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Re: [Beekeeping] mandible ablation

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  • Rich
    Interesting idea. Hard to imagine a queen performing well after such ablation. I guess the question is will the workers figure out how to feed her in a
    Message 1 of 24 , Apr 11 9:47 AM
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      Interesting idea. Hard to imagine a queen performing well after such ablation. I guess the question is will the workers figure out how to feed her in a modified manner.

      ---- froutan_najafi <froutan_najafi@...> wrote:
      > Dear ladies / gentlemen
      >
      > Recent publications in the scientific literature have documented a
      > technique called mandible ablation that allows multiple queen bees to
      > coexist in a colony. According to the articles, the technique is used
      > mainly in Asia. The literature does not, however, describe the
      > procedures for carrying out the process of actually removing part of the
      > queen's mandible.
      > Does anyone on this list know of any beekeeper who uses this technique
      > in the US so that I could learn how to do it without going all the way
      > to China?
      >
      > Best wishes
      >
      >
      >
      > ------------------------------------
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
    • Mary Akins
      Why would you want to do that?
      Message 2 of 24 , Apr 12 10:55 AM
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        Why would you want to do that?

        On Apr 11, 2013 12:48 PM, "Rich" <wd6esz@...> wrote:
         

        Interesting idea. Hard to imagine a queen performing well after such ablation. I guess the question is will the workers figure out how to feed her in a modified manner.

        ---- froutan_najafi <froutan_najafi@...> wrote:
        > Dear ladies / gentlemen
        >
        > Recent publications in the scientific literature have documented a
        > technique called mandible ablation that allows multiple queen bees to
        > coexist in a colony. According to the articles, the technique is used
        > mainly in Asia. The literature does not, however, describe the
        > procedures for carrying out the process of actually removing part of the
        > queen's mandible.
        > Does anyone on this list know of any beekeeper who uses this technique
        > in the US so that I could learn how to do it without going all the way
        > to China?
        >
        > Best wishes
        >
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >

      • Mike S
        ... If you would read the original post it stated that was done so that multiple queens could be run in a single hive.  That would mean that the amount of
        Message 3 of 24 , Apr 13 12:06 PM
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          >>>   Mary Akins  wrote:    Why would you want to do that?

          If you would read the original post it stated that was done so that multiple queens could be run in a single hive.  That would mean that the amount of brood raised in that hive would be multiple times as many as would be found in a hive with one queen.  Thus the colony would have a huge field force available for the main honey flow.

          Mike in LA
        • Mary Akins
          Thank you Mike for the reply, but I guess I didn t make myself clear in the question. What I was wondering (other than being repulsed by the mutilation) was
          Message 4 of 24 , Apr 14 12:38 PM
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            Thank you Mike for the reply, but I guess I didn't make myself clear in the question. What I was wondering (other than being repulsed by the mutilation) was why not just start another hive?

            On Saturday, April 13, 2013, Mike S wrote:
             

            >>>   Mary Akins  wrote:    Why would you want to do that?

            If you would read the original post it stated that was done so that multiple queens could be run in a single hive.  That would mean that the amount of brood raised in that hive would be multiple times as many as would be found in a hive with one queen.  Thus the colony would have a huge field force available for the main honey flow.

            Mike in LA

          • Mike S
            ... I m not sure.  I, too, am repulsed by the process, but it may be because queens were a lot easier to come by than the extra equipment needed for more
            Message 5 of 24 , Apr 14 1:50 PM
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              >>>   ... why not just start another hive?

              I'm not sure.  I, too, am repulsed by the process, but it may be because queens were a lot easier to come by than the extra equipment needed for more hives.  It would produce larger populated colonies with less equipment.

              Mike in LA
            • Bill D
              I googled it and found several studies referencing the acceptance of multiple queens in a single hive but I didn t see any referencing the amount of honey
              Message 6 of 24 , Apr 14 3:31 PM
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                I googled it and found several studies referencing the acceptance of multiple queens in a single hive but I didn't see any referencing the amount of honey produced. I would assume there would be a doubling increase in honey.

                Anyone know the production difference in such hives?

