Russian honey bees now being tested at the ARS
Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research Unit in Baton Rouge, La., and
reared at Bernard's Apiaries, Inc., in Breaux Bridge, La., are generally gentle
and produce honey at about the same level as commonly used commercial stocks,
according to Thomas E.
Rinderer of the research unit.
Through a newly signed Cooperative Research and Development
Agreement, Bernard's Apiaries, Inc., in Breaux Bridge, La., is now taking
orders for breeder queens.
The breeder queens will be produced this fall and winter for
shipment to customers early in the year 2000.
Breeder queens can be ordered from Bernard's Apiaries, Inc., 1025
Bernard St., Henderson Station, Breaux Bridge, LA 70517-7875, phone and fax
(318) 228-7535, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to Bernard's, orders must be received by September 30,
1999, to ensure delivery. Orders received after September 30, 1999 will be
accepted on a first-come basis, based on queen availability. The order of
acceptance will be based on fax or e-mail time and date, or postmark date.
"Our experience with hybrids of Russian and domestic stocks during
the past year has been favorable," Rinderer noted.
"However, depending upon the drones that a beekeeper uses to mate
with the Russian queens," he said, "the characteristics of the hybrid offspring
may be highly varied. That's why were asking everyone who buys a Russian queen
to let us know about the performance of their bees. We can use that information
in our ongoing program to improve the performance of the Russian stock."
"The Russian bees that we are working with are very good,"
Rinderer said, "but we think we can make them even better. We're hoping that
beekeepers who end up with superior colonies of Russian bees will be willing to
work with us, so that we can bring these top-performing bees into our breeding
and selection program."
The lineage of Russian queens provided by Rinderer's laboratory to
Bernard's Apiaries, Inc., this year will differ from that provided next year,
and thereafter. "That will help prevent inbreeding," Rinderer said.
In addition, Rinderer and colleagues anticipate making additional
expeditions to Russia to collect more Russian bees.
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