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  1. #1
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    For those of you just tuning in, this is a carryover from " can swarming be our saviour"

  2. #2
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    Buckbee, thanks for your reply. It matches science as I understand it.

    I read an article about a woman that crossed a whimpy wild rice with the domestic rice. She expected to get something inbetween. What se got was a rice with a seed head twice that of the domestic rice. It seems that there was an unexpressed gene sequence burried in domestic rice that lacked a trigger gene, and this whimpy wild rice had the triger gene but not the gene sequence. A triger not found in any of the domestic rice she tested. The point of the article was the need to safe guard our wild strains.

    To say it again, she introduced a gene that activated an unexpressed gene sequence with unforseeable results.

    Isnt this the same arguement that is being used against gene spliceing?

    In this case it produced more food, but couldnt it just as easily have restarted a toxin that the plant used to protect itself, one that is toxic to humans? This seems just as dangerous as puting a gene from a fish into a tomatoe.

    Again I say, this was sexual reproduction, rice to rice....just like nature intended.

    If we shouldnt even mix wild species into our domestic strains then maybe we should leave the wild swarms alone and stick with our domestic breeding programs.....just kidding, but I knew I could tie frankin-food in with swarming somehow.

    I'll admit, I read Discover/Scientific American and the like. I know its watered down, and spun with a techno spin. Thats why I am hitting you organic folks up, some of you are very well read on the science of the opposing view.

    I have a personal stake in the gm movement. My niece uses insuline prodced by a bacteria modified to produce human insuline.

    I have read about a yellow rice that was modified to make and store beta-caratine in its seed. It was slated to go to India, where it was expected to save millions of children form blindness. Dont know how that turned out, but the idea of a nitrogen fixing corn, or a perenial wheat that seeds in June and provides grazeing the rest of the season like a good thing to me.

    Like I said before, you cant whip this stuff up and toss it out the door to see what it will do. All the concerns that were listed from greenpeace are valid. But that shouoldnt stop us from checking out this option.

  3. #3
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    The one part that I'll comment on is the "safeguard our wild strains".

    In beekeeping, too many beekeepers are priding themselves for going out and collecting feral stock by cutting down trees, or destroying other natural nesting sites of honeybees. They see dollar signs or want to say they have feral stock, or for some other ego based motive. I am not talking about the extraction of a colony from a building or other needed removal. These are almost always just swarms from another beekeeper, even though many do thier best to convince themselves otherwise. I am talking about trees, and long term used sites, that do not need to be disturbed.

    What needs to happen, is the monitoring, studying, and collecting of the stock by non-invasive or non-destructive means.

    Feral bee cavities are on average smaller than the standard hive beekeepers keep. This allows the feral colony to swarm more than average. Although this may add to the survivability of the colony, it also allow beekeepers to collect swarms by placing swarm boxes and lets the hive not be destroyed. Perhaps comb/egg extraction could be accomplished in an ideal situation.

    The monitoring and studying of the feral colony should be accomplished without destroying the site. Many times the extraction, and then the placement in a standard hive is enough to kill the colony. Instead, collecting swarms, collecting bee samples for bee analysis and other steps can and should be done.

    Those doing nothing more than cutting down trees and destroying other long use bee sites are doing the bees, themselves, and the bee industry a disservice. Let the feral alone if you do not know what your doing.

    I would say that 95 to 99%% of the swarms collected or extracted are just feral swarms that were cast off from other beekeepers hives. If by chance you do come across a feral hive, and by "feral" I mean more than the definition of "feral", but the more misused meaning of having some long term survivor colony, consider your options and what would be best for the bees. Can't other means of studying, propogating, and helping the bees be accomplished other than someone grabbing a chainsaw?

  4. #4
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    > "safeguard our wild strains"...

    > ...cutting down trees, or destroying other
    > natural nesting sites of honeybees...

    While the actions of a tiny minority of
    beekeepers certainly would reduce the number
    of potential nesting sites by some number of
    trees, is this a significant impact, one we
    need to worry about reducing the statistical
    odds of any one swarm finding a new home?

    No.
    Bigger forces are at work, forces that render
    the actions of beekeepers to insignificance.