                --- In Beekeeping@yahoogroups.com, Mike S <mws1112004@...> wrote:
                >
                > >>>   ... why not just start another hive?
                >
                > I'm not sure.  I, too, am repulsed by the process, but it may be because queens were a lot easier to come by than the extra equipment needed for more hives.  It would produce larger populated colonies with less equipment.
                >
                > Mike in LA
                >
              • Gary Glaenzer
                I would think that you would reach a point of diminishing returns pretty quickly, due to congestion in the lower hive bodies ... From: Bill D To:
                Message 7 of 24 , Apr 14 3:33 PM
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                  I would think that you would reach a 'point of diminishing returns' pretty quickly, due to congestion in the lower hive bodies
                   
                   
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: Bill D
                  Sent: Sunday, April 14, 2013 5:31 PM
                  Subject: [Beekeeping] Re: mandible ablation

                   

                  I googled it and found several studies referencing the acceptance of multiple queens in a single hive but I didn't see any referencing the amount of honey produced. I would assume there would be a doubling increase in honey.

                  Anyone know the production difference in such hives?

                  --- In Beekeeping@yahoogroups.com, Mike S <mws1112004@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > >>>   ... why not just start another hive?
                  >
                  > I'm not sure.  I, too, am repulsed by the process, but it may be because queens were a lot easier to come by than the extra equipment needed for more hives.  It would produce larger populated colonies with less equipment.
                  >
                  > Mike in LA
                  >

                • Rich
                  Mary, That is like saying Why not just buy a new car?! when ever you see somebody in their driveway under their car. Economics for one thing... but perhaps
                  Message 8 of 24 , Apr 14 7:12 PM
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                    Mary,

                    That is like saying "Why not just buy a new car?!" when ever you see somebody in their driveway under their car. Economics for one thing... but perhaps more than anything is that some people just like to enjoy their hobby.

                    Rich
                    ---- Mary Akins <mary.bury@...> wrote:
                    > Thank you Mike for the reply, but I guess I didn't make myself clear in the
                    > question. What I was wondering (other than being repulsed by the
                    > mutilation) was why not just start another hive?
                    >
                    > On Saturday, April 13, 2013, Mike S wrote:
                    >
                    > > **
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > >>> *Mary Akins * wrote: Why would you want to do that?
                    > >
                    > > If you would read the original post it stated that was done so that
                    > > multiple queens could be run in a single hive. That would mean that the
                    > > amount of brood raised in that hive would be multiple times as many as
                    > > would be found in a hive with one queen. Thus the colony would have a huge
                    > > field force available for the main honey flow.
                    > >
                    > > Mike in LA
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                  • Barbara Lindberg
                    I am really troubled by the idea of removing part of a queen s mandible to force the production of multiple queens. I find it very worrying that beekeepers
                    Message 9 of 24 , Apr 14 8:08 PM
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                      I am really troubled by the idea of removing part of a queen’s mandible to force the production of multiple queens.  I find it very worrying that beekeepers would consider doing this.  Just how much farther are we going to push the bees to produce, produce produce for us?  We want more, more more.  When is enough enough?  To be honest I think it’s abusive.

                       

                      Sorry to rant but daily in the news we hear of bee losses and problems—most of them manmade.  I don’t think the solution is to push the bee to the limit to solve it.

                       

                      Barbara

                      Ontario, Canada

                       

                       

                      >>>   ... why not just start another hive?

                      I'm not sure.  I, too, am repulsed by the process, but it may be because queens were a lot easier to come by than the extra equipment needed for more hives.  It would produce larger populated colonies with less equipment.

                      Mike in LA

                    • Mike S
                      ... queens. You ve misinterpreted what was said.  This is not done to produce multiple queens but to manipulate them so that colonies have multiple queens and
                      Message 10 of 24 , Apr 14 8:59 PM
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                        >>>   .... removing part of a queen’s mandible to force the production of multiple queens.

                        You've misinterpreted what was said.  This is not done to produce multiple queens but to manipulate them so that colonies have multiple queens and subsequently have a huge work force to bring in the honey crop.

                        >>>  Just how much farther are we going to push the bees to produce, produce produce for us?  We want more, more more.  When is enough enough?

                        I don't think it is a very common practice.  It's a very delicate procedure and if you don't know what you're doing, you loose the queens.  My memory isn't all that good any more but I think I remember first reading about it being done in China.   I have not heard of any beekeepers here in the States following such a practice.

                        Mike in LA
                      • Bill D
                        The little bit of reading I did of some of the studies the Queen s recognize their weakness and choose not to fight for any length of time. It seems they just
                        Message 11 of 24 , Apr 14 10:10 PM
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                          The little bit of reading I did of some of the studies the Queen's recognize their weakness and choose not to fight for any length of time. 

                          It seems they just go about their business.  

                          On Sun, Apr 14, 2013 at 10:59 PM, Mike S <mws1112004@...> wrote:
                           

                          >>>   .... removing part of a queen’s mandible to force the production of multiple queens.

                          You've misinterpreted what was said.  This is not done to produce multiple queens but to manipulate them so that colonies have multiple queens and subsequently have a huge work force to bring in the honey crop.

                          >>>  Just how much farther are we going to push the bees to produce, produce produce for us?  We want more, more more.  When is enough enough?

                          I don't think it is a very common practice.  It's a very delicate procedure and if you don't know what you're doing, you loose the queens.  My memory isn't all that good any more but I think I remember first reading about it being done in China.   I have not heard of any beekeepers here in the States following such a practice.

                          Mike in LA




                          --
                          Respectfully,
                          Bill Dickerson

                          In god we trust, all others we run NCIC
                        • Rich
                          People seem to be focusing on increased productivity, but what about other benefits? How about genetic diversity of hive population? You could have one queen
                          Message 12 of 24 , Apr 15 12:03 PM
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                            People seem to be focusing on increased productivity, but what about other benefits? How about genetic diversity of hive population? You could have one queen that is a good producer while in the same hive have a hygienic queen that will keep the hive healthy. The possibilities are endless.

                            ---- Barbara Lindberg <barblindberg@...> wrote:
                            > I am really troubled by the idea of removing part of a queen's mandible to
                            > force the production of multiple queens. I find it very worrying that
                            > beekeepers would consider doing this. Just how much farther are we going to
                            > push the bees to produce, produce produce for us? We want more, more more.
                            > When is enough enough? To be honest I think it's abusive.
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > Sorry to rant but daily in the news we hear of bee losses and problems-most
                            > of them manmade. I don't think the solution is to push the bee to the limit
                            > to solve it.
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > Barbara
                            >
                            > Ontario, Canada
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > >>> ... why not just start another hive?
                            >
                            > I'm not sure. I, too, am repulsed by the process, but it may be because
                            > queens were a lot easier to come by than the extra equipment needed for more
                            > hives. It would produce larger populated colonies with less equipment.
                            >
                            > Mike in LA
                            >
                            >
                            >
                          • Barbara Lindberg
                            I believe I do understand the process--that by injuring the existing queen-removing part of her mandible--the bees realize something is wrong with her and
                            Message 13 of 24 , Apr 15 4:56 PM
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                              I believe I do understand the process--that by “injuring” the existing queen—removing part of her mandible--the bees realize something is wrong with her and then they create more queens.  The new queen and old will reside together producing lots and lots of eggs for the beekeeper.  I feel it is abusive to deliberately damage a healthy queen to boost production.

                               

                              Barbara

                              Ontario, Canada

                               


                               

                              >>>   .... removing part of a queen’s mandible to force the production of multiple queens.

                              You've misinterpreted what was said.  This is not done to produce multiple queens but to manipulate them so that colonies have multiple queens and subsequently have a huge work force to bring in the honey crop.

                              >>>  Just how much farther are we going to push the bees to produce, produce produce for us?  We want more, more more.  When is enough enough?

                              I don't think it is a very common practice.  It's a very delicate procedure and if you don't know what you're doing, you loose the queens.  My memory isn't all that good any more but I think I remember first reading about it being done in China .   I have not heard of any beekeepers here in the States following such a practice.

                              Mike in LA

                            • Bill D
                              Damaging the mandible prevents her from being able to hold the other queen to kill her. Apparently the queen/s is able assess her ability and doesn t desire to
                              Message 14 of 24 , Apr 15 5:06 PM
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                                Damaging the mandible prevents her from being able to hold the other queen to kill her. Apparently the queen/s is able assess her ability and doesn't desire to fight. 

                                The queen/s co-exsist and in theory double production.

                                That's my understanding of the process. 

                                I suppose it would be like dehorning cows to make them easier to work with. Maybe it's closer to neutering a male dog to calm the animal and reduce the aggressiveness.   

                                On Mon, Apr 15, 2013 at 6:56 PM, Barbara Lindberg <barblindberg@...> wrote:
                                 

                                I believe I do understand the process--that by “injuring” the existing queen—removing part of her mandible--the bees realize something is wrong with her and then they create more queens.  The new queen and old will reside together producing lots and lots of eggs for the beekeeper.  I feel it is abusive to deliberately damage a healthy queen to boost production.

                                 

                                Barbara

                                Ontario, Canada

                                 


                                 

                                >>>   .... removing part of a queen’s mandible to force the production of multiple queens.

                                You've misinterpreted what was said.  This is not done to produce multiple queens but to manipulate them so that colonies have multiple queens and subsequently have a huge work force to bring in the honey crop.

                                >>>  Just how much farther are we going to push the bees to produce, produce produce for us?  We want more, more more.  When is enough enough?

                                I don't think it is a very common practice.  It's a very delicate procedure and if you don't know what you're doing, you loose the queens.  My memory isn't all that good any more but I think I remember first reading about it being done in China.   I have not heard of any beekeepers here in the States following such a practice.

                                Mike in LA




                                --
                                Respectfully,
                                Bill Dickerson

                                In god we trust, all others we run NCIC
                              • Mike S
                                ... by “injuring” the existing queen—removing part of her mandible--the bees realize something is wrong with her and then they create more queens. Only
                                Message 15 of 24 , Apr 15 5:12 PM
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                                  >>>    ... that by “injuring” the existing queen—removing part of her mandible--the bees realize something is wrong with her and then they create more queens.

                                  Only partially right.  They will abate the mandibles of three, four, or five queens and place them in the colony in that condition.  For some reason, with the mandibles damaged, the queens don't fight and just do their queenly duty  The hive ends up with a humongous worker population and thus produces a humongous honey crop.

                                  Mike in LA
                                • Bill D
                                  Are there any stats to the increase in production? Are they doing this in LA? ... -- Respectfully, Bill Dickerson In god we trust, all others we run NCIC Are
                                  Message 16 of 24 , Apr 15 5:37 PM
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                                    Are there any stats to the increase in production?

                                    Are they doing this in LA?

                                    On Mon, Apr 15, 2013 at 7:12 PM, Mike S <mws1112004@...> wrote:
                                     

                                    >>>    ... that by “injuring” the existing queen—removing part of her mandible--the bees realize something is wrong with her and then they create more queens.

                                    Only partially right.  They will abate the mandibles of three, four, or five queens and place them in the colony in that condition.  For some reason, with the mandibles damaged, the queens don't fight and just do their queenly duty  The hive ends up with a humongous worker population and thus produces a humongous honey crop.

                                    Mike in LA




                                    --
                                    Respectfully,
                                    Bill Dickerson

                                    In god we trust, all others we run NCIC
                                  • Mike S
                                    ... No stats.  This is from what I remember from an article in one of the bee journals many years ago.  And remember, my memory ain t as good as it used to
                                    Message 17 of 24 , Apr 15 6:21 PM
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                                      >>>   Are there any stats to the increase in production?       Are they doing this in LA?


                                      No stats.  This is from what I remember from an article in one of the bee journals many years ago.  And remember, my memory ain't as good as it used to be and wasn't very good then.  I have never heard of this being done in Alabama, or in any connections that I have with beekeeping.


