Simultaneous selection for reduced Varroa levels, hygienic behavior, brood viability, brood production, honey production and gentleness in European honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies using conventional queen propagation and mating methods
Mendizabal, Nabor Hector
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At the UGA honey bee laboratory fifty European honey bee colonies were established to develop a selection program for six traits at the same time during 2003-2004. The selected traits were low Varroa mite levels, hygienic behavior, brood viability, brood production, honey production and gentleness. All traits were measured and their values transformed into z-scores in order to normalize units. Using a selection index, positive trait values were added and negative ones subtracted to select the five queens whose daughters were reared to create the next generation in 2004. The population’s mean responses for each trait were compared for both generations (2003 and 2004). 2004 population means were significantly higher than 2003 means for honey production, brood production and hygienic behavior. This constitutes preliminary evidence that a multiple trait selection program could work using a selection index based on z- scores.