    Read this:
    http://www.forestinformation.com/media/factsheets.asp

    Which includes:

    </font>
    • Canada's forests cover 417.9 million hectares
      (a billion acres, or 45 percent of the land base).</font>
    • Fifty-six percent of those forests (that's
      235 million hectares, or 588 million acres) are
      managed for timber production.</font>
    • US forests cover 747 million acres (301
      million hectares, or 33 percent of the land base).</font>
    • Sixty-seven percent of the total area of US
      forests (495 million acres, or 198 million
      hectares) are commercial forests, used to produce
      timber for forest products.</font>
    "Managed forests" do not allow trees to stand
    long enough to develop rotted-out interiors of
    the sort that bees favor. It wouldn't be
    profitable to let that timber "go to waste",
    would it? More to the point, very few of
    these "managed" trees are the sort of hardwoods
    that can still stand when rotted out inside.
    "Managed forests" tend to be endless monocultures
    of pine.

    I'd say that the chainsaws are more of a risk
    to the number of beekeepers than the number of
    potential swarm nests! [img]smile.gif[/img]

  5. #5
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    The numbers you qoute are all the reason for beekeepers to do anything and everything they can to save old world growth nesting sites. I am not talking about commercial tracts of forrest that can not support nesting sites. And am I concerned with a swarms inability to find a site as you mention? No. I never mentioned that. It was more focused on the event that if you did cross paths with a true feral colony, what would you do, and what can be done to lessen the impact instead of just cutting down the tree and taking home your prized "feral" stock.

    Equating the number of acres of forrest that are left in the states or Canada does what? I also know that nesting sites for the eastern bluebird has been drastically reduced thereby cutting the numbers significantly over the years. I don't think commercial tree farms and managed tracts are to blame. Many farms and communities have less nesting sites sich as old growth trees, fence posts, etc. I equate the limited sites to many factors, but it does exist. Limiting the impact or view to just beekeepers is narrow in scope. Yes, beekeeper have a small impact versus the community at large, but does that equate to beekeepers not doing the best they can and perhaps making even small positive impacts. I guess if a group of beekeepers, such as one to include Jim fischer, can not see the impact they can cause, and say its not worth being concerned about...how can we expect any better from anyone else? Or do some just not care as to say the impact of tens of thousands of beekeepers is insignificant?

    Regardless, my comments were not based on acres or the ability of swarms to find nesting sites. It had to do with the overall effort and perception of beekeepers who feel the need to collect every feral colony they come across. I say leave the tree and colony. Study, collect, and propogate without cutting the tree down and perhaps destroying another colony that may have some siginificance.

    I did not know that a indepth look into the forrest industry was something to be considered based on my original comments. Not sure if a group of insignificant beekeepers can do much about the industry as a whole. But maybe it would be significant to a couple beekeepers standing under a big old tree asking "How do we get them there bees out of the tree?"

  6. #6
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    Blue.eyed.Wolf said, "I read an article about a woman that crossed a whimpy wild rice with the domestic rice. She expected to get something inbetween. What se got was a rice with a seed head twice that of the domestic rice. It seems that there was an unexpressed gene sequence burried in domestic rice that lacked a trigger gene, and this whimpy wild rice had the triger gene but not the gene sequence. A triger not found in any of the domestic rice she tested. The point of the article was the need to safe guard our wild strains. To say it again, she introduced a gene that activated an unexpressed gene sequence with unforseeable results."

    &gt;

    The same thing happened with the cross breed of the European & African bees. Which enhanced an aggressive / defensive gene. Also, it created a bee that produced more honey and had more vigorous brood production. It seems that a lot of genes were enhanced by that hybridization; good and bad. They're even resistant to mites. If this is the result of an accidental cross breeding, how much better would controlled cross breeding of a bee be.

    I believe that as time progresses that a bee will appear that will be nearly, too completely, hygenic and resistant to the mite by natural selection. What I mean is, that the hives that are dying now are getting rid of bees that were not tolerant to the mite. While the hives that are surviving are getting increasingly more resistant; like the SMR.

    Ideally, the bee that we would like to have would be resistant or co-habitable with the mites, a large honey producer, non-swarming, gentle, hygenic and able to over-winter well. I don't think there is, as of yet, a bee like that. But I think we will acquire one at some point. Until then, medicate them in which ever way you see fit.
    Will Gruenwald Chilliwack BC

  7. #7
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    Nature may be working in another dorection as well,

    The parasite that quickly kills its host is ineffecient. Natural selictive pressures may be pushing for a mite that isnt quite as destructive.