                                      Mike in LA
                                    • Gary Glaenzer
                                      Hello Mike; With all due respect, and definitely not being critical of you personally, but....... Without any hard evidence that this actually increases
                                      Message 18 of 24 , Apr 15 6:30 PM
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                                        Hello Mike;
                                         
                                        With all due respect, and definitely not being critical of you personally, but.......
                                         
                                        Without any hard evidence that this actually increases production, plus the fact that it is from 'years ago', and that you have never heard of it being done, I have to observe that:
                                         
                                        IF it worked in any way, shape, or form
                                         
                                        IF it increased production
                                         
                                        IF the population of the hive was greatly increased
                                         
                                         
                                        We would see it in at least SOME use.........if nothing else for the production of bees for packages (large populations could be shaken more often)
                                         
                                         
                                        Again, nothing personal, OK ?
                                         
                                        Regards,
                                         
                                        Gary
                                         
                                         
                                         
                                        ----- Original Message -----
                                        From: Mike S
                                        Sent: Monday, April 15, 2013 8:21 PM
                                        Subject: Re: [Beekeeping] mandible ablation

                                         

                                        >>>   Are there any stats to the increase in production?       Are they doing this in LA?


                                        No stats.  This is from what I remember from an article in one of the bee journals many years ago.  And remember, my memory ain't as good as it used to be and wasn't very good then.  I have never heard of this being done in Alabama, or in any connections that I have with beekeeping.


                                        Mike in LA

                                      • Kakerby
                                        One of the things to keep in mind, is that if this was used in beekeeper circles, at any point in history, in any given location on the planet, it was under
                                        Message 19 of 24 , Apr 15 6:54 PM
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                                          One of the things to keep in mind, is that if this was used in beekeeper circles, at any point in history, in any given location on the planet, it was under much different working conditions than what we have now in this country.  The Asian countries in particular have traditionally had very different farming realities and priorities: much higher population densities, which meant more readily available human labor and dramatically higher land costs.  More production had to be squeezed out of every possible area of land.  Under that scenario, it might have made sense for economic reasons, where it would never make sense under our own hobbyist and/or modern farming considerations.  A lot of those same differences still exist today, in various parts of the world.  Neither is "right" or "wrong", they are simply different practices which evolved over time to solve different production pressures.  So whether it was a long time ago, or still in use somewhere in the world, it probably made sense to someone somewhere, enough that it became a commonplace practice.  Yet it wouldn't automatically make sense in all areas, under all economic, environmental, social and economic conditions.   Which is probably why we're not familiar with it.
                                          Kathryn Kerby
                                          frogchorusfarm.com
                                          Snohomish, WA


                                          -----Original Message-----
                                          From: Gary Glaenzer <glaenzer@...>
                                          To: Beekeeping <Beekeeping@yahoogroups.com>
                                          Sent: Mon, Apr 15, 2013 6:30 pm
                                          Subject: Re: [Beekeeping] mandible ablation

                                           
                                          Hello Mike;
                                           
                                          With all due respect, and definitely not being critical of you personally, but.......
                                           
                                          Without any hard evidence that this actually increases production, plus the fact that it is from 'years ago', and that you have never heard of it being done, I have to observe that:
                                           
                                          IF it worked in any way, shape, or form
                                           
                                          IF it increased production
                                           
                                          IF the population of the hive was greatly increased
                                           
                                           
                                          We would see it in at least SOME use.........if nothing else for the production of bees for packages (large populations could be shaken more often)
                                           
                                           
                                          Again, nothing personal, OK ?
                                           
                                          Regards,
                                           
                                          Gary
                                           
                                           
                                           
                                          ----- Original Message -----
                                          From: Mike S
                                          Sent: Monday, April 15, 2013 8:21 PM
                                          Subject: Re: [Beekeeping] mandible ablation

                                           
                                          >>>   Are there any stats to the increase in production?       Are they doing this in LA?

                                          No stats.  This is from what I remember from an article in one of the bee journals many years ago.  And remember, my memory ain't as good as it used to be and wasn't very good then.  I have never heard of this being done in Alabama, or in any connections that I have with beekeeping.

                                          Mike in LA
                                        • Tim Arheit
                                          There is plenty of evidence two queen colonies increase production, though the management is more difficult. 200% increase:
                                          Message 20 of 24 , Apr 15 7:04 PM
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                                            There is plenty of evidence two queen colonies increase production, though the management is more difficult.

                                            200% increase:  http://www.beesource.com/resources/usda/managing-colonies-for-high-honey-yields/
                                            101% increase: http://www.tecnicapecuaria.org.mx/journal/publicacion04.php?IdPublicacion=437
                                            115% increase: http://www.johnstonshoneybeefarm.com/grant.htm

                                            There are older studies showing similar results.   There are quite a few studies, both formal and informal.    It's a pretty old topic.  USDA studied at least as far back at 1958

                                            And yes, I know some beekeepers who do this.

