environment, whereas queens are often enough not suitable for such and tend to under perform in comparison.

At least here in my part of Australia, people like buying queen bees from the local bee sanctuary, Kangaroo Island, which houses a pure strain of Ligurian Bee.

Now I'm wanting to split a number of my hives to expand my operation. I have one hive that's probably the most productive of the lot (could just be because it's the oldest most established), and it's also by far the most aggressive hive. I figure that, in spite of how productive they are, I don't wish to duplicate such aggressive bees and if anything, I should try to replace the queen with more gentler genetics. I've thought about finding the queen and squishing her, then take out all the frames that have eggs/young larvae in them, and replace them with eggs/young larvae from hives that have more desired traits. I figure I can do this with any beehive that has undesirable characteristics. A number of my hives don't ever seem to perform too well. It's difficult to tell if it's just due to their current circumstances, that they just need more time, or whether the genetics of the bees is not as strong.

This is all a pretty fascinating topic. How do you guys manage the genetics of your bees?

Online Wandering Man

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2018, 09:16:12 am »
As a hobbiests, I don’t try to manipulate the genetics. We live in an area where many, if not most, of the swarms caught have some degree of Africanized genetics. I’ve learned this the hard way. Now, if I catch a swarm I order a queen from somebody I trust, and replace the original queen as soon as possible.

I’ve had swarms start of really gentle. Then become very aggressive, once they’ve established themselves in the nuc.
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Offline Some Day

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2018, 10:00:48 am »
omnirange,

I think I would just replace the queen in the hot hive and wait 60 days.  After that amount of time the vast majority of the hot queen offspring will have expended them selves.  I am lazy, so take this for what it is worth.

Offline omnimirage

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2018, 04:49:16 pm »
That's basically what I'm considering doing Some Day.

Offline apisbees

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2018, 05:46:29 pm »
Just replace the queen. If you want the hive to raise it's own queen add a cell from another hive and remove any cells that the bees draw from thats queen larva. but be aware that any queens mated with in 5 miles of that yard may be betting some of the queen genetics from mating with her drowns. I think I read or heard some where that they thought that aggressiveness came from the drones.
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Offline omnimirage

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2018, 06:14:51 pm »
I don't think I have any queen cells and probably won't see any until Spring, which is nine months away.

Can't I just give them eggs instead?

That's even more of a reason to replace the queen, I wouldn't want my other colonies to be bred with these aggressive genes.

Offline apisbees

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2018, 11:23:01 pm »
Yes lit them draw out a cell but from a frame of hive genetics you want the easiest way to do this is to remove the queen and leave them alone for 5 days queen-less on the 6th day go through the hive and remove any queen cells they have started. Then place a frame with eggs and young larva from a hive that you like the queen from in the hive. Then in 5 days check the frame and it should have well fed drawn down queen cells a day away from being capped. If you find capped cells then the bees have started cells from some older larva and any that are capped should be removed to get rid of these inferior cells that will emerge before the better cells that were raised from young larva. You want a queen from 12 hr old larva not 24+  hr old larva. So if the cells are capped sooner than they should be, then the bee used older larva.
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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2018, 11:18:26 am »
Yes lit them draw out a cell but from a frame of hive genetics you want the easiest way to do this is to remove the queen and leave them alone for 5 days queen-less on the 6th day go through the hive and remove any queen cells they have started. Then place a frame with eggs and young larva from a hive that you like the queen from in the hive. Then in 5 days check the frame and it should have well fed drawn down queen cells a day away from being capped. If you find capped cells then the bees have started cells from some older larva and any that are capped should be removed to get rid of these inferior cells that will emerge before the better cells that were raised from young larva. You want a queen from 12 hr old larva not 24+  hr old larva. So if the cells are capped sooner than they should be, then the bee used older larva.

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Offline Barbarian

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2018, 01:32:13 am »
The old adage ..... "BREED FROM THE BEST .... SCRAP THE REST"

I don't like aggressive bees. Such hives get re-queened from my own local stock.

Out-sourced Qs may seem attractive but there can be problems in the first year and subsequent years.

I collect swarms from local calls but do not use the Q or her eggs to make new Qs.
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Offline omnimirage

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2018, 09:40:16 pm »
Very interesting apisbees. What's the purpose of removing the queen cells at first though? Is it not particularly practicable to just remove all the frames that have eggs/young larvae on them?

Offline apisbees

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2018, 06:07:44 am »
Emergency queens are some times inferior and are prone to being superseded. this can be caused by not being fed good high protein royal jelly, or the bees raised a queen from older larva so it feeds on royal jelly for a shorter amount of time. The age of the larvas the bees draw cells from will effect the quality of the queen. The first queen that emerges will tare down the other cells, now if one queen cell was drawn from an older larva, it will hit the 16th day and emerge a day or two before the cells that are drawn from larva the optimum age.
By looking at the cells when by counting on the calendar you can calculate that any cell that is already capped were drawn from an older larva, it will help in culling some potential poor emergency queens.

While were discussing queen quality, the quality of the queen is tied to the quality and the abundance of the royal jelly. To get this you need lots of young nurse bees. Old field bees can make royal jelly but it is not as good. So placing a comb with eggs in a queen less hive with very few young nurse bees may not give you the best queens.  It might give them a queen that they can build a better queen from in the future though.
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Offline omnimirage

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2018, 09:26:09 pm »
Very interesting indeed! Makes sense to then remove the first set of queen cells. Would a hive tend to remove a inferior emergency queen after sometime, or is it common for an emergency queen to live for years?

