The test results conducted on all pre-selected colonies are shown below for each year. The queens selected from these tests will be used the following season for raising and mating new queens, meaning that we will raise daughters from the queen mothers, and drones from the drone mothers. These will be mated at the isolated apiary to produce the next generation of Russian pure queens.
The following terms are labels in the different tables.
HONEY is the number of pounds of honey produced during the season.
UNCAPPED means the % of cells being uncapped by the bees during a period of 24 hours after being frozen during the liquid nitrogen test conducted for the hygienic test.
REMOVED means the % of cells being cleaned by the bees during a period of 24 hours after being frozen during the liquid nitrogen test conducted for the hygienic test.
PREVALENCE is the % of bees being infested with HTM at the end of the Quick-Test.
ABUNDANCE is the average number of mites found per bee at the end of the Quick-Test.
GROUP is an indication of how well the colony has scored in comparison with predetermined standards OR with other colonies in the same test. Group 1 is highest, Group 4 is lowest. Group 1 colonies are suitable for breeding purposes.
24-HOUR TEST is the number of dead or fallen varroa mites found on the sticky board for a 24 hours period.
DIFFERENCE is the 24-HOUR MITE DROP of the colony MINUS the 24-HOUR MITE DROP AVERAGE of the apiary where the colony is located. A NEGATIVE difference means the colony has less mites than other colonies in the same apiary. A POSITIVE difference means the colony has more mites than the other colonies in the apiary.
#VARROA/100BEES: The number of varroa mites detected in a 150 bee sample taken from the brood nest.
%HTM: % of bees infected with Honeybee Tracheal Mite obtained from 10 bees taken from the brood nest sample.
NOSEMA: The level of nosema spores (in millions) per bee obtained from sampling taken at entrance of colony.
This summer the Hygienic test and Quick-test was performed, along with the 24-Hour Mite drop in order to select breeders for next year. The DIFFERENCE was not significant because the mite count was very low at the end of the season.
There was no HONEY production test done on that year. Only the # of supers collected was used to determine selection.
The best colony from each family was selected as queen mother to raise the next generation.
Hygienic test, Quick-Test and 24-Hour Test was performed this summer to select breeders, both queen mothers and drone mothers, to be used next year to produce the next generation of Russian pure queens.
The OBA Tech-Transfer team performs different observations on random queens and attendants supplied by breeders. This is to monitor our queen-rearing program to see if we are producing quality queens. We submitted 5 queens for analysis of sperm count, nosema spores count, tracheal mite, varroa mite and physical queen damage.
According to Laidlaw and Page, 1997 “Queen Rearing and Bee Breeding”, page 137
- q Sperm count should be 3.34 to 7.35 million sperm, averaging 5.35 million.
The queens listed are the ones selected as breeders for the next season.
These test results are the best we’ve seen since we began working with the Russian Stock. Notice how the honey production increased over the last season. Also note the large difference in mites with the apiary average. Hygienic behaviour remained high, with the majority of the queens being classified in Group 1. The Quick-test also revealed some excellent queens showing resistance to HTM.
This year we evaluated and tested new families imported in 2005. Honey production is down from last year mainly because there was a high count of mites in the fall of 2005. This resulted in smaller clusters in 2006 spring. Nevertheless, the colonies survived and quickly built up, thanks to an early warm spring. Swarming was more frequent than previous years. Some pure queens overwintered in small nucs were introduced in May to start a new colony with minimum bees and brood. They took longer to reach production size. This accounts for lower honey production in some of them. We performed the habitual hygienic test, Quick-test and 24-Hour mite drop test.
This season was very good and we are encouraged by the visible results. Honey production is higher, varroa mite count is lower in September, compared to last year. We continued testing and evaluating pure stock, in order to maintain purity and to improve genetics in our Russian bees. We are confident that we are making progress, in achieving our goals, that is to breed bees able to survive and be productive in our climate, with a minimum of treatments for mites or antibiotics. If you take a look at our Mite Survey Results Page for this fall, you will see that we did not have to treat all colonies with formic acid, as well as with Fumagillin.
There was no Quick-Test for tracheal mite resistance last fall. It has been scheduled for next spring. In fact, due to a lack of HTM infected colonies in the province, it will prove impossible to perform this test in the future. From our colonies tested in 2007, we will select 1 queen mother and 1 drone mother per family to be used in 2008 in our breeding program.
Closed mated queens produced and sold in 2008 will be daughters from these 2006 selected breeders, which were selected in 2007.
Open mated queens produced and sold in 2008 will be daughters from the 2005 breeders used as queen mothers. They will be mated in an semi-isolated mating apiary flooded with Russian drones from selected drone colonies.
This is our best year ever for honey production. We had a good crop. This is also the first time we were able to truly select for disinclination to swarming. We were able to observe colonies with no or very few cell cups at the bottom of frames. Moreover, these colonies were congested and did not attempt to swarm. We plan to use these colonies as drone mothers and queen mothers next season. Because of the nosema alert, we sampled bees from the entrance in late summer to know the level of spores per apiary, and per potential breeder. We performed the quantitative tests as usual for honey production, hygienic behaviour, 24-hour varroa mite drop, varroa count / 100 bees, and nosema spores level.
The nosema level reached dangerous proportion during the winter, and we experienced higher than normal losses, even though varroa level were low. See Survey Results page. We sampled the best survival colonies for nosema spore level in the spring to help us select the best breeders. We switched to the Cloake Board Method for our cell builders this summer, and we loved it. The cells are larger in size, and more consistent results are achieved. Additionally, we improved our mating nuclei management by making liberal use of Global Patties pollen substitutes all summer, and we waited 18 to 21 days before collecting mated queens, instead of the usual 14. It is supposed to give enough time for the new queen to build up her pheromone level higher, and so the queens are better quality, and they are better accepted. We were unable to make use or our isolated mating apiary because of the non-stop rain, so we mated the next generation near our regular open mated apiary. We requeened many colonies using these queens. Because of the abundant rain and cooler weather, we did not get much of a honey crop, so we forfeited weighing the colonies and consequently, we do not have the honey production results. The hygienic test was performed in August as usual and we are pleased with the consistent results: most of the colonies tested in the Group 1. This shows us that we are on the right track. The OBA Tech-Tranfer Team sampled each tested colonies to evaluate nosema levels; results will be coming to us during winter. The 24-Hour Mite Drop Test was also performed.