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  1. #1
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    Default An ideal beekeepers' world

    In an ideal beekeepers' world, honeybees should not require any treatment against diseases at all, which would prevent the contamination of colonies with in-hive chemicals used in apicultural management. EU research therefore focuses on the identification of genes that regulate resistance. The transfer from science into application is typically a major problem. In Europe this transfer is greatly facilitated through one of the largest programs in history.

    COLOSS Prevention of Honeybee Colony Losses, http://www.coloss.org

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Thanks Peter, very interesting site.

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    My aim in posting the brief paragraph, lifted from COLOSS, was to show that 1) work is focusing on the genetic component of resistance, and 2) there are great obstacles to moving from discovery to practice.

    In my opinion, one of the chief obstacles, and I see this here at BeeSource on almost a daily basis, is a deep distrust of scientific researchers. I don't really know why this should be so pervasive in the beekeeping community, as most of the truly important discoveries that we beekeepers benefit from have been made by scientists.

    It also takes a strong effort by entrepreneurs to implement these discoveries. For example, the use of formic acid to control mites may have been the results of lab tests, but it was private enterprise that came up with the delivery and distribution of it.

    The other issue I have with the chatter is that somehow letting bees raise their own queens locally is on par with selecting for hygienic behavior. Natural selection has created many of the traits our bees now have, but it has taken hundreds of thousands of years to do so.

    An example: Apis cerana and varroa coexist naturally and those bees can prevent varroa from taking over. Apis mellifera has no such innate defense. No doubt it has naturally selected traits that make it especially susceptible to a complete and fatal takeover by mites.

    These traits, while useful to the colony for some things, are fatal when it comes to mites. An example would be: during the late summer honey flow, brood may not be policed as diligently. While the bees are frantically gathering honey for winter, varroa mites are at work wrecking the generation of bees that will make up the winter population.

    But the point is, using selection and breeding, particular traits can be enhanced much more quickly than they would come about by natural selection. Furthermore, natural selection has no need to favor bees that are useful to beekeepers. In time, our bees could resort to a behavior like the tropical bees: absconding.

    Absconding is a great way to shed pests. The hive just abandons the brood nest, with its varroa infested brood, and starts over elsewhere. This behavior might be very beneficial to the colony but from the beekeeper's point of view, it stinks. The good bees are off to the woods, and the varroa are left behind in the bee yard.

    A lot of noise is made about treating colonies for mites and how this prevents natural resistance from coming about. That assumes that natural resistance must come about, which is a faulty assumption. As we have discussed elsewhere: nature does not guarantee survival for any species! In fact, it pretty much guarantees extinction for many.

    A lot of species have very fixed behavior patterns and cannot readily adapt. Hence, they slip off the face of the earth when conditions change so much that they are no longer able to cope. Many native pollinators are in this predicament.

    But back to treating: IF one is selecting for behaviors that benefit colonies, such as uncapping brood to check for mites, then one can develop better bees through breeding. Treating as necessary for mite control has no effect on this process.

    It's like taking cholesterol lowering medicine AND exercising. Taking the drug is not going to reduce the effectiveness of the exercise, nor is exercising going to reduce the effectiveness of the drug.

    Treating for mites will not affect the work done on hygienic behavior and breeding bees will not necessarily mean that mite treatments are unnecessary. They may be needed less often: some commercial outfits are treating three or four times a year to get control!

    So everyone should rally around hygienic bee lines, whether VSH, Russian, Minnesota Hygienic or whatnot. If you cannot afford to buy queens, and at 20 to 30 dollars a pop, many can't, learn to raise queens from a hygienic breeder.

    Clubs or associations can pool their resources and buy top notch breeders, and share cost. Then the progeny can be distributed either as frames of larvae or as finished queen cells. Almost every club has somebody who knows how to raise queen cells or is capable of learning.

    But the idea that scientists have nothing to offer, and that science is somehow equal to meddling with nature, is a counterproductive at this point in the history of beekeeping. We now face unprecedented problems as the world gets smaller and viruses are swiftly moved around the globe.

    The real problem, of course, is viruses. These babies are invisible, evil scraps of rogue dna that slip in between the cracks and wreck the health and well being of the larger species, the ones we know and care about.

