When deciding which colonies you are going to breed from and which colonies you are going to cull, data recorded in Colony Assessment Sheets can be tabulated using this Colony Appraisal Sheet devised by the Galtee Bee Breeding Group. It may seem pedantic but this is an invaluable tool in bee improvement and bee breeding.
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Here’s what you do – get your completed Colony Assessment sheets and follow me – I’ll walk you through it. Click here for more info on Honey Bee Colony Assessment.
Each of your colonies will have a line on this form, so for each one, first fill in the Apiary Location and Hive Number.
Then from the Colony Assessment Sheet for each hive calculate:
- Average score for Docility
- Average score for Brood Pattern
- Average total score for all six traits
The column headed ‘Cells’ refers to queen cells and requires a yes or a no. Obviously, colonies showing a disinclination to swarm are good to breed from.
The column headed ‘Inspect’ requires the number of inspections – this will give you an idea as to how much confidence you can have in each line of data.
Fill in the queen age. This can be confusing. I just take the year the queen was born as year 1 etc. Longevity is a good trait and should be factored into your considerations.
The other columns are for queen identifiers. If you have those systems in place you won’t need me to explain them to you.
Once you have all this information in place you have all the data for all of your colonies for an entire season in one place where you can compare and select the queens you will breed from and those you will cull.
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