So if I was to take the whole remove all the eggs/larvae approach, I'd have to remove pretty much everything except the very large larvae? I'm not sure how practical this would be. I'd just like to save petrol money if possible by not visiting again five days later but it seems it may be best to do so.

Is there anyway to tell which bees are the young nurse bees? Are they simply the bees that are smaller than the rest?


Offline apisbees

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2018, 05:40:08 am »
"Very interesting indeed! Makes sense to then remove the first set of queen cells. Would a hive tend to remove a inferior emergency queen after sometime, or is it common for an emergency queen to live for years?"
They generally get superseded fairly quickly, but is hard on the hive build up. 20 days no egg followed by a 4 or 5 week of poor egg laying before the superseded queen is laying

"So if I was to take the whole remove all the eggs/larvae approach, I'd have to remove pretty much everything except the very large larvae? I'm not sure how practical this would be. I'd just like to save petrol money if possible by not visiting again five days later but it seems it may be best to do so."
I cull short cells. When cells are drawn by young nurse bees and are fed an abundance of good royal jelly the bees draw the cells out long. short cells to me means cell started from older larva, poorly fed, or poor quality of royal jelly.

"Is there anyway to tell which bees are the young nurse bees? Are they simply the bees that are smaller than the rest?"
The bees that are on frames that have open brood. These are the bees that are making royal jelly and beebread being fed to the larva
Honey Judge, Beekeeping Display Coordinator, Armstrong Fair and Rodeo.
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Offline omnimirage

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2018, 07:25:37 am »
Good information. I'll have to pay more attention to cell size. Makes sense to determine whether a bee is a nurse bee based upon what they're actually doing in the hive. I've noticed that some bees are smaller than others; are these more likely to be younger bees, do they get bigger with age?

Offline apisbees

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2018, 12:13:49 pm »
When they first emerge,their wings and body hairs are pressed flat to their bodes so they look smaller till their hair fluffs up and their wings dry out and away from their bodies.
Also the size of the bee is influenced by the size of the cell it was raised in. With each round of brood the cells get another pupae smaller, So the older and darker the comb the smaller the bees that emerges from the cell will be. So in a hive you can find bees of different sizes depending on the different comb they emerged from. Now the interesting fact. If you co foundation-less the cell size the bees make for brood is effected by the size of the bees drawing out the cells.
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Offline omnimirage

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2018, 05:12:21 pm »
How very interesting. So they do all their growing when inside the comb huh. If one was using a queen excluder for many years and the brood chamber contained comb that was very dark and the comb size became quite small, could it ever be worthwhile to tear it out and turn it into beeswax, and let the bees make fresh wax? It's pretty interesting that those small bees that I've saw came from smaller comb.

Are there any differences in the hive if the bees are allowed to form their own comb and with it, decide for themselves the size of their bees?

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2018, 07:54:00 am »
"the brood chamber contained comb that was very dark and the comb size became quite small, could it ever be worthwhile to tear it out and turn it into beeswax"
For bee health, keeping bees on clean newer comb as any diseases and spores of those diseases will stay in the comb and build up. Then if the hive becomes stressed the disease may manifest and you have a break out of chalk brood, efb, afb, sacbrood, Also to avoid pesticide residue build up in the comb It is suggested that we cull comb that is 5 years old which works out to 20 percent of the comb in the brood supers. Doing this will get the old comb out of our hives.

"Are there any differences in the hive if the bees are allowed to form their own comb and with it, decide for themselves the size of their bees?"
Yes, No, Maybe. There are advantages and disadvantages. With foundation the bees are encouraged by the unprinted foundation to build worker comb. Left to their own they will build more drone cells. but the wax the bees draw out is predestine as foundation could be made with wax that has some chemical residue. If this is a concern then you can get plastic foundation with out a wax coating and coat the frames with your own wax. Capping wax is generally clean of chemicals. It is the wax from old rendered down brood comb that the higher chemical counts appear in.
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Offline omnimirage

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2018, 07:13:07 pm »
Good to know that about old comb!

I do coat the plastic foundation with my own wax as it's most economically viable. I have quite  bit of old, yuck comb to turn into beeswax. From what you've said, it seems like it might not be wise to use that wax to coat my frames. Should I just try to sell it instead? I'm not sure if I can just keep processing it until all the gunk is out of it and I have mostly pure wax, or would the chemical buildup remain in the wax?

Offline apisbees

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2018, 08:05:31 pm »
There was a study a few years back on wax in the USA and almost all the samples were found to contain multiple chemicals. It turned out that 6 out of the 7 chemicals found highest in levels found the most often were chemicals that were used by beekeepers in mite treatment.
Seen as you have not had to treat for mites your wax will be a lot cleaner from chemicals. Any chemicals will be from your environment which will be in any new wax the bees make so in Australia I would not worry about it.
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Offline omnimirage

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Re: Bee genetics
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2018, 11:11:42 pm »
How fascinating apisbees. Seems like I need to be quite mindful about what chemicals I introduce around my hives.