The limitations of biometric control on pure race breeding in Apis mellifera
Robin F A Moritz
German bee breeders have tried to replace the autochthonous honey bee population Apis mellifera mellifera with A. m. carnica, a SE European race of honey bee, for more than 40 years. The latter race is believed to be more adapted to bee management. In a biometrical study of the honey bee population in lower Bavaria, samples of at least 20 workers per colony were taken from 91 apiaries in autumn 1990. The wing venation patterns of the bees were analysed using multivariate discriminant analysis, and the results were compared with those for 6 samples of A. m. carnica used for commercial breeding from Kirchhain and 7 samples of preserved A. m. mellifera from Erlangen and Kulmbach dating back to 1911. The data indicate that, in spite of tremendous breeding efforts, the bees of this area form a hybrid type between A. m. carnica and A. m. mellifera. Although land-based mating stations have thus failed to produce pure racial types in this area, it is considered that such stations are of value to practical honey bee breeding if used appropriately in open population selection schemes.