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    The more studies I read, the more I am convinced that the virus load is more important that most realize. It seems to me there would be little CCD without virus coupled with Varroa. I am going to monitor virus load in one hive this summer as an experiment. David Wick will do the lab stuff and will also monitor nosema levels. It's a little pricey but he feels that checking one hive will give a good indication of what's going on in all of them [in that particular yard].

    Like Peter I'm amazed at the lack of respect many here give scientific studies. They provide us with the parameters, it is our job to make their studies relevant to our hives. That does not rule out innovation or experimentation [I certainly doing the latter] but it does give us a path.
    Last edited by camero7; 05-02-2010 at 07:39 AM. Reason: added some info

  5. #5

    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    But the idea that scientists have nothing to offer, and that science is somehow equal to meddling with nature, is a counterproductive at this point in the history of beekeeping. We now face unprecedented problems as the world gets smaller and viruses are swiftly moved around the globe.
    No one really thinks that scientists have nothing to offer.

    It's probably more accurate to say that scientists aren't the only ones that have something to offer.

    Another matter of debate is what makes one a 'scientist'? A college degree?

    Many of the worlds first and most profound 'scientists' had no such degrees, but rather the self imposed discipline to follow the scientific method in carrying out studies and observations based on previous observations and theories.

    Too often, the attitude now is that only someone with a bunch of letters behind their name and x number of years in college can contribute anything meaningful to the discussion.

    In fact, by following how often these 'scientists' have their 'facts' made public, only to be recanted or disproved a relatively short time later gives us nothing to show that the so called 'professional' scientists are any more qualified to contribute to the discussion than the so called 'amateur' scientist'.

    Many times, people on forums like this one present first hand experience in their own scientific process of bee handling methods and approaches only to be completely shot down by people like yourself because they are not 'professional' scientists with lots of funding and college degrees to boast of.

    If you want to discuss science, then be prepared to discuss 'real' science, which is the work and efforts made by ANYONE who heeds the objective and disciplined steps of the scientific method. Be they over educated idiots or self taught common folk.

    As long as their steps are documented, repeatable and well communicated, all folks adhering to the scientific method should be given serious consideration.

    for those not aware, a good explanation of the 'Scientific method' can be found here.. no funding or degrees necessary.

    scientific method

    at least, that's what I think.

    Big Bear
    No, I am NOT a bee "Keeper". Anything I post is just my opinion. Take it easy and think for yourself.

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Thanks, Camero, for the great example.

    I was contacted about this exact thing, the lab testing that is being offered. I took the side of the beekeeper, suggesting that maybe it was still a little too pricey compared to the benefit one might receive.

    I didn't say: give the scientists all your money, they have all the answers. I am glad the beekeeper decided to go ahead with the tests, because this is an example of us regular folks trying to get some benefit from scientific progress.

    My intention in starting this thread was not to condemn anybody or anything but to encourage greater understanding of how technology can get moved from the research stage to the field.

    Since we are on about viruses, I see an interesting parallel with the H1N1 virus. Now that flu season is past, a lot of people are shaking their heads and saying "what was that about". And a lot of other people are thinking "I'm glad I got vaccinated, because something like that could really wipe out an unvaccinated population."

    I'm real big on vaccines, BTW. Having lived through the Polio epidemic, having seen the effect on parents, the fear and suspicion that people had toward strangers, the nightmare of not knowing if I would ever be able to walk again.

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    In my opinion, one of the chief obstacles, and I see this here at BeeSource on almost a daily basis, is a deep distrust of scientific researchers. I don't really know why this should be so pervasive in the beekeeping community, as most of the truly important discoveries that we beekeepers benefit from have been made by scientists.
    I would love for members to discuss this part in greater detail. If this is off topic for your thread, I'll start another.

    *Warning, keep the discussion on topic.

    It is obvious, a polarization between beekeeper and scientist, in many discussions. How do we get both sides to move towards the center? Is one right and the other wrong? What's at the core of this polarization?
    Regards, Barry

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    I would love for members to discuss this part in greater detail. If this is off topic for your thread
    No, by all means, that IS the thread. Obviously, people regard me as a great polarizer, so I have as much to learn as anyone.

