What do you want or expect from your bees?

Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum

Help Support Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
I think Prof Ruttner summed it up very well when he differentiated between the economic value of a queen and the breeding value. The economic value is limited to the financial value of the products of her colony (honey sales, wax, etc) but the breeding value is much greater. For example, a pedigree racehorse might run in a number of races. It might even win some prize money - it is through this performance that its breeding value is judged. When the racehorse retires it may go out to stud, producing offspring that have far greater value because of how they can reasonably be expected to perform (based on the performance of their parents).
"The average beekeeper" is looking for economic value. Nothing more. The breeder has the knowledge and skill to bring together the dam and sire so that the offspring has the highest breeding value.

I agree it is well enough summarised. I understand zuchtwerte/breeding value and it is translated into, used to accentuate, various traits be that longevity, hygienic behaviour, nectar collection and so on – ultimately that becomes of economic value through the 'improved' specific behaviours. e.g. gentleness, non swarmy etc etc. The beekeeper however is required in this process in order to validate the breeding values. Hence the need for active participation and feedback.
Have 5 of the celle line, one started cells and honey has been pretty much the same as the buckfast.
They build combs more readily and down to the base of the frame but I don't like the way they wintered. They survived fine but a hungrier bee is of benefit here to clear excess ivy honey (so i dont have to) and being able to start pulling off nucs a bit earlier is a plus for me.

Edit to say. You're weather is much more continental than mine so that is probably why this difference occurs

Quite possibly. I am about as far inland as it is possible to get in this country. It can get very windy though.
They do seem to overwinter on less stores than other bees. However, I find that they use some of it in early brood-rearing. Nevertheless, they always seem to have more than they need. I find pollen stores to be key. I have seen some colonies fill an entire brood-box with pollen! Of course, a lot does depend on your area.
One way of looking at it is that they won't starve if they have too much ivy honey. You can always take a frame or two for another hive that may need it. In my area, they can feed themselves for winter if the weather remains good through Sept/Oct. But, you are right, they need space so the queen can lay winter bees too.
I there a reliance on "a secretive old boys network?"

Cannot speak for your local but here in mine (QLD.AUS) it is
simply the case reputable breeders are booked out often a
season in advance - effectively they build to order.

Of some significance also is the element of supply which
allows breeding pretty much all year round above the Tropic
of Capricorn - Rockhampton Line in Queensland. So it is a l0t
of b'keeps just let their own bees roll queens over, not at all
impressed with us "fussy old bassids" who will only buy in.

The beekeeper however is required in this process in order to validate the breeding values. Hence the need for active participation and feedback.

The breeding values are published in the 2nd/3rd week of February each year. Breeders can use "what if" tools to identify the best candidates as mates for their own stock (so there is a route into breeding by starting as a tester for those who are interested/committed enough to do it). Verbal feedback is fine, but, what really matters is the results of testing.
I have 4 queens in my test group this year from a Dutch breeder that I work quite closely with. 3 are from the Dutch line that everyone in the group is testing and 1 is from an old German line. She is a lovely, docile queen that I really can't fault. I have 25 sealed cells from her in the incubator at the moment and I grafted 60 more on the 1st of June. I also have 2 frames of her drones marked ready for II with queens of another line in a couple of weeks. For me to put that much effort into a single queen should illustrate how good she is. One of the NL line is slightly ahead in honey production but isn't as stable on the comb. It can be a very fine line to judge between a strength in one area versus a relative weakness in another, however slight. That takes a lot of experience.

Latest posts