3.1.3. Queens: origin, marking, distribution

Honey bee breeding programmes are based upon evaluation of sister queen groups, in order to estimate the additive genetic component of the chosen traits. At least 12 queens per sister group should be tested, distributed among at least 2 testing apiaries (Ruttner, 1972). Within each test apiary, it is recommended to randomly distribute queens of the same origin. It is not recommended to group and / or isolate sister queens in separate positions within the testing apiary.

The sister queens submitted to performance testing should belong to the same rearing series and be mated at the same mating station (i.e. with the same array of drones). To increase the accuracy of the breeding value calculation, it is important that pedigree information of the queens is known. Each test queen should have an individual code and be unambiguously marked (see section 2.3.1. for details). Hives in the apiary should also be individually numbered and equipped with a test card, on which the performance of the colony is noted. The test card is set up on the basis of the traits chosen for selection. Each control and all specific observations have to be documented in this card. A standard test card that may be used in a testing apiary is shown in Fig. 9.

Fig. 9. Recommended protocol to collect all data of repeated performance test controls.

Figure 9