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  1. #61
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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    "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."--peter.

    Yes, I often wonder about that too, and am offended by it actually. It may be related to a lack of opportunity/resentment by some, for the lack of advanced formal education and a feeling/idea that hands ["dirty hands",..] on experience is somehow superior. I studied/majored biology in college but never became a real scientist. I did work for two well known geneticists at the university W. and saw the work that they did, as well as the graduate students. Let me tell you, genetics is a complicated scientific discipline; it's not something you can learn overnight by reading a few 'popular' books about it, especially in regards to the genetics of honey bees.

    A real biological scientist doing any kind of research needs a thorough regimen of course [graduate at that] work in biochemistry, physiology, organic chemistry, and cytogenetics before they can bring anything worthwhile to the table regarding biological scientific research.

    You may have been a beekeeper for for,.....20-30 years with all kinds of observations, but if you can't connect all the dots of past scientific knowledge of all those other disciplines, it may be meaningless.

    One person that I am impressed with is Dr. Clarence Collison [and Tom Seeley] because of his articles in Bee Culture. With all his knowledge [expressed in articles at least] about the pheromones and all the biochemistry/genetics/physiology involved in beekeeping. Yes, a scientist today may become too specialized to 'see the forest for the trees', but I still trust them to guide the beekeeping world.

    I think Deamiter summned it up pretty well for me.
    Last edited by Oldbee; 05-03-2010 at 05:22 PM.

  2. #62
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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    I am not dismissing anything. But seriously, I have seen hives go from no mites to tons of mites to dead in one season. If the technique doesn't work the first season, the hive is dead. There is no second season to follow it on. Is this hard to fathom?
    Hmm..."if there is no effect during the brood rearing period over one season, then that is sufficient to show that there is no effect." sounds pretty dismissive to me.
    Is it 'hard to fathom' that a beekeeper would use a certain approach and technique on all his/her hives and that many or even most of them might indeed die the first year but some stronger ones might survive and be split, repeating the process over several subsequent seasons until the management techniques are able to slowly turn the tide ? Why is this hard to fathom? Seems rather logical to me. Like how eating nutritiously can improve one's health over time, not just after a month.
    Not everything in nature or even in science fits into neat slots for the convenience of a study. It seems to me that a scientist or researcher may perhaps be all too ready to conduct a study/experiment with a small number of hives and to declare the study conclusive, proven, and finished after just one cycle. They do want to publish their results, after all, and often there are funding time limits that require results within a clearly specified amount of time...correct?
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  3. #63
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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Let me make it plainer.

    Suppose YOU have cancer and the Doctor says with no treatment you will be dead in a few months. Your next door neighbor says he has heard of an all natural cure, but it may take a year. Will you want that? Or will you opt for chemotherapy, even if it means losing your hair and being sick as a dog?

    Or even more to the point. Suppose you are among ten people with cancer who are invited to participate in an experimental treatment where probably only one will survive; the other 9 are sure to die. Would you sign up for that? Would you sign your own kid up for such a trial?

    I see these so-called natural plans for mite control as being like that. You are expected to lose 90% of your bees, you are expected to go by Faith alone that because you are on a righteous (chemical free) path that Nature will become your ally and all will work out, if you let it.

    Working with mites on numerous varroa research projects, I saw the same thing over and over. The mites built up to the critical point; then no amount of treatment would keep the bees from dying by Thanksgiving. No problems overwintering those bees! Already dead.

  4. #64

    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Ithink the point many other people are trying to make here Peter is that you aren't the only opinion and experience that matters.

    Othes here have been part of apiaries that have hives with mites and are experimenting with various methods such as the 'live or let die" method you disdain so much and find in the long run, they see success.

    You run roughshod over the views of these others however because they aren't paid 'scientists' who find their work printed somewhere.

    BTW, there are many people in this world who do indeed make that choice to live and let die in cases of cancer and other terminal disease for both themselves and their family.

    Not everyone in the world is afraid of death or allowing the natural course of things to go on as it may.

    You are entitled to express your opinions, but your opinion isn't the only one that might be valid or worth discussing. Talking louder or non stop so that others have difficulty getting their points in doesn't make you a better presenter of information, it just shows you have trouble accepting what others have to say.

