Local Bees --- Local Queens

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Barbarian, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    Recent posts have explored the cost of queens and the virtues of different strains of bees. In the UK there is a movement to explore using stock from near sources.

    Our government dept, The National Bee Unit, produces many advisory leaflets and amongst them can be found a view to supporting sourcing bees from local beekeepers. I would imagine that most beeks would regard " within 30 miles" as local.

    There can be a variety of local climates. For beekeeping, the South of the UK can be 3 to 4 weeks ahead of the North. The West has a higher rainfall. This week, February, large areas of the South and East have been declared drought areas. A strain of bees that does well in one area may not be suitable for another area. Besides climate there can be flora differences.

    Talking at local associations, often an experienced beek will talk of past use of a non-local queen but they are often back to local mongrels. Many local associations are trying to set up breeding groups to produce surplus stock of desirable traits. Newbees will benefit from a survivable strain.

    Local sourcing will not be for everyone. There can be practical and economic sense to use non-local bees.

    I hope this post will stimulate some feed-back. Other countries experience would be very interesting. :yahoo:
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Local is also local. Where 30 mile may be local in one area, 300 mile may be local in another area. It is a good subject, though, and should bring a good bit of discussion.

    Here is one example.

    http://www.nsqba.com/
     

  3. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I wholeheartedly agree, local is better. Up here however, local probably means Nova Scotia as a whole.
    In my experience local queens are superceded far less than offshore queens. Offshore queens are initially accepted but then replaced within a month or two, about 50% of the time.
    The big kicker for us up here is that we cannot get local queens until mid to late June. Keepers hoping to do splits early enough to get their hives into pollination need to get them in late April/May so they are ready beginning of June. Your options are limited unless you develope some way of overwintering nucs, which a few folks are looking at.
    It also makes it difficult to know how many queens to order. They are requesting folks up here to be ready to place your queen orders shortly so they know how many to request from Hawaii. Heck, I have no idea how many hives I will have that will be strong enough to split until late March at the earliest. With 22 hives, do I order 15 and hope that many are strong enough? What if only 10 are ready to split? What if I find a disasterous overwintering? At $30 a queen it is an expensive guessing game.
    Good topic! :thumbsup:
     
  4. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Perry, I know lots of folks here too that have to play that 'expensive guessing game'. I do think that more people are going to be experimenting with overwintering nucs, and counting on only some percentage of them surviving for Spring. But if you are in a climate where a full hive needs at least two deeps to over winter, then one can winter a whole lot of 5-frame nucs in a relatively tiny space compared to full sized hives... four times or more as many in the same space, to be exact.
     
  5. Bsweet

    Bsweet Member

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    If you winter 20 Nucs and only need 12 come March then you have 8 LOCAL Nucs or queens for sale. Jim
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a barbarian snip..
    Many local associations are trying to set up breeding groups to produce surplus stock of desirable traits. Newbees will benefit from a survivable strain.

    tecumseh..
    local also means the queens are not stressed in shipping... not a small issue and likely related (imho) to Perry's comments in regards to superscedure rate. it would be important for various 'local associations' to share stock to maintain some genetic diversity.
     
  7. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    There is an effort to reproduce survivor or local queens especially in the US and UK. I would temper the zeal with the fact that Bro. Adam's research in many countries and continents, along with experience of the last 150 years in the United States suggests that bees "out of their element" or from a very different climate and floral ennvironment are the healthiest and most productive. Scutellata are a great example where the bee flourished and outperformed bees from a more temperate climate when moved to a radically different climate and ecosystem. Bro. Adam found the overwhelming dominance most prominent in geographically isolated areas, like islands which the UK still is.
    Breeding the Honeybee, Brother Adam
    In Search of the Best Strains of Honeybee, Bro Adam
     
  8. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    Very complex issue, scutellata example doesn't apply here in the North. Not comparable to the northern experience. Pure breed queens from Hawai or Australia while prolific and well accepted in the South just don't work up here. As Perry stated those queens are being superceded in large numbers.Numbers I have here, are higher then his,closer to 75%.
    The fact that local queens outperform imported ones pushed northern beekeepers in the only logical direction, over wintering of nucs that will provide nice, healthy, prolific queens in their prime (second year)
    In the fast changing environment that we are witnessing every little thing counts. As tecumseh said just the stress factor of queen shipping could become a big issue. My $0.02
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    an americasbeekeeper snip...
    Adam's research in many countries and continents, along with experience of the last 150 years in the United States suggests that bees "out of their element" or from a very different climate and floral ennvironment are the healthiest and most productive. Scutellata are a great example where the bee flourished and outperformed bees from a more temperate climate when moved to a radically different climate and ecosystem. Bro. Adam found the overwhelming dominance most prominent in geographically isolated areas, like islands which the UK still is.

    tecumseh:
    first I think I will put that on my list of must read books.

    I myself suspect (like marsbee just my 2 cents) this may really represent an open niche where there is (at least at the initial establishment stage) no competition, no predators and no disease to slow a species expansion down. typically not so long after all these thing show themselves and the initial expansion phase of population may be looked back on as the golden era. the africanized bees seems to be a case where the then current honey bee population was not faring so well (having themselves been brought in from afar) and the africanized bee was simply better fit for that environment. if the science folks who did the introduction had not been in such a hurry and had not rushed the initial selection process I myself suspect the entire africanized honeybee train wreck would have been avoid (<just my unwashed opinion here).

    rearing a better bee is very much about selection and propagation of desirable traits and of course you must have a bee that survives to select for any trait. selection by a bee keeper is very much NOT natural selection.
     
  10. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Another pearl of wisdom to tuck away! :thumbsup: