Worldwide Beekeeping

Beekeeping => Raising Queens => Topic started by: efmesch on August 19, 2016, 12:35:58 AM

Title: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: efmesch on August 19, 2016, 12:35:58 AM
For the next few weeks I'll be communicating from Washington state in the US. I've come here with my grandson, (and our respective wives) to serve as his translator as he studies IIQ (instrumental insemination of Queen bees,
with Dr.Susan Coby. Since I'll be writing from my cell phone(slow and tedious),  my participation in the forum will probably be minimal.  But after one day of her instruction, I can report that it is quite special.
Maybe when I get back home,I'll write more about the experience.
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: apisbees on August 19, 2016, 01:32:44 AM
Right on! We want a full report at the end of each day! No have a great time. You are only 6 1/2 hr south of me. + 1 US Canadian border My license expired and I didn't bother getting an enhanced drivers license this time so I can not cross the boarder.
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: neillsayers on August 19, 2016, 01:48:56 AM
What a great opportunity. Drink it all in! :)
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: Jen on August 19, 2016, 01:56:03 AM
Wow! What an experience! Can't wait for the update
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: Perry on August 19, 2016, 06:54:46 AM
Too far, otherwise I would have been able to tick one off my bucket list. :sad:
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: Mikey N.C. on August 19, 2016, 06:11:39 PM
WOW , hoping y'all have a great time. That's has to be an experience . :yes:
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: LazyBkpr on August 19, 2016, 07:57:22 PM
WELCOME to the US Ef!!   Like the others, I WISH you were closer!!!  I'd really like to shake your hand!
   Your right in the middle there so I am sure you can suck up all sorts of good info!!   ALSO looking forward to the full report!!
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: riverbee on August 19, 2016, 11:07:40 PM
wow ef, very, very cool!!!  what an awesome opportunity and experience!!! susan coby?!!!  awesome!!!

looking forward to all updates from you!!!  where are you?  are you in pullman?

ps ef, enjoy washington state!
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: Knucs on August 20, 2016, 09:43:35 AM
Great opportunity! Forget if it was this forum or another but beeks report her queens carry on longer that other's. Know a commercial beek from BC who is excited to attend this coming spring.
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: Les on August 20, 2016, 09:53:26 AM
Wow, what a wonderful opportunity.  Enjoy your stay in Washington and can't wait for your updates.
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: Lburou on August 20, 2016, 10:05:13 AM
Wish I could be a fly on the wall there with you Ef.  :)
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: efmesch on August 21, 2016, 01:08:54 AM
My frustration knows no bounds. . Before the start of the Sabbath, I wrote a first report and tried to include a picture. At 'send' all got lost. . Now the Sabbath is over so I'll try again:. On Thursday we had a general introduction and first practice at IIQ. We also started learning the tricks of collecting semen from drones.  Friday it was practice at grafting one day old larvae into queen cells and lectures on the theories of stock improvement and maintenance.

Dr Cobey instructing efmesch's grandson, David, in 'opening a queen for instrumental insemination
 
 (https://s13.postimg.org/9silpqa4z/IMG_20160818_153535257.jpg) (https://postimg.org/image/9silpqa4z/)

from left to right, Ef's grandson, Dr Susan Cobey, efmesch in front of bee lab

(https://s13.postimg.org/xxjb7fufn/IMG_20160819_090358055_HDR.jpg) (https://postimg.org/image/xxjb7fufn/)
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: lazy shooter on August 21, 2016, 09:23:27 AM
Ah Ef, you are looking good.  You "look to be fit as a fiddle" as we Texans say.  Your grandson is a nice looking lad.  It is wonderful that you can experience a foreign land with your son and a noted entomologist.  Dr. Cobey and you share lifetimes of life science educations.  The two of you are well suited peers.  I am so glad this opportunity came to you and your grandson.

God has blessed you with this trip, but God didn't make you any taller.  :):):)

lazy
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: Lburou on August 21, 2016, 09:36:12 AM
Great pictures Ef!    A warning, she makes it look easy...It isn't as easy when you get home to do some of the things we saw (harvesting drone semen or the queen's organ that stores the semen).

Interested in hearing some of your plans for insemination equipment.  Joe Latisha sells a less expensive unit, but I guess she sells equipment too.  We saw a shortened version last year at College Station, Tx, you are getting the best training available, enjoy it.   :)
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: efmesch on August 21, 2016, 10:33:48 AM
Perry, don't give up yet.. One never knows.......
RB, we're on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound. Classes are in the bee lab she and her husband set up near their home.
Lazy, as I add years, I subtract centimeters. Once I was taller.
Lee,we're ordering equipment through her. Gotta trust your teachers.
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: LazyBkpr on August 21, 2016, 10:41:59 AM
Excellent pics, AND.. EF WORE THE SHIRT!!!

