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Are we selecting for bees that go queenless all the time?

Posted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:21 pm
by Solomon
Consider the following:

Queens are typically raised one per mating nuc.
Queenless hives are often requeened with commercial stock as soon as discovered.
Queens are mass produced from relatively few mothers.

Are we selecting for bees that go queenless all the time?

I am reminded of the thelytoky (theh-LIE-tick-ee) trait documented by Dee Lusby. She developed the trait in her bees with cruddy requeening practices (IMHO) but the fact remains that it is there, or was. I would submit that it is in our bees also, to some small degree, with all the genetic mixing that goes on in this country. But only the feral bees will be selecting for it, unless you let hives die on their own.

How many of my hives have gone queenless and fixed the problem with thelytoky and I never knew about it? Probably some, considering how little I check my bees through certain portions of the year. Sure, I lose some through summer, but more are superseded. Are some superseded with thelytoky?

Certainly eliminating selection for early emergence, and artificially fixing queen problems isn't helping select for this.

Thoughts?

Re: Are we selecting for bees that go queenless all the time?

Posted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:29 pm
by SiWolKe
My thoughts are that thelytoky is present in beeyards which are managed naturally.
It´s a chance for the hopeless queenless bees to have a short time emergency queen and why should evolution not propagate this?
Hopeless queenless...I don´t believe it´s used as a normal supercedure.

It may be that the superseding of a badly mated queen sometimes is regarded as thelytoky.

You can graft all the time, if you are not artificially inseminating the queens you never know how prolific your queen will be with open mating, not even at a mating place, because of the weather.

The bees, IMO, supersede as often as they need to have a prolific queen. So in my eyes the superseding is a positive trait. A trait to adapt and survive.
People say that superseding was less in old times.
This could be because the environment was more healthy and variable to the bees. Queens maybe had longer lives.
So why not welcome any trait, strange as it is, if it helps the bees?

Genetically concerned I don´t think there is a disadvantage. Reading Dave Cushman about T. the bees seem to use this only in emergency.
http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/thelytoky.html

It can stop honey surplus production, though, and that´s why it´s not accepted by most beekeepers.

Re: Are we selecting for bees that go queenless all the time?

Posted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:50 pm
by Solomon
"T"

That's great. Our bees have "low T." We need an infomercial. :lol: