Breeder Selection 2014

Winter is approaching and I just finished my first evaluation of honey bee colonies for potential breeder stock in 2014. I’ll evaluate these colonies again in spring, or at least the ones that survive the winter. The plan is to measure them in February and again in March so that I can make comparisons on ‘Spring buildup’, comparing their growth in Spring. I will also be able to evaluate them on their status in Fall, or change in Fall to Spring. Below are some graphs I’m experimenting with to visualize the data I collect. There will be 5 dimensions in the final graphs.

The 5 dimensions displayed below are:

  • left, y-axis: Varroa mite percent infestation
  • bottom, x-axis: Nosema infestation¬† measured by spores, log transformed to reduce the spread of the highest infested colonies
  • the size of the circles: Adult bee population, frames of bees estimation
  • Color of circles: Selection Index based on 1-3 rating for evaluation of Brood Disease, Deformed Wings, Brood Pattern, Temperament, Runny on comb, makes a 15 point scale
  • Time: Change over time all measures (unavailable in the present graphs because spring is not here yet), the circles will eventually move to positions for repeated measures.

Each colony is a circle. Their ID numbers are displayed. Hover over a circle to see the values. The ideal colonies would be colonies in the lower left corner, with the largest circles, and green in color.

There are few perfect index scores (colors of circles) because I overfed these colonies and most were honey bound which reduced their score for brood pattern by 1 point. This is not a result of their genetic value, but instead a result of management. The graphs don’t show this, but if I made it so the ‘notes’ about each colony appeared when you hovered over the graph, then that would be more apparent.

In the next graph, I have culled some of the colonies that had high varroa, low bee populations, high nosema spores, and bad index scores. In spring, I will cull more colonies, but for this graph, I just culled some to get a better view of the better colonies.

Once I have additional measures on these colonies in Spring, I’ll make it where you can click on a button and the circles will move, change size and color based on the new measures. That way, the change in colonies over time can be viewed. These graphs are made with Google Charts.

The idea of these graphs is to better visualize the measures on the colonies and better understand the performance of each colony. This will help me make an informed decision on which colonies to use as breeder stock in 2014.