Layout Demo 4

Layout Demo 4

How I select my 'Breeder Queens'

How I select my ‘Breeder Queens’

How I select my ‘Breeder Queens’ by Jo Widdicombe At the start of a new season I like to make a shortlist of which queens are good enough to breed from, in other words, to become my breeder queens. I do this by looking at the current condition of the colony as well as looking at the record of past performance. An inspection, usually in April, will provide a lot of useful information. As soon as the crown board is removed an idea of the temper of the colony can be gauged. If the colony is not disturbed by this operation, and continues to sit quietly in the hive, then it may have the required docility. This assessment of docility will continue as one removes combs for inspection. I normally assess ‘docility’ and ‘calmness on the comb’ together, giving ‘5’ for perfect behaviour. Some prefer to split the assessment according to the two or more different aspects, such as one mark for ‘docility/aggressiveness’ and one for ‘calmness on the comb’. On removing the crown board, I also assess for ‘native appearance’ giving a score of 5 for a colony which is uniformly native in appearance. The presence of some ‘yellow-banded’ workers, or indications of carnica*, whilst still predominately native will score 4, and so on, with a colony with no bees of native appearance scoring 1. ‘Health’ can be assessed at this first inspection as well as, of course, continuously thoughout the season. The main health problems at this time ...
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