Test UBeeO, Help!

Public Effort, Beekeeper Scientists to Test UBeeO

UBeeO is a new pheromone product developed to help queen producers select for hygienic behavior.  A public crowd sourcing effort is being organized to determine how well the product works and if it is feasible and effective to breed queens using this pheromone.  If you already planned on testing UBeeO in your own operation, consider joining the effort by contacting Dr. Jim Masucci at jdmbees@gmail.com

A more detailed description of UBeeO and the crowd sourcing effort is described in the March issue of Bee Culture (see Testing UBeeO?  Let’s Share).  In short, the pheromone is supposed to mimic the pheromone produced by unhealthy brood, causing hygienic bees to uncap and remove that unhealthy brood.  Data reported by Kaira Wagoner and Pheobe Snyder indicate that colonies exhibiting high levels of this behavior carry fewer mites and overwinter better than colonies exhibiting low levels of the behavior.  The difficulty in breeding for behavioral traits such as this is that they involve multiple genes, each contributing a small portion to the overall behavior, and our inability to control which drones mate with our virgin queens.

Data generated with honeybees tend to be highly variable.  This means a lot of data is needed to draw reasonable conclusions.  Determining whether high level UBeeO-induced hygienic behavior leads to healthier colonies and whether this behavior can be passed down efficiently to the next generation requires hundreds to thousands of colonies.  Alone, this requires commercial queen breeders.  But collectively, us sideliners can create a data set large enough to evaluate this product.  There is no compensation or free product.  But if you are going to test it, let’s do it together.  Dr. Jim Masucci  jdmbees@gmail.com