عنوان مقاله [English]
Introduction: Taking advantage of genetically modified queens that have desirable productive traits and behavior is an important factor in beekeeping. The current study aimed to evaluate the performance of the 14th-17th generations of breeding improved queens in the Iranian Honey Bee Breeding Program, and their comparison with control queens kept in private apiaries.
Materials and methods: To evaluate the queens, specific questionnaires were designed and completed by beekeepers in their apiaries based on the performance of queens in the third layer. Means comparison showed that the improved queens had better performance than control queens in terms of swarming, honey production, aggressive behavior, and calmness behavior in comparison to queens kept in private apiaries. This evaluation and comparison were performed in private apiaries of 12 provinces in 2016, 11 provinces in 2017, 12 provinces in 2018, and 12 provinces in 2019. During the project, colonies with control and modified queens had the same management in each apiary in terms of nutritional conditions, migration management, and pest and disease management. To compare the improved queen and local queens (as control), a paired sample t-test was used. In each apiary, the minimum number of the improved queen was 10. The t-test was done for all of the recorded traits in the SPSS program. To investigate the effects of the year (2016 to 2019) and queen type (improved and local queens), a two-way analysis of variance was done using the GLM procedure of the SAS program.
Results and discussion: The obtained results revealed that the bred queens in 2016 and 2017 are significantly superior to control queens in terms of swarming, and had fewer queen cells, which is desirable for beekeepers. Despite the superiority of the improved queens during 2018 and 2019, the difference between control and improved queens was not significant for swarming behavior. Totally, during generations 14 to 17, the bred queens were significantly better than control queens in terms of swarming behavior in private apiaries. Honey production evaluation of improved queens and comparison with control queens in private apiaries showed that improved queens in 2016-2019 had a significant advantage over control queens (P<0.05). A comparison of improved and control queens in terms of honey production during generations 14 to 17 showed the superiority of improved queens. Aggressiveness behavior comparison of control and bred colonies in 2016-2017 showed the superiority of Iranian bred colonies (P<0.01). A comparison of colony calmness in 2016-2017 also showed the superiority of Iranian improved colonies (P<0.01). Overwintering comparison of control and improved colonies showed that in 2016 and 2018, despite the low superiority of bred colonies, there is no significant difference between the modified and control colonies. However, there was a significant difference between the two groups and the Iranian improved colonies were better than the control colonies in terms of overwintering in 2017 and 2019 (P<0.05). In other words, the bred colonies were significantly superior to the control colonies (P<0.05). According to the results of variance analysis, the effect of queen type (bred queen and control queen of beekeepers) on calmness, aggressive, swarming behavior and honey production was significant (P<0.01), but did not affect overwintering. The effect of year and generation on calmness, aggressive behavior, swarming, and honey was significant (P<0.01), and it was also significant on overwintering at the lower level (P<0.05). The interaction effect of queen type×year was significant for calmness (P<0.01) and for swarming and honey (P<0.05), but had no significant effect on other traits.
Conclusions: The obtained results revealed that to protect the Iranian honeybee as a valuable genetic resource while preserving the superiority of genetically improved queens and genetic stabilization of improved traits, prevention of sex alleles homozygosity which have a direct effect on decreasing colonies' performance, conducting more investigations against new problems of beekeeping industry are required.