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BBKA Bee Breeding certificate.

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B+. 

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OK. Here's the thing....I volunteered to be a "guinea-pig" for the trial run of the BBKA Bee Breeders Certificate (which they intend to offer more generally next year). Is anyone else out there doing this?
I was asked to supply a breeding plan for the year along with pedigrees and stock records. The problem is, I spent a long time working in IT Project Management and I always said "No plan survives first contact with the enemy" (meaning: you can spend a long time planning an exercise but, as soon as you start to implement it, the real world takes over and the environment changes). Well, this is especially true in queen rearing where the weather can change everything. What did others do?
The way I look at it is the process is quite simple (graft..introduce to cell raisers...5 days later they should be sealed and can be transferred to the incubator....When the queens emerge, they're marked and introduced to nucs...simple....do the same thing over and over all summer....why do you need a plan?
The only difference is collecting drone semen and inseminating the virgins. Am I missing something?
 
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Beefriendly 

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My reading from the original syllabus was that you need to show continued selection from your best stocks, which simply isn't feasible for specialist bees unless you have access to II. I figured it was soley designed for those keeping local bees or access to II.
 

B+. 

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I figured it was soley designed for those keeping local bees or access to II.
I think there were some misleading messages coming out in the beginning. Hopefully, they'll get all of the bugs out of the process in time to offer it generally next year.
 
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I got selected as one of the guinea pigs and on reflection I am with B+...
not quite sure what they are looking for!
Realistically too busy trying to breed a decent stock to faff with sending in breeding plans etc etc.
Time will tell no doubt!!

Yeghes da
 

B+. 

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not quite sure what they are looking for!
I would have thought they'd be looking for evidence of a rational approach to queen rearing, mating, testing and selection. I've explained all that. What else is there?
This idea of having a plan which is fixed in stone and can't be changed is nonsense. I can explain the approach I am taking but individual steps have to be adapted, depending on the weather/nectar flow/wasp activity/etc
Unless they want to visit Wangerooge or Neuwerk to see my queens being mated, or watch me inseminate virgins, I don't know what they expect to see
 
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Well... I would just love to see you inseminate a virgin queen whilst holding a "hot and smoking", smoker between your knees!

Yeghes da
 

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Well... I would just love to see you inseminate a virgin queen whilst holding a "hot and smoking", smoker between your knees!
All the virgin queens I am producing at the moment are from the VSH line (https://youtu.be/KGZ0ZmN-W8M). This colony is so gentle, I haven't used a smoker on it at all. Its in 5 Langstroth deeps (2 are full of brood and 3 are foundation pretty much drawn and filling with honey). If I can get someone to hold the camera while I go through the colony, I must do another little video. You wouldn't believe how docile they are.
 

wightbees 

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I would of thought that the BBKA would give guide lines rather than leave you guessing. Seems strange that there's no real compliance to follow to get the Certificate?
 

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I would of thought that the BBKA would give guide lines rather than leave you guessing. Seems strange that there's no real compliance to follow to get the Certificate?
This is one of the hazards of being a "guinea-pig" wightbees. The course isn't available yet and the idea is that we "beta-test" the process.
There is a draft syllabus available but the relevant section just says:

"By 1st May on the year of assessment, the candidate will submit to the assessors a copy of the colony records for the last three years and a timetable of the queen rearing program for the current year, clearly identifying the key steps of the breeding program. The candidate will be expected to commit to the queen rearing timetable submitted. The assessors will select a date for the assessment reflecting a key step of the breeding program, based on the submitted records and will inform the candidate a minimum of one week prior to the date of assessment."

IMHO, the idea of committing to a plan for the whole breeding season sometime prior to the 1st of May is lunacy!

My breeding program includes activities that I am not in complete control of (e.g. island mating of virgin queens). I have tried to be flexible and offer to demonstrate whatever techniques the examiners want to see, but, the response I have just received says that it is up to me to provide the plan and the assessors wont tell me what they want to see in the plan. However, the list of practical tasks to perform (of which the candidate should demonstrate 4) include:

2.6 Graft larvae as a method of queen rearing suitable for large scale queen production.
2.7 A method of queen rearing suitable for small scale queen production (Miller, Alley, Cupkit, Jenter, Hopkins, etc).

Am I supposed to demonstrate both? I could do, but, I would expect to be told that in advance, if that is what they expect me to demonstrate.

Quite honestly, I am too busy to mess about playing games like this. I offered to do it to help the BBKA develop a worthwhile Bee Breeding Certificate, not to be messed about.
 

wightbees 

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What is the purpose of the certificate, is it for breeders to be recognised? Or yet another certificate just for the sake of it? There's going to have to be some flexibility in this as some years the seasons are pretty much dire , you can't control the weather in the UK unfortunately lol
 

B+. 

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What is the purpose of the certificate, is it for breeders to be recognised? Or yet another certificate just for the sake of it? There's going to have to be some flexibility in this as some years the seasons are pretty much dire , you can't control the weather in the UK unfortunately lol
I hoped that it would be more than it is at the moment. There is a little bit on testing for hygienic behavior and identifying aggressiveness but it seems to be very focussed on queen rearing but not so much on evaluation and selection. To my mind, these are crucial elements of bee breeding.
 

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What planet are they on?

I have just received feedback on my assessment and I am hopping mad!

:rant:
All the way through this process, the BBKA have given no indication that they actually understand what bee breeding is about. The "draft" specification for the certificate (which is all they have produced so far) makes it clear that it is a pass / fail (no grades) allowed certificate i.e. you either make the grade or you don't. Imagine how I felt when I received their feedback this morning to say that I made the grade but they have changed the rules. They now appear to be saying that you have to use mongrel stock but produce a pedigree consisting of at least 3 generations. What rubbish! You can't introduce new criteria after the assessment!
:rant:
 

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B+. 

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Locally mated queens.... What advantage is that?
None at all. They clearly don't understand what real bee breeding is about. Their letter is full of contradictions (as is the specification).
I would rather have failed for a valid reason than to hear they have a different agenda. I wouldn't have wasted my time on it if I'd known that.
 

B+. 

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So, it's all going well then :D
I have come to the conclusion that the lunatics have taken over the asylum Wightbees. I am really going to have to reconsider my membership of an organisation that I have lost confidence in.
 

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That's a bit of a pisser that they failed you because you use imported breeder queens.

What records do you keep, and method of queen marking "that is considered to be the best method currently available"?
 

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I wonder who needs that certificate. Bees rear the queens and queens make mating flights.

The society quarantees that it happens. And if it does not happen, what then? They take certificate off.
 
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Teemore 

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I have come to the conclusion that the lunatics have taken over the asylum Wightbees. I am really going to have to reconsider my membership of an organisation that I have lost confidence in.
Bide your time and provide them with feedback highlighting the points you take issue with although I am guessing that you intend to do so as you always have an organised approach to things. If no-one highlights the deficiencies, there will be no improvement.

Part of me would be inclined to ask for clarification of the assessment criteria used as that is what you were working to in preparation for the assessment and that remains the criteria available for potential candidates to refer to.

From your comments, it looks as if the certificate harks back to the aspirations of the village bee breeders association as opposed to those of the Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders Association. I continue to hope that the BBKA is forward looking and progressive.....
 

Finman 

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What records do you keep, and method of queen marking "that is considered to be the best method currently available"?
When I buy queens. and somebody shows his queens' family trees, I give no value to records. I put the queens into hives and look what they are.

.
Like this year, I bought new queens. They made only one box of brood. Such queens are not proper to me.
 
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