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  1. #61
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    Buckbee, in my last posting I had lumped you into the pot with some friends of mine, that swear that anything "natural" is good, and anything man made is evil. Then hop in their SUV and drive home.

    After reading your fallowing postings I see I jumped the gun. Sorry.

    Actually I stand on both sides of this issue,
    Yes we have contaminated the inviornment with chemicals, I wont drink my well water because of it.
    Yes , we have bread our food to be big and pretty at the expence of nutrition.

    And yes, we have narrowed the genitics of our food crops to just a few strains....a biodisaster waiting to happen.

    But we are now aware of it, in no small part to the "naturalists" and the "Organics". However, and this is where my friends and I dissagree, it is not through less science and less technology that we will solve these problems, it is through MORE science and technology.


    Oh, just to shake things up in this discution, I think gene splicing is a powerful tool in solving some of these problems. Under a watchful eye of course.


    Aspera, I dont that had much to do with swarming, however I do agree with someone that said " feral hives are swarming because they survived, not surviving because they swarmed."

    I for one am going to let some of my fives swarm to help rebuild the ferral colonies with the better genitics that have been comming out.

    Keeping a strong wild population of ...anything.. is like backing up your computer files. You never know if you'll need it, but if your little world crashes, its good to have a back up.

  2. #62
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    There, I found Dennis Avery.
    He isnt involved with the project, that I am aware of. But I assume he is one of the fellows who helped set up the pesticide conatainer management sites here in Manitobe, as the graphic shows.

    Doesnt mean I dont agree with some of what he says though,

    >>Avery is a fervent supporter of biotechnology, pesticides, irradiation, factory farming and free trade.

    buckbee, you make that sound bad,.?


    >>Avery claims organic farming takes up too much land and thus destroys wildlife habitat. He argues that if it were widely adopted it would cause an 'environmental catastrophe' not to mention 'mass starvation'.

    I agree in basically what he has said here, as I mentioned in my pervious post. So I will not elaborate.

    >>E. Coli myth' - the idea that people who eat organic foods are at a significantly higher risk of food poisoning

    Bean spouts, alfalfa sprouts, ect, ingredients found uncooked in salads, I have heard statistically attribute for more ecli poisoning that that of meat annually. Dont agree with his organic spin on the stats.

    I dont agree in spinning stats, because it leaves room for lost of arguement. It may be an unfair arguement, he is dishing back exactly what organic promoter have been doing againt modern day farming to promote thier causes. Its the key to their campain. "Distort the fact, the public dosent know any better"
    Well, I guess it comes down to which stats you believe.


    >>conventional farmers use about 80 million tonnes of manure a year as a fertiliser. Just 9,000 tonnes goes on organic land.

    I dont agree that the manure causes greater degree of food contamination. Dont know where he is comming from there. Hey, we all use it in our production practices,a nd it is probably one of the best fertilizers you can get. Our studdies have shown that a few hours of direct sunlight kills all ecoli bacterias. So surface spreading of manure, to be let sit in the sun for a few hours before incorperation is a good management practice. Dont see organic producers doing this practice any different,.?


    Joel, well said.

    >> Oh, just to shake things up in this discution, I think gene splicing is a powerful tool in solving some of these problems. Under a watchful eye of course.

    Yikes, I woundered if this wrench would be throwen into the machine.

    In my opinion, this technology is increadible, and extreamly interesting. It has benifeted our farm to the point of better weed control, in turn has allowed us to cut back on the tillage of our land, in turn has greatly increased the structure of our soil.
    There are technologies investing into disease resistance, and they have even developed a drought resistant wheat in Aulstralia.
    The problems associated with it is the main driver is Agrabusiness. They seem to only promoting certain traits and characteristics that in turn force the use of developed products. Taking things to the point where they are starting to take the common seed ownership rights away from the farmer.
    But, this technology has the "potential" of promoting traits in plants, to avoid many obsticals faced with farming today.

