Amm / Native Black Bee Discussion

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mbc 

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Just to clarify. Yes I understand Br Adam did select his queen's by their appearance but I do not. I do not dispose of queens because of their colour. I assess them on the characteristics of their offspring. If offspring of uniform native appearance, I assume that the queen has mated within the strain. If offspring of mixed appearance I assume queen has mated with drones of various strains. Working within a strain is important to me as I believe that is the way to get consistency, that is the bees breed true, something that cannot be achieved from hybridised stock.
JW
My apologies, I thought I'd previously seen you explain that part of your selection process,( maybe at the bibba centenary thing in Llangollen?)
Either way, thanks for an enjoyable presentation, many aspects rang true with my experiences.
 

Jo Widdicombe 

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Sensible questions.
Like in other animals and plants hybrid vigour can give good results for a generation or two, but in honey bees with multiple mating the end result is a hybridised mess of erratic and often poor quality bees, so I think it is the wrong path to go down.
 

Jo Widdicombe 

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My apologies, I thought I'd previously seen you explain that part of your selection process,( maybe at the bibba centenary thing in Llangollen?)
Either way, thanks for an enjoyable presentation, many aspects rang true with my experiences.
Thanks for your comments.
 
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Curly green finger's 

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Sensible questions.
Like in other animals and plants hybrid vigour can give good results for a generation or two, but in honey bees with multiple mating the end result is a hybridised mess of erratic and often poor quality bees, so I think it is the wrong path to go down.
Thanks joe for your reply.
 
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rolande 

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In the Grace McCormack video linked by @Lislarybees there's a mention of some Polish research which showed an apparent preferential use of Amm sperm when queen's were inseminated with equal quantities of Amm and Carnica sperm. However, she seems to be referring to drone production not workers....

Has anyone here already read through the paper and if so feel able to offer thoughts on it?
 

Beebe 

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Just to clarify. Yes I understand Br Adam did select his queen's by their appearance but I do not. I do not dispose of queens because of their colour. I assess them on the characteristics of their offspring. If offspring of uniform native appearance, I assume that the queen has mated within the strain. If offspring of mixed appearance I assume queen has mated with drones of various strains. Working within a strain is important to me as I believe that is the way to get consistency, that is the bees breed true, something that cannot be achieved from hybridised stock.
JW

So presumably that means that you allow a queen to go on produce some bees so that you can determine if each queen then gets squished?
By "mixed appearance" you will mean, not uniformly dark?
Could you feasibly keep a light coloured queen which produced dark coloured offspring?
 

Curly green finger's 

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So presumably that means that you allow a queen to go on produce some bees so that you can determine if they then get squished?
By "mixed appearance" you will mean, not uniformly dark?
Could you feasibly keep a light coloured queen which produced dark coloured offspring?
Yes but the percentage of dark bees imo is alot less.
 

Mint Bee 

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I thought these videos might be interesting viewing for anyone interested in the most up to date genetic studies of Amm populations in the UK. Good news for Cornish beekeepers - concerted breeding efforts look to have made an impact on the level of purity there in just the three years from 2015 - 2018. Should be even better now.


For Wales specifically


And Ireland

wet afternoon on Saturday so started to see how the research presented by Lislarybees looked. I have no feeling one way or the other on AMM, but as a scientist I was more interested in the research carried out and data presented. I have worked with some of the molecular biologic techniques mentioned, and although no longer a bench scientist I still work with the data and outcomes to develop medicines. Many moons ago I supervised MSc students and acted as an external industrial examiner for PhDs.

If the Mods think this is an inappropriate post in this section happy for it to be deleted

Interesting presentation on Victoria’s PhD. By her own admission the current data raises a number of questions that would benefit from follow up research to clarify and increase the knowledge. The high variability within the colony when testing individual bees, due to polyamory mating of the queen with multiple drones, creates noise in the micro satellite data, making it difficult to be used for assigning for a breeding programme. SW obviously has a higher density of AMM type bees than other part of UK, but as only those keeping bees considered native or near native (and no imports) seem to have been included in the sampling so the data is skewed rather than covering a representative sample