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

  5. #65
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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Bigbear:

    Before I recently ran across the Maori paper, I would have agreed that the 'survivor' method of selecting for resistant strains was reasonable.

    Now, after having seen the findings repeated, and having seen a connection between CCD and retrotransposition in the literature, I've had to do a complete 180 on the issue of selecting for survivors.

    That's how science often works.

  6. #66
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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldbee View Post
    [I] Let me tell you, genetics is a complicated scientific discipline; it's not something you can learn overnight by reading a few 'popular' books about it, especially in regards to the genetics of honey bees.
    Right. It is not like raising collies. I use this example: You have a hive that is doing great. You want to raise queens from that hive, and have more just like it. Well, it turns out that the workers in that hive have many different fathers and it may be that just this combination of bloodlines in this hive is what makes them so good. It's like a team where each player has special talents and the team clicks.

    Now if you raise queens from this hive's eggs, you don't have any idea which bloodline you are getting. Then you put the queens out to mate and they cross with any number of other bloodlines. So the likelihood of the colonies you get from those daughters being like the parent hive -- is pretty close to zero. In order to raise a particular sort of bee you have to have a lot more control over the lines, and then of course you run the risk of inbreeding and the resultant failure of eggs to hatch.

    All this is common knowledge among queen breeders, who are producing the majority of the queens in the country. Your so-called feral stock is mostly escaped commercial bees. It has no special qualities any more than your average mutt from the local dog pound. Some people suggest that pound puppies make the best dogs, but I think it's just another myth. There are many breeds of dogs that are good for this or that quality, but mutts are just mutts.

    Anyway, it seems that everybody is the expert these days, with their own pet theories. And these same people have contempt for real experts in the field of Apiculture, suggesting that all they care about is landing grants and keeping their labs busy. This winter I flew to Orlando at my own expense and sat in on two full days of expert presentations. There were a few that were dull, due to lack of charisma on the part of the presenter, but almost every single presentation taught me something I didn't know.

  7. #67
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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    Let me make it plainer.

    Suppose YOU have cancer

    [snip]

    Or even more to the point. Suppose you are among ten people with cancer
    I can't follow an example that compares humans to insects. Doesn't work for me. I'll let insects die if it means in the long run they will live without treatments. Wouldn't do the same for a person. We're talking bugs here.
    Regards, Barry

  8. #68
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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Whenever I get into these conversations, I think of George Imirie, the author of George's PINK PAGES . He wrote:

    Our bees are MANAGED by the up-to-date findings of our bee scientists and we have changed our management techniques with each new PROVEN finding. Since I founded the present Montgomery County Beekeepers Association 18 years ago, this is what I have been continually trying to teach you the necessary management techniques to be a successful beekeeper since the introduction of the tracheal mite in 1984, the varroa mite in 1987, the Africanized Honey Bee in 1990 which has badly frightened the American public with the "killer" bee, PMS (parasitic Mite Syndrome in 1995), the small hive beetle in 1998, and resistant American Foul brood in 2000. I am very pleased in the performance of many of our 150+ members, but very upset by some of our NON LEARNING procrastinators.

    So many people just don't understand we scientists who drove our mothers "nuts" by asking "why" about everything and anything, and when you get to my ancient age, you are STILL TRYING TO LEARN WHAT IS NEW EACH DAY! The day that I stop trying to LEARN, you can find me at Pumphrey's Funeral Home. Bet you did not know that Bob Pumphrey, now dead, was my roommate back in the 30's at Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Virginia, and my father learned beekeeping from my letters to him and became a fine beekeeper who didn't stop until he turned 90.
    Rest in Peace, George!

  9. #69
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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    Or even more to the point. Suppose you are among ten people with cancer who are invited to participate in an experimental treatment where probably only one will survive; the other 9 are sure to die. Would you sign up for that? Would you sign your own kid up for such a trial?
    Are you serious? I would not compare choices concerning the death of my hives to the death of my child. For goodness sakes.

    Say you are interested in trying a couple different methods of beekeeping, and you have some ideas you want to try out that you believe might be worthwhile. You have some hives, you lose half or most or even all, but it's not unusual to make splits or get new packages and build back up again. Usually there are some survivors to build back with. People do it every day, you can't compare that to them deciding whether their child is going to get cancer treatment or be allowed to die. The average beekeeper loss last winter was now what, 33% I read? Beekeepers losing bees is pretty common these days, so why not try some different methods on a modest scale? Michael Bush and Sam Comfort seem to be doing it successfully.

