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Apple 

Field Bee
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Thanks for sharing this, totally agree with your philosophies. Last 2 seasons I’ve started to group my colonies into As and Bs, rearing queens from As, maintaining Bs to give them another chance to assess, but not specifically expanding from them. I’ve realised I need a C group for those with 2 years of assessment that I should requeen.
I live 1000ft in the Pennines, your criteria for productivity matches well with mine. Not got into Wing morphology (yet!) but my best colonies are all dark queens which are frugal on winter stores and gentle but good on the heather!
Ive just finished reading Donald Simms book 60 years with bees, was from your part of the country.
Would be interested to know if there is any connection between your bees and his (wondering if his lineage is still around?)
Elaine
Studies ( unpublished) that we undertook statistically comparing wing morphology with DNA from various types of honeybee concluded that although a negative discoidal shift was a good indicator of belonging to Amm, and not Aml or Amc ( ie M group not C group) DNA was the only method to give a definitive answer to how " pure " the particular colony was.... even down to which specific closest type..... Northumberland, Cornish, Irish/French, Scandinavian etc.
With the constant uncontrolled importation of bees into the UK most colonies will show some level of introgression.... even when keeping bees in one of the few more isolated areas.
If you want to have the DNA from your bees tested, you could contact the B4 project to see if any more studies are planned for next season that you could participate in?
Chons da
 

Finman 

Queen Bee
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Beekeeping beekeeping means good individuals from a vast Group. I can tell acconding my experience, that 20 hives is minimun, from where to select. When I close off unwanted hives, perhana I have 2-3 hives, which I can actually select.

20 hives is a minimun from where you can calculate honest statistik. That is why you do not need variation formula.

Normally best hives are hybrids. The queen is a good layer, and drones (15) are different race. Often Carniolan. When I take from there daughters, they will be what ever, like a curve of Gaus..

When the apiary is badly mixed, it is better to take a new start and buy several mated queens. It makes no sense to select best mongrel from your own apiary.
 

beeno 

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I'm not one for learning and committing to memory things I disagree with just to get a ticket though I would if I needed one to keep bees on an allotment for example
Not having a scientific background the most frustrating thing I have found in my studies is that I learn things from text books that then turns out to be wrong eg varroa feed on the bees hemolymph and year's later it turns out to be the bees' fat bodies. Also, a lot of speculation about things, because the scientists have endless hypothesis about this that and the other none of which may turn out to be true. As a student interested in beekeeping I want to learn facts. Also I find PhD students, who decide to research into something relating to bees without having any basic rudimentary experience of bees and beekeeping very annoying? Rant over.
 

Mellifera Crofter 

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... I learn things from text books that then turns out to be wrong eg varroa feed on the bees hemolymph and year's later it turns out to be the bees' fat bodies. ...
I think they feed on both. But whatever they feed on - the problems they cause remain!
 

Finman 

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Also, a lot of speculation about things, because the scientists have endless hypothesis about this that and the other none of which may turn out to be true. As a student interested in beekeeping I want to learn facts.
????
 

Murox 

Queen Bee
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Not having a scientific background the most frustrating thing I have found in my studies is that I learn things from text books that then turns out to be wrong eg varroa feed on the bees hemolymph and year's later it turns out to be the bees' fat bodies. Also, a lot of speculation about things, because the scientists have endless hypothesis about this that and the other none of which may turn out to be true. As a student interested in beekeeping I want to learn facts. Also I find PhD students, who decide to research into something relating to bees without having any basic rudimentary experience of bees and beekeeping very annoying? Rant over.
Don't we all?
Speculation is generally based on arbitrary assumptions, while hypotheses are meant to be based on reasoning , but could also be imaginative of course. To assume anything does rather make an ASS of U and ME .
 

janetbee 

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Thanks.. I'm trying to do all the above, selecting my queen's and colonys for the traits I desire.

I would like to keep the genetics of my Italian locals but as the generations go by I'm losing them, which is a shame, because they are so productive in early spring and the queen's are so prolific.
In comparison to my black queen's.

I don't have time to do any modules so all of my knowledge is coming from a mentor, books and practical experiences..

I would love to concentrate on some proper study maybe one day, thanks elainemary.
Bee breeding as opposed to queen rearing is difficult as it is almost impossible to control the mating, especially as the queen mates with 10+ drones. Improving your bees to your character specifications is possible. Different beekeepers have different priorities. Mine is always docility as number one but there are other things to consider e.g. disease resistance, honey production, swarming etc. Bees that suit Devon may not suit Scotland so your own location is very important.
To improve your stock you have to be prepared to cull queens- I still find that a bit difficult.

BIBBA have a series of webinars on at the moment about improving your bees. The emphasis is on starting with what you have got now. They are keen to encourage self sufficiency in suitable queens and discourage importing them. Check out their website and have a look- you've got nothing to lose.
 

janetbee 

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The bog standard stuff is good. You need to be able to handle the bees without dropping frames, without killing and squashing bees and being able to ascertain whether you are queen right and what a queen cell looks like etc etc etc all of which are gleaned in the year that you need to keep bees before you take the assessment.

It's this bit I'm uncomfortable with
Oral questioning and Assessment of the Candidate’s knowledge of Natural History and Beekeeping.
Oral questioning on Swarming, Swarm Control and effects.
Oral questioning on Diseases and Pests


I would end up arguing with the assessor.........
I'm not one for learning and committing to memory things I disagree with just to get a ticket though I would if I needed one to keep bees on an allotment for example

I do like to learn new things
I do have a grasp of basic genetics and enjoyed Curley Green Fingers recent link but again I don't like to be pressured into yet another qualification......I had enough of that with CPD during my career.
Don't get me wrong....I take my hat off to those who can take the pressure, who quietly go about their learning for the joy of it.
It looks as though you are talking about the BBKA Basic Certificate. Give it a go, if you are an experienced beekeeper you should have no trouble with it. It is split into 4 sections now as there was a lack of knowledge of swarming but candidates still got a pass from the other part of the syllabus.
It is really just a consolidation of a beginners course but in practical form.

I run sessions for the Basic and we have some very new beekeepers (candidates must have kept bees for at least a year) and some who have had bees for more than 20 years. Everybody learns something especially the tutor. As an experienced beekeeper your experience would provide a good input on a course. Even experienced beekeepers may not have come across diseases such as EFB and AFB so there may be a bit of learning needed, depending on how well read they are. Read the syllabus and you will get an idea of where your gaps are.
Arguing may not be the best approach but discussing an alternative point of view should be acceptable- "there is more than one way to skin a cat".

By the way, for anybody who is thinking of taking it, be aware that the assessor is allowed to teach during the assessment so may add to your answer but that does not not mean you haven't given an adequate answer. One assessor I know does more talking than the candidate, I don't think they get a word in edgeways!
 
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