For the SNP analysis, I would like to know why an AMM standard from Switzerland was used when it looks like there was significant differences against the UK population. It was suggested that this could represent divergence in the UK population. UK wide samples were from beekeepers who thought they have native and near-native bees and had a variability between 20 to 94% AMM against the Swiss standard. Does illustrate the issues with using phenotype to make a decision on keeping and breeding bees. Other question was how much AMM genetics has been introduced through imports against background UK AMM genome and at what point this invalidates the conservation effort as a native species? Both not really answered, but could form basis for future research

From the questions a couple of other relevant comments was made. Firstly, conserving AMM is not the same thing as conserving / promoting local bees, and secondly it may not be possible to get a 'pure' AMM with the currently available population. The technology needed to achieve the level of analysis that Victoria carried out is well beyond most beekeepers

it’s a shame that Victoria didn’t take up beekeeping during her studies. I think it would have help her relate the work to the beekeepers involved. Some of the data is still fairly raw so needs additional refinement. Hopefully this will be represented once this work has been finalised. Slightly surprised that Andrew Brown, MD of B4 was a non academic supervisor for the PhD.
Anyone know if any further studies are planned at Plymouth to pick up on the questions the research has raised?

will try to look at the other presentations later in the week, unless this gets deleted
 

Erichalfbee 

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If the Mods think this is an inappropriate post in this section happy for it to be deleted
It’s ok by me but this is Swarm’s blog and I’m sure he’ll keep an eye on it
 

Jo Widdicombe 

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So presumably that means that you allow a queen to go on produce some bees so that you can determine if each queen then gets squished?
By "mixed appearance" you will mean, not uniformly dark?
Could you feasibly keep a light coloured queen which produced dark coloured offspring?
I don't think I have ever seen a light coloured queen producing dark coloured offspring. Some of our queen's are what I would describe as dark stripey but if their offspring are uniformly dark I think this is probably ok. DNA analysis may prove one way or other.
I heard a lecture by a Polish beekeeper who bred Amm and she showed a photo of one of her queen's which was dark stripey so I am assuming they can be pure bred Amm. ???
I don't dispose of many queen's but I do only keep the best colonies in the breeding area. Others get moved further away. They may still be good honey producers but are less likely to breed true.
 

Beebe 

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I don't think I have ever seen a light coloured queen producing dark coloured offspring. Some of our queen's are what I would describe as dark stripey but if their offspring are uniformly dark I think this is probably ok. DNA analysis may prove one way or other.
I heard a lecture by a Polish beekeeper who bred Amm and she showed a photo of one of her queen's which was dark stripey so I am assuming they can be pure bred Amm. ???
I don't dispose of many queen's but I do only keep the best colonies in the breeding area. Others get moved further away. They may still be good honey producers but are less likely to breed true.
That's good to hear; I hate to think of any queen bee going to waste. :) I like dark bees and have some empathy with those who love them. I think most of your strategies for bee-breeding make a lot of sense. For me, the colour of bee I got from a programme such as your own would take second place to all other attributes. But if dark colour and Amm. features were there in addition, that would be the cat's pyjamas. ;)
 

Curly green finger's 

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I don't think I have ever seen a light coloured queen producing dark coloured offspring. Some of our queen's are what I would describe as dark stripey but if their offspring are uniformly dark I think this is probably ok. DNA analysis may prove one way or other.
I heard a lecture by a Polish beekeeper who bred Amm and she showed a photo of one of her queen's which was dark stripey so I am assuming they can be pure bred Amm. ???
I don't dispose of many queen's but I do only keep the best colonies in the breeding area. Others get moved further away. They may still be good honey producers but are less likely to breed true.
When you say dark stripey tan? Like thisIMG_20210808_111435.jpgshe was a three year old that superseded this season daughter and workers are the same
 

Swarm 

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Some photos from the farm
 

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Swarm 

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Very nice Steve, I also like the deep abelo roofs, no nonsense bit of kit.
I planned to get more but they are £33 now. Maybe one per year.
 

Big ears 

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A quick and fun way to expand your colonies quickly if you find the right locations is to set swarm traps. If you follow the instructions in this link closely you have every chance of success


I caught ten swarms last year and didn't even try too hard - that was with two/three traps in two different locations. I then re-queen them with pure Amm a bit later in the season.
Like the sound of that. Guess her boxes can be made to fit national frames. Will give it a go. Did you put traps near the existing hives?
 

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