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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 08:39 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 bigbearomaha View Post
    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.
    Honestly, this is what I have said all along. I am not a professional bee researcher, although I was one for 7 years. As well as a bee inspector. I could tell just as many stories of wasted resources and dead end projects as anyone.

    Remember the line from Ghost Busters? Dan Akroyd says: "You've never been out of college. You don't know what it's like out there! I've worked in the private sector they expect results!"

    So, fellow beekeepers, who you gonna call? That's what I'm talking about. Private enterprise employs more scientists than the government and the universities combined.

    We don't have any suspicion of scientists if they are working on such great toys as the cell phone, or the iPad. But when they are working on bees, are they somehow hellbent on corrupting our pets?

    If you haven't met Dennis vanEngelsdorp or Maryann Frazier, or their colleagues and peers, you would be surprised at how accessible, concerned, and diligent these folks are. They are working on our problems. The plight of the honey bee affects all.

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    If someone is beekeeping with a faith based system they "believe" in, they feel very threatened when studies can't replicate their results.

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Perhaps this kind of thinking is where some of the polarization comes from? The idea that science (the scientific process) is strictly based on fact and bias, belief or faith are totally foreign to it. It's "pure" while all other study or insight is corrupted. As in other arenas of life, there is a poor relationship/communication between the two. Anytime you get a person or group with "power" dealing with the "powerless", the structure lends itself towards polarization.
    Regards, Barry

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    I don't see the power and polarization, only human nature.

    For instance, since I was a child I have harbored the hope that the shroud of Turin was really Christs burial cloth and that the image on it was that of Him.

    Probably the cloth was created long after Christs' time on earth but I still find it hard to let go of the possibility. I want to believe it and really have not quite given up.

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    As in other arenas of life, there is a poor relationship/communication between the two.
    I am afraid I don't agree. There are many many fields where science and faith, spirituality, or aesthetics can mesh and interact quite comfortably.

    Music comes to mind first. No matter what sort of music you like, be it gospel, blue grass or rap, there is an immense amount of science that goes into getting it to your ears. You don't think: that folk music is tainted by science because you're listening to it on the radio!

    Now, listening to a person play a guitar is another thing altogether, and if you were to say it was better than recorded music, I'd probably agree with you. If you were to say top bar beekeeping is better than modern machine oriented beekeeping I might agree with that, too. I does give a feel for the bees that you don't get with a frame hive.

    But -- ! Look at Wyatt Mangum, he runs hundreds of top bar hives and he is a scientist as well. Meanwhile, there are thousands of equally sensitive, observant, conscientious beekeepers using all the modern contrivances, including remote hives on scales which radio in weight change, etc.


    Anytime you get a person or group with "power" dealing with the "powerless", the structure lends itself towards polarization.
    This is beside the point altogether. Who has power here? What power do I have, other than a well honed ability to read and write?

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Peter and others, forgive me for I am about to get long winded! I am a 66 year old retired skilled tradesman, part time (all my life) farmer, full time beekeeper since 2007. My wife has a BS degree in nursing. I have two sons that has Masters degrees, another son has less than an Associates degree, like me, but he is the assistant plant manager at a local food processing factory.

    I believe I have observed exactly what you are relating to about beeks and science.

    Most beeks, like me, are minamally educated. Therefore when confronted with information, albeit scientific, or in some cases just what they don't want to hear, they either ignore it or dispute it. In most cases from lack of understanding.

    Let me give you a perfect example. Stem Cell research. It is looked upon by many as going against God or nature in general and has been used successfully by politicians as political fodder to manipulate voters.

    In my humble opinion it may be what in the future saves the human race or could be used to destroy it. Its affects are just being now being minamally tested.

    My point being, the honey bee genome, while not nearly as complex a being as the human genome is also very susceptible to the viruses and retroviruses that are known or unknown at this time.

    I agree that if you have a hive, or genetics that have been strong and good producers, and you want to keep them it would be rediculous to allow them to perish without treating them for what ever may be attacking them.

    You mentioned the VSH, MN Hygenic, and Russians. Aren't the Russians the only ones that have all the genetics combined naturally, from centurys of living in an area infested with all the mites and diseases known at this time? Point being, the others could be claimed to be survivor stock when in actuallity the producers could be lying about their traits.

