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  1. #1
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    Wanted to start fresh to hear others knowledge on a sub-topic of something recently discussed.

    Did you ever hear of or have a healthy hive just crashing for no apparent reason? I did. And thats why I think genetic selection and splitting off your survivor hives will be the key to beekeeping in the future. Whether you use FGMO, small cell, or anything else, it wont matter in the long run, without survivor bred bees.

    I will say that those using small-cell regression are selecting survivor traits as part of this procedure. And maybe that has more to do with it than anything else. FGMO, and others do not.

    Even low mite levels can cause a hive to crash. I believe achieving low mite counts will limit the damage but the damage will still be there. I'm talking about the 12 to 20 (you hear different numbers published) viruses that the mite and other parasites can inject into the hive. Research and the understanding of these viruses is very incomplete. I never even heard of "disappearing bee syndrome" until this year.
    The one thing you hear about is that no matter what method you use, ie. small-cell, etc, you will still have a small amount of mites present. One mite infecting one bee, feeding and infecting one queen, perhaps means infected brood and a dead hive. Researchers are not even sure in some cases how these viruses spread throughout the hive.

    Remember, its not the mites that are sucking these bees to death all the time, its what is transmitted by them. Genetic selection and being able to cope with these viruses is the next step as total elimination of mites is useless.

    This is from a beekeepers thoughts, not a research scientist. so what do you think or know?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
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    NE Calif.
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    Heres what I think I know about bee viruses:
    1.They are present to some degree in most hives at sub-lethal levels.
    2.Stress on the bees causes the levels to escalate.Hives were being killed by viruses before the arrival of mites.Particularly paralysis,but not as commonly as after the mites arrived.
    3.There is a virus association with varroa , tracheal mites, and nosema.When all are present ,the hive is doomed.
    4.Keep these pest levels under control,minimize stress,and the viruses stay sub-lethal.
    5.I suspect that mite resistant bees are actually virus resistant,in some cases.When I had a lot of hives dying from varroa/viruses it was noticeable that some werent being affected at all.These survivors passed on their genes,but I cannot afford to allow that level of collapse ever again.The vast majority of bees do not have much resistance to varroa/viruses so it will be a long time before I will feel safe in not treating.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    I have had hives that survived the winter with heavy mite infestations that normally would kill a hive. I believe they have some kind of virus resistance that enabled them to do so. I also have hives that have low occurance of mites. I assume the two are seperate genetic traits. I think both are needed.

  4. #4
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    Jul 2000
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    Disappearing Disease was a hot topic back in the 70s.Every prominent bee writer had a pet explanation,from pollen deficiency to inbred bright yellow Italian queens.It would seem now that viruses played a role in at least some of these cases.Maybe inbreeding,poor pollen,etc.were the stress triggers that let viruses collapse whole apiaries just like varroa is doing now.It is a complicated problem,being as how it isnt easy to detect viruses.and there is no cure anyway.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    michigan
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    There seems to be alot of speculation about viruses lately. Hearing lots of folks talking about hives crashing while having low tracheal and varroa populations and this was happening all the way thru the summer and continues. Number of these folks think viruses are the cause. Maybe its viruses....maybe not. After all these years of living with t-mites and varroa, i have a good handle on multiple ways to deal with that but I really dont know or understand much about viruses.

    In the last couple of years, my opinion is the wax/drawn comb may be more important than I ever thought before. The best bees I saw in the last two years hands down, no comparison to anything else were not mine but another fellows. They seem to have two traits......specific genetics and new wax.....not necessarily small cell but new drawn combs. Yes im still more than a little skeptical about small cell.


  6. #6
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    Hey Wineman,
    Well you know,viruses are like demons,they are handy to blame something on when we really dont know.....
    What specific genetics are you referring to?
    (always looking for something better!)
    The point is ,though we cant do anything about viruses, we CAN do something about the vectors.I have heard of hives crashing lately and there may be a shortage for almonds.

    [This message has been edited by loggermike (edited December 26, 2003).]

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    michigan
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    Hey Mike

    He has some survivor stuff he keeps breeding from.

    Im bored and headed to the chat room. See if anyone is there.

  8. #8
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    Yeah I'm bored too.Thats why i've been loafing on the internet all day .I better start doing some back exercises or its gonna be a killer bending over the hives in 3 weeks.
    --Fat and outta shape Mike

  9. #9
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    May 2003
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    michigan
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    I can get my hands on some survivor stuff if you want but I will make the predictions that you wont like it for pollination. Starts too slow for February I would suspect.


  10. #10

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    "Did you ever hear of or have a healthy hive just crashing for no apparent reason? I did. And thats why I think genetic selection and splitting off your survivor hives will be the key to beekeeping in the future. Whether you use FGMO, small cell, or anything else, it wont matter in the long run, without survivor bred bees. "


    First, to answer your question, I have not heard of bees dying for no apparent reason.

    Second, if bees died for "no apparent reason", then why use survivors to produce progeny? This is an action that suggests a reason.

    Third, sounds like a lot of Darwinism when talking about using survivors. I sure am glad that my weak asthmatic self has a longer lifespan.

    I know this does not add much to the discussion, but I found it lightly humorous. I wish there were more bee scientists crunching numbers.

