looks like a good bet,
are the queens flown?
looks like a good bet,
are the queens flown?
you probably do not have alot of options over there in Nova Scotia,
where do you get your queens now?
I had very few options until this summer.
• NS had a closed border for 20 years.
• No importation of bees without special permits.
• Province imported all the queens for everyone at one time each spring from one supplier in Hawaii.
I obtained a permit this summer, and I got 10 of Bill Ferguson's Buckfast queens and queened my wintering nucs with those. We'll see how they're doing come spring.
The fruit industry (blueberries, and namely Oxford, who is the single largest beekeeper out here with 15,000, colonies pushed the province to open the border, because even with the all their colonies, they're still short on pollination. Also, I have a feeling they plan to get out of the bee business. We shall see.
Anyway, it appears that this year will be more open, and while that may increase competition for pollination contacts, it will make it easier for me to bring in strong genetic stock to build my own with. I am just getting started. My primary goal is a sustainable bee population. I am aiming to run about 100 colonies. Right now, I have 13. A ways to go.
After that, who knows?
Those Buckfast queens have a good rep
RE: Live and Let Die - Do you really reduce the gene pool? I wouldnt think the gene pool would be reduced as much as queen breeders who raise thousands of queens from just a few.
AA, AB, BA, or BB.
Any bee with a B gene will be aggressive, SO only an AA is a calm bee that every beekeeper is looking for. So nearly all beekeepers are picking out colonies to produce queens from that are calm. the problem is that in all of these there are only A genes. There is zero chance that the B gene will get passed on.
Now beekeepers everywhere are saying, "So What"! We don't want that gene anyway. Well maybe. what if the only gene that disease resistance is connected to is a B gene?
Now it is not nearly this simple. many traits have a dosage factor involved. that means that a bee with just one B gene will not be as aggressive as one with two B genes. this simply means that more genes means the trait shows up stronger.
Now it gets complicated. it is very unlikely that aggressive behavior is the result of just one gene. but actually a combination of genes. Genes are put together in strands and different part or alleles can get on the string in different combinations. Some traits are a result of one gene being closer or further from another in the string. So lets say aggressiveness is a result of how close A and B are together. So a bee with ABXYZ gueens is far more aggressive than a bee with AXYZB genes. But Z is our disease resistance gene. and for bees to be resistant disease this gene must be right next to gene B. And B must be within one allele of A. In this case only a AXBZY or an AXZBY bee will show both disease resistance and some calmness. If you every get a very clam bee it will be susceptible to disease.
As you can see with even a few different genes you get a lot of combinatins that mix with a lto of other combinations for a huge number of possible combinations. in a good genetic pool these combinations will number in the millions. not hundreds or thousands.
In nature the end result of millions of small variations is that when a new disease comes along. nothing has to develop a resistance to it. the combination that can resist that disease already exists. That man is trying to get the bee to resist the last 4 or 5 problems is a huge problem. what man needs to be doing is breeding the bee that will tolerate the next 4 or 5 that we know nothing about yet. But man wants his big colonies that make lots of honey and do so as gentle bees. Not the making of a vast variety that is already prepared to withstand any future threat. That is a healthy genetic pool. it contains millions of variable combinations.
It seems due to factors beyond our immediate control our best options for building better bees goes out the window for a couple of reasons:
1) Successful natural selection comes from members of a species adapting and surviving a range of variables in region which will be limited in scope by the travel abilities/habits of the species combined with the species being exposed in a limited in scope to the conditions and pathogens which would exist in that region and the limits of exposure to new threats due to the same factors. In modern times new threats or issues are introduced in multiples which would not exist in a "natural world", ie. packages of bees from Austrailia, Africanzed bees from South America or Africa as are believed to have either migrated or been introduced from a ship and migration of colonies, being kept contary to natural conditions, nation wide. This factor it would seem places a very un-natural pressure on the species. This seems to eliminate this natural selection as a having much viable impact due to the never ending cycle of what appears to be bee pandemic.
2) Treaments, which if not in existance, would have likely resulted in at least a large (perhaps I should say larger looking at CCD) depopulation of bees, a great reduction in both commercial pollinators needed to support the worlds food supply, and hobby beekeepers who would likely not be able to invest in the cost of buying from very limited bee suppliers. Drugs are not what any of us want, they negatively impact the betterement of the species but are absolutely necessary as a bridge for the industry to reach a future. Israli virus (one of many), hive beetles, varroa, wax moth, AFB, Africanization, pesticides, etc. - too many un-natural and constantly chaning factors on scene at once.
3) The "puppy mill" effect on queen breeders as a result of the perfect storm of conditions from many factors which arise from a sudden large demand for replacement bees and queens. This has decreased the quality of queens as studies have shown and may even be increasing the spread of negative survival factors on a large scale, ie. queens being shiped with unusual numbers of virus strains and the decreased ability to do more selective breeding due to losses in breeding operations.
