1.2. Current uses

I.I. has been widely used by the scientific community for research and breeding purposes. It has been slow to be adopted by the commercial industry due to the various steps involved to realize the benefits of a breeding programme. Most successful breeding programmes have been limited to cooperative efforts between industry and research institutions with the resources to provide the varied and required expertise.

The general procedure of I.I. is to anesthetize and immobilize a queen bee, manually open her sting chamber, and inject collected drone semen into her vaginal orifice with a syringe. Beyond mastering insemination techniques, the steps required to conduct successful I.I. in honey bees include:

  • applying knowledge of breeding principles
  • understanding the unique challenges of working with a haploid-diploid super-organism
  • practically selecting proper methods and record keeping
  • access to and maintaining a large and genetically diverse breeding population (see Meixner et al., 2013)
  • acquiring the resources, labour, and a long-term commitment to a breeding programme, and
  • learning advanced beekeeping skills, such as queen rearing and drone production (see Büchler et al., 2013)