Buying Queens

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by brooksbeefarm, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    I've had bees since 1964 and have seen breeds of bee's come and go. :wave: I now wonder (and have for years) when we order a Italian,Carnolian or what ever breed of queen, are we really getting what were paying for. :confused:.Seems it would be very hard for a queen breeder to truthfully say he has a certain breed of bee if he lets his queens get bred in outyards.Why i question this is,i buy 10 to 20 carnolian queens every year, and carnolian queens are a dark (black) color.Well i've noticed that some of the queens i've got the last few years, one or two will be more yellow looking.Some of these breeders sell two to four different breeds of bees which makes me wonder if were really buying mutts. Note, i'm not calling queen breeders liars, but maybe stretching the truth a little. :roll: Jack
     
  2. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    BB and I attended a class on the subject of buying queens vs. allowing the bees to rear their own last summer and this is one of the topics that came up in the discussion. I'm happier than ever that we have never had to buy a queen yet..... not saying that queen breeders are doing any wrong, just that those poor things go through an awful lot just to get from A to B and it's bound to affect the performance of the hive.
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    There are things you would want to look for... first and formost is it a fresh queen (if that is what you are buying)? Using coloration as the only measure is likely not such a good idea... since the biology of the egg is such that variation in coloration (from a single queen) should be expected. I see this in my 'cordovan' population here directly (mated queen daughters and f1 generation drones) and I have seen it in purchased cell.
     
  4. rast

    rast New Member

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    I cannot be sure anymore than most others until I see the "behavior" of the hive. And that's really only guess work on my part. Does it match what I've read or been told it should be?
    When I buy queens, it is from a very reputable breeder and I trust them.
    My objective is to make honey and raise bees at the least expense to me with a relativly gentle breed of bee. Disease and mite resistance comes next. The swarming factor comes last.
    I really don't care what they are called, but I know where you are coming from.
     
  5. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Rast, that's really the point i was wanting to make. I would rather have a queen breeder say he's selling gentle, disease and mite resistant, surviver queens,(the dream queen) than to say he is selling italian, russian,carnolin and so on queens. I have two hives that have been without any treatment of any kind for 10 yrs.(Mutt's) The only thing i've done to them is to reverse the brood chambers in the spring, put supers on,rob there honey and steal frames of eggs to raise queens from them. :thumbsup: I did think i took to much honey off of one last year and i fed it 2 to 1 syrup, turned out we had a good fall flow and i wouldn't of had too. Jack
     
  6. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    Dont get me started on this one :D I am a firm believer that 99.9 percent of all bees in the united states are mutts plain and simple. Almost like labeling our honey as clover or sunflower etc. We can look at the color know whats blooming and make an educated guess at what the honey consists of. Same way with queens in my opinion. (Rat steps down puts his soap box away for the night :thumbsup: )
     
  7. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Amen, Rat. :thumbsup:

    Jack
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    oh Rat pull that soap box back out since you are absolutely correct. well perhaps not absolutely correct, since you should have added a couple of more 9 to the right side of you number.
     
  9. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    Which just begs the question...... how do you protect the genetics you wish to propagate in your hives? We let our bees raise their own queens.... please, no more lectures about how horrible this practice is :roll: We also happen to live within 4-6 miles of a dozen other beekeepers..... so, how do we keep our queens from becoming mutt mommies??
     
  10. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Your queens were mutt mommies to begin with. Not much chance of pure breeding from that. :eek: :D
     
  11. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    LOL, I know that! Just a question about how in the world could a person protect the genetics they wish to reproduce. Besides..... we LOVE our little mutt mommies!
     
  12. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    In the registered cattle business I have learned that if you are a big outfit it is called "line breeding", if you are a little outfit it is called "inbreeding".

    That is not really true but a good joke. Line breeding is where you keep using the same bull on the same family of cows to select certain traits that are good. Inbreeding is when the traits turn out bad.

    MamaBeek...........do not know if this is the right answer or not, others will tell me if not.............
    Lots of drone comb so that you can saturate the congregation area for the new queens to mate in.
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    G3 writes:
    do not know if this is the right answer or not, others will tell me if not.............
    Lots of drone comb so that you can saturate the congregation area for the new queens to mate in.

    tecumseh:
    yep. more exactly you are trying to 'choose' the right kind of drones (sometime called drone mother hives) in enough numbers to get the mating job accomplished. The more queens you plan to rear the more drone mother hive you should plan to maintain.

    if you have good bee keeping neighbors you may even get them to rear some of the right kind of drones for ya'.

    line breeding or inbreeding in a stock of bee concentrates genetic material (let say some genetic combination that resist varroa, that the plus, that is the trait you are trying to reinforce) but invariable stock vitality/survivablity (the negative part) will come into question most typically first thru the mis alignment of the sex alleles*. Visually this mis alignment looks like buckshot brood as the worker bee consume the nonviable eggs. The more misalignments the quicker a hive dwindles.

    *there are something like 25 or 26 (let call them A-Z) of these with any combination of like alleles (say A + A or B + B) as creating a lethal combination. The eggs laid by the queen are cannibalized by the workers.

    sounds as clear as mud to me....
     
  14. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    aaahhhh, line breeding makes perfect sense to me. We usually try to make sure that we have plenty of drones. For one thing, they are just too much fun to play with and let the little kids we babysit from time to time play with.... but also we started intentionally raising an extra frame or two just because we never know for sure when we may be in need of a queen, and that means we would need drones.

    as far as alleles go.... I'll work my way up to that but thank you for such a good description. I'm hoping to learn a little more this year...
     
  15. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    if you are looking to improve your stock properly selected drone mother hive are likely the most over looked item. the other tool in the process that come into play and is often time ignored (imho) is the process of culling (ie having so many that you need not worry about pampering everyone).

    the important thing to note here Mama Beek is that significant inbreeding looks like buckshot brood with the worker's cannibalizing the eggs. you can see it right there before your own eyes and it is telling you directly that inbreeding (or line breeding) has progressed just as about as far as you want. at this point in time it would be good to bring in some unrelated external stock (hypothetically as unrelated to your line of bees as possible) to bring the line of bees you are growing vigor back into line.
     
  16. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    As the old saying goes, "Your bull is half of your herd", is very true. Tec you are right about bringing in a different hive from another apiary (or even a few queens to raise new drone stock). But as with anything that is animal husbandry related it takes time for everything to happen.
     
  17. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    Thanks, y'all are a tremendous help. It's starting to make much more sense now. :)
     
  18. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    G3 writes:
    As the old saying goes, "Your bull is half of your herd",

    tecumseh:
    and you don't improve your herd by buying an average bull.
     
  19. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    The two survivor hives that i take egg frames from to raise queens, are packed with bees all summer and fall. They are both 2 deeps with 2 med. supers going into the winter,most beeks would say that's too much stores for this area but i'd rather be safe than sorry :thumbsup: .They can be a little hot at times,but that can be the beeks fault,what i've found is the queens i raise (in nuc's) and requeen hives with. don't get superseded the first month like some of the bought queens. My proplem is, i get sloppy and don't write down the hives number that i've reqeened, (thinking i'll remember) but i am having less winter deadouts in all my bee yards. :thumbsup: Jack
     
  20. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Jack it sounds like you are doing something right by using your own queens.

    Tec when raising queens I guess we need a whole herd of bulls (drones) to cover just one queen, just the opposite in cattle.