Sorry, Joe, I'm not trying to quibble or nit pick. From your more recent post, I see that you have an understanding of a "population" from an ecological perspective. That's important, and absolutely vital to this discussion.If I may say, your ‘quibbling’ about the defining of ‘population’ and ‘colony level’, is understood by me as nit picking, because what you have stated is essentially what I was saying. -naturebee
Exactly. And this sort of comment is a wonderful argument against genetics. Think about it for a minute: we have a "super bee," a bee that shows resistance to "whatever," but when those bees are actually exposed to "whatever," that "resistance" disappears?Strange,,,, on one hand, this fact is recognized by beekeepers when they recommend to “move resistant colonies to an isolated beeyard to escape mite pressures“, and yet, it is ignored on almost all other levels. -naturebee
Clearly, that resistance cannot be genetic, or, if it is, that resistance is overcome almost immediately (meaning that the genetic resistance has failed).
Can you imagine if a farmer purchased Roundup Ready crops, but was told, "Don't actually expose them to Roundup -- they have to be kept away from Roundup to keep them alive?" That is what is effectively being said about the genetics in "resistant" bees.
All of which suggests to me that genetics play far less into any observed resistance than do other aspects of management.
Typically, "populations" refer to groups that interbreed. Not that are capable of interbreeeding, or groups that could theoretically interbreed, but groups that actually interbreed. With shipments of queens across the country, beekeepers effectively increase the size of that group -- that is, genes get shared among the "group" just by having queens that mated in California getting mailed to New York. Or some bees from South Dakota going to Florida where they interbreed with some bees from Maine, and other bees from South Dakota going to California where they interbreed with bees from Utah, and still other bees from South Dakota going to Texas where they interbreed with bees from Texas. Bring those three groups of bees back to South Dakota, and you've now linked what might otherwise have been gradients among honey bees from Maine and Florida and Utah and California and Texas and everywhere in between.WE need to keep the facts we choose to present within the realm of realness, therefore I might propose that your suggestion that a population refers to ‘most honeybees across the united states’ as ‘not accurate‘. -naturebee
From a genetic standpoint, places where bees remain in isolation from the rest of the population in North America are pretty scarce. I'm not saying you can't have such places, or that you might not have such a place, but realistically, such places are few and far between, I think.
So, for most beekeepers, when you talk about the "population," you're talking about the vast majority of managed honey bees in the United States. Trying to discern traits or "health" at that population level is difficult and requires a great deal of extrapolation. Maybe too much extrapolation to be meaningful.
But all of that gets us off topic from the "genetics/environmental effects."
First, that comment surprises me, especially considering everything published by Rinderer and collaborators in the primary literature. All of their publications that I've read state something along the lines of, "Russian bees show promise as another tool in combination with managment techniques to help control Varroa mites." They seem to have been very, very reluctant to ever state that Russian honey bees would withstand mites just on their genetic resistance or tolerance.Rinderer told me in no uncertain terms ’in the Russian colonies in his research facility, over several years, the mite levels in these colonies stayed very low, and he had not needed to treat, and he assured me that he did not foresee the need for me to treat the stock for mites‘. -naturebee
Secondly, how does responding with a small-scale example (subpopulation) show that management for a large-scale example (full population) has worked? What I'm really looking for is a case where a breeder chose to deal with a large group (ideally, the whole population), rather than with a smaller subgroup.
I detest the word "sustainable." What does it mean? What does it really say? In agriculture, "sustainable" is usually used to connote "better practices," practices that can be used over a longer time period without as great a risk of damage or peril. But what does that even really mean? "Sustainable" has become a buzz word, jargon, one of those terms that gets used without real understanding.. . . thus the basis for my ’sustainable bee population’ hypothesis. -naturebee
To use a negative example, killing off bees in hives for the winter to take all of the honey (such practices have been claimed by some beekeepers) seems to be not "sustainable" to me. Yet, if those beekeepers can continue to practice such methods, such practices must have an element of sustainability. If they didn't, those beekeepers wouldn't be able to continue to do such things.
Is attempting to "breed resistance" sustainable? All evidence from every other organism in a breeding program suggests that resistance is overcome very quickly, and cannot be maintained as resistance in that form for very long. So is that "sustainable?"
Pinning down "sustainable" and what is and is not "sustainable" becomes almost impossible.
But to say, then, that Seeley just "got lucky" and managed by some slim chance to obtain nothing but resistant bees from a breeding program when most of the managed bees are not really resistant (bear in mind that he used more than one hive for this experiment) violates Occam's razor.Resistant bees are not being distributed very well into domestic bee yards because the management style commercial operations and bee breeders often promote bees that are dependant on treatments for mite resistance. -naturebee
We don't know that they weren't. You're assuming that all unmanaged colonies avoided predation by bears. I doubt it.Why were the ferals inside of trees not harmed by the bear? -naturebee
Luck. Chance. Stochasticity. Fortune. Fate. Whatever you wish to term, some of these events seem to occur without regard to other factors. Bears don't assess the relative mite resistance of bees before knocking apart hives. Ice storms don't only fall on hives that failed to collect adequate amounts of pollen. Dearths don't only impact hives that suffer from foulbrood.was this due to the ’luck’ that you promote? -naturebee
Hives weakened by other factors may be more likely to fail from some events than hives that are otherwise healthy, but a hive than withstands one form of selective pressure may not be able to withstand a different form.