  9. #9

    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    As I stated above, Beekeepers and scientists do not have to be mutually exclusive. We have several scientifically minded and practicing scientist/beekeepers who may or may not have the 'credentials' being sought by some others.

    It is my observation that far too often, the topics are presented in a conflicting manner in which the 'scientist' is pitted against the 'beekeeper' as though the 'scientist' is coming down from the mountain to bestow his knowledge upon the lowly beekeeper, which could only be furthest from the truth.

    The beekeeper who thinks and works in a manner following the Scientific Method is just as able to provide solid information to the discussion as any lab tech.

    Some folks just think you need a budget and a degree to be a 'real' scientist.

    Big Bear
    No, I am NOT a bee "Keeper". Anything I post is just my opinion. Take it easy and think for yourself.

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    A lot of noise is made about treating colonies for mites and how this prevents natural resistance from coming about. That assumes that natural resistance must come about, which is a faulty assumption.
    It's not an assumption Peter, its well-attested:

    "Any race or line of bees can be bred for hygienic behavior. We recommend that bee breeders select for hygienic behavior from among their best breeder colonies; i.e., from those that have proven to be productive, gentle, and that display all the characteristics desired by the breeder. A breeder can get a head start on selecting for hygienic behavior simply by rearing queens from colonies that do not have chalkbrood."

    "The effects of American foulbrood, chalkbrood and Varroa mites can be alleviated if queen producers select for hygienic behavior from their own lines of bees. Because a small percentage of the managed colonies today express hygienic behavior, it is important for many bee breeders to select for the behavior to maintain genetic variability within and among bee lines.

    Our experience has shown there are no apparent negative characteristics that accompany the trait. Years of research experience have shown it would greatly benefit the beekeeping industry if productive, hygienic lines were available commercially."

    The Hygiene Queen, Marla Spivak and Gary S. Reuter

    http://www.apiservices.com/articles/...iene_queen.htm


    That treatments disrupt the attainment of resistence is a logical consequence of denial of selection. The theory:

    Each sexual coupling combines the parent's genes at random. This produces offspring that exhibit a range of responses to the environment. Some will thrive, others will fail.

    From this range nature 'selects' the stronger through a number of mechanisms, the two most important of which are:

    1) The weakest die and cannot reproduce

    2) Competition for mating favours the stronger

    As traits are passed on to the next generation, those of the stronger are always passed on in greater numbers than those of the weaker.

    In this way populations are constantly 'tuned' to their environment.

    This HAS to happen, for the following reason: the environment is changing all the time, and a range or predatory organisms is constantly adapting to better attack. If the prey does not continually refine its defences through natural selection the predators gain advantge. When the predator is question are what we call 'disease organisms, we call the result 'sickness' or 'ill health'.

    SO: to remain healthy populations MUST constantly adapt to the ever-changing disease environment.

    Now: IF you treat you allow the weaker traits to enter the next generation. You have stymied the basic mechanisms for health-maintenance - the creation of new generations predominantly from the strongest of the old.

    The result will be a greater incidence of whatever you treated against in the generation than would have been the case had you not treated.

    In most fields of husbandry mating is closely controlled, the best (healthiest) individuals selected to breed from. Here treatment is fine - as long as you ensure that those individuals used for breeding are those that required least (and preferably no) treatments. This is standard practice, mirroring, respecting, utilizing nature's own main and essential health-location mechanism.

    In beekeeping however... mating is not usually contolled in this manner. That means that treated individuals will pass their (weaker) traits to the next generation - with the consequences described above.

    In selective apiaries colonies may be saved by treating but must be re-queened from better stock to avoid passing on the weak traits through drones and supercedure or swarming.

    TREATING AND DOING NOTHING ELSE CONDEMNS THE APIARY TO A DOWNWARD HEALTH SPIRAL


    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    IF one is selecting for behaviors that benefit colonies, such as uncapping brood to check for mites, then one can develop better bees through breeding. Treating as necessary for mite control has no effect on this process.
    OK - for breeders who know what they are doing. For ordinary beekeepers wanting to have broad-spectrum healthy bloodlines, treating - unless requeening as described above is happening - will constantly defeat the selection process.

