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Use this page as a tool for visualizing and
understanding some of the various genetic mechanisms at work in honeybees.
The queen mates in flight at one week old.
She my fly more than a kilometer seeking multiple mates.
After one or more mating flights, she never mates again.
Sperm are stored in the spermatheca of the queen for life.
This can be done with instrumental insemination,
to sort genetic traits.
Number of chromosomes
in bees. A key factor.
Queens and workers are both females.
Their differences arise from how they were
fed while developing as larva.
A worker has the same genes as she would have,
had she been raised a queen.
Egg laying workers appear in queenless colonies.
Wild type Italian
Why is cordovan coloration useful?
1) Cordovan Italian queens are easier to find in a hive.
2) The presence of only cordovan drones in a hive confirms
the presence of a cordovan queen.
3) Mating control can be assessed by estimating the percentage
of cordovan workers in a hive.
Hygienic behavior is expressed by bees uncapping and removing diseased brood.
Recessive genes are expressed only if the dominant version is absent.
Bees carrying a recessive gene can pass it on without expressing the trait.
A gene can become "fixed" in a population when other versions are eliminated.
Recent research suggests that this model
of hygienic behavior may be too simplistic. Evidence now shows that there
may be as many seven genes involved.
Resistance appears to be controlled by dominant gene(s).
Only one dominant allele is necessary for expression of resistance.
The mechanism of resistance is not known for certain.
There is evidence that grooming behavior is involved.
Why is some brood not viable?
If a fertilized egg has two of the same sex alleles, it is not viable.
The result is an abnormal drone (diploid drone) which never matures.
These diploid drone larva are eaten by workers as the egg hatches.
Brood pattern and viability are determined by the diversity of the sex alleles.
In bee breeding, the goal is to maintain a diversity of sex alleles while
selecting for other desirable characteristics.
Inbreeding results in a reduction of alleles with up to 50% non viable brood.
Mitochondrial DNA is passed on only through the females.
It is not contained in the nucleus of cells and therefore
does not participate in sexual reproduction.
It changes very slowly, only by mutation.
It's used to trace maternal lineage.
Breeding and Genetics of honeybees
Honey Bee Genome Project
Further reading on
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