   Good man!!!
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: efmesch on August 21, 2016, 10:56:30 AM
First thing I packed. You can''t imagine how much  it means to me. Thank you all again!!!!
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: Perry on August 21, 2016, 02:59:25 PM
 :thread: Perfect! :yes:
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: BoilerJim on August 21, 2016, 05:44:28 PM
Looking GOOD Ef. Nice looking shirt as well.
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: lazy shooter on August 21, 2016, 10:54:26 PM
Ef, you're a big man.  A man is not measured by his physical size.  A man is measured by his deeds.  Like I said, "you are a big man."

lazy

Gee, you're working with Dr. Susan Cobey and your grandson.  It can't get any better than that.
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: neillsayers on August 22, 2016, 12:06:29 AM
 :goodjob:
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: Lburou on August 31, 2016, 02:50:22 PM
Ef, we are ready for that report you promised....I'm excited to hear about your adventure to our great Northwest.  :)
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: efmesch on August 31, 2016, 09:45:25 PM
The course has ended and I plan on reporting, but it will still have to wait for a while. At present I'm still in the US, visiting with my sister in NY, but writing on my cell phone.. When I'm back to a keyboard, and a full sized computer I'll be able to chew your ears wih a lengthy report and hopefully be able to include a nice selection of pics.  Please grant me a bit more of your patience
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: riverbee on August 31, 2016, 10:40:54 PM
"Ef, we are ready for that report you promised....I'm excited to hear about your adventure to our great Northwest.  :)"

ef,
what lee said and looking forward to your post when you have time!  and thank you ef!
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: Lburou on August 31, 2016, 11:38:02 PM
Okay Ef, I'll go to Amazon and buy some patience.    :laugh:
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: efmesch on September 01, 2016, 12:12:25 AM
If you get it for a good price, place a double order for me.... BUT have it send express--I don't (yet) have the patience for a slow delivery.. 😃
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: LazyBkpr on September 01, 2016, 12:23:26 AM
Okay Ef, I'll go to Amazon and buy some patience.    :laugh:

   Ditto... I think this might get EXPENSIVE!!    :laugh:
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: Gypsi on September 01, 2016, 02:16:13 PM
wow
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: Wandering Man on September 01, 2016, 02:17:03 PM
Okay Ef, I'll go to Amazon and buy some patience.    :laugh:

https://www.amazon.com/Healing-Anger-Patience-Buddhist-Perspective/dp/1559390735/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1472753723&sr=8-6&keywords=patience

Here you go!
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: riverbee on September 01, 2016, 11:02:27 PM
i just had a thought,

ef, we need to send sue colby a forum t-shirt?  yes?!   :yes:

and where are you now?
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: efmesch on September 01, 2016, 11:54:22 PM
http://www.asianscientist.com/tag/chinese-academy-of-agricultural-sciences/
Try folllowing this link. The suggested explanation agrees with Sue Cobey's ideas on the importance of genetic variety.
RB, I'm in Cedarhurst, Long Island.
Writing is tough. I can't answer about your suggestion.
More later.
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: riverbee on September 02, 2016, 10:26:26 PM
ef, thanks!

i am sending you a pm!
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: efmesch on September 03, 2016, 10:59:53 PM
Okay folks, I'm still in NY, but I just bought a new laptop so once I manage to feel a bit more comfortable with this machine,(I'm learning the setup procedures with Win 10) I'll start posting.  I don't have any pictures here yet and it will take a while to load them up, but I hope my learning curve is a sharp one.
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: Lburou on September 04, 2016, 12:15:28 AM
Ef, we know you want to be here with us, but we didn't expect that kind, (new laptop), of commitment.  ;)
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: LazyBkpr on September 04, 2016, 01:18:54 AM
What Lee said!
   I bought a LOT of patience from AMAZON.COM so willing to wait now!  Well... ABLE to wait, the willing part is not so flexible.    ;D
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: efmesch on September 04, 2016, 10:55:54 AM
OKAY, here we go.  First, I start with a disclaimer:  A lot of what I write will not be new information to many of you.  I don't have the notebook in which  my grandson took down notes so I'm presenting assorted information as it comes to my memory.  When I get back home I'll ask to look over what was written down and hopefully be able to correct any errors and add information that I skipped.
When raising queens for instrumental insemination, one of the main considerations is the quality and the genetics of the drones chosen to supply the sperm.  Since drones take longer to develop than queens and also have to mature sexually after they emerge, timing of the drone and queen raising process is of the essence.  The general rule is that when the drones start to emerge, that is the time to begin raising the queens.  That way, when the queens  emerge and are ready to mate, the drones will be sexually mature.  Drones that are too young will be unable to provide sperm for collection.

