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Buchler R.,Bee Institute | Andonov S.,Faculty for Agricultural Science and Food | Bienefeld K.,Landerinstitut fur Bienenkunde Hohen Neuendorf e.V. | Costa C.,Italian Agricultural Research Council | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Apicultural Research | Year: 2013

Here we cover a wide range of methods currently in use and recommended in modern queen rearing, selection and breeding. The recommendations are meant to equally serve as standards for both scientific and practical beekeeping purposes. The basic conditions and different management techniques for queen rearing are described, including recommendations for suitable technical equipment. As the success of breeding programmes strongly depends on the selective mating of queens, a subchapter is dedicated to the management and quality control of mating stations. Recommendations for the handling and quality control of queens complete the queen rearing section. The improvement of colony traits usually depends on a comparative testing of colonies. Standardized recommendations for the organization of performance tests and the measurement of the most common selection characters are presented. Statistical methods and data preconditions for the estimation of breeding values which integrate pedigree and performance data from as many colonies as possible are described as the most efficient selection method for large populations. Alternative breeding programmes for small populations or certain scientific questions are briefly mentioned, including also an overview of the young and fast developing field of molecular selection tools. Because the subject of queen rearing and selection is too large to be covered within this paper, plenty of references are given to facilitate comprehensive studies. Copyright © IBRA 2013. Source


Human H.,University of Pretoria | Brodschneider R.,University of Graz | Dietemann V.,University of Pretoria | Dietemann V.,Agroscope Liebefeld Posieux Research Station | And 24 more authors.
Journal of Apicultural Research | Year: 2013

A variety of methods are used in honey bee research and differ depending on the level at which the research is conducted. On an individual level, the handling of individual honey bees, including the queen, larvae and pupae are required. There are different methods for the immobilising, killing and storing as well as determining individual weight of bees. The precise timing of developmental stages is also an important aspect of sampling individuals for experiments. In order to investigate and manipulate functional processes in honey bees, e.g. memory formation and retrieval and gene expression, microinjection is often used. A method that is used by both researchers and beekeepers is the marking of queens that serves not only to help to locate her during her life, but also enables the dating of queens. Creating multiple queen colonies allows the beekeeper to maintain spare queens, increase brood production or ask questions related to reproduction. On colony level, very useful techniques are the measurement of intra hive mortality using dead bee traps, weighing of full hives, collecting pollen and nectar, and digital monitoring of brood development via location recognition. At the population level, estimation of population density is essential to evaluate the health status and using beelines help to locate wild colonies. These methods, described in this paper, are especially valuable when investigating the effects of pesticide applications, environmental pollution and diseases on colony survival. © IBRA 2013. Source


Costa C.,Italian Agricultural Research Council | Buchler R.,Bee Institute | Berg S.,Bayerische Landesanstalt fur Weinbau und Gartenbau | Bienkowska M.,Research Institute of Horticulture | And 23 more authors.
Journal of Apicultural Science | Year: 2012

An international experiment to estimate the importance of genotype-environment interactions on vitality and performance of honey bees and on colony losses was run between July 2009 and March 2012. Altogether 621 bee colonies, involving 16 different genetic origins of European honey bees, were tested in 21 locations spread in 11 countries. The genetic strains belonged to the subspecies A. m. carnica, A. m. ligustica, A. m. macedonica, A. m. mellifera, A. m. siciliana. At each location, the local strain of bees was tested together with at least two "foreign" origins, with a minimum starting number of 10 colonies per origin. The common test protocol for all the colonies took into account colony survival, bee population in spring, summer and autumn, honey production, pollen collection, swarming, gentleness, hygienic behaviour, Varroa destructor infestation, Nosema spp. infection and viruses. Data collection was performed according to uniform methods. No chemical treatments against Varroa or other diseases were applied during the experiment. This article describes the details of the experiment set-up and the work protocol. Source

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