IT TAKES A GOOD QUEEN TO MAKE A GOOD COLONY
A colony is only as good as its queen. The Buckfast strain combines a number of desired characteristics in a single bee such as: hardiness, low swarming, gentleness, ease of handling, resistance to disease and honey gathering ability. That is why it really does pay to acquire genuine pedigree Buckfast queens.
HOW TO SELECT BREEDER QUEENS
Anyone can select a queen for breeding purposes. But like most professionals, we require statistical evidence to back up our judgment and selections. Our extensive breeding records and detailed evaluation system help us to spot queens that are suitable for breeding purposes.
Since the late seventies the Buckfast bee in Denmark is derived from original breeding material imported from the Buckfast Abbey near to Buckfastleigh on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon, UK. The purity of our stock has been maintained due to the fact that both the male and female parentage of each queen is known with 100 percent accuracy.
We keep a large number of different breeding lines at all times. To obtain reliable statistical data, colonies headed by sister queens are evaluated in large groups, to see if a particular line performs well throughout the entire beekeeping season under all field conditions.
Every time we examine a colony it is given grades on a scale from 1 (low) to 5 (high) based upon fixed criteria for the characteristics of temper, behavior on the comb and inclination to swarm. At the end of the season they are computer analyzed. Note is also taken of the honey production, nosema resistance and hygienic behavior.
In this way, lists of potential breeder queens are gradually obtained, and the choice between one sister queen and another is often finely balanced mostly because it is rare for two queens of the same line to be used as breeders in the same year. So, ultimately, the beekeeper’s experience, knowledge and judgment are required if the correct selection is to be made.
Every breeder queen colony we select is independently assessed on a regular basis by an experienced member of the Danish Beekeepers’ Association in order to guarantee the high quality of our breeding stock.
AGE AND PERFORMANCE
Most queens are two years old when used as breeders. Because they remain in their colonies throughout their working life, their performance can be monitored long after their daughters have been raised and mated, giving further valuable information about their character and behavior.
The Buckfast bee is a hybrid that requires the periodic introduction of new blood to prevent inbreeding and to accentuate certain genetic attributes such as e.g. mite tolerance. Consequently, new combinations are always being tested for possible future incorporation into the strain.
PEDIGREE BUCKFAST QUEENS OF PROVEN VALUE