Changing race of colony via queen introduction

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markb2603

House Bee
Joined
Apr 23, 2022
Messages
109
Reaction score
44
Location
Donegal, Ireland
Hive Type
National
Number of Hives
4
Is this something that could work and has anyone tried it successfully? I’ve done a search and can’t find much information on it which I assume is because it’s no good. Is there an ethical issue here or is it something that would be frowned upon?

I currently have 3 hives and 2 nucs of the same breed. I’ve promised 1 nuc to a neighbour down the road and I’m happy to stick at 4 going forward. I was thinking it might be nice to have 2 hives of different breeds for comparison purposes. I did wonder if it would be simpler and lighter on the pocket to introduce new queens rather than getting nucs in.
 
and why not? No 'ethical' issues involved, but be aware that there are some prejudices around which means you experience the ire of some factions.
Just remember that dark/native bees tend not to accept queens of other strains very easily. I easily requeened my Buckfast colonies to natives years ago.
 
I’d be more concerned about introducing queens to stroppy hives, if they are good calm bees they will normally more be accepting of an introduction.
I think it’s generally accepted it’s better or more successful introducing like for like but I wouldn’t be concerned if they are calm bees!
 
I definitely get that the current bees I have are in no way pure breeds and I accept that any future breeding will just result in mixing of genetics. Perfectly happy with that.

Temperament is what I’d be keen to maintain.

The current bees I have are dark bees which I sourced 5 miles away. Currently 1 2021 queen, 1 2023 queen, 2 nucs have sealed queen cells and I have 1 hive which I think has a dud queen in as I keep putting in test frames but not building any queen cells. But it’s been over a month now and no sign of a laying queen at all either. I’m hoping to keep them going with brood frames until I can get a queen.

I was thinking of potentially introducing maybe 2 Buckfast or Jolanta queens when available just to get some different genetics in and to see if there are any major differences inexperience. Fully aware, next mating cycle genetics will be mixed again.
 
I definitely get that the current bees I have are in no way pure breeds and I accept that any future breeding will just result in mixing of genetics. Perfectly happy with that.

Temperament is what I’d be keen to maintain.

The current bees I have are dark bees which I sourced 5 miles away. Currently 1 2021 queen, 1 2023 queen, 2 nucs have sealed queen cells and I have 1 hive which I think has a dud queen in as I keep putting in test frames but not building any queen cells. But it’s been over a month now and no sign of a laying queen at all either. I’m hoping to keep them going with brood frames until I can get a queen.

I was thinking of potentially introducing maybe 2 Buckfast or Jolanta queens when available just to get some different genetics in and to see if there are any major differences inexperience. Fully aware, next mating cycle genetics will be mixed again.
If you currently have local black bees of good temperament they presumably be broadly adapted to the local environment. Have you considered widening their gene pool by buying in a good local black bee Q. I did this some years ago and it improved my colony performance.
 
If you currently have local black bees of good temperament they presumably be broadly adapted to the local environment. Have you considered widening their gene pool by buying in a good local black bee Q. I did this some years ago and it improved my colony performance.
I have actually and have been trying to source but there aren’t any local keepers openly breeding for sale. I’ve tried to source in a wider area around me and while Buckfast are available, Black bees aren’t until mid June for some reason. I could wait and I might do that but I was thinking it might be an opportunity to mix things up a bit out of interest
 
If you currently have local black bees of good temperament they presumably be broadly adapted to the local environment. Have you considered widening their gene pool by buying in a good local black bee Q. I did this some years ago and it improved my colony performance.
I have local blacks/tan queens that are on triple brood .

@markb2603 message me I have some in a week to 10 days away
Just realised your in Ireland
 
I have actually and have been trying to source but there aren’t any local keepers openly breeding for sale. I’ve tried to source in a wider area around me and while Buckfast are available, Black bees aren’t until mid June for some reason. I could wait and I might do that but I was thinking it might be an opportunity to mix things up a bit out of interest
Hi Mark, with the majority of honeybees (both in apiaries and freeliving) in Ireland being Amm you are much better off sticking with what you’ve got and working to improve them. You will have far more predictable results in terms of temperament particularly. If you try to breed your own queens after introducing Buckfast or Jolanta queens or they are superseded you can face a hot mess with extreme defensiveness being a very likely outcome.
I was speaking with a beekeeping neighbour of mine in Sligo on Saturday - he was just back from helping a friend of his over near Belleek. This gentleman’s Amm colonies had become hybridised because someone nearby did what you are thinking of doing and they are now unmanageable. Years of work undone and now he’s thinking of giving up beekeeping because he just can’t face the heart break again. My neighbour showed me his bee suit - everywhere black with stings!

PS - the reason native queens aren’t generally available here until June is simply down to the weather. You will find them earlier but not many and they will have been ordered last year.
 
and why not? No 'ethical' issues involved, but be aware that there are some prejudices around which means you experience the ire of some factions.
Just remember that dark/native bees tend not to accept queens of other strains very easily. I easily requeened my Buckfast colonies to natives years ago.

In South Africa it was not allowed to mix races.
 

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