    [size="1"][ December 05, 2005, 05:30 PM: Message edited by: Ian ][/size]
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  3. #63
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    Blue.eyed.wolf,
    Thanks for taking the trouble to look further.

    > Oh, just to shake things up in this discution, I think gene splicing is a powerful tool in solving some of these problems.

    Don't even get me started on GM! I have been over the arguments more times than I care to remember and I remain deeply suspicious of the likes of Monsanto, Bayer et al.

    Just for the record, here is something I wrote after a conference at the British Beekeepers Association conference on this subject in 2002.


    Commentary on the
    BBKA GM Conference 20th September 2002

    Philip Chandler attended the meeting representing Devon Bee Keepers Association.

    This conference attracted criticism for having no representation from consumer groups, the wholefood trade, the organic movement or any qualified scientists holding views on GM contrary to the industry line.

    The BBKA’s position is that this was an opportunity for beekeepers to listen to and question industry and government representatives. Because of pressure from other interested groups, BBKA has promised to schedule another conference to present the arguments against GM.

    I was the only speaker from the front to raise objections to the ‘official’ view - expressed several times throughout the morning session – that ‘GM is safe for bees and honey and that we have nothing to worry about’. A number of beekeepers spoke from the floor to support my position and to express their own concerns about GM.

    While the majority of county BKA representatives who expressed views were clearly concerned about the possibility of widespread planting of GM crops (notably, representatives from Scotland), a small number expressed pro-GM opinions, notably Dr John Abson from Cambridgeshire BKA. I do not know to what extent he represented the views of other beekeepers in his county.

    My biggest concern is that Norman Carreck (IACR-Rothamsted) a member of the Technical Committee of the BBKA consistently supported the industry line, foresaw no potential dangers and wanted to abandon the 6-mile limit. I would not care to accuse them of collusion with, or being unduly influenced by biotech corporations, but when I suggested that we were being pressured into accepting commercialisation of GM and should wait at least 25 years for long-term research results, Alan Johnson (past BBKA president and former chair of the Technical Committee) replied that this could be ‘too late’. Too late for biotechs to make a killing in the UK market? Too late for what? He did not comment further.

    My overall impression was that the majority of beekeepers have strong reservations about GM crops and their potential impact on the environment and in particular bees and honey. While the industry repeatedly asserted that GM is safe for both bees and people, no independent research was cited. Attendees voted to maintain the 6-mile limit ‘for the time being’. Other cautionary items were also supported by majority vote, but for some reason do not appear in the press release. These included a request for more independent research and a statement acknowledging the public demand for GM-free honey.

    *****

    Footnote added 26th September

    At the conference, I asked Norman Carreck of IACR-Rothamsted (Integrated Approach to Crop Research; receives grant support from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council of the UK) to send me research papers to back up his claim that 'GM is perfectly safe for bees', which he reiterated several times in his talk, as did Dr Paul Rylott of ABC and Dr Roger Turner of SCIMAC.

    He sent me ten papers, at least five of which, to my non-scientific eye, appear to demonstrate that there is indeed much to be concerned about:

    1. Environmental Risk Assessment of Transgenic Plants Using Honey Bee Larvae; Research Group Entomology, Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, November 2000
    Abstract: [last sentence] "Our results suggest that the proteinase inhibitor may have an impact on development and mortality of honeybees."

    2. Effects of ingestion of a Bacillus thuringiensis toxin and a trypsin inhibitor on honey bee flight activity and longevity; Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Ltd, October 2000
    Abstract: [third to last sentence] "...aprotinin-fed bees began to fly and also died about three days sooner than Cry1Ba-fed or control bees."

    3. Effects of transgene products on honey bees and bumblebees; Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Ltd, November 2000
    Abstract: [last sentence] "Results so far suggest that transgenic plant impacts on pollinators will depend on a case-by case analysis of the gene concerned and its expression in the parts of the plant ingested by the bees."