A good deal of time was devoted to learning the process of collecting sperm for insemination.  It's a tricky process.  It's relatively easy to get the drones to evert their endophallus, but if not fully mature, there will be no sperm for collection.  When the organ everts, you have to differentiate the sperm from a viscous fluid that accompanies it and if not careful while collecting the sperm into the glass microtubule, it can easily become plugged up and require cleaning before you can continue.  Sperm is collected from about ten males for each queen to be inseminated.  The evertion process is done by squeezing the drones, first on the thorax and then on the abdomen. That is the easy part.  Collecting the sperm is done under the microscope and requires a lot of practice. 

The microtubules used for sperm collection are first primed with saline solution and to prevent drying out between each drone, a small droplet of saline is added, only to be removed as the collector proceeds from one drone to the next. 
The big "plus" about collecting sperm is that, when done properly, it can be stored at room temperature for up to two weeks and still remain viable.  That means that sperm can be collected in one place, from selected drones, and transported (or even exported) without difficulty, to inseminate virgin queens in distant locations.

More to come.
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: Green bee on September 04, 2016, 11:18:56 AM
 :thread:
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: Lburou on September 04, 2016, 11:40:08 AM
Great info EF, thank you!

While looking at some bees with our tecumseh, he reached down with a light touch and pinned a drone to the honeycomb.  He explained that a sexually mature drone would 'buzz' when touched in this manner, and an immature drone would not.  That is a way to confirm drones are of sufficient age to mate (or, in this case, donate sperm).  This test in early spring will give you the greenlight to begin grafting or II.

You wouldn't want drones from the same hive or a closely related hive to mate with your open mated queens, but if your drones are mature, drones in your area probably are too.  If your drones 'buzz' when lightly pinned to honeycomb, there will be drones to mate with your queens in your area if you are not fortunate enough to Instrumentally Inseminate your queens.  I hope this is useful and not too far off topic.  :)
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: efmesch on September 04, 2016, 12:04:12 PM
Lee, As to relatedness of drones, more on that later. 
But one point is that drones are collected in the hive.  Can't guarantee that they originated from that hive, but the likelihood is about %80.  You can increase that likelihood of getting drones from the hive you chose for drone production by placing an excluder inside the hive, below the super in which the drones are raised or over the entrance to the hive.  That prevents any drone wandering.
As to another method for telling maturity of the males: a mature male will feel hard when applying pressure to its abdomen.  Immature drones are soft.  Of course, the most reliable method of knowing if mature or not is by seeing sperm present.  For that, you have to know how to recognize sperm (a very light, brownish, off-white color) and its location (a  thin layer above the white mucous).  The white mucous is produced by mature and immature males.
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: efmesch on September 18, 2016, 09:49:20 AM
I'm back home now, wrting on my "old faithful" computer (the new one has been giving me all sorts of "challenges" so I haven't been using it much) but I'm still suffering from the time-readjustment process, after coming home from NY.  I hope my brain will be lucid enough to be able to say what I want to, clearly.

Lee, I told you "As to relatedness of drones, more on that later."  The time has come.

We all know that workers and queens are "diploid" (having their chromosomes in pairs) whereas drones are haploid, (having only one member of each chromosome).  While the entire set of chromosomes from the drones that mate with the queen is represented in the workers of the next generation,  the queen passes on to her offspring a mixture of chromosomes, some from her mother and some from her father.  That means that we can have a greater control over the genetics of our bees through selecting males than we can by selecting females.  Said differently, drone selection (from hives with the traits we want) can be more effective than queen selection.  However, in IIQ (Instrumental Insemination of Queens) we usually use semen collected from about 10 drones, and obviously, their chromosomes (and DNA) won't be identical.

In many genetic projects, scientists improve  the traits we want to get by controlled mating of selected males with selected females.  These are often siblings with each other and even parent with child.  This, for example,  is done with cattle, chickens, and vegetables to quickly isolate and improve on selected traits. 