When I look at these factors combined with the 2012 drought I wonder where is the safety net of time and resources that allows us to get out of the survival mode and develop a more comprehensive model to deal with what we face and overcome the multitude of issues on a large scale which more comprehensively deals with the current issues and treatments. Maybe some of the folks who have the protocol and have written a thesis could work on such a model or make suggestions in how we get to that model? It would be good if the research monies were distributed in a way to eliminate duplication of work and aimed at developing a model we could all understand and work with. Is this approach possible?
>>It would be good if the research monies were distributed in a way to eliminate duplication of work and aimed at developing a model we could all understand and work with. Is this approach possible?
wow that was a breath of fresh air! I m with you on that
I was thinking about this subject because it's one that comes up again and again, posed in opposition to Bond Method beekeepers.
Here's my thought. All the bees we have are descended from a relatively small population of bees already, especially the commercially available ones. And if the stories are to be believed, a relatively small number of colonies were imported to this country some hundreds of years ago. Furthermore, the honeybee genome is a tenth the size of the human genome, containing only 10,000 genes. The honeybee genome has evolved more slowly than that of other insects and has fewer genes for immunity than other insects. In this country, there are around 2.5 million kept colonies and for the sake of argument, let's say there are just as many feral ones. Since each colony is essentially one reproductive individual and each drone only gets to mate once, we might think of colonies as individuals, at least for a simplistic view.
If I'm losing a fifth of my hives on average each year, and everybody else seems to be losing just as many, I ask again what's being lost? Bees aren't endangered. I haven't seen any evidence that the species has lost any specific gene or trait. They still do all the things they used to.
I calculated that it takes something like 29 generations before any given queen has more direct ancestors than there are base pairs in her DNA. If a hive exists in a tree and swarms once a year, then outside of any supersedures, that hive achieves 29 generations in 29 years. Any significant similarity in the DNA of the granddaughter is gone long before then.
I'm just trying to understand the scope of this subject in real numbers.
Here's what I believe according to the evidence I have gathered: The number of colonies is so great, and the amount of genetic information is so great that the chance of losing any given piece of information with the death of any given hive is miniscule or functionally impossible. That's what I believe according to the evidence I have seen, but I am always open to new evidence or interpretations of the evidence.
you would have to agree that certain traits can and will be lost after generations of selection pressures. you would also have to agree that while loosing those certain traits, they are replaced with favorable traits related to that selection pressure. So really nothing is lost right?
Biogeography in biology and evolutionary biology, one may see the same
questions asked and answered or at least theories proposed to answer the
questions raised in a "Bond" or "Live and Let Die" scenario of selection
A salient point in honey bee heredity is sex determination. Honey bees'
sexual heredity is allelic, not chromosomal (XX vs XY) as in vertebrates.
Thus, one may find their population limited by a homogeneous expression in
the sex allele area, causing poor brood pattern and general decline.
This inherit mechanism forces drone promiscuity to be positive, and forces
small populations of isolated bees to retain a specific size necessary to allow the sex
allele expression to remain diverse enough to keep the general population
Physiologically, a small, isolated honey bee population will go extinct after X
number of generations due to the inherint homogeniety that will occur
in sex allele inheritance.
One could say that drones fly and virgins fly, each to mate, to increase
the chances of heterozygosity in sex allele expression by mating with
others that have different sex allele expressions.
BOND or Live and Let Die would encourage the rapid sex allele
homogeneity, if the population became to small. The Paige-Laidlaw model for
breeding in a closed population addresses this somewhat, but folks who use
this model still bring in new breeders now and then, injecting new genotypic
combinations where specifically, sex determination, needs to be made more
heterozygus: more diverse. You get the idea.
If one has a small, highly controlled breeding population, one will indeed
need to create an artificial gene flow by bringing in new blood, or one will
lose all. If one has a small breeding population and one is open-mating, then one is
usually okay with the way the gene flow occurs.
I understand how these models work on isolated populations like Galapagos tortoises and many New Zealand native species, but that's not what we're dealing with. What relevant information can we find that fits the conditions we have?
seems to me like a big part of the equation, and what i hope i can capitalize on at my location, is the drone contribution from the local ferals.
I think it's because of what you just said Sol, hard selection for a FEW traits. You lose some diversity in your population of bees as you may lose most of you hives but with open mating I don't see any bottlenecking taking place. I think people would just rather see a more controlled breeding practice of bringing in your desired traits with known stock and introgressing those genes into current apiaries and keeping more of the diversity people like to see in their bees.
The only other issue I see is if something else comes in early in your rebuilding phase and now all your bees are susceptible to that because most of your hives are now base from what few surviving colonies you had left and are probably pretty similar to each other.
i think we may be giving ourselves too much credit for what we can and can't do with the bee. maybe managed, but never domesticated.
On the nose Mr. Peg.
thanks sol, ;)