Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hive traits

While going through the the hive today I noticed one bee preening another. Cleaning it for about a minute before trying to the same thing to another bee. This is good behaviour and must help the bees fight off Varoa and parasites. From the same hive a couple of warps got in the hive. Three bees had each grabbed a wasp leg and were manhandling the wasp to the top of the frames. Once there they rotated around until they could all fly off in unison carrying  the wildly struggling wasp. They took the wasp off to a nearby bush and dumped it there. A few minutes later another wasp with 3 bees was delivered off into the sunset (figuratively).

 I had split this from another queen's brood into a new queenless nuc. When the queen was new she became very active, more quickly than any other hive I had requeened at the same time. My new queenless hive made a few queen cells and eventually out popped a queen and this is her first brood.

By paying attention to these things we breed more hygienic bees. The more hygienic the more house keeping they do. To compare hive for hygiene use a glass (any shape and size will do) and press it into a section of brood. Then prick all the brood in that area. The bees will inspect and remove all the brood in the area. The bees that do this best are in the most hygienic hive. Use this queen to breed from. If you buy queens from various people you could compare their queens.

Of course there are swings and roundabouts in breeding. Breed for one trait and you may find an unwanted trait pops up or a wanted trait is not so apparent. Also each generation of queen may be different from the last.
Remember the bees in the hive have DNA from a number of drones and the queen, just like your children they will all be different.

Anyway, all this to encourage you to look at your hives in terms of traits, particularly hygiene and seek queens that fit the kind of bees you want.


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