    4. Impact of Proteins Used in Plant Genetic Engineering: Toxicity and Behavioural Study in the Honeybee; INRA (France) December 1997
    Abstract: [third to last sentences] "At the individual level, behaviour experiments, based on a conditioned proboscis extension response, had the following 3 effects, depending on the protein tested: (1) chitinase did not affect learning performance; (2) beta-1,3 glucanase affected the level of conditioned responses, with the extinction process occurring more rapidly as the concentration increased; and (3) CpTI induced marked effects in both conditioning and testing phases, especially in high concentrations."

    5. Do GM Crops and their Products Have Side Effects on Bees and Bumblebees? Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand Ltd, November 2001
    Summary: [2 sentences extracted] Low concentrations of the inhibitors had no effect on these parameters, but higher doses reduced digestive proteolytic activity and bee longevity in some cases." "Although the Cry1Ba-fed bees were unaffected by this treatment, those fed with aprotinin began to fly and also died about three days sooner than control or Bt-fed bees in the same colonies."

    The other papers comprised: two by Prof. Ingrid Williams on the EU regulatory framework; one on flying distances; one in French [no translation available at present] and a further paper by Prof. Williams containing the following sentence: "Consequences [of commercial growing of GM crops] may be identifiable and potentially deleterious, for example, the spread of herbicide tolerance, with resulting progeny becoming weeds of agriculture or invading non-agricultural habitats, or less predictable, resulting in loss of identity or even extinction of wild plant species."

    I cannot claim a level of scientific knowledge beyond 'A' level biology, but the above quotes must surely render any claim that 'GM is perfectly safe for bees' somewhat premature, at the very least. It is particularly noteworthy that these papers were sent to me in response to a request for justification of such a statement!

    It was also clear from these papers that all the studies were short term (less than a full season) and conducted on small colonies - in some cases a mere handful of bees. To extrapolate from such limited, reductionist tests into the real world, where the ecology is far more complex than can be reproduced in a laboratory and colonies comprise 50,000 or more individuals, is surely preposterous.

    I will endeavour to obtain further comment on these matters from suitably qualified people.

    Philip Chandler
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  4. #64
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    Ian,

    >>The problems associated with it is the main driver is Agrabusiness. They seem to only promoting certain traits and characteristics that in turn force the use of developed products. Taking things to the point where they are starting to take the common seed ownership rights away from the farmer.

    You hit the nail squarely on the head. The agrichemical industry are in this for their own ends - don't be fooled by their 'feed the world' BS.
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  5. #65
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    Pesticides, plastics, transgenics and modern land management are tools that can be used, misused and abused. These things will undoubtably play an important role in sustainable agriculture and eco-friendly lifestyles of the future. I've never seen a solar panel that didn't have plastic, and i feel that pesticide research/application plays an important role in public health. Transgenics only differs slightly from seed irradiation, selective breeding, grafting, chemical mutagenesis and other techniques used to create unnatural crops such as canola, corn, dairy cattle, roses, wheat, and broccoli. The issue is that we should be trying to preserve wilderness, natural biodiversity and human selected genetic diversity rather than all growing the same crops, and living on 1 acre suburban housing plots.

  6. #66
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    >>don't be fooled by their 'feed the world' BS.

    I'm not commenting it from thier stand point. This beleif if from my own actual farming experience, observations, and readings.
    They arent forcingme to use thier products.

    Your a stronge speaker Aspera. Well said.

    Now the question I pose to you is, how do we go back and reintroduce natural biodiversity into agriculture? I cant see it possible. We have domesticated our plants and animals to give us what we exactly want. Sadly enough, biodiversity dosent give us the returns we need to operate high production cheap food.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  7. #67
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    {and living on 1 acre suburban housing plots.}

    Which are usually built on the best land for farming!

  8. #68
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    Maintaining biodiversity could be left to the hobbyists. There is a heritage garden movement. Folks that keep old lines of seeds and livestock going. I'm workin with some chickens, my sister is going with some old lines of beans. I dont know if there is a bee keeping thread in it, unless keeping bees itself would qualify as heritage gardening.