    I see these so-called natural plans for mite control as being like that. You are expected to lose 90% of your bees, you are expected to go by Faith alone that because you are on a righteous (chemical free) path that Nature will become your ally and all will work out, if you let it.
    No one is 'expected' to do anything- people freely choose to try new things if they want to and they know there are risks. There are also risks in not trying new things. Some beekeepers are losing 50-90% of their hives anyway, despite using standard methods and treatments. And besides, if you start by getting bees from those who have used these non-standard methods for a while already, and you merely continue them, you would not likely be 'expected' to lose 90% of your bees the first year.

    Peter, when you use terms like 'so-called natural', 'righteous', 'debunked' (which implies bunk to begin with), 'myth', etc... don't you see how these choices of words inevitably cause a negative reaction from those whose methods you label this way? And then you post about how you are puzzled by the defensive reactions you get from others. I wince regularly when I read your posts- not so much from what you say (I agree with quite a few of your ideas and thoughts, not that I'm any expert for sure), but most often because of your derogatory and patronizing choices of words. I am convinced you must feel they are merely accurate terms and you don't give them a second thought or see them as offensive in the least. But they jump put at me as being offensive towards some. As long as you keep demeaning others' methods (methods that are apparently successful for them) while telling them how they are merely promoting 'myths' while you 'inform' them of what The Scientific Facts are, you will continue to drum up more negative reactions to your threads. If that's what you want, then fine. But you wondered about why, so I'm presenting my view for you to consider.

    Working with mites on numerous varroa research projects, I saw the same thing over and over. The mites built up to the critical point; then no amount of treatment would keep the bees from dying by Thanksgiving. No problems overwintering those bees! Already dead.
    'Saw the same thing over and over'? Were these research projects set up using what you call 'standard' beekeeping methods by any chance? "No amount of treatment would keep the bees from dying"?- hey, maybe all those treatments killed them! ...just kidding.
    Is it possible that too many research studies are performed starting from the same premise over and over, recreating the very same methods and scenarios that are currently failing to prevent varroa from taking over already weakened bees? Why would anyone expect a different result without a significantly different approach altogether? Such an approach reminds me of the classic definition of insanity.
    I may be off base about your particular research projects- I don't know the details of them. But I'm speaking generally.

    In life, I tend to feel that if the current approach to something is just not working for whatever reasons, then maybe it's time for a whole new approach from a different angle altogether.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  10. #70
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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    Working with mites on numerous varroa research projects, I saw the same thing over and over. The mites built up to the critical point; then no amount of treatment would keep the bees from dying by Thanksgiving. No problems overwintering those bees! Already dead.
    Yeah, kinda like that, except a few made it and those were the ones that started the build back up. Only had to go through the crash once. There is life after the crash.
    Regards, Barry

  11. #71
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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    but almost every single presentation taught me something I didn't know.
    I find this to happen as well when I visit a beekeeper and spend time talking with them over ice tea or a beer.
    Regards, Barry

  12. #72
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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Quote Originally Posted by peterloringborst View Post
    Whenever I get into these conversations, I think of George Imirie, the author of George's PINK PAGES .
    I found George to be fairly condescending and arrogant in his writing. Always preached the "party line."
    Regards, Barry

  13. #73
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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    I have been trying to generate support for beekeeper funded scientific work which would focus on your problems and bring solutions back to you. It would have to be funded by you. How about that? If you were paying the scientists to work on your problems, would that change the dynamic?

    Absolutely not, because they are still spending someone else's money. It doesn't matter whose teat they are sucking - the problem is they are still attached to a teat.

    What you fail to recognize is that we already have beekeeper funded scientific work that focuses on our problems and brings solutions to beekeepers. It is called doing it ourselves. Every time a beekeeper tries an off-label chemical to control pests or disease, they are conducting beekeeper funded scientific research.

    These so-called scientists who you are trying to generate support for, are they willing to put their money where their mouth is? Would they work for a beekeeper of a percentage of the profits they generate, but at the same time, would those scientists be willing to pay the expense of losses incurred during their research?