    I agree with you Bjorn, I dont cut down my apple tree to get the fruit. Same concept.

    The gist of my long winded first post was that gene splicing is different only in degrees from natural mating.

  8. #8
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    BEW - I see that you have deftly reversed an attempt to turn this thread back to swarming!

    I don't claim any high level scientific knowledge, but it seems to me that nature has her own built-in safeguards against genetic disasters. Genes in fish do not, in nature, find their way into tomatoes. Neither do kangaroos cross with alligators to make jumping things with big teeth. Of course, different strains of the same species can cross freely - in rice and in bees - and the resulting cross may or may not have one or more survival advantages, which is all that matters in terms of 'natural selection'.

    We have other criteria than just survival value that we apply to our food crops and domesticated animals, so we deliberately cross for yield, resistance to disease, rapid weight gain, etc. By doing so we are attempting to bend nature to our will, and, insomuch as we make the right selections and continue to provide the appropriate
    environment to sustain them, there is nothing inherently 'wrong' with this. That approach to breeding has enabled us to develop relatively stable civilisations that are no longer dependent on hunting and gathering and makes cities like New York possible. (Come to think of it, was that such a good idea?

    However, once we start down the road of gene splicing, we are into entirely new territory, as we are introducing into the natural environment life forms that have never previously existed and of which, therefore, no other life forms have any
    'experience'. Anything could happen - and have happened and will continue to happen - so long as we act as if we have total control of nature, which have have not and never can have.

    We (by which I mean the GM-sceptic movement in the UK) managed to abort many of the open-air GM experiments in Britain and we did so because we were deeply concerned about the potential dangers of letting herbicide-resistant genes loose among agricultural crops and by default into the wild. The fact that Roundup-resistant wheat has spread so quickly across the USA, even in places where it has never been planted, I think demonstrates that we took the right position.

    (I put the use of GM for medical applications, such as insulin, in a different category, as they do not involve the spread of novel genes into the environment.)

    If we take the example of what we call oilseed rape (I think it's Canola across the pond) - Brassica napa, to avoid confusion. Some varieties are largely self-pollinating, while other rely more on insect pollination. And we all know how much bees love either kind. Any gene introduced artificially into the OSR genome has the potential to affect the gut of foraging insects, such that unpredictable and unexpected results may occur, including some that may be damaging to the bees' survival. The point is, we just don't know what could happen until proper, exended tests are done, over a decent amount of time. That is why I challenged Norman Carreck of Rothamstead (UK agricultural research station) to produce the results of such tests before giving the green light to open-air GM experiments. He could not produce such results.

    We must also remember that GM is being pushed by giant corporations, who care more about taking control of the world's food chain than they do about beekeepers' interests. Personally, I have no desire to entrust the future of our food supply to the likes of Aventis, Monsanto and Bayer.

    (Sorry this went on so long.)
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  9. #9
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    I opened this this thread so we could discuss GM here, and discuss swarming in the thread you started. I thought the title "from swarms to GM" was apropreate. More of my twisted humor I guess. I'm still learning the protocall of the site, so maybe I did it wrong.

    I believe I have read that inter-species gene swapping has been going on in nature since the git-go. Unrelated species of weeds turning up round-up ready proves this out. Our genome is littered with little snippits of things picked up through time...not sure which side of the debate this feeds.

    You definately wont get an arguement here about NYC, never been there, so I didnt leave anything there, so I dont need to leave my little place sticks here.

  10. #10
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    &gt;&gt; I believe I have read that inter-species gene swapping has been going on in nature since the git-go.

    I would like to hear how this works in practice.

    &gt;&gt;Unrelated species of weeds turning up round-up ready proves this out.

    Not really. OSR crosses eith a number of RELATED species - pretty much any other flowering Brassica (e.g. wild mustard), thus the potential (and recorded occurrence) of out-crossing to the wild.

