Jump to content
Dave Black

Brood pattern not a reliable indicator of queen quality

Recommended Posts

Discuss.

 

Abstract: Failure of the queen is often identified as a leading cause of honey bee colony mortality. However, the factors that can contribute to “queen failure” are poorly defined and often misunderstood. We studied one specific sign attributed to queen failure: poor brood pattern. In 2016 and 2017, we identified pairs of colonies with “good” and “poor” brood patterns in commercial beekeeping operations and used standard metrics to assess queen and colony health. We found no queen quality measures reliably associated with poor-brood colonies. In the second year (2017), we exchanged queens between colony pairs (n = 21): a queen from a poor-brood colony was introduced into a good-brood colony and vice versa. We observed that brood patterns of queens originally from poor-brood colonies significantly improved after placement into a good-brood colony after 21 days, suggesting factors other than the queen contributed to brood pattern. Our study challenges the notion that brood pattern alone is sufficient to judge queen quality. Our results emphasize the challenges in determining the root source for problems related to the queen when assessing honey bee colony health.

 

Kathleen V. Lee, Michael Goblirsch, Erin McDermott, David R. Tarpy, and Marla Spivak (2019). Is the brood pattern within a honey bee colony a reliable indicator of Queen Quality? Insects 10, 12; doi:10.3390/insects10010012
(Open Access)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I have observed this before .

My conclusion was that some queens are not getting nourished properly by their bees .

Change a poorly laying queen into a strong hive and away she goes .

 

Question is , why , and once her own bees come through again , does  the hive start to faulter? 

Edited by M4tt
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, M4tt said:

I have observed this before .

My conclusion was that some queens are not getting nourished properly by their bees .

Change a poorly laying queen into a strong hive and away she goes .

 

Question is , why , and once her own bees come through again , does  the hive start to faulter? 

It makes sense when you think that the hive controls the queen  but bad genes will breed inferior bees .

  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Im seeing something interesting that may fit here.

In my efficacy trial currently underway 1 month, 43 hives,  I have 13 control Hives that are untreated.
At one month point, so far 80% of the controls checked  are broodless with lower mite counts than I expected.

Their mite counts are up from their counts one month ago but not significantly.

However what is of interest is that eight of the ten are now broodless whereas the treated  trial hives have multiple frames of brood still.

One control hive has a small amount of Brood and its count is now 80/380 up from 40/300 and the other control with a couple of frames of brood was about 150/300 so I killed it.
So what Im seeing is that if a hive is struggling with mites the queen stops laying  or slows down.

The untreated hive that is cursed with a prolific Queen is a Mite Bomb.

 

Another point
If you arnt Mite washing you are not seeing

Edited by Philbee
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of my hives have little or no brood at the moment and I can't help wondering if the oxalic strips are disturbing the hives enough to make the Queen's lay. I have no experience with oxalic so it's only a thought but I have used thymol treatments and I became convinced that they agitated the bees in late autumn and early winter causing them to breed when they shouldn't and use stores that they wouldn't normally use. My observation is that healthy strong hives will stop laying well before weak or distressed hives in the autumn.

  • Like 2
  • Good Info 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I should add that in this case those untreated broodless hives that have only moderate mite counts due to the absents of brood are very agitated and distressed.

Also another point that Beeks really need to consider,
I tested a control hive today as described above and it had 100-150 mites I didnt count them but here is a photo.
When going through the hive I saw 2 dwv bees but no mites

This is typical and it is amazing how many Beeks dont mite wash, just rely on a visual and experience for mite assessment. 

IMG_3021.JPG

  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Philbee said:

I should add that in this case those untreated broodless hives that have only moderate mite counts due to the absents of brood are very agitated and distressed.

Also another point that Beeks really need to consider,
I tested a control hive today as described above and it had 100-150 mites I didnt count them but here is a photo.
When going through the hive I saw 2 dwv bees but no mites

This is typical and it is amazing how many Beeks dont mite wash, just rely on a visual and experience for mite assessment. 

IMG_3021.JPG

 

If making just a visual inspection and there are no mites on bees, no DWV and no PMS must mean there are no mites?  No way.   I was in hives early last week last treated with Ox/Gly in February/March.  I expected them to be low on mites. visual inspection of first hive showed no problems, did a sugar shake and it threw a ten.  Next hive same it looked fine, it shaked out a 15.   These were the two highest counts I had seen all year.  So all the hives were re-treated and I put this new site into the "Beware Autumn mites" category.  If I hadn't tested/monitored that apiary would have been absolutely stuffed by Spring.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, CraBee said:

 

If making just a visual inspection and there are no mites on bees, no DWV and no PMS must mean there are no mites?  No way.   I was in hives early last week last treated with Ox/Gly in February/March.  I expected them to be low on mites. visual inspection of first hive showed no problems, did a sugar shake and it threw a ten.  Next hive same it looked fine, it shaked out a 15.   These were the two highest counts I had seen all year.  So all the hives were re-treated and I put this new site into the "Beware Autumn mites" category.  If I hadn't tested/monitored that apiary would have been absolutely stuffed by Spring.

 

For Sure

This Hive as a control hadnt been treated since spring and the reason I killed it was because sure as eggs those mites would have ended up in my trial hives Skewing the results.

But on a national scale Autumn re invasion is killing the industry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Sometimes there’s no point in counting crawlies.. 

 

gorse is flowering here, Queens are laying again after a very short break.. 

ive just finished wintering my girls, very happy with how they look..  40% OX wides all season.. mite washes show zeros ones and twos.. with the odd one higher. 

All re treated, will open them in up again In July 

 

56E3C0CB-7AFB-4D77-A58A-21F658566861.jpeg

Edited by Stoney

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/05/2019 at 9:22 PM, CraBee said:

  So all the hives were re-treated and I put this new site

 

What did you re-treat with @CraBee? More staples? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, CHCHPaul said:

 

What did you re-treat with @CraBee? More staples? 

 

Yes for sure. I am certain the earlier treatment worked, it did everywhere else, so put this down to re-invasion, which would be no surprise with all the hives in the general area.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In respect of poor brood pattern and/or a hive with a low population that is below par compared to all the rest. I follow the advice of my mentor, that is to boost any weaker hives that are struggling in Spring with brood and bees. However, any hive falling behind only gets boosted once. If the hive falls behind again and needs a second boost, then at that point it is blamed on the queen; she is swapped out with a queen from a Nuc and we watch what happens next. It sounds like this policy is compatible with the findings in the OP and validates what we were told to do.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...