However, with bees, we have a different problem.  Robert Page Jr. and Harry Laidlaw Jr., in their article  "Closed Population Honeybee Breeding" report on sex determination in honeybees.  While one gene (composed of two alleles) determines sex, if both alleles are identical, it leads to a non-viable egg.  This will show up  in the pattern of larvae that develop from the brood of a queen.  If her eggs have two differeent alleles for the sex gene, the pattern of developing brood will be solid.  On the other hand, if she has sperm from drones with the same sex allele as she has, her brood pattern will be spotted.  The eggs that didn't develop will be cleared away by the worker bees, leaving empty cells mixed in among the developing brood.     There are some  six to nine different  sex alleles for honeybees and if we select our drones for IIQ from a closed population of bees (drones and queens closely related) we increasse the likelihood of getting these non-viable eggs.

Two considerations of this complicating factor are:
1. While we would like to improve our stock by choosing from related queens and drones, we must always realize that we should look for the desired traits in isolated (distantly located) populations, hoping that, while the alleles for the desired traits will be in both populations, the sex alleles will be different.
2.  Before an IIQ is sold, it MUST be checked for its brood pattern, making ourselves as certain as possible that the mating has not lead to a queen that will lay unacceptable numbers of non-viable eggs.

Thus, a major consideration for IIQ is selecting the sperm donors  from a desirable hive that is "distant" from the queen's hive,

Until now, I had always thought that a spotted pattern of brood was because the queen was a "sloppy" layer,  It turns out that she may have laid a solid pattern of eggs, but, because of the incompatibility of the sex alleles, eggs she laid simply didn't develop.  The upshot of this is to think seriously about replacing such a queen sooner, rather than later (assuming that she has been laying for a while), not just starting,and still produces spotted patterns.
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: Lburou on September 18, 2016, 11:37:03 AM
Great info Efmesh, thanks  :) 

That shotgun brood pattern can be caused by matings with drones too closely related to the queen as described by Ef, and also occurs as one of the symptoms of Parasitic Mite Syndrome (PMS) via Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH). 

In bees expressing VSH, about 19-35% of capped larva containing varroa mites are cleaned out (killing mites and sometimes larva), leaving random open cells and a spotty brood pattern.  So nowadays, the trick is to divine whether your shotgun pattern is from inbred matings, or PMS.  With a shotgun or spotty brood pattern, some sort of mite count is in order.  And then usually a mite treatment because poor matings are fairly uncommon.  Keeping one to three hives between 1976 and 1992, I never did see a spotty brood pattern.  It is not uncommon nowadays because of the prevalence of mites and the honey bee's effort to keep the mite population down using VSH.

I can see why your training focused on the haploid eggs and larvae because it is absolutely essential that you have a group of donor drones unrelated to the IIQ.

I'd be interested to hear from Chip, Iddee, Perry or other bee inspector the differential diagnosis between EFB and PMS.  Don't mean to hijack your thread EF, please forgive me.  :)
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: LazyBkpr on September 28, 2016, 09:47:03 PM
Interesting read right there...
   I used to raise Springer Spaniels and read a LOT about breeding...  LINE breeding, bother to sister etc is how may breeders would "set" specific traits that they desired, however, the problem with that was that it also "set" the undesirable traits in that line... So I always tried to stay away from the dogs whos papers showed line breeding in their backgrounds and was very successful at raising some Beautiful dogs that were avid hunters...
   I got into a LOT of trouble for that... HUNTING Springers are supposed to be WHITE with a few spots, ratty looking ears etc...
   While SHOW spaniels wee supposed to be blanket back dogs of brown and white or black and white and be about as stupid as the universe is large...
   I ended up with Blanket back beautiful dogs, and won the local competition with my stud dog... and was asked never to come back because I was ruining the breed.....


   Anyhow....     What EF has basically said, is that Line breeding is not possible in honey bees because the allales prevent the eggs from beign viable??
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: tecumseh on November 02, 2016, 07:14:32 AM
a Lee comment...
While looking at some bees with our tecumseh, he reached down with a light touch and pinned a drone to the honeycomb.  He explained that a sexually mature drone would 'buzz' when touched in this manner, and an immature drone would not.  That is a way to confirm drones are of sufficient age to mate (or, in this case, donate sperm).  This test in early spring will give you the greenlight to begin grafting or II.

