Author Topic: Artificially inseminated queens  (Read 2053 times)

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Offline efmesch

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Artificially inseminated queens
« on: March 15, 2016, 04:26:42 pm »
Does anyone here have experience with artificially inseminated queens?

To be more specific with my questions:
Do you buy them? 
What are you looking for in an artificially inseminated queen?
Where have you bought them?
How much are you willing to pay for them? 
Have you found them to be worth the cost?
From your overall experience with them, would you recommend that others buy them too?

Offline iddee

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Re: Artificially inseminated queens
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2016, 04:34:45 pm »
From my experience, the only AI queens are done to produce full bloodied queens of a specific strain. Then they are sold to queen breeders to raise full bloodied queens to be open mated and sold as F-1 queens. They sell from $100.00 up, and only bought by breeders planning to sell hundreds of queens from each one.
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Offline Lburou

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Re: Artificially inseminated queens
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2016, 05:44:32 pm »
I purchased one VSH Italian breeder queen, two years ago for $200 plus $55 shipping.  My purpose was to have a queen without AHB in her recent history.  She lived three weeks and disappeared.  I got about 20 queens from her before her disappearance.  It did not work out for me dollar wise, but that isn't necessarily the fault of that II queen.  I still have one of her daughters, now heading a colony with a deep and two mediums full of brood in yesterday's inspection.  The queens from her were a bit aggressive when open mated here, had large brood nests and ate a lot of honey over the winter..

I'm having equal or better results grafting from my best producer from another queen breeder here in Texas (BWeaver). 

If I had do overs, I'd stay with the Texas (read 'local') queens to start.  HTH    :)
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Offline riverbee

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Re: Artificially inseminated queens
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2016, 09:11:56 pm »
hi ef, to answer your questions.......

"Does anyone here have experience with artificially inseminated queens?

To be more specific with my questions:
Do you buy them?
What are you looking for in an artificially inseminated queen?
Where have you bought them?
How much are you willing to pay for them?
Have you found them to be worth the cost?
From your overall experience with them, would you recommend that others buy them too?"


AI queens are expensive,
1. i didn't buy them, my russian bee mentor purchased them, russian stock (AI Queens) from what is now the RHBA association.
2. better mite resistance and better overall wintering
3. as stated, what is now the rhba association, but a member prior to it's inception, have to look up his name...
4. 350 american dollars for each queen at the time
5. he found it to be worth his costs at the time, and i was privileged to receive daughter queens/progeny of the russian stock held by the usda at the time.
6. worth the cost?  it's sort of a gamble ef, not sure i would be willing to spend the dollars, would just try and utilize the best queens i have in my hives to obtain the desired results i am looking for.

hope this helps a little?
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Offline Chip Euliss

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Re: Artificially inseminated queens
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2016, 10:30:08 pm »
I have a friend in SE Texas who produces many thousands of cells he sells each spring.  He also requeens his own hives (with cells) and lets them build up on tallow before bringing them to ND for the summer.  He keeps thorough records of desirable traits of individual hives (honey production, etc.) during summer/fall and then tests the winter survivors for hygienic behavior before deciding which hives to use for breeding (i.e., which hives for queens and which for drone producers).  He does his own AI work and the queens he inseminates produce all the larvae for his cell business.  I'm pretty sure he just collapses them (he has queen mothers in the same hive as the cell builders but in different deep boxes separated by a double screen that is thicker than a bee's tongue is long; cell builders think they are queenless) into a honey production hive.  Different queen/cell producers have different strategies.  I've heard there is a market for overwintered AI queens but I don't know enough to steer you towards someone who might sell them.  If you could find some, they should be less expensive since they're in their 2nd year.  They would likely have enough life for you to raise some good queens from them before they fizzle out.  I've often wanted to get a group of such queens, run them a 2nd summer and then make an extra selection cut (e.g., those that survive and do the best their 2nd year) in hopes of getting longer-lasting queens with the traits I like.  Queens used to last longer than now but, then again, we (commercial guys, especially) push our queens to lay more eggs that probably ever before.  I'm pushing mine now to get them strong for honey production, in January I was pushing to get their numbers up for pollination and I'll push them again in late summer/fall to make more winter bees for better survival.  We ask a lot of our bees.
Chip

Offline efmesch

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Re: Artificially inseminated queens
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2016, 05:33:47 am »
I can see where the presentation of my questions gave the impression that I was interested in purchasing AI  queens.
What really was behind my thinking was garnering information to possibly pass on to my grandson, who is presently thinking of investing in going to study the practise of artificially inseminating queens in order to build up a new facet of his beekeeping business. 
Over the past five years he has built up his holdings to over 200 hives and, while not wanting to increase his number of hives  (there's no need to tell any of you that it is a lot of hard physical work, and he doesn't have any hired help), he does want to increase his potential income as a beekeeper.
Israel is a small country and I was wondering if learning and investing in the AI facet of beekeeping would be something that there would be a demand for, locally or possibly for export.   From the comments that have come in so far, my impression is that his investment in learning to Artificially Inseminate queens probably would not bring in a very big return because of too small a market.    But I'm still anxious to hear more. 
Any and all comments or suggestions are more than welcome.

