The queen is the driving force of every family. The development of every family depends only on the queen productive power. Her main qualities are its physiology, pheromone ability, ability to lay eggs, genotype or heredity.
Queen’s physiology depends on the condition and power of the family, where it have hatched, during the period of laying eggs into cells meant for laying eggs from which queens hatch till its mating flight. It is possible to estimate its weight, size and the quality of pheromone system. The queen’s size is determined by the size of her abdomen and by the size of the cells meant for laying eggs from which queens hatch where it has come from. It is fixed by weighing. Practice shows that physiological parameters depend on the productivity of bee season. May and June queens grow on protein and carbohydrate abundance, and are more productive than those who hatch later. The most valuable are the queens of the so-called quiet season when a family rear a "supersedure" queen because the mother queen falters in her egg-laying efficiency. A new queen is worth its weight in gold. Swarming sperm pouch is made because of the happiness of reproduction but spermatheca of the quiet season is put because of the inner family need.
It is worthwhile mentioning that breeding activity is necessary when there are a lot of families in the bee garden (apiary).
The discovery of pheromone made it the object of special interest of the scientists in the last 50 years. Butlerov spoke about royal jelly in the second part of the precious century, but not everything is still clear in this problem. (In this article pheromone-the secretion produced by the queen glands is meant but not a highly nutritious secretion of the pharyngeal glands of the honeybee that is fed to the very young larvae in a colony and to all queen larvae). Pheromone is a specific substance that unites 50,000 separate bees into a family. The family in which the queen produces pheromone intensively is hard working, solid and productive. It is not inclined to swarm or to rearing a "supersedure" queen. Pheromone poor families are less solid and their working bees can fly into other more productive families. Such families retard in their development, lay fewer eggs and gather little honey. Secretion by the queen begins soon after her fertilisation and gradually seizes. Beekeepers know that pheromone is used up after 2-3 years of the queen’s life. Practice has showed that pheromone deficiency is one of the main reasons for the substitution of the queen, that’s why on apiaries it is advisable to requeen the family every 3 seasons. The first 2 years queens are a good breeding material. It’s better to count on queens who have appeared in the result of swarming from highly productive families. The quality of the queen is determined by the quantity of the sperm, get during the mating flight. Mating depends on weather as well as on the number of drones. Drones possess strong father’s characteristics, a certain genotype that had their queen. A drone is a genetic portrait of his queen. Every beekeeper should avoid kindred mating as it diminishes honey productivity and leads to various diseases of the queen and bees.
Nature is wise, that’s why drones and queens mate at a distance of 10 km. and drones die soon after mating. The queen can mate with several drones (10 and more). Three swarms can be made of one bee family. There are many “ifs and buts” for a successful bee reproduction. In the all above mentioned cases the possibility for kindred mating is minimal, only if a human doesn’t interfere.
In conclusion it is worthwhile mentioning that a beekeeper should regard scientists’ recommendations with some skepticism, as there are:
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English translation © Irina Yelsukova