    Forgive me for having rambled some but my thoughts are that, the more educated, in most cases, the broader your horizon as far as understanding complicated studys.

    My intent here is to insult no one, but to bring better understanding to all,of each other.

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Perhaps this kind of thinking is where some of the polarization comes from? The idea that science (the scientific process) is strictly based on fact and bias, belief or faith are totally foreign to it. It's "pure" while all other study or insight is corrupted. As in other arenas of life, there is a poor relationship/communication between the two. Anytime you get a person or group with "power" dealing with the "powerless", the structure lends itself towards polarization.
    Ever volunteer your hives for a scientific experiment concerning a "new" unknown disease, virus, mite, etc. etc. by the state "scientists" and after the results studied been ordered that your hives can no longer leave the state for pollination purposes because of the findings? Loss of all out-of-state customers because of the results but no incoming pollinators refused entry to the state? Sheer stupidity? Yes, but it's the group with power against the powerless as mentioned in the quote above. This has happened and is one of the probable many reasons for the distrust between the two. OMTCW

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    The problem I see Peter is that the "scientists" do not keep an open mind. Their tests and theorys are what they go by.....and thats it. The plight of the honeybee does affect everyone of us, But, if they don't listen to what the ground troops say, then all is wasted anyway. I was in the USMC for a while, and no matter what you told the commanders, they didn't listen to anyone but what their intel told them..te guys dying on the ground KNEW what they were saying. See...most people are not objective enough to step up and say no, thats not right, and even fewer scientists will do the same. I was told that if i wanted a honeycrop, to stop splitting my hives....So Far i have 5 beautiful splits and queens from a single hive. (the hive was entirely too strong)The single hive still has 2 supers that all they have to do is cap. The splits are 10 frames now and already have capped honey and I was also told to feed, which i didn't.....Scientifically, i should be wrong...teh scietists need to respect the average beek, as he needs to return the favor and do likewise to them.
    "You laugh at me because I am different, but I laugh at you because you are all the same."

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Quote Originally Posted by devdog108 View Post
    The problem I see Peter is that the "scientists" do not keep an open mind. Their tests and theorys are what they go by.....and thats it.
    The whole CCD thing started when a Pennsylvania beekeeper contacted a Pennsylvania scientist, looking for help. The researcher took him seriously and enlisted the aid of countless other scientists, and have produced the large body of work on CCD.

    The current "theory" is that NO ONE THING causes large scale die offs, that it is probably a combination of factors, and that WE DON'T KNOW the answers yet. If that isn't keeping an open mind, I don't know what is. Science is NOT about fitting data into a theory!

    Your statement is simply not true; it is based on lack of understanding of what the research community thinks and does. But thanks for clearly illustrating the exact problem that I am talking about: people's misunderstanding of science and scientists.

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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

    Your statement is simply not true; it is based on lack of understanding of what the research community thinks and does. But thanks for clearly illustrating the exact problem that I am talking about: people's misunderstanding of science and scientists.

    Wake up Peter, oddly enough you are not the only one around who has interests in this and knows who does and does not listen.........its the above mentality that gets you the response such as this. I DO understand, been there done this, maybe not with beekeeping all that much, but hello, there is more to science than bees. There is another whole scietific community. Want me to prove it......ok here ya go......Make a cellphone set off gasoline at a pump......not that static discharge of the person, but th ephones waves...the scitetific comminuty said, WHOA...DONT DO IT...YOULL START A FIRE....whech was guess what.....a rather large load of poopoo....ya know how i now that, i was part of the study with Lucent technologies....

    Another example, my son had bad ear infection....weekly, they kept treating and treating...frinally i suggested we stop and let his body do it, sure it was gonne be tough, but ya know, it was wortha try. Guess what, HIS BODY FIXED IT CONTRARY TO A DOCTORS ADVICE....and she was amazed....

    I could go on and on, but i digress

    I have constantly kept an open mind, and when i told one person i was not going to treat, he said oh good luck with that. .....Now, I am not the prettesit one the block, but, do NOT mistake me for an idiot. An open mind here is what gets us that closer to an answer.....and when you decided to make comments like the above, based on YOUR perception...well, thats your perception, dont drag me into it.......
    "You laugh at me because I am different, but I laugh at you because you are all the same."

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