The results are in: Support for marker-assisted selection breeding model

Hello everyone! Thank you very much to all the beekeepers who participated in our survey. And if you have not yet participated, it’s not too late (you can still find the survey here)! So far, we have had well over 100 respondents collectively representing 15% of all managed Canadian honey bee colonies. Here is what they had to say.


First, some preliminary information. We wanted to know more about the current state of the industry, namely, how colonies and queens are replaced and where they come from:




The system that is currently in place is very likely going to remain the cheapest option for beekeepers, but we wanted to know if there is a desire for higher queen quality, local queens, and if people will be willing to pay extra for queens satisfying their top two most desired traits. The responses to these questions were very encouraging, showing that there is indeed a demand for the service we are developing!




In order to benefit beekeepers the most, we wanted to know what traits are considered the most important to strive for. The results show that honey production, gentleness, overwintering success and hygienic behaviour are the top four most desirable traits.




To get a sense of what the perceived risks in the industry are, we asked “What are the biggest risks to sustainable beekeeping in Canada?” The top risk factors outlined here overlap partially, but not completely, with the actual causes of colony losses (as self-reported) over the last two years.




Finally, since marker-assisted selection is a new technology to the beekeeping industry, we wanted to know if the concept was supported or not. We are happy to see that despite having very little experience with it, beekeepers are generally interested in sending samples for MAS testing.




The combined results of all these questions tells us that there is a solid foundation of willingness, demand and interest to support kicking this service off the ground. Thanks again to everyone who participated!