Sklenar lines

Ing. Franz Obendorfer on the topic of line breeding

In our line breeding, we follow a model that has been practiced for decades and is originally based to a large extent on the recommendations of the brothers Friedrich and Hans Rutter in the former DDR1. Guido Sklenar defined line as a kinship group2 that resulted from inbreeding from a single mother queen of a line, was himself a convinced performance breeder and followed the principle "performance over color". Nonetheless, in his best-known work "Beekeeping Practice", he explains that, due to careful color breeding, there have been strains for several decades that inherit the same color and underpins his assertion with the line "47/21/Edelstein", which is a "uniformly gray Dress inherited".3 Regarding line breeding, he said in the same book that a breeder could breed from a bee mother theoretically five or six years until she dies and with her the line she embodied.

As a rule, the name of the line is based on the beekeeping parentage. Prof. Dr. Pechhacker4 said in 2009 that "at least 50% of the blood content could not be maintained in the long term and therefore the line is again named after the maternal ancestry." At the same event, Prof. Dr. Bienefeld5 confirmed that "colonies were counted to the line if they have at least 50% line genes." The same bee researcher repeated in an article in 2010, with reference to Friedrich Rutter, that lines are defined via maternal ancestry and that all colonies are included in the line as soon as at least 50% of the genes of the line have.6 Despite this dilution, "the line will certainly continue to play a role in many breeding and purchasing decisions, as it is familiar to many beekeepers and, at least in the case of 'solid' lines, allows to some extent predictions about the quality of queens."

For our breeding efforts, line management is above all an adequate tool to avoid long-term inbreeding problems.

1 Prof. Dr. Pritsch, LIB im Rahmen der Züchtertagung des DIB in Kirchhain 2009
2 Imkerpraxis 1948, Kapitel Züchterische Fachausdrücke, ÖR Guido Sklenar
3 ÖK Guido Sklenar, Imkerpraxis 1948, 6. Auflage, Seite 42
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Toleranzzucht e.V., Prof. Dr. Hermann Pechhacker, Lunz, Präsident ACA, 2009
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Toleranzzucht e.V., Prof. Dr. Kaspar Bienefeld, Hohen Neuendorf, Leiter Länderinstitut für Bienenkunde, 2009
Deutsches Bienen-Journal 2/2010, Prof. Dr. Kaspar Bienefeld, Hohen Neuendorf, Leiter Länderinstitut für Bienenkunde


IM Anton Schleining on the topic of Sklenar linages

What was written in the fifties of the last century about the Sklenar queen bee linages is no longer true today. At that time one had at the breeding stations all together seven father breeding hives. Since 1986 there have always been at least 26 father breeding hives. Already this fact has made the breeding of Sklenar linages much safer. The influence of the well-selected father linages has ensured that the linages became very uniform. Every year we change the linage of the father breeding hives in a rotation principle to avoid inbreeding damage. The linages do not differ noticeably in their characteristics. All of them have been selected by me for over 30 years according to the same selection criteria. 1. gentleness, 2. honey performance, 3. honeycomb strength, 4. swarm inclination, 5. Varroa tolerance. Since I was allowed to place the father breeding hives for the pure breeding site at "Hirschgrund" for thirty seasons, I was also able to make very good progress in breeding selection. Our bees are very gentle and bring great yields. Demand from far and near confirms that. 


Hannerl Weber-Sklenar (daughter of Guido Sklenar)

Waisenhausstr. 14, A 2130 Mistelbach
Das Bienenmütterchen, Jahrgang 36, Baden-Baden, Juni 1984, Nummer 6

To this question, I would like to say that each of our lines has special lovers. Occasionally, however, beekeepers from the same area, who are imprisoned in the same honey yield, swear by different lines. It probably depends last on the beekeeper, also it should be pointed out that queens of a line, in different years related, can show small differences . Every breeding mother is a bit different, there are no two identical mothers, but it is important that they have the same outstanding characteristics and are faithfully passed on. Since I was asked by many new readers to characterize our lines, I hereby comply with this request.

Line 47/P/1
This line is already very old (47 = Tribe, P = Pollen, 1 = Hivenumber). The various hereditary factors stand out particularly striking in this line. So these colonies contribute true pollen boards. Pollen is vital for the bee. The powerful, less swarming line with its increasingly prominent hereditary structure offers excellent combination possibilities.

Line 47/9, today 47/19/48
Also the line 47/9 is older date, however it runs today under the line designation 47/19/48, because it got whether its striking prominent characteristics a new designation. The profile: Particularly robust, weather-resistant, lamb-friendly, brings strong colonies, excellent in performance, less swarms. Nice in the color (gray). 

Line 47/9/15
This line is also very old. The colonies are almost uniform gray, medium-strong, lots of brood, brisk, spirited lads, lively. Here there is always operation, is always something going on, given case would be the clumsiness of the beekeeper immediately the answer. In performance A+.

Line 47/9/26
Again, this is an older line. The mothers of the 9/26 are particularly vital, they get 5 to 6 years old. The colonies show pronounced Hüngler character, are particularly good winter suppliers, excellent in performance, very few swarms and lamb-friendly. I recommend this line to every hobby beekeeper, because these colonies will never starve and make no 'trouble'. The line 47/9/26 brings a lot of propolis, is very robust and weather-hard. The colonies are medium-strong, independent and offer very good combination possibilities. The total impression of the bee is darker.

Line 47/9/24
The line 47/9/24 is already older. She is extremely powerful, brings very strong colonies, is gentle and stays on the comb. Color is very balanced, brings especially long-living queens and bees. She is very weatherproof and swarms less. Offers very good combination possibilities.

Line 47/G/10
The great cast lately, my husband and I succeeded with the new line 47 / G / 10, which we brought out after a long, conscientious examination in the tenth year after my father 's death and which we named after him (47 = root designation, G = Guido and 10 means in this case that we went public on father's day of death). The line 47 / G / 10 is as meek as a lamb, children can work with it. It's the gentlest bee we've ever had. It brings particularly strong colonies, fills 3 or even 4 honey supers, so it is extremely fertile and is very suitable for the migratory beekeepers. In the breeding area, it stores very little honey. The colonies are excellent in performance, extremely strong and less swarming. There is no sting on the line, even if a honeycomb should fall out of your hand.

Line 47/H/47
Again, this is a new line. She is the pronounced darling of my husband. He named her after me: 47 = tribal name, H = Hannerl, 47 = hive number. The colonies of this line are great guys, just indestructible. They have their little room neatly clean and keep strict order also regarding wax moths. If you open a hive of this line, it smells wonderful. The colonies are medium strong. The H / 47 is much more spirited than the G / 10. It is excellent in performance, an excellent self-sufficient, less swarming and lots of brood, even in late autumn you have strong colonies, it is remarkably robust and weather-hardy. In the morning, she is the first to wake up and the last to go to bed.

In summary, I would like to note that the lines differ only in the character of the colonies, but hardly in the outer one. Inbreeding damages are not to be feared, since innumerable combinations are given within the different lines. With that I tried to sketch our current lines. Truly a delicate task, because nothing is as variable as the bee.


Content for the most part thankfully provided by beekeeping master Anton Schleining. Translation and revision by beekeeping master Franz Obendorfer