    When beekeepers experiment, we pay our own way. If we make things worse, we pay that extra cost too. We accept this risk for the potential reward of increased profits.

    Suppose YOU have cancer and the Doctor says with no treatment you will be dead in a few months. Your next door neighbor says he has heard of an all natural cure, but it may take a year. Will you want that? Or will you opt for chemotherapy, even if it means losing your hair and being sick as a dog?

    Doctors practice. If they knew what they were doing, they wouldn't be practicing.

    I'd opt for the natural cure over chemo any day of the week.

    My Aunt has cancer. She has worked her whole life in a lab at the local hospital. She has seen the effects of chemo and radiation therapy. She has seen first hand how people succomb to cancer when they do chemo or radiation, and how long they are able to live when they eat right, and try homeopathic remedies, and are able to keep up their strength to fight cancer. Your own body is better at fighting cancer than chemo, radiation, or surgery. Your best chance of survival is doing everything you can to keep your strength. Chemo, radiation, and surgery all weaken you.

    I see these so-called natural plans for mite control as being like that. You are expected to lose 90% of your bees, you are expected to go by Faith alone that because you are on a righteous (chemical free) path that Nature will become your ally and all will work out, if you let it.

    This is agriculture Peter, and agricultural endeavors require faith. We have faith when we put seeds in the ground. We have faith the weather will cooperate. We have faith our livestock will be able to survive.

    Oh ye of little faith...

    Working with mites on numerous varroa research projects, I saw the same thing over and over. The mites built up to the critical point; then no amount of treatment would keep the bees from dying by Thanksgiving. No problems overwintering those bees! Already dead.

    Ever consider the possibility the problem was in the research project, or the people running the research projects?

    Try this one. Get seeds from every strain of corn, bean, tomato, or vegetable crop of your choice. Go plant them on the black asphalt parking lot. If the seeds germinate, the sprout quickly withers and dies. To change things up, go plant the same varieties of seeds in the middle of the Atacama desert. Or try planting them at the South Pole.

    See? Test after test - irrefutable scientific evidence that you can't grow food crops from seeds.

    In the meantime, farmers dismiss those scientific studies as the work of college educated idiots, and the farmers observe the fruits of their own labors. They have faith when they plant the seeds, and they harvest a crop. Their observations are quite different than the scientists observations.

  14. #74
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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Great point CB....and the beer theory....wel, heck, I have solved the countries debts 3 different ways from Sunday sitting by the hives , drinkin a smooth cold beer and just watching.....
    "You laugh at me because I am different, but I laugh at you because you are all the same."

  15. #75
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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    I found George to be fairly condescending and arrogant in his writing. Always preached the "party line."
    Well, there you have it. George is one of my heroes. Guess that's why people don't like me either.

  16. #76
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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    And I learn about 5 new bee things every time I visit this forum.

    I took a two day beekeeping class locally, taught by an 83 year old BK who could still lift those 10 frame deeps (!). The first couple of hours of slides and lectures, I thought to myself jeez, he's not telling me anything I don't already know, maybe I wasted my money. But as time passed, I began to learn interesting things and I thought his methods were very cool (hmm, except for the routine preventative medicating maybe). I plan to use his top entrance shim method once my hives build up more. He was interesting and had studied BK methods of AHB in Costa Rica. I learned all kinds of unusual stuff, and got to ask him lots of obscure type questions. Life is all about learning new things. My father was a physicist and I think I got my insatiable craving for learning new stuff from him. At 11 I was reading Henri Fabre and Edwin Way Teale while my friends were reading Mary poppins and Pippi Longstocking. Sorry to digress, but I'm still hopelessly drunk on my new hives!
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  17. #77
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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    people dont dislike you Peter....they just want you to see their points. You have much to teach....
    "You laugh at me because I am different, but I laugh at you because you are all the same."

  18. #78
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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Quote Originally Posted by Countryboy View Post
    Ever consider the possibility the problem was in the research project, or the people running the research projects?

    ...

    See? Test after test - irrefutable scientific evidence that you can't grow food crops from seeds.

