Quantcast

how do you breed docile queens?

Beekeeping Forum

Help Support Beekeeping Forum:

RoseCottage 

Field Bee
Joined
Dec 29, 2009
Messages
718
Reaction score
0
Location
Near Andover, UK
Hive Type
wbc
Number of Hives
From 5 to 2 and hopefully a better year
Whilst sitting in bed this morning we fell to talking about our bees and their general behaviour. At the moment we have one Thornes queen (new this year but carrying an 09 green dot) and a daughter of a Thornes queen (fresh this summer after a supersedure we think)

Both are well behaved. However, the green dot colony have been a little more feisty than our original colony.

So the question is, apart from buying new queens how do we 'breed' docile queens? How do Thornes do it? Is it something that we could try ourselves easily (where did we put our classical cd and portable cd player???)

All the best,
Sam
 

Brosville 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 29, 2008
Messages
3,132
Reaction score
0
Location
uk
Hive Type
tbh
Number of Hives
4
Bit of sideways thinking - could it be hive design?
Anecdotally, top bar and Warre hives tend to lead to laid back bees......
Certainly, I have no "behaviour" problems in either type of hive, and can usually do without either a smoker or water spray............
 

oliver90owner 

Queen Bee
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
15,628
Reaction score
26
Location
Lincolnshire
Hive Type
14x12
There lies the first problem. You bought your queens in. Firstly, you need to know what you have already. They may have been anything from (a) good reliable docile strain(s) to a simply bought in queen from somewhere, who knows where.

You may be able to enquire through your supplier to ascertain the likely future docility. Good, and you may be able to foster that docility trait; bad, and it may disappear in the next generation or two.

Really, you need to start with a good stock and to breed your own using the basic reproductive instinct, carry through with several queens, selecting for your required traits, discarding those that are not up to the standard required. Two colonies is not really anywhere near enough; other than trying in a limited sort of way.

Better way to go IMO, in the long run, if you are a hobbyist. 'Job satisfaction' and all that. Beefarmers likely requeen regularly using some of their own stock and quite a proportion of reliable honey-getters from the suppliers who maybe cannot guarantee the docility after a couple of generations

When you get seriously into it you may want to make sure that your 'crosses' have a good chance of breeding true and swamp the area with home produced drones (early in the season, this) so that your selected stock is likely mated with selected drones. Instrumental insemination would appear to be the ultimate control......

Careful here, as in-breeding can become a factor with loss of genetic diversity and higher incidence of some afflictions, for instance (cf Crufts and pedigree dogs!).

Just some pointers for starters; there must be plenty of bed-time reading in this one.

Regards, RAB
 

Heather 

Queen Bee
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Messages
4,038
Reaction score
5
Location
Newick, East Sussex
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
17
From your best hive- isolate 2 frames of eggs and larvae- and 3 full frames of young house bees into a Nuc. Do ensure queen is still in original colony..
Within days the Nuc should realise they are queenless and will start making queens- from your nice stock.
You can then extract the queen cells to an incubator when 2 days from emerging- and put virgins into Apideas with a pint of bees to allow her to mate and be available to replace poor queens.

Or just leave a queen cell in the Nuc to emerge, get mated = then use to replace poor queen.
 

newportbuzz 

Field Bee
Joined
Aug 11, 2010
Messages
847
Reaction score
0
Location
newport co,mayo ireland
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
19 through the winter
i have read that only geneticly pure races can be truly relied on to pass on there docility.
So if your race is a mix then you should raise a few queens and pick the nicest behaved one to requeen with... just my two cents
 

Hivemaker. 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 8, 2008
Messages
14,310
Reaction score
1
Location
Exmoor.
Hive Type
national
How do Thornes do it?

They get other beekeepers to do it for them.
 

Norton 

Drone Bee
Joined
Nov 30, 2008
Messages
1,157
Reaction score
1
Location
Paris, France
Hive Type
langstroth
Yes they (Thornes) buy in queens from breeders in the.....UK.

If you want to breed docile bees then you have to continually select for this character. Only breed from quiet bees and cull any that show any aggressiveness. Open the colony without smoke and see what happens - if they react then maybe you should not try to breed from them. If they just sit and look at you and even better if they go DOWN between the top bars then that is excellent. You can also try to remove a frame without the use of smoke and see what happens. Another good pointer is if you "stroke" the bees whilst on the comb face and watch their reaction. Here you are pushing them to react and the way they react to your actions gives you a good clue if you are on to the right track or not. If you try all this and get stung, I take no responsibility for the consequences!!!
Have a good weekend.
Best regards
Norton.
 

Brosville 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 29, 2008
Messages
3,132
Reaction score
0
Location
uk
Hive Type
tbh
Number of Hives
4
I'm always at somewhat of a loss in discussions of this type - I can understand the motivation in eliminating "killer bee" type traits, and trying to breed "hygienic bees", but it does make me wonder what else may be lost in doing so....
Could it not be that slightly bolshie bees may be sufficiently intolerant of all interference that they can look after themselves under concerted wasp attack, and won't tolerate itchy mites, whereas "docile" bees may be just thick and comatose (and let the world walk all over them!)
Should we perhaps (if we really must "breed") be looking at either several traits, or questioning the importance of breeding for some of them.......
 

Hivemaker. 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 8, 2008
Messages
14,310
Reaction score
1
Location
Exmoor.
Hive Type
national
Thats exactly what most breeders do.....breed for several traits,like calm on the combs/docile,high productivity,low swarming,hygenic behavior...ect.
Not just for docile bee's and thats it.
 