                                            On the other hand I don't know of anyone using mandible ablation to create two queen colonies, typically other methods are used.


                                            -Tim

                                            On 4/15/2013 9:30 PM, Gary Glaenzer wrote:
                                             

                                            Hello Mike;
                                             
                                            With all due respect, and definitely not being critical of you personally, but.......
                                             
                                            Without any hard evidence that this actually increases production, plus the fact that it is from 'years ago', and that you have never heard of it being done, I have to observe that:
                                             
                                            IF it worked in any way, shape, or form
                                             
                                            IF it increased production
                                             
                                            IF the population of the hive was greatly increased
                                             
                                             
                                            We would see it in at least SOME use.........if nothing else for the production of bees for packages (large populations could be shaken more often)
                                             
                                             
                                            Again, nothing personal, OK ?
                                             
                                            Regards,
                                             
                                            Gary
                                             
                                             
                                             
                                            ----- Original Message -----
                                            From: Mike S
                                            Sent: Monday, April 15, 2013 8:21 PM
                                            Subject: Re: [Beekeeping] mandible ablation

                                             

                                            >>>   Are there any stats to the increase in production?       Are they doing this in LA?


                                            No stats.  This is from what I remember from an article in one of the bee journals many years ago.  And remember, my memory ain't as good as it used to be and wasn't very good then.  I have never heard of this being done in Alabama, or in any connections that I have with beekeeping.


                                            Mike in LA


                                          • Mike S
                                            ... No offense taken.  And points well made.  Realize too that as far as I can remember this was being done in China and they have a completely different
                                            Message 21 of 24 , Apr 15 8:28 PM
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                                              >>>   With all due respect, ......

                                              No offense taken.  And points well made.  Realize too that as far as I can remember this was being done in China and they have a completely different outlook on things.  Plus, I'm sure that the ablation is a pretty delicate procedure and that it would take time and effort to do.   Personally, I would not like to see such procedures undertaken here in the U. S..   We have enough problems without adding that to it.  Can you imagine the uproar the animals rights activists would raise?

                                              Mike in LA
                                            • Eric-Michael MacCionnaith, REP.
                                              Hi all.  I have been reading this topic with interest, both as a beekeeper and a researcher, and one engaged in humane husbandry, this is of course of
                                              Message 22 of 24 , Apr 16 5:30 AM
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                                                Hi all.  I have been reading this topic with interest, both as a beekeeper and a researcher, and one engaged in humane husbandry, this is of course of interest to me.  I came across this recent scientific article on the topic titled:  A scientific note on the lack of effect of mandible ablation on the synthesis of royal scent by honeybee queens by Huo-Qing ZHENG, Vincent DIETEMAN, Fu-Liang HU, Robin M. CREWE, and Christian W. W. PIRK in 2012, the text of which I've copied below for you all.  My apologies about formatting; PDF is not always fun with the copy and paste mechanism.

                                                For those who were curious to read...

