Striving for racial purity in bees a pointless, counter productive, seriously bad idea?

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TryingToLetThemBee 

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I bought a @Hivemaker. Buckfast some years ago: she is the common ancestor, 3, and my best Q is 3.5.1.1.1.1 so what is that, 5 generations removed (actually 3.5.1 is now the common ancestor. That's how it works like ahem Welsh Princes.) I have noticed my crops while OK have been drifting lower even corrected for my increasing uselessness. I have to say, this thread is stimulating thought.
 

Finman 

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I have bought couple of times buckfast queens. I have wondered in boath cases, how quickly the genes of buckfast disapper from my apiaries. 3 years, and no outer signs of buckfast any more: color and laying patern.
The environment is Italian and open mating.
 

Sutty 

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Seriously: does anyone have an answer to the basic question, shorn of diploid jargon etc? To put it in the simplest practical terms, if I select for well-behaved productive colonies and breed in isolation will the results be random or will I gradually improve my stock?
I watched the entire video, which I think is rather good. I've maybe got a better handle on genetics basics than average due to medical training (and some reminder reading for chicken breeding!).
As he explains later in the video IF you can achieve isolation, and start with a small gene pool, you bees will become increasingly inbred and will then likely fail due to high proportions of failed brood from diploid drones. Very big IF unless you are in highly unusual geographic circumstances for the UK.
He also touched on possible causes for aggression in crossed bees, though it was very non-specific.
 

Mint Bee 

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Back to the OP.
going to be an interesting letters page in Beecraft this month......
For those of us that don't subscribe Emyr, please could you keep us inform of the outcome 🍿
 

viridens 

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I know that lab rats are classed as inbred after at least 20 consecutive generations of brother / sister matings, and this is often extended further to amplify desirable characteristics ideally without too many negatives.
Is there an agreed figure for Apis Mellifera? I have Googled without finding an answer.
 

Finman 

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I know that lab rats are classed as inbred after at least 20 consecutive generations of brother / sister matings, and this is often extended further to amplify desirable characteristics ideally without too many negatives.
Is there an agreed figure for Apis Mellifera? I have Googled without finding an answer.
When I had rabits, in brother sister mating all babies were born dead.

But in bees, when the queen mates with 15 drones, you do not know, from where the drones come from.
 
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Sutty 

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When I had rabits, in brother sister mating all babies were born dead.

But in bees, when the queen mates with 15 drones, you do not know, from where the drones come from.
According to the chap on the video drones go to the closest drone congregation area, but the queen doesn't. I don't know what the evidence for that is.
 

Finman 

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According to the chap on the video drones go to the closest drone congregation area, but the queen doesn't. I don't know what the evidence for that is.
I have read researches that queens go to the nearest drone swarm. It does not go over 5 km to avoid insest, like it was said in old days. They have followed woth video queen traffic and measured the time what the queens spents outside, and in that time queens cannot go very far.

The queen flyes from hive 20 km/hour. Then it mates and returns. If the queen flyes 1 km back and forth, it merely takes 6 minutes. Duration times are 5 to 30 minutes.

The shorter the mating flight, the more the queen has sperm after flight. So quee knows, how much it has got sperm during one trip.

There are quite many studies in internet what you can read.
 
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Brian Bush 

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A couple of observations:

First: Amm may be around but is hardly thriving. Environmental change isn't the only reason. Beekeepers favour traits not evident in Amm (which is why I keep saying there is a huge selection programme needed before beekeepers will accept them).

Ged lives just up the road from me. His apiary is anything but "secluded". He relies on breeding material from Keld Brandstrup and floods the areas with lots of colonies to influence the mating of his queens.

Beekeepers like to think they're "selecting" but if they've no data to back up that selection, it's not leading anywhere - especially with no control over the mating.
I agree with B+ regarding Geds apiaries. I live even nearer and as local swarm officer for a number of years I have dealt with swarms from feral colonies near his apiaries. He cannot control the supply of drones in the local DCAs and 2nd/3rd/etc generation Buckfasts can have undesired effects on local populations.
 

Ian123 

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He cannot control the supply of drones in the local DCAs and 2nd/3rd/etc generation Buckfasts can have undesired effects on local populations.
He can’t control it but he can and does influence it. As to the swarms how do you know they aren’t bucks? By the time there 2 or 3 crosses down the line there not buckfast! That’s also the same for any mongrel bee selected by a beekeeper 2 or 3 generations there far removed from your selected queen.
 

Hebeegeebee 

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Seriously: does anyone have an answer to the basic question, shorn of diploid jargon etc? To put it in the simplest practical terms, if I select for well-behaved productive colonies and breed in isolation will the results be random or will I gradually improve my stock?
Yes you will improve your stock. I started with bees that would hardly stay in the box - would swarm on 5 frames of brood - but I selected well-behaved and least-swarmy bees to breed from that gave a decent honey crop. (Yes you need a few colonies to be able to select from - however if you partnered up with a friend or two you have a breeding group and enough colonies to select from). Most of my colonies don't swarm in the queens full first year and they are well-behaved. Any that start following or behaving as I don't like, have their queen replaced or are united to another colony as soon as practical.
 

Sutty 

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Yes you will improve your stock. I started with bees that would hardly stay in the box - would swarm on 5 frames of brood - but I selected well-behaved and least-swarmy bees to breed from that gave a decent honey crop. (Yes you need a few colonies to be able to select from - however if you partnered up with a friend or two you have a breeding group and enough colonies to select from). Most of my colonies don't swarm in the queens full first year and they are well-behaved. Any that start following or behaving as I don't like, have their queen replaced or are united to another colony as soon as practical.
Though you don't mention being in isolation, so assuming that you aren't, you aren't breeding for "racial purity", you're breeding for beneficial strains out of the local potentially highly racially varied population. Nothing wrong with that of course! We would all like well behaved bees, especially if hives are near other people.
 

Hebeegeebee 

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There are 111 apiaries within 10km of me according to BeeBase.

I think I know 5-6 of them, maybe a few more.
Two are members of our local Association.

No chance of me influencing anything local.

:cool:
And as MBC suggesting I am making the feral population worse by using Buckfasts when there are 110 local beekeepers doing their own thing!
Fortunately I have a sense of humour even if warped. :eek:
I wonder how many of those apiaries are active ones?
 

Hebeegeebee 

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For mating distance, it would make sense for the queen to travel a shorter distance so she it at risk for the shortest amount of time. There is just one of her and she is vitally important to the success of a colony. Drones are ten a penny so can afford to have a riskier time in the air. And they can pop in to another colony for a cup of tea and a biscuit (sorry, refuelling) if they need to. A queen cannot and will (usually) be killed if she goes into a hive that's not her own.
Is there evidence for the flight-times/distances of queens and drones?
 

madasafish 

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I wonder how many of those apiaries are active ones?

As I believe the BeeBase database is never checked (or so I understand) , I would think it is junk. But how badly wrong is anyone's guess.
 

Antipodes 

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For mating distance, it would make sense for the queen to travel a shorter distance so she it at risk for the shortest amount of time. There is just one of her and she is vitally important to the success of a colony. Drones are ten a penny so can afford to have a riskier time in the air. And they can pop in to another colony for a cup of tea and a biscuit (sorry, refuelling) if they need to. A queen cannot and will (usually) be killed if she goes into a hive that's not her own.
Is there evidence for the flight-times/distances of queens and drones?
I read an article recently which said queens fly an average of about 2 to 2.5 ks but if there are no drones or insufficient drones at that distance, they will go to where the drones are, even if only 300 metres away. Apparently they need to mate with at least 12 drones to be properly mated.
 

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