Have your say on queen breeding

bee genetics

If Australia is going to have a prosperous honey bee industry, then queen quality and breeding is going to be very important to make sure our bees are at their best. In preparation for a new breeding program we asked beekeepers what they think. 

Two surveys were undertaken in 2018 to assess beekeepers’ and queen producers’ attitudes around queen production and purchase, and also toward a proposed queen bee breeding program. 

The survey found that 

  • 59% of beekeepers are unhappy with the amount of information available when purchasing queens
  • 65% are happy with the quality of the queens they purchase
  • Issues around time and money versus the price of queens deter queen producers from performing more selection
  • Beekeepers pointed to a lack of information being a main cause for previous breeding programs being discontinued
  • 88% of queen producers would be interested in implementing standardised selection criteria into their operations
  • 62% of beekeepers and 91% of queen producers agree that modern animal breeding techniques will increase the chance of a successful queen bee breeding program
  • Stakeholder engagement will be important for a bee breeding program
  • The survey collected opinions of only a small number of beekeepers (34) and queen producers (26)

The full survey report is available in the Australasian Beekeeper.

Plan Bee, Australia’s Honey Bee Genetic Improvement program is now live – and we need your help to make sure it works. We need the opinions of Australian beekeepers and queen producers to help us to develop this important program for industry. We need to know what traits are important to you and the concerns that industry has. Please be sure to fill in the 2020 Beekeepers Survey. Queen producers please fill in the 2020 Queen Producer Survey.

Make sure you have your say on the future of queen breeding in Australia.

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Acknowledgements:

  • Chapman N & Frost E (2020) Stakeholder views on an Australian Honey Bee Genetic Improvement Program. Australasian Beekeeper Volume 121, Issue 12, page 20-22
  • The Honey Bee Genetic Improvement (Plan Bee) is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment as part of its Rural R&D for Profit program.
  • This article was peer-reviewed by Liz Frost and Michael Holmes.
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Mal Porter

In breeding a good queen for commercial beekeepers, I would be looking for in a queen as a breeder would be.
Good brood pattern, good show of honey around all the brood,temperament,good hive hygiene,vorra resistance, last if the queen could have traits to chalk brood, as chalk brood in my opinion is a lot more costly to any commercial beekeepers than AFB

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