  9. #69
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    Well, there are a lot of things that I think we can do both in terms of agriculture and lifestyle. Basically it all comes down to paying people to protect nature and biodiversity, or at least not providing economic incentive for was resources and destroying land. No one has a right to do those things. Looking at famine and ecologic damage, it seems like these things are caused by poor economic and political structures. I think that cities and largescale farming both have an important role in wildlife and biodiverstity preservation (they both decrease the human footprint on the earth). However, free education, better sewage treatment, water and energy conservation and clean air regulations will all make America a nicer place to live. These things will also require social justice and better wealth distribution, especially in places like Nigeria and Columbia. Seed/sperm banks, organic farming, and wildlife habitat all serve to maintain biodiversity and illustrate good reasons for the first world to take more interest in (politically/finacially assist) the tropics. Also, the oceans are a mess. We need to stop studying mercury levels and collapsing fisheries and do something about it. A friend of mine once commented that everyone seems to think that the way things were when they grew up was "normal". Well, I geuss that I want the the Earth better than normal.

  10. #70
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    Sorry, I got a bit caried away. Also, the above should read "incentives for wasting resurces".

  11. #71
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    Absoultly Aspera!

  12. #72
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    >...I remain deeply suspisious of the likes of Monsanto....

    Suspision is a good thing, transgenics is not something that should be whipped up and truned loose. But are you totally against the science, or leary of some who practice it?

    I hope you understand I am not challengeing your position, I am exploring a view that differs from my own.

  13. #73
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    When I have more time, I will give you a fuller reply, but for now, here is a brief statement from Greenpeace with which I concur:

    While scientific progress on molecular biology has a great potential to increase our understanding of nature and provide new medical tools, it should not be used as justification to turn the environment into a giant genetic experiment by commercial interests. The biodiversity and environmental integrity of the world's food supply is too important to our survival to be put at risk.
    Genetic engineering enables scientists to create plants, animals and micro-organisms by manipulating genes in a way that does not occur naturally.

    These genetically modified organisms (GMO) can spread through nature and interbreed with natural organisms, thereby contaminating non 'GE' environments and future generations in an unforeseeable and uncontrollable way.

    Their release is 'genetic pollution' and is a major threat because GMOs cannot be recalled once released into the environment.

    Because of commercial interests, the public is being denied the right to know about GE ingredients in the food chain, and therefore losing the right to avoid them despite the presence of labelling laws in certain countries.

    Biological diversity must be protected and respected as the global heritage of humankind, and one of our world's fundamental keys to survival. Governments are attempting to address the threat of GE with international regulations such as the Biosafety Protocol.

    We believe:

    GMOs should not be released into the environment as there is not adequate scientific understanding of their impact on the environment and human health.

    We advocate immediate interim measures such as labelling of GE ingredients, and the segregation of genetically engineered crops and seeds from conventional ones.

    We also oppose all patents on plants, animals and humans, as well as patents on their genes. Life is not an industrial commodity. When we force life forms and our world's food supply to conform to human economic models rather than their natural ones, we do so at our own peril.
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  14. #74
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    Here's some more:

    # Unnatural gene transfers from one species to another are dangerous. Biotechnology companies erroneously claim that their manipulations are similar to natural genetic changes or traditional breeding techniques. However, the cross-species transfers being made, such as between fish and tomatoes, or between other unrelated species, would not happen in nature and may create new toxins, diseases, and weaknesses. In this risky experiment, the general public is the guinea-pig.

    # Biotechnology companies also claim their methods are precise and sophisticated.
    In fact, the process of inserting genes is quite random and can damage normal genes. Genetic research shows that many weaknesses in plants, animals, and humans have their origin in tiny imperfections in the genetic code. Therefore, the random damage resulting from gene insertion will inevitably result in side-effects and accidents. Scientists have assessed these risks to be substantial. (Refs: Palmiter, R.D. et al (1986) ANNUAL REVIEW OF GENETICS 20: 465; Inose, T. et al (1995) INT. JOUR. FOOD SCIENCE TECH. 30:141.)