    "Oilseed rape 'volunteer' plants [1], already in flower, have been found at a site used earlier in the year in the Government's GM Farm Scale Evaluations [2]. The biotech company Aventis is legally responsible for ensuring that these GM volunteer weeds do not survive to the flowering stage. If they flower, GM 'volunteers' may contaminate non-GM oil seed rape plants and wild relatives. FOE has written to the Secretary of State, Margaret Beckett, urging her to order the immediate destruction of the weeds and to prosecute Aventis for breaching their consent to release GMOs.

    Earlier this week Nature magazine reported that wild maize, contaminated with GMOs, had been discovered in a remote Mexican region. Maize originates from Mexico and all commercial varieties were originally bred from this wild stock. Similarly, the centre of diversity of oilseed rape is Europe. The consequences of GM oilseed rape crossing with wild plants are unknown."

    see http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_...130115941.html


    http://www.gmcontaminationregister.org/

    Highlights from the register:

    * 27 countries have experienced a total of 63 cases of GM contamination of food, feed, seed or wild plants.
    * The largest number of contamination incidents have taken place in the USA (11 incidents).
    * Contamination from StarLink maize was found in 7 countries: USA, Canada, Egypt, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Japan and South Korea.
    * Illegal releases of GM crops into the environment or food chain have taken place in India (cotton), Brazil (cotton and soya), China (rice), Croatia (maize), Europe, Germany (papaya) and Thailand (cotton and papaya).
    * Six cases of negative agricultural side-effects have been recorded including deformed cotton bolls and the emergence of herbicide tolerant ‘super-weeds’.
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  11. #11
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    &gt; I would like to hear how this works in practice...

    Its been a while since I read this, but here is how it was suposed to work as I remember.

    Chromosomes are constantly breaking and being repaired within the cell, not always puting thier genes back in the places they came from. Viruses dump thier genitic material into the cells. Sometimes a DNA snippit is "repaired" into the viruses' sequence. Now the virus carries some of the hosts dna, lets say chicken dna. Now if the virus jumps species, lets say to humans, it carries that chicken snippit with it.

    We already know that viruses can imbed dna into a hosts genome, just ask Monsanto.

    Now if little Timmy contracts this chicken virus, and this gene transfer happens in a gonad cell, and that gonad cell produces the sperm cell that fathers his son, his son is born a bird brain, or at least has a snippit of junk dna that originated in a chicken.

    &gt; big corporations are pushing the GM industry....

    There are also universities working with it, with the good of mankind as thier goal. However dont underestimate the power of Capitialism....After all Mother Nature is the ultimate capitalist!

  12. #12
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    &gt;&gt; Now if little Timmy contracts this chicken virus, and this gene transfer happens in a gonad cell, and that gonad cell produces the sperm cell that fathers his son, his son is born a bird brain, or at least has a snippit of junk dna that originated in a chicken.

    OK, that may account for the odd US president, but the difference is that said victim will have little chance (hopefully) of passing on his errant DNA, whereas, back in Kansas, a zillion acres of Roundup-ready wheat are being cultivated...

    &gt;&gt; There are also universities working with it, with the good of mankind as thier goal.

    You have a rosy view of universities, my friend.

    "The Berkeley campus has been wracked by dissent ever since it signed a lucrative deal in 1998 with the Swiss-based firm Novartis, giving the company privileged access to the university's plant scientists."
    see http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=1877
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  13. #13
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    &gt;My niece uses insuline prodced by a bacteria modified to produce human insuline.

    And when that bacteria gets loose into the "wild" and starts living in the intestines of normal people, producing insulin, what will be the effect of that?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
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    &gt; And when that bacteria gets loose......

    I dont know if you can absorb insuline through the intestine, if so there would probable be an oral treatment for diabeties. But that isnt your point, and your point is totally valid.

    In asnwer I would say that the fire in my wood stove is a good thing, if it were to excape the iron I keep it caged with, it would be devastating.

