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