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Queen breeding

 

Breeding and selection.
I use up to 200 colonies of bees for the selection of new breeder queens. All potential breeder queens are island mated. To get the best match of genes for each specific line I always use at least 3 different islands for the mating of queens. The island of Tunø, which is my own mating station, and the two islands Helnæs and Mandø, are used for most matings.


Every year I’m wintering approximately 150 new island mated queens. These queens are tested for two years. The queens are judged on a number of inherited characteristics, the primary ones being: low swarming tendency, temperament, behaviour on the comb and honey yield.  


In addition, my breeder queens are tested for Nosema tolerance and hygienic behaviour.


Selection for Nosema tolerant bees has been going on for the last 25 years in Denmark. All queens with breeding potential are, in the spring of their second year of life, laboratory tested for Nosema. Only queens, who have been tested free of Nosema, are used for producing queens for sale.

 

Hygienic behaviour is the newest part of the breeding programme. In late May, just before the grafting season starts, all queens with breeding potential are tested for their ability to remove freeze-killed capped brood. This has proved to be a very effective way of selecting queens with a high resistance to Chalkbrood and Foulbrood. When queens are selected for tolerance in this way, then the widespread problems with these diseases are largely eradicated.

 

After 2 years of testing, 7-10 queens, from 5-7 lines, are selected as mothers for the current year’s production of new queens for sale.

 

Each year I participate in a consumer test conducted by the Association of Danish Beekeepers (DBF), where my queens have consistently shown high and stable results.

 

Random mating takes place in three forested areas, where I have good control over the mix of drones, which is necessary for the random mating of excellent production queens.

 

I strive to produce excellent queens, which possesses the following favourable characteristics:
•    Resistance to disease
•    Low swarming tendency
•    Good honey gathering ability
•    Good temperament
•    Calm behaviour on the comb

 

Pedigrees:

 

You can see my pedigrees by pressing this link: Honeybee Pedigree