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Qualities required by Brother Adam

"For profitable beekeeping, it seems to me appropriate to divide them into three main groups.
The first comprises those primary qualities which are essential for any maximum honey production.
The second, qualities which are subsidiary but nevertheless have a direct influence on the performance of a colony.
The third group includes those qualities which have a bearing on management." [extracted from Breeding the Honeybees]

The Primary Qualities for Performance.


The basic requirement for a colony to be able to produce the very best results is that it should be always at optimum straight at all time. [...] A queen which in the period from the end of May until the end of July cannot maintain with brood , nine to ten Dadant combs (46 x 27 cm) does not come up to our standards.

Industry or Foraging Zeal.

A high degree of fecundity must be accompanied by a boundless capacity for work in foraging. [...] From the genetic point of view, close inbreeding to intensify this quality can be counter-productive and even bring about a serious deterioration in performance.

Resistance to disease.

There can obviously be no hope of maximum performance where a colony is liable to any kind of disease. [...]

Disinclination to Swarm (anecbally).

A highly developed disinclination to swarm is an indispensable prerequisite in modern beekeeping. Swarming [...] prevents maximum production per colony. [...] Looked at realistically, a high degree of disinclination to swarm is preferable to a slight increase in honey production.

Secondary Qualities



Keen Sense of Smell.

Instinct for Defence.

Hardiness and Ability to Winter.

Spring Development.


Instinct of Self Provisioning.

Arrangement of the Honey Stores.

Wax production and Comb Building.

Gathering of Pollen.


Qualities which Influence Management.

Good Temper.

Calm Behaviour.

Disinclination to propolise.

Brace comb.


Honey capping.

Sense of Orientation.

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Last update : 7 Décember 1996
Please be (e) kind, send any correction or comment Courrier to Jean-Marie.VanDyck@fundp.ac.be