                                                Cheers:
                                                Eric




                                                Recently, honeybee colonies in which several mated,
                                                egg-laying honeybee queens coexist under freely
                                                moving conditions were experimentally obtained
                                                mainly by ablating a third to a half of both mandibles
                                                of queens to avoid inter-queen rivalry (Zheng et al.
                                                2009a). These colonies functioned normally and were
                                                used as supporting units for the faster build-up of
                                                productive colonies and for production of royal jelly
                                                in China (Zheng et al. 2009b). Observations also
                                                revealed that queens with a third to a half of one
                                                mandible ablated had normal levels of activity
                                                compared to intact queens, but they refrained from
                                                engaging in lethal contests (Dietemann et al. 2008).
                                                Mandibles are the release site of the mandibular
                                                glands pheromone. This pheromone possesses many
                                                functions (reviewed in Le Conte and Hefetz 2008),
                                                among which is the regulation of reproduction of
                                                workers. Since the secretory openings of mandibular
                                                glands are located at the inner margin of each
                                                mandible between the anterior articulation and the
                                                base of the apodeme of the flexor muscle (Snodgrass
                                                1956; Figure 1), the gland’s secretions might be
                                                affected by partial mandible ablation. Ablation could
                                                block or facilitate the release of the pheromone via
                                                feedback mechanisms and could thus influence the
                                                synthesis rate of the gland or the proportion of its
                                                components. We therefore evaluated the effect of this
                                                surgical treatment on the composition of the queen
                                                mandibular gland pheromone to determine whether
                                                changes in its synthesis could play a role in the
                                                experimental establishment of polygyny.
                                                The honeybee colonies used were Apis mellifera
                                                ligustica. Queens were freely mated 1-year-old sisters
                                                reared as those used to create multiple-queen colonies
                                                (Zheng et al. 2009a). Seventeen queens were collected
                                                and a third to a half of one of their mandibles (left
                                                side for eight and right side for nine queens) was
                                                excised with micro-scissors (Zheng et al. 2009a). In
                                                order to investigate the effect of removing a part of
                                                the mandible on queen pheromone synthesis, eight of
                                                these queens (four of which the left mandible was
                                                manipulated and four with the right) were each
                                                introduced into a queenless colony with four frames
                                                of bees to form single-queen colonies.
                                                To evaluate the potential changes in pheromone
                                                synthesis in ablated queens in the context of a multiplequeen
                                                colony, the other nine ablated queens were
                                                introduced into three queenless colonies with four
                                                frames of young bees to form three-queen colonies
                                                (Zheng et al. 2009a). One queen in each of two
                                                colonies failed to be accepted. One three-queen and
                                                two two-queen colonies were thus used.
                                                The 11 colonies were kept for 10 days when at
                                                least one comb in each colony was filled with eggs
                                                and young larvae. Queens were then taken out of
                                                their hosting colonies, frozen, and decapitated.
                                                The heads were split into two parts by vertically
                                                cutting between the mandibles and the bases of the
                                                antennae (Figure 1). Half heads were placed in
                                                200 μL dichloromethane for at least 24 h to allow
                                                maximal extraction of gland content. This method
                                                does not allow the distinction between gland content
                                                and secreted blend. Since the quantity of pheromone
                                                stored in a gland is two to three orders of magnitude
                                                higher than that found on the cuticle (Naumann et al.
                                                1991), our extracts reflect the amount of pheromone
                                                synthesized by the gland. Half of the extract was
                                                evaporated under a stream of nitrogen and analyzed
                                                by gas chromatography (see Zheng et al. 2010). The
                                                following six mandibular gland components were
                                                identified based on the retention times of synthetic
                                                compounds and quantified using peak areas: 9-keto-
                                                (E)-2 decenoic acid (9ODA), 9-hydroxy-2(E)-decenoic
                                                acid (9HDA), the two aromatic compounds
                                                methyl p-hydroxybenzoate (HOB) and 4-hydroxy-3-
                                                methoxyphenylethanol (HVA), and two major worker
                                                mandibular gland components 10-hydroxy-2(E)-
                                                decenoic acid (10HDA) and 10-hydroxydecanoic
                                                acid (10HDAA). Their relative mass ratios were
                                                calculated relative to tetradecane.
                                                Since the absolute amount and relative proportions
                                                (data arcsine transformed) of the six compounds
                                                did not vary significantly between left and
                                                right half heads either with ablated or intact
                                                mandibles in either monogynous queens or polygynous
                                                queens, data from left half heads and right
                                                half heads were pooled (Mann–Whitney U test, 0≤
                                                U(3∼4)≤8, lowest P value=0.057).
                                                Both the absolute amounts and relative proportions
                                                (data arcsine transformed) of the six
                                                individual compounds and their total quantity
                                                showed no significant differences between the
                                                ablated and intact half heads of both monogynous
                                                and polygynous queens (Figure 2, Wilcoxon
                                                signed ranks test, −2<Z(7∼8)<0, lowest P value=
                                                0.176). We therefore pooled the data for monogynous
                                                and polygynous queens. Again, no significant
                                                difference was found between ablated and intact
                                                groups (Wilcoxon signed ranks test, −2<Z15<0,
                                                lowest P value=0.281).
                                                No significant difference between intact and
                                                ablated half heads was found in the ratio of
                                                10HDAA/9HDA that is used to differentiate between
                                                worker (>1.0) and queen-specific signals (≤1.0)
                                                (Plettner et al. 1993) (Wilcoxon signed ranks test,
                                                Z15=−1.420, P=0.156) or in the ratio of 9ODA/
                                                (9ODA+10HDAA+10HDA) commonly used as a
                                                measure of reproductive dominance (Moritz et al.
                                                2004) (Wilcoxon signed ranks test, Z15=−0.227, P=
                                                0.820). The power values of our tests (Mann–
                                                Whitney U and Wilcoxon signed rank tests) were
                                                between 0.05 for 9ODA and 0.109 for 9HDA
                                                (g*Power 3.1 for MAC).
                                                No significant difference could be found in
                                                pheromonal synthesis by glands connected to an
                                                ablated or intact mandible. Given the power of our
                                                tests, we can state that pheromone synthesis in glands
                                                from ablated and non-ablated half heads are not
                                                statistically different. The ablation of a third to half of
                                                a mandible therefore does not seem to significantly
                                                affect the synthesis of mandibular pheromone by the
                                                corresponding gland. We have thus found no evidence
                                                for a feedback mechanism that affects the
                                                synthesis of pheromone when the release site has
                                                been manipulated. Our results support the idea that
                                                experimentally established polygyny by mandible
                                                ablation (Dietemann et al. 2008) is not due to changes
                                                in mandibular pheromones.
                                                The amounts of compounds extracted from ablated
                                                individuals are comparable to non-ablated controls
                                                and to values measured in other studies [for example,
                                                179.5±65 μg for 9-ODA in our study compared to
                                                231±17 μg by Plettner et al. (1997)]. This indicates
                                                that ablated queens do not have a reduced ability to
                                                synthesize mandibular pheromone compared to unmanipulated
                                                queens.
                                                In our study, we only measured the composition of
                                                the mandibular gland products that was synthesized
                                                and not the pheromone available to detection by the
                                                workers on the surface of the queen’s cuticle. A finer
                                                resolution of the effect of ablation on chemical
                                                communication could therefore be obtained if the
                                                pheromone extracted from queen cuticle and not from
                                                their glands was investigated.
                                                Not only mandibular pheromones are changing
                                                with the reproductive status of honeybees, Dufour
                                                gland secretions are also described as a fertility signal
                                                in workers (Malka et al. 2007). It is unlikely that
                                                manipulation of the mandible affects this gland’s
                                                secretion, but whether they are involved in the
                                                establishment of polygynous honeybee colonies
                                                should be investigated. Excluding changes in pheromonal
                                                secretion following ablation supports the
                                                hypothesis that experimental polygyny in honeybees
                                                is a result of self-assessment of the fighting ability of
                                                queens (Dietemann et al. 2008).


                                                ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
                                                This work was funded by China Postdoctoral
                                                Science Foundation (20100481435 and 201104739)
                                                and RMC and CWWP were funded by National
                                                Research Foundation and University of Pretoria.
                                                Note scientifique sur l’absence d’effet de l’ablation de
                                                la mandibule sur la synthèse de la phéromone royale
                                                par les reines d’abeilles.
                                                Eine wissenschaftliche Notiz darüber, dass die
                                                Ablation der Mandibeln keinen Effekt auf die Synthese
                                                der Königinnenduftstoffe bei Honigbienen hat.

                                                REFERENCES
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                                                S.H., Crewe, R.M., Radloff, S.E., Hu, F.L., Pirk, C.W.W.
                                                (2008) Self assessment in insects: honeybee queens know
                                                their own strength. PLoS One 3, e1412
                                                Le Conte, Y., Hefetz, A. (2008) Primer pheromones in social
                                                Hymenoptera. Annu. Rev. Entomol. 53, 523–542
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                                              • Jorg Kewisch
                                                I think it is like castrating young boys so that they keep their soprano voices. Who would do something repulsive like that? ... Oh, wait...
                                                Message 23 of 24 , Apr 16 6:26 AM
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                                                  I think it is like castrating young boys so that they keep their soprano
                                                  voices. Who would do something repulsive like that? ... Oh, wait...
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