    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    So everyone should rally around hygienic bee lines, whether VSH, Russian, Minnesota Hygienic or whatnot. If you cannot afford to buy queens, and at 20 to 30 dollars a pop, many can't, learn to raise queens from a hygienic breeder.

    Clubs or associations can pool their resources and buy top notch breeders, and share cost. Then the progeny can be distributed either as frames of larvae or as finished queen cells. Almost every club has somebody who knows how to raise queen cells or is capable of learning.
    All good stuff - but don't subsequently waste this good genetic material by not selecting actively for general health and vitality, and against vulnerability to predatory organisms! As soon as you start propping (and not terminating the propped lines) the bloodstock will degrade rapidly.

    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    The real problem, of course, is viruses. These babies are invisible, evil scraps of rogue dna that slip in between the cracks and wreck the health and well being of the larger species, the ones we know and care about.

    Viruses are the oldest organised structures known. Not quite life-forms, they have been around constantly; and all lifeforms have evolved in their presence. Any lifeform that has been around for 30 million years or so, and developed throughout that time in the face of constant viral attacks, may be assumed to have suitable defence mechanisms.

    They change continuously, and can cause devastating popluation drops - but as far as I'm aware they are not generally associated with extinctions.

    The same principles apply to viruses as any other predator. The best defence for a species is genetic diversity. A proportion of individuals in a genetically diverse population will be naturally immune, and these will thrive at the expense of individuals less well equipped. The population will rebuild from the survivors - with the necessary defensive trait making the virus harmless.

    Selective reproduction, by nature or by human, is the essential defence. And again, treatments dramatically undermine the process - unless the proper steps are taken to negate that (with bees, immediate re-queening from resistant stock to terminate the bloodline)

    Mike
    Last edited by mike bispham; 05-09-2010 at 01:39 AM.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post

    Now: IF you treat you allow the weaker traits to enter the next generation. You have stymied the basic mechanisms for health-maintenance - the creation of new generations predominantly from the strongest of the old.

    The result will be a greater incidence of whatever you treated against in the generation than would have been the case had you not treated.
    ...
    Selective reproduction, by nature or by human, is the essential defence. And again, treatments dramatically undermine the process - unless the proper steps are taken to negate that (with bees, immediate re-queening from resistant stock to terminate the bloodline)

    Mike
    Mike, are there people actually arguing against this?

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world



    SEVEN QUEENS!

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Quote Originally Posted by arthur View Post
    Mike, are there people actually arguing against this?
    Me for one.

    Since beekeepers are, in fact, selecting for an integrated virus fragment that can confer resistance (through RNAi), they are also selecting for retrotransposons which weren't found in the Honeybee genome before.

    The science literature supports this finding.

    That's how evolution really works. It's not as benign as someone wants you to think.

    Science is based on published findings that have met established standards.

    Philosophers can spout out whatever is in their head.

    Don't forget, the science literature shows that these survivors require a loss of stock which can go as high as 95%, aren't as productive as the original stock, and don't survive much more than 3 years.

    You need to look elswhere for a solution to colony survial. Perhaps propolis is a good place to start. There is some science to back it up.
    Last edited by WLC; 05-09-2010 at 08:39 AM.

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Quote Originally Posted by arthur View Post
    Mike, are there people actually arguing against this?
    Peter doesn't actually argue against it - he generally doesn't respond, and often has me on his ignore list - or so he says. But he does regularly make statements that contradict it, or partly contradict it. There are several key positions he holds that clash with these core principles of biology, and/or flat statements by well-established experts.

    These positions, which he won't discuss, relate to:

    • The effect of medicating apiaries on nearby bees - both wild/feral and natural-selective beekeepers. He won't acknowledge that this effect offers a solution to the problem he himself has identified - that selective operations appear to be place-dependent.
    • The ability of all (except very small and genetically narrow populations) to adapt to varroa through bringing suitable traits to the fore (contrary to the positions of Erickson, Spivak)
    • The effect of treatments on future generations


    The combinations of these last two positions especially allow him to see mysteries where there are none (why does it work here not there; and to hold the view that many populations cannot gain resistance.)