Offline tecumseh

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Re: Artificially inseminated queens
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2016, 07:00:16 am »
Sue Cobey has a gig to teach II.  We will have her again this May at the Texas A&M Bee Lab where she demonstrates but does not individually teach the process.  It is my understanding she teach this skill to individuals and also has the equipment sourced for anyone to buy.  I suspect there is a good deal of 'just doing' to get the practice down correctly.   Spending a day or so with Sue is a great honor.

I have purchased II queens before to rear a certain kind of bee... generally something that is very easy to work for the novice crowd.  Originally I bought these thru Glenn Apiary until that halted business several year back.... the last time I looked they still maintained a web site.  After Glenn stopped doing this there were several new folks who got into the business and almost instantly the priced doubled < the lack of experience in designing a business model that works for everyone sometimes really is way to obvious?????  I don't know why folks think that their lack of experience means they deserve to ask twice the going rate.  Of course for me price itself is never the only criterion.... quite likely in the near term I will buy several II queens from Sue and the price of these may be twice what the new kid on the block charges.  Will I pay for well experience and a quality product???? ABSOLUTELY!
 


Offline apisbees

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Re: Artificially inseminated queens
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2016, 07:25:34 am »
From what I have heard and read A lot of the queen mated by AI fail prematurely. It may be just after paying $300 for a queen rather than $30 you would expect the queen to live 30 years not just 3.
Ai is a great tool for creating precise genetic crosses and genetic selections with out having isolated mating yards.
I see the greater good of AI in the ability to collect sperm and ship it with out having to move bees and the pests and disease that come with them. It is a means of getting around import restrictions when trying to move genetics between different country's that limit the importation of bees.
The genetics are always evolving due to the continued replacement of the queens involved in both selecting of queen mothers and drone mating colonies. By the time you have produced some queen and have tested and proved that they poses the traits that you were looking to see in the daughter queens. The colonies that produced these queens have been replaced. By harvesting sperm it can be held for many years. One drone frame 4000 drones. enough sperm for AI mating of 400 queens. By having 2 drone brood frames in a colony, you could have a colony producing 8000 drones every 24 days. during spring and summer.
Sue Colbey has been working on Importing drone sperm.
http://wsm.wsu.edu/s/index.php?id=948

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One of the biggest challenges is the Honeybee Act, introduced by the U.S. government in 1922 to stop all importation of honey bees to the United States for the purpose of preventing the introduction of the tracheal mite. “So all we have is this little population from 1922 that has established our honey bee stock,” says Cobey. She doesn’t think there’s enough genetic diversity for the bees to deal with the new issues they face—from life-threatening parasites to colony collapse.

In addition, because we are so reliant on queen bee breeders, we’re losing genetic diversity from our queens, she says. There are only a few queen breeders in the United States and they’ve been using the same stock and selecting for certain traits for decades. The lemony yellow Italian bees bred in California are, by far, the most popular, but they are sometimes more vulnerable. Cobey’s solution is to make new queens with new genetic backgrounds, and at the same time encourage more local beekeepers to raise their own queens.

Cobey, who joined WSU in 2010, is world-famous for her bee work. In the 1980s she developed the New World Carniolan stock by backcrossing bees from around North America displaying Carniolan traits. Originally from the Austrian Alps and the Balkans, they are darker than the popular Italian honey bees, are known for their gentle behavior, and may be more suited to cooler weather and more populated areas. Besides backcrossing to create new stock, Cobey has worked with WSU entomologist Steve Sheppard to increase the bee gene pool by importing bee semen from Europe. After decades of seeking government approval to bring in new genetic material, they made their first collecting trip in 2006. “It took me 22 years to get that first tube of semen into the United States,” says Cobey.

As a scientific tool to have exact control over the genetics used in producing breeder queens it is an invaluable tool. But to try to use it for mating queens on a large scale for commercial production. The cost would be to high for people to buy them as production queens.
Isee Tec has posted.

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