    # Unpredictable health damaging effects.
    When genetic engineers insert a new gene into any organism there are "position effects" which can lead to unpredictable changes in the pattern of gene expression and genetic function. The protein product of the inserted gene may carry out unexpected reactions and produce potentially toxic products. There is also serious concern about the dangers of using genetically engineered viruses as delivery vehicles (vectors) in the generation of transgenic plants and animals. This could destabilise the genome, and also possibly create new viruses, and thus dangerous new diseases. (Refs: Green, A.E. et al (1994) SCIENCE 263:1423; Osbourn, J.K. et al (1990) VIROLOGY 179:921.)

    # Genetically engineered products carry more risks than traditional foods.
    The process of genetic engineering can thus introduce dangerous new allergens and toxins into foods that were previously naturally safe. Already, one genetically engineered soybean was found to cause serious allergic reactions, and bacteria genetically engineered to produce large amounts of the food supplement, tryptophan, have produced toxic contaminants that killed 37 people and permanently disabled 1,500 more. (Refs: Nordlee, J.A. et al (1996) THE NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE 688; Mayeno, A.N. et al (1994) TIBTECH 12:364.)

    # Increased pollution of food and water supply.
    More than 50% of the crops developed by biotechnology companies have been engineered to be resistant to herbicides. Use of herbicide-resistant crops will lead to a threefold increase in the use of herbicides, resulting in even greater pollution of our food and water with toxic agrochemicals. (Ref: Goldberg, R.J. (1994) WEED TECHNOLOGY 6:647.)

    # Health-damaging effects caused by genetic engineering will continue forever.
    Unlike chemical or nuclear contamination, genetic pollution is self-perpetuating. It can never be reversed or cleaned up; genetic mistakes will be passed on to all future generations of a species.

    # Inadequate government regulation.
    Biotech companies claim that government regulatory bodies will protect consumers. However DDT, Thalidomide, L-tryptophan, etc. were approved by U.S. regulators with tragic results. Recently it was found that 80% of supermarket milk contained traces of either medicines, illegal antibiotics used on farms, or hormones, including genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH). The facts show that regulators are not protecting the public adequately. (Ref: Epstein, S.S. (1996) INT. JOUR. HEALTH SERVICES, 26:173.)

    # Ethical concerns.
    Transferring animal genes into plants raises important ethical issues for vegetarians and religious groups. It may also involve animal experiments which are unacceptable to many people.

    # Gene transfer across species and competition from new species damaging the environment.
    When new genetic information is introduced into plants, bacteria, insects or other animals, it can easily be passed into related organisms, through processes such as cross pollination. This process has already created "super weeds". Existing species can also be displaced from the ecosystem with disastrous effects, as happened with genetically modified Klebsiella soil bacteria. (Ref: Holms, M.T. and Ingam, E.R. (1994) Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America (Supplement), 75:97)

    # Crops are now being engineered to produce their own pesticides.
    This will promote the more rapid appearance of resistant insects and lead to excessive destruction of useful insects and soil organisms, thus seriously perturbing the ecosystem. In addition, the pesticide produced by the plant may be harmful to the health of consumers. (Refs: Union of Concerned Scientists (1994) GENE EXCHANGE, 5:68; Mikkelsen, T.R. et al (1996) Nature 380:31; Skogsmyr, I. (1994) THEORETICAL AND APPLIED GENETICS 88:770; Hama, H. et al (1992) APPLIED ENTYMOLOGY AND ZOOLOGY 27:355.)
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  15. #75
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    I don't think swarming is the answer but creating breaks in the brood cycle by requeening or making splits or nucs could help while using other treatments as well.
    Will Gruenwald Chilliwack BC

  16. #76
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    If doing things like releasing rabbits in Australia or sparrows and starlings in North American cause problems with the ecology, image organisms that were not even "approved" by "Nature". Anywhere. At all.

