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Queen breeding specialism discussion forum.
 #12991  by AdamD
 03 Aug 2022, 09:40
I have been asked to collect a number of local swarms this year. For these swarms or my own nucs of a similar age/size one in particular would not have survived to now without feeding. All the others have done well with plenty of pollen and nectar stores and plenty of brood of all ages. (Swarms can be poor so I keep a close eye on them and replace the queen at the earliest observation of flightiness/chalkbrood/whatever). However one caught swarm from the top of a compost bin (queen of unknown age) was given a decent quantity of syrup to get it going; but when I checked recently, I was surprised to see that it has very little pollen, very little honey stores but the frames are wall to wall with brood. Even when forage has dropped off over the past few weeks, the queen is filling any spare space with eggs and has not adjusted her laying accordingly which one might hope as autumn approaches.
I wonder whether I should give her a little nip and replace her as 'high maintenance' or if she will turn out to be a good'un next year?
 #12992  by NigelP
 03 Aug 2022, 12:40
If she is laying wall to wall it's perhaps not surprising they have used up most of their pollen and stores. She sounds like a good one for me....lots of bees= lots of honey. Perhaps not this year but bodes well for next.
 #12994  by Alfred
 03 Aug 2022, 18:17
My thoughts exactly.
It's been crazy this year I've collected just shy of twenty.
One is strong,one is a little cracker but the rest are(were) rubbish
She's a keeper Adam.
 #13001  by AdamD
 05 Aug 2022, 11:03
Twenty is a lot to collect.
What's happened to the rubbish ones?

Perhaps I'll give her a bigger box to (p)lay in and see how she goes.

I did get one swarm queen some 10 years ago with apparently similar early traits and all that happened was that she produced loads of bees the following spring and then swarmed. The daughter subsequently turned out to be 'a bit of a sod' with regard to behaviour, with the bees waiting to greet me as I got out of the cab of the pickup. It would be easy to say that it's a Buckfast thing, and blame them, but I have no idea where either queen has come from.
 #13003  by NigelP
 05 Aug 2022, 13:30
AdamD wrote:
05 Aug 2022, 11:03
It would be easy to say that it's a Buckfast thing, and blame them, but I have no idea where either queen has come from.
Not sure why you would say it's a Buckfast thing, most pure Buckfast are very gentle. It's only as their Buckfast genes get replaced by local genes and they become local mongrels does any aggression show through.

Most Buckfast queens bought in are open mated, meaning the queen is (usually) 100% Buckfast but as the sperms is from local bees her offspring are only 50% Buckfast. Thus any queens from her offspring (call them F1's ) are only half Buckfast, and the next F2 generation are 75% local bees genes/25% Buckfast. It's the local genetics that causes the aggression, assuming the local bees carry aggressive traits.....which they do in spades in my region.
 #13004  by MickBBKA
 05 Aug 2022, 21:05
Having only ever kept local open mated bees I am unable to comment on Buckfast traits but for quite a few years now I remove queens from any swarms I collect and replace them with my own so reducing the risk of poor traits developing in my own colonies. That way I can try to keep my colonies gentle and productive and not introduce other genes from outside my area be they from local mongrels or pure bred Buckfast mongrels. Friend of mine who started with a colony of my bees has just received some so called 'Buckfast' queens as he wants to experiment and see how they turn out, it will be interesting to follow his experience over the next couple of years whatever the outcome.

There is also the possibility that you have a late developing strain of bees which were selected in past times just for the heather season. I have read about this recently and if I can remember where I will post it.

Anyway, you never can tell with bees ;) :lol: