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Why is it so hard to breed better bees?

Those new to beekeeping fre­quently ask why we don’t just breed better bees. This is a logical question because breeding has long been the answer to many agricultural problems. When I say “breeding,” I don’t mean modern gene-insertion techniques that allow us to raise glow-in-the-dark cats, but the old-fashioned kind of breeding where you cross […] Read more

Genetic diversity within a honey bee colony

Someone asked me why their honey bee workers were different sizes. I can’t give a concrete answer to this question, but it brings up the subject of honey bee genetics. Honey bees, like many other insects in the order Hymenoptera, have a sex determination system known as haplodiploidy. In this system, the sex of an […] Read more