Methods for Practical Field Selection of Honey Bee Colonies, and the Rearing of Queens and Drones
CSANR Project 170
There is increasing interest in honey bee stock improvement in response to the continuing high annual loss of colonies and the desire to minimize in hive chemical treatments to control bee parasites and diseases. Individual beekeepers, small groups, beekeeping clubs, commercial queen producers and beekeeping organizations are attempting to address this challenge. Honey bees are unique in that selection is primarily based upon behavioral traits at the colony level. The colony is a dynamic and complex social unit, highly responsive to changing environmental conditions. Sensitive to inbreeding, colony productivity and fitness are dependent upon maintenance of adequate genetic diversity. The colony is dynamic and selection must be based upon evaluating several traits under changing conditions. A unique challenge for the breeder, as the goal is to select for uniformity and consistency, while maintaining adequate genetic diversity to ensure fitness. If funded this video will provide simple methodology to select productive colonies with reduced incidence of pests and diseases, from within large populations while avoiding inherent inbreeding problems. The basic concepts presented will establish guidelines to apply to the interests and needs of a variety of honey bee breeding programs.
Walter (Steve) Sheppard