Brosville 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 29, 2008
Messages
3,132
Reaction score
0
Location
uk
Hive Type
tbh
Number of Hives
4
thanks Pete, that makes sense!
 

Norton 

Drone Bee
Joined
Nov 30, 2008
Messages
1,157
Reaction score
1
Location
Paris, France
Hive Type
langstroth
You have to have a list of what characteristics are most important for you and your bees. As a breeder you take the breeding program in the direction that you want it to go. Depends very much on what your goals are. Select for the characters you want and select against the unwanted ones.
We can see here that after 30 years of selecting that we have altered the general character of the population in our area and much for the better may I just add.
Best regards
Norton.
 

Heather 

Queen Bee
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Messages
4,038
Reaction score
5
Location
Newick, East Sussex
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
17
Yes Bros, not always thick if docile.

I am breeding next Spring from a colony I have just been into - no smoke- no towel- looked at a frame -they ignored me-little varroa drop- 2nd week of treatment- 7 supers of honey extracted. Sounds good to me.

Mind you- I don't know how they would react if I told them they were comatose.... Women usually slap out at that:toetap05:
 

Black Comb 

Queen Bee
Joined
Aug 10, 2009
Messages
2,737
Reaction score
0
Location
Cumbria
Hive Type
other
Number of Hives
10+
Yes Bros, not always thick if docile.

I am breeding next Spring from a colony I have just been into - no smoke- no towel- looked at a frame -they ignored me-little varroa drop- 2nd week of treatment- 7 supers of honey extracted. Sounds good to me.

Mind you- I don't know how they would react if I told them they were comatose.... Women usually slap out at that:toetap05:
Please will you sell me some of these - can I be first on the list?
 

hedgerow pete 

Queen Bee
Joined
Jan 26, 2009
Messages
3,660
Reaction score
3
Location
UK, Birmingham, Sandwell. Pork scratching Bandit c
Hive Type
national
heres the completly wrong way of sourcing queens, why do i know its wrong, because it the way i do it:eek:


when i breed my queens i try to make a set of ten or twenty at a time, they are then placed into there own nuc and over the next three months i keep a lot of notes on how they behave and what traits i can see and there fore what hopefully they might be like. so at the three month mark!!

the first biggest cull is colour as i am a racist bee that only realy wants black bees, so out of the twenty i will kill of the lightest five.

the next ones are the aggressive.

after that we are now looking at the frames and how the cappings are finished what the bees are like when i am handling them and so forth.

out of the twenty if i am very lucky i might get five or six that i think!!!! might be ok.

after the winter we are now looking at the ones that have not only survived the winter but have started to lay and restock , if i managed to get all six over the winter i will choose the best two out of the lot are then ear marked to maybe become breeders, depending on the year ahead and how they work


now we add to those rules that are writen in stone a few add on's

the queen i dont want personaly and if they seem calm enough go towards any neebeeks and we make up a small nuc for them.

any thing that is aggressive is squished at the first time they charge at me, without fail, aggressive bees have no home at the bee shed ever!!

none of my bees are hybreads nor are they pure, they are best described as black country mongrels, breed by a brummie with no ideas of what he is doing or as we like to say , flying mongrels.

now when we go along sqishing these bees everyone must think that at the end of the year we have loads of nucs and great tempered bees we sorry we dont,

averages for me are 14 out of twenty hatched.

colour , may be 10 out of 14 survive

temper 5 out of 10, if i am very lucky

survival rates for over wintering are at around 75%

and the chances them becoming monsters next year are fifty fifty.

so a lot of mucking about even more hard work and very little return.

that sound like a bee keeper to me:D:D:D
 

Hivemaker. 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 8, 2008
Messages
14,310
Reaction score
1
Location
Exmoor.
Hive Type
national
HP....out of interest how have the 140 nuc's you made up with your two partners last season, do this season. Hope they have done well with them.
 

hedgerow pete 

Queen Bee
Joined
Jan 26, 2009
Messages
3,660
Reaction score
3
Location
UK, Birmingham, Sandwell. Pork scratching Bandit c
Hive Type
national
good question hiver maker.

for the last couple of seasons i have been working with two friends to start a commercial bee bussiness, so because we were looking for quanity not quality we tried to breed 200 nucs, we ended up with 160 just before last winter.

resualts are below for intrested people

160 before winter, winter loses were 34 hives( small hives/nucs)

126 hive survived out of that lot we have the following

57 we want to keep for colour and temper

16 that have been moved to a thrid area to prevent breeding issues as they are so aggressive we have to use a steel chain mail suit to work them. we have kept them because we have always found the more aggressive the bee the better the crop yield, but do you realy want to work with the buggers.

we have had around 17 that have been very badly effected with varroa and have come through the year very sickly.

we have found that because we produced quantity rather than quality we ended up with a massive selection of all sorts, personal i would say 75% has unwanted traights that we would never use in a bee breeding programe.

sicklyness, swarming and queen cell production, aggression. over production of brace comb, poor laying queens, slow spring start off,

what we do have is , we have found ten full hives that do show all the best bits that we like, what we shall do next year is to remove the queens and to use them to produce new queens, but this is where every thing goes grey again, we would like to have 100 queens to start new nucs plus we would also like to have another 100 to start the replacement programe, and thats after we have sorted them through, some how i cant see us being that lucky with our breeding programe proberly 20 yes but not 200
 

Latest posts

Top