Sustainable Honey Bee Breeding

| 8/17/2010 3:13:45 PM

In my previous post, I briefly addressed the problems with commercial beekeeping, and promised to dive more in-depth on each item so….

The first item I will tackle is: buying packaged bees from mega producers usually in the southern states.

The main issue I have with importing bees is that we are getting bees that are too closely related.  There are too many kissing cousins and not enough diverse genetics to maintain a healthy gene pool.

The mega producers usually have a breeder queen with the traits they are trying to maintain.  With artificial insemination, they will breed her with select drones, and her offspring will be the breeders creating the queens they sell to you and I. 

Even local beekeepers selling bees, usually have them trucked in from the mega companies and sell them individually to you.  What if the supplier lost all their bees to whatever the latest bee disease is? This is not a sustainable model for the beekeepers relying on these mega companies.Me holding a frame of brood at BeeLanding

So what is sustainable?  We have to go back and look at nature.  Nature needs diversity in order to survive drought, disease, etc.  The feral bees in any given area have acclimated to the particular reign, and have learned how to deal with the particular pests as well.  So it seems to me, the first step is to allow nature the opportunity to introduce the strongest genes in the area.

Roger Weld
8/19/2010 11:10:41 PM

That's the way I did it, James. This is sound advice and if you have an affinity for it, it is lot's of fun. If you stick with it you will get to enjoy the best honey you can imagine with the character of your neighborhood and your garden will be very well pollinated.

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