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Good Honey croppers are NOT good breeding material

For many years the Textbooks have been preaching that we should consider the yield of a colony in selecting breeder queens.

I personally believe this a major cause of the 'Mongrelisation' of our current bee stocks.

The honey crop that a colony collects is governed by many factors, BUT one of the major ones is 'hybrid vigour' exhibited by F1 hybrid bees. By utilising such bees for breeding we are propagating 'variability' in our stocks.

I propose that the major consideration should first of all be 'temper' (including 'jumping' and 'running').

Then next in line would be 'Wing Morphometry' and other biometric measurements of the worker bees to establish the precise strain of bee that we are dealing with, (I suspect that we are about to find out more about this from the 'cellsize' work that is currently being carried out.)

Only after these characteristics are fixed should we turn our attention to further selection for size of crop.

A further thought on this theme... A more efficient and longer lived bee that only requires one B.S. size brood chamber may produce slightly less surplus honey, but because they are easier to work with and require much less labour in management, it would be a simple matter to run a few extra colonies to make up that difference. Indeed it may be the case that an individual beekeeper may be able to produce a much larger total honey crop simply because he or she is able to manage many more colonies than would have been the case with their 'mongrel' stocks.

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Written... November 1999, Revised... 08 December 2001, 10 October 2002