    &gt; you have a rosey view...
    Yes I do, In my view, our techno driven scocity is moving forward at blinding speed. We are creating problems as we go, we are solving problems as we go. We cant stop. It simply isnt a workable option.
    We have players that would do anything, simply because we can..."lets splice the bioluminence gene form a firefly, and put it in a spruce tree. Glow in the dark Christmas trees! er ..um..holiday trees! We'd make a fortune!"
    We have players that turn thier back on anything modern, The amish in this area dont have electricity or cars. For any amish reading this, I think thats great, you are keeping the knoladge of how to work with out techno gadgets going. If our energy bubble bursts, you'll be the teachers to the rest of us that think milk comes form Wal-mart.
    And in the Greenpeace/organo movement, you cant deny that there extreemist that scare you with thier views. However as a whole, they help keep that first group I mentioned under control.
    Its a toss up. We cant go back. Will we save ourselves before we desrtoy ourselves? I hope so, but it will take ALL of us to do it.
    So, do I have a rosy view? ya, but my keyword in life is Ballance. Ballance my cynisim with my optimism, and hopefully I will see thing as they really are.

  15. #15
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    &gt;&gt;deeply concerned about the potential dangers of letting herbicide-resistant genes loose among agricultural crops and by default into the wild.

    Whats the concern? I have herbicide reistant wild oats, that formed due to selection pressures in my fields. Are you also concerned about that plant getting into the wild. Herbicide resistant plants are only relevant to farmers, in controling weed populations. I reall doubt the wild mustard with the reistant trait to roundup will outcompete the non reisitant plant inthe wild...

    Beside, a simple mist of 2-4-D will easily kill these so called tabloid "super plants"
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  16. #16
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    Transposon, virus particles, plasmids, sympatric speciation and parasites have caused the interspecies exchange of genetic material for generations before Gregor Mendel was ever born. Realistically, the mixing of the world's biota (as in the Australian rabbit example), pollution and overeploitation of natural resources are a much bigger threat to ecosystems. Legislation addressing GMO's is akin to dicussing ants in the kitchen when hyenas are drooling at the door. Most of the laws designed to regulate GMO's amount to little more that non-tarif barriers to trade.

  17. #17
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    The only benefit that swarming has is the distruption of the brood cycle but whats the benefit if we have to pay for it with our honey crop, and really it's only the swarm itself thats goin to experience the greatest benefit because of all the remaining brood still in the parent colony there will still be healthy population of mites when the new queen starts to lay. And there's still the question of wether you'll be able to catch the swarm, visions of standing in your yard and watching a swarm take off into the wild blue yonder come to mind.

    There are other ways of disrupting the brood cycle like requeening and/or making nucs or splits. Also it's when the brood is at it's lowest or gone and even up to the point when from the queen starts laying to when they have brood about to be capped is when the mites are at there most vunerable to treatments weather with formic, OA, ect.

    the feral bee population in our area is constantly restocked by other peoples swarms, and these restocked feral colonies never last long but niether do untreated hives unlike the treated hives from wich these swarms come from. Can you imagine what the state of bees in north america would be in if every beekeeper didn't intervene with meds. I think beekeepers are of two kinds, there are those who are struggling to just keep there hives alive and those that are trying to get there averages of honey production back up to where it was before the mites ever came into the picture and even in my own hives i've had years that, when you look in my hives, you couldn't tell that there were mites in there.

    geneticaly modified bees could be both a blessing and a curse or either or. there are bees already out there that are fairly resistant to the mites like smr, but this only means that they will survive better with treatment of antimite products.

    in short, swarming is infeasable for commercial beekeepers who depend upon bees for there lively hood. while the extra effort to disrupt brood and expence to treat for mites is a small price to pay to have colonies that are going too be our bread and butter.
    Will Gruenwald Chilliwack BC

  18. #18
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    &gt;Can you imagine what the state of bees in north america would be in if every beekeeper didn't intervene with meds.

    If I may do my best to quote Dr. Marion Ellis in a causual conversation: "If we had never treated we would already be past all these problems with mites and diseases. The resitant bees would have survived and we wouldn't need to treat." I think that's exactly where we would be if every beekeeper didn't invervene with meds.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  19. #19
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    Terramyacin made stronger AFB. Roundup will make stronger weeds and we will have to go to something stronger to beat them back. I don't want to eat corn that emits poisonous pollen and is doused with herbicide.
    I worry because you can't get the genii back into the bottle.

    Dickm

  20. #20
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    I worry because you can't get the genii back into the bottle.
    We can't, but nature can. Of course, that doesn't bode well for us.
    Nobody ruins my day without my permission, and I refuse to grant it...

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