    As well as these there is a highly technical objection to grassroots selective activity - an alarmist view about viral dna taking root in bee dna, grassroots breeders thus raising the population of some kind of genetic monsters without realising it.

    These positions add up to a position that argues, (without foundation) against grassroots selective beekeeping, on the wholly spurious grounds that a) it doesn't work (at least reliably, and no-one has a clue why), b) it can't work for technical reasons, c) it is dangerous.

    Peter is however supportive of professional breeding.

    In this post (#131) I'm showing what it is that makes his statements wrong by outlining the known mechanisms, in the hope that he will see the logic, the causal relations, and incorporate a better understanding into his thinking as a result.

    I wouldn't mind any of this if it were not for the fact that Peter is very busy in the forums, and is accepted by many as an authority in the scientific sense. It seems thus that while he does a great deal of good, he also muddies the waters a good deal, and, critically, puts people off selecting for health for reasons that are not sustainable.

    Mike
    Last edited by mike bispham; 05-09-2010 at 01:08 PM.
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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    "In an ideal beekeepers' world, honeybees should not require any treatment against diseases at all, which would prevent the contamination of colonies with in-hive chemicals used in apicultural management. EU research therefore focuses on the identification of genes that regulate resistance. The transfer from science into application is typically a major problem. In Europe this transfer is greatly facilitated through one of the largest programs in history.

    COLOSS Prevention of Honeybee Colony Losses, http://www.coloss.org"


    That's an example of 'metaphysical pathos'.

    They are so certain that they are right, that they won't heed the warnings as they head towards the precipice. Even as they plunge towards their doom, they can be heard to exclaim, 'God is on our side!'.

    It happens to organizations consisting of beekeepers, scientists, and government agencies as well.

    They all experience the 'sudden stop at the end' at the same time.

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    WLC writes:
    That's an example of 'metaphysical pathos'.
    response:

    Is it likely that a person who throughout his whole adult life had been devoted to a powerful, quasi-religious view of the world, which he sought to disseminate by means of innumerable writings and addresses, would be led by that view to do serious and important scientific work? I agree that it is not likely -- unless the person in question was an able scientist who was clear about what he was trying to do. Huxley was that.

    There are some precedents. The history of science presents a number of cases in which important scientific work was inspired by a dubious metaphysic, an outstanding example being the influence of Platonism on Renaissance scientists. It was Galileo's Platonic vision of the Book of Nature being "written in the language of mathematics" (how many biologists would agree with that?) that inspired his grand achievement of mathematicizing motion. And it was Kepler's mystical, Platonic conception of celestial harmony, which to us today seems so outlandish, that helped to lead him to the laws of planetary motion that constituted a major element in the Copernican Revolution.

    Julian Huxley and Biological Progress
    ROBERT M. GASCOIGNE
    School of Science and Technology Studies
    University of New South Wales

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    I just had a quick question. (I almost wish I hadn't clicked on this thread).

    Is this topic basically about -when you throw all the clutter out and really look at what people are saying (back and forth) and what the strongly let drop in insinuations - is the idea of "religion" or "beliefs" in general pitted against science - how it makes the scientific work harder to do. And how the originator of this topic sees them at odds every day on this forum?

    Just wondering because as I read some of the posts that seemed to be the bedrock under this topic. That wasn't covered up well sometimes.

    Thanks

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeJ View Post
    Is this topic basically about -when you throw all the clutter out and really look at what people are saying (back and forth) and what the strongly let drop in insinuations - is the idea of "religion" or "beliefs" in general pitted against science - how it makes the scientific work harder to do. And how the originator of this topic sees them at odds every day on this forum?
    Yes

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    After reading the chart, I am curious about what happened to categories A. G. and E frame counts?

    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    Yes

    Wouldn't it have been easier to come right out and say it clear and plain then try to have a hidden discussion within a cover discussion?

    So I have another question.
    Do people want to have serious discussion on this issue or not? I don't want to waste time throwing jabs back and forth.

    This topic has as much to do with bees as many topics I see in here.

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