    In the meantime, farmers dismiss those scientific studies as the work of college educated idiots, and the farmers observe the fruits of their own labors. They have faith when they plant the seeds, and they harvest a crop. Their observations are quite different than the scientists observations.
    Wow, what a way to treat a group of people who are devoting their lives to understanding and solving problems you have! You don't have to like researchers to avoid painting them all as incompetent, worthless parasites!

    Have you visited the USDA bee labs or university research groups? What methods or experiments were akin to trying to grow seeds in asphalt? Perhaps it would be more productive to criticize specific research that you find lacking (a vital part of the scientific method) rather than simply insulting all scientists because one guy who defends them on a message board got you riled up?

    You repeatedly insult scientists suggesting that they are unable to set up a proper experiment, and would be unwilling to make sacrifices for their work, but you not once suggest any way that commercial beekeepers have a better way to learn the details of how to best work with bee biology and communicate this to the broader beekeeping community for review, criticism and (hopefully) validation by the entire community!

    The procedures and results from scientific experiments are written up in detailed papers showing what was controlled, what was done, and why the conclusions are valid. Some experiments are poorly designed, but when they are it is clear from the literature. I've heard many strong and conflicting proclamations thrown out about how one method or another is the BEST way to keep bees, but I rarely see people outside of research groups carefully backing up their claims with published methods and results. When I do see this, I rejoice -- it's not easy to learn to do science, but anybody with a notebook, an open mind and a lot of patience can advance our understanding of the world around us!

  19. #79
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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Pete,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. One of the great things about this site is that there is a great leveling that occurs when one signs in. All posters become equal. There's nothing else like it, but there's a dark side. I don't get over here that often but it would be a loss to Beesource if you left. I teach about bees a lot. I'm on the fence about touting this site to the newbees for the reasons you mention. More experienced beekeepers can seperate out the chaff.
    I sort of straddle the abyss.When I write about bees, I try to bring home science...or commercial beekeeping...to those who don't have the luxury of reading about bees all day. I have several masters degrees but, not in bees, in psychology. I do understand how a study is put together. That old "placebo effect," you know.
    The fault lines here occur between faith and reason. I worried this in an article, posted on this site, titled "Anecdotal Evidence." I tried to make the point that something need not be scientifically arrived at to be effective. I'm not sure but I suspect that Thymol was perhaps found effective by a beekeeper. Oregano is enroute. Who thought of that?
    A case in which this did not work out would be the faith I had in FGMO. All my hives went straight to the happy hunting (foraging?) ground. FGMO has no credibility anymore but it died slowly and I'd bet a few are still using it. I killed more bees with small cell.

    >>>>Quote: 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 poster asked:>>>>What year was this?
    Do we have any solution to the problem?
    Have they bothered to call me when presented with my solution?<<<<

    The year was 2007. I was there with Dennis van Englesdorp and Dave Hackenberg and other scientists. Dave H., with his beekeeper hands, lost no time in bringing in science. We don't know what causes it....but we know what doesn't and that helps. That information has been available. For an example of an experiment that proved nothing, he irradiated a thousand boxes of comb. (don't quote me on the #), No results were seen.

    For those of you who think one can do science with intuition, I have a challange. It's obvious, I think we'll agree, that if you have one hive and treat it a certain way...say putting ground parsnips on the top bars, that one hive proves nothing. An effect with 2 or 3 hives could be just chance. A hundred hives would obviously prove something. (With another equal group untreated, for comparison). The basic science question is: how many do you need to start with to prove something works?

    dickm

    Thinking: I'm not a scientist but I could play one on TV.
    Last edited by dickm; 05-03-2010 at 08:41 PM. Reason: Sp

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    Default Re: An ideal beekeepers' world

    Quote Originally Posted by dickm View Post
    For an example of an experiment that proved nothing, he irradiated a thousand boxes of comb. (don't quote me on the #), No results were seen.
    I'm with you Dickm -- a laser physicist who works in industry and just loves the bees for being bees.

    I STRONGLY disagree with your analysis of the results of this experiment. The irradiation of a thousand boxes of comb had a very useful result showing that irradiating thousands of boxes of comb has no measurable effect (on whatever was being measured).

    A "failed" experiment (one that doesn't give you the outcome you were hoping for) hardly "proves nothing" and is never useless! If NOTHING else (and usually if an experiment is set up right, you learn something useful no matter what the result) you can stop musing over whatever method you now know is ineffective!

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