  11. #11
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    Thats the problem,bees bred for the North arent the best for cal. or the South.If I lived in the North I would be overwintering nucs from my own local stock,or taking them South but maintaining the strain.
    I didnt like the Russians I had because they didnt have the bees in Feb.They were all 4 and 5 framers.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
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    NE Calif.
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    <I wish there were more bee scientists crunching numbers.
    Far as I know there are no bee scientists here at all,just beekeepers struggling to stay in business with the best info we can find.A lot of what I do is based on intuition and its not always right.I too wish there were more bright people doing bee research.


  13. #13
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    May 2003
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    michigan
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    ive found my russians to be slower building up than carniolans but faster than american buckfast. they seemed a couple of brood cycles behind the carnis this last spring but thats only one years worth of observation too. curiously they were slower than my canadians which usually are just behind the carnis but well ahead of the american buckfast.

    ive heard the yellow/blue line from 2003 is suppose to be quicker building up but spring is hardly even a distant thought yet....lol

  14. #14
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    For my purposes, various Italian Carn crosses seem to be ideal.I am up here in the cold and snowy mountains but the bees are in an area where 30 degrees at night is considered cold Ha Ha.When I check them in mid -Jan they are usually bringing in pollen.Thanks for the tip on the Russians.My experience was limited to 2 individual queen mothers and their daughters so really should reserve comment since the 'Russians' are really a lot of different strains.

    [This message has been edited by loggermike (edited December 26, 2003).]

  15. #15
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    Jul 2003
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    Kansas
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    Well I've been trying to learn about the ideal PH balance of the hive to see if what I've been feeding them throws off the balance..

    Billy Bob sent me some information about the PH of honey and it's a start but what about the ph of wax or of the bees themselves? I don't know this information yet..

    I'm wondering if the depleted minerals of the land around here and the pesticides the farmers use cause our problems? If so, I just don't see how we'll ever help the bees to overcome their problems.

    The virus?

    There was a post here from a beekeeper who said to shake the bees onto new frames? Foundation asap.... Well I had some deformed wing virus and decided not to shake down the bees. They are on the same wax they've started three years ago.

    So far all the hives are still alive.

    If they die, I'll be sure to report this information..

  16. #16
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    I dont know about shaking the bees off the combs when they are crashing from viruses.I think it is too late at that point.I do know for a fact that after the bees die ,you can re-establish a package or nuc into the hive the next season with no problem.The bees will clean out the dead brood and soon will be productive again.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
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    crown point, NY, USA
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    Bjorn,

    Did you ever hear of or have a healthy hive just crashing for no apparent reason? I did. And thats why I think genetic selection and splitting off your survivor hives will be the key to beekeeping in the future. Whether you use FGMO, small cell, or anything else, it wont matter in the long run, without survivor bred bees.

    reply:

    Of course! Look at those who treat late with say apistan. They treat in late sept. yet mite populations weren'y too high, but the damage was done, mites are knocked down, but too late. The bees colapse anyways from the vectored viruses and the sapping of there strength from all season.

    I will say that those using small-cell regression are selecting survivor traits as part of this procedure. And maybe that has more to do with it than anything else. FGMO, and others do not.

    reply:

    Yes. Those that use nothing but small cell have always said that the restructuring of the cells in the colony is only 1/3 of the equation. Breeding/survivors and change in diet of the bee make for a whole program to help the bees.

    Even low mite levels can cause a hive to crash. I believe achieving low mite counts will limit the damage but the damage will still be there.

    reply:

    Yes. Here is one place where I think small cell will help the honeybee. I believe it will produce a mcuh tighter exoskeleton of the honeybee. Kinda like a suit of armor were there is little to no cracks to get at. Making it much more difficult for the varroa to cause the damage in the first place also making it easier for the bees to groom themselves. I also think it will play a part in the food mix in the cell to feed young larvae making for a healthier bee.

    etc, you will still have a small amount of mites present. One mite infecting one bee, feeding and infecting one queen, perhaps means infected brood and a dead hive. Researchers are not even sure in some cases how these viruses spread throughout the hive.

    reply:

    We should never go from the perspective to eliminate all the mites! That isn't natural at all. I personally think at a natural state we as beekeepers should only see around 5% loss from varroa or less. I think if beekeepers changed there current feeding practices to incorporate more natural stores rather than syrup they would have a far healthier bee. I would say 20% suplemental feeding at the maximum. Look at the info MB metions that the use of natural stores decreased nosema.......(in another post some where)

    Remember, its not the mites that are sucking these bees to death all the time, its what is transmitted by them. Genetic selection and being able to cope with these viruses is the next step as total elimination of mites is useless.

    This is from a beekeepers thoughts, not a research scientist. so what do you think or know?

    reply:

    I agree. One reason I use small cell is that it may change one (or several) of the underlaying roots to many of the problems. Altough not all of the problems for certain.


  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
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    Do a google search virus varroa and enough will come up to get a good handle on what is going on with virus research. http://www.beekeeping.com/vita/bdiseases/miscda.htm
    This is a quick overview of the problem.Also: http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/academic/...rroa_virus.txt

    [This message has been edited by loggermike (edited December 27, 2003).]

  19. #19

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    Bjorn, Have you seen Jack Griffes Honeybee Improvement Program website?: http://griffes.tripod.com/HIP1.html

    Its amazing that again even a second discussion strays from breeding and selection - reminds me of a story - did I ever tell you about my shaggy dog?

    Brian Cady

  20. #20

    Post

    Further note re: H.I.P. in Queen and Beel Breeding section.

    Brian Cady

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