    Part of what makes me very uncomfortable is things like Starlink corn which is not approved for human consumption and we were instantly put in a position where the genes showed up in every corn supply in North America. Apparently the "lab guys" didn't know that corn is wind pollinated? Didn't know that dust (and pollen) blows all the way from Oklahoma to North Dakota sometimes? Or from Wyoming to Iowa somtimes?

    What happens when it's discovered that a whole generation of humans have violent allergic reactions to the proteins from the Bt that were spliced in? How do we remove those genes from the corn supply? We are already have an outbreak of peanut allergies after generations have been eating peanuts and peanut butter, what if we get even more allergies to protiens that humans have not ever been in the habit of eating?

    The other thing that bothers me is, not just that these are loose in the environment, but I have to suspect that was the intention when Starlink corn was released. Surely they couldn't NOT know that was what would happen? I said from the start it could not be contained, ESPECIALLY in a plant like corn that is wind pollinated. Did they cause this GMO to spread on purpose in order to desensitize the public to the concept of eating GMOs? Or was it just so they can sue every farmer who has the gene show up (uninvited) in their corn like they did with the Canola farmers?

    It just seems purposeful to me and that makes me very concerned about the tactics and motives of the GMO companies.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  17. #77
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    Leaving the agricultural debate alone and getting back to the issue about swarming, the idea of swarming reducing Varroa and disease loads makes a lot of sense to me. Researchers keep telling us that feral bee colonies are rapidly disappearing (blaming Varroa, mainly), but Africanized bees continue to spread through the U.S. To me, it makes sense logically that the AHBs can continue to spread because their swarming tendencies lower their parasite and disease loads enough that they can survive while other feral bees are dying.

    Are there other explanations for the continuing spread of AHB while feral bee colonies are dying from Varroa or diseases?

  18. #78
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    {Leaving the agricultural debate alone and getting back to the issue about swarming, the idea of swarming reducing Varroa and disease loads makes a lot of sense to me}

    It shouldn't as disease and pest problems do not leave with the swarm in fact a majority of the problem remains with a weakend population less capable of overcoming an afflicition. It is futher complicated because whatever percentage of AFB or mite for example that leave are with another weekend colony that may be nothing more than a vector for the problem.

    {To me, it makes sense logically that the AHBs can continue to spread because their swarming tendencies lower their parasite and disease loads enough that they can survive while other feral bees are dying.}

    Although swarming is the normal method of propagation for honey bees and AHB's do this well their disease and pest resistance is more closely related to increased hygenic behaviors displayed by most colonies of aggressive bees. This hygenic behavoir may be the single most important trait for disease and parasite resisant breeding.


    There may be a tie in the fact that hives that swarm are usually healthy populous hives. They are that that way due to better hygenics and other disease/pest resistant inbred traits. Your concept may be accurate from the point that swarms could be naturally more healthy bees in reverse of bees that swarm are more healthy because they swarm.

  19. #79
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    <Are there other explanations for the continuing spread of AHB while feral bee colonies are dying from Varroa or diseases?>

    I don't know for certain, but several people have note the aggressive bees frequently exhibit varroa resistance. Over the past century we have selected bees for many traits, but not mite resistance. AHB is largley wild, not feral and unselected. Additionally, scutella comes from the birthplace of the honeybee, and Africa remains the source of most honeybee diversity. An interesting sidenote is that there were rumors that the SMR trait resulted from Southern scute hybrids selected for docilty. While this may not be true, I have noticed that only very careful breeding produces bees that are both varroa resistant and gentle.

  20. #80
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    >Are there other explanations for the continuing spread of AHB while feral bee colonies are dying from Varroa or diseases?

    Sure. Smaller cells. Shorter capping and emergence times than domestic bees on artificially sized comb.

    And who says that both the AHB and the feral bees don't die from disease? And who says a lot of both don't survive?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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