Last year we called on the honey bee and queen bee breeding industry to respond to a survey to uncover attitudes around queen bee production and to inform the development and ongoing management of the Plan Bee genetic improvement program.
Today, we’re sharing the findings of that study which point towards a clear and defined purpose for the genetic improvement program.
Some of the key findings of the survey include:
- Whilst overall 64% of beekeepers were happy with the quality of the queens they were purchasing, less than half of large commercial beekeepers were happy.
- Variations in queen quality, issues around mating and queen longevity were the most cited issues when it came to the quality of queens purchased.
- 67% of beekeepers and 73% of queen breeders agree that the use of modern genetic techniques as applied to other industries will increase the chance of a successful breeding program.
- Honey production and brood pattern are the most important traits for queen bees
- Chalkbrood resistance, hygienic behavior and European foulbrood resistance were also cited as important traits.
Knowing that a significant portion of the industry want higher quality queens reinforces the importance of genetic improvement and what it can deliver. Not only that but we also have a defined list of the most important traits and the common issues associated with queen bees and it’s this information from industry which will help shape the program moving forward.
The Plan Bee program will result in healthier, more productive bees as queen bee breeders will have new tools to select their own stock for the traits that their customers are interested and this survey is one step towards that goal.
Ultimately, the program will lead to the extension and adoption of selection techniques that have unleashed major productivity gains in other industries like livestock resulting in greater security and prosperity for breeders, beekeepers and pollination industries.
Please be on the lookout for this year’s survey in a few months. Your voice is important and the more responses we have the more confident we can be that the opinions of industry are being represented and that we are being responsive to them.
If you are interested in getting involved with the program please get in touch on 02 93512267, email@example.com.
Additionally, once a quarter we will be distributing a special Plan Bee newsletter with specific updates from the project. Please register to receive these updates here: https://www.agrifutures.com.au/rural-industries/honey-bee-pollination/?subscribe=1
The full survey findings are available via the Plan Bee website: Plan Bee 2020 beekeeper and queen bee breeder surveys