You wouldn't want drones from the same hive or a closely related hive to mate with your open mated queens, but if your drones are mature, drones in your area probably are too.  If your drones 'buzz' when lightly pinned to honeycomb, there will be drones to mate with your queens in your area if you are not fortunate enough to Instrumentally Inseminate your queens.  I hope this is useful and not too far off topic. 

my comments...
not off topic at all.  this method of testing for the relative age of the drones (as explained by Lee above) was in fact shown to me by Sue.  about the most simple way to capture drones approaching maturity is to lean a queen excluder up in front of a hives entrance in the early morning hours.  then come back in the early afternoon and capture the drones on the front side of the excluder < most of these 'flying drones' have in fact releaved themselves so you don't have to have the mess of their poop included when you extract their semen. 

Sue is an extremely nice person and I (and wife) have a standing invitation to meet up with her and her husband and work a few of their hives in Washington State.  I hope to do this next year.  If I ever have time to rear more queens (ie to sell) I hope to use one of the two distinct lines of queens that Sue is now producing.  These are not cheap so I need to have an income stream fixed in my calculation to justify that expense.   
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: efmesch on November 05, 2016, 06:11:35 PM
To bring you up to date on my grandson''s activities:  He's been honing up on  his queen raising skills.  Though he hasn't yet done any instrumental insemination, he's been replacing the queens of his 200+ hives using queen cells he's grafted from his best producing hives of this past year.  At the same time, he is starting to line up top producing queens scheduled for replacement, donated from the the hives of other local beekeepers.  These will be kept for raising non-related males for instrumental insemination. 
Tec's comment about using drones back from flights  can't be emphasized too strongly.  Having their bowels emptied before returning makes the sperm collection process considerably easier.  The only problem is that, when collected on the outside, you can't be 100% crtain that they originated form that hive and with a planned breeding opration, you really want to know who the "daddy" is and where he comes from.
In the meantime though, he's saved himself a big bundle this year by not having to buy his queen cells for requeening.
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: Knucs on November 05, 2016, 08:05:28 PM
EF, what's his strategy to get plenty of drones to be produced?
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: efmesch on November 06, 2016, 01:28:16 AM
Right now isn't the time of year when he would be able to produce drones in any quantity, but in planning toward the spring (thinking optimistically, that isn't too far off   :no: ) he's bought drone foundation and he plans on providing the selected queens with drone cells for laying their eggs.
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: Knucs on November 06, 2016, 08:19:37 AM
EF, if he is using 10 frame Lang's, would he put 1 or 2 drone frames in per hive that he wants drones from? Also, where would they best be placed, in the middle of the brood, or edges? Also, during a flow??

Thanks,
Kelly
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: efmesch on November 06, 2016, 11:48:57 AM
Great questions Kelly!  I don't really know the answers and will ask him when we get together later this week.
 
To put things into a time frame let me add the following info.
Spring buildup in Israel starts early in Feb, about 8 weeks before the spring flow begins.  Swarming season starts here around April 1st (although, in the past few years I've seen swarms even one or two weeks earlier (Effect of global warming?).  As I figure it with 25 days for development of drones and three weeks for them to reach full maturity, the drone foundation would have to be placed in the hives about six weeks before swarms are expected to appear and even earlier if he would want to have his drones ready for Instrumental insemination to have queens ready for introduction n new swarms/nucs.  Personally, I don't think more than one drone frame would be advisable per hive, but that would really depend on their strength early in Feb.  As to positioning,  without any other advice to go by, I would tend to put them at the edge of the brood nest--a location where they are usually raised spontaneously.
But all that I have said is open to advice/comments from the more experienced.
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: efmesch on November 06, 2016, 12:13:07 PM
I forgot to mention, Yes, his hives are all full sized 10 frame langs.  But, than again, he may intend to raise the drones in nucs.  Another question to ask him......
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: Lburou on November 06, 2016, 04:09:25 PM
FWIW Kelly & Ef, I had an interesting experience involving and drone brood two years ago.  I had left a drawn deep drone foundation (http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/Plastic-Drone-Frame-9-1_8/productinfo/364/) in a two deep hive over winter.  In fall it was full of honey, and when I looked in March, it was completely filled with capped drone brood. 

The location of the drone brood was striking because the active brood nest was still in the lower hive body. This frame was on the outside in the second hive body.  If this experience has any lesson to teach, it may be that the empty drone cells can be used away from the brood nest in mild weather and a colony strong enough to keep two brooding sites warm.
Title: Re: Hold on to your seats before reading . this thread
Post by: Knucs on November 06, 2016, 11:25:49 PM
Thanks EF & Lburou,

I'm asking cause I plan on rearing queens next year & want to saturate my area with drones, making what Larry Connor calls 'drone mother hives'. So much to learn.