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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    rrussell6870?

    "to maintain productivity while implementing the vsh trait, there must be a balance of vsh / non-vsh traits. Colonies that express vsh traits in too many workers will have poorer productivity. Colonies that have too few vsh workers will have poorer resistance."

    Robert if you would please comment on my assumptions from my reading.

    Pure VSH will waste too much time and resources going overboard aborting brood but may be able to live with mites with no treatment.

    MN HYG is not as aggressive with aborting infected brood and can be more productive (honey), will slow down mite population growth but will eventually need some mite treatment.

    A perfect balance of VSH and lets say normal genetics would get you a perfect bee but is next to imposable for someone without the proper skills, knowledge, tools, ect to maintain and a stable line is presently not available. If one wanted to have this perfect strain they would need to more or less keep buying queens from someone who open mates vsh breeder offspring.

    Lots of big assumptions there but that is what I have taken in and come to assume more or less. How accurate am I, if at all?

    Thanks

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    Someone has been taking notes! You nailed it. All strains are developing resistances at their own paces and according to their own circumstances... as the vsh trait becomes more established within the strain, the effects become more substantial... thus as time progresses the strain Minn Hygienic (hygienic Italians) will progress in vsh effectiveness...

    There are a few methods that producers can incorporate to keep some level of balance within their operations each season, but I will say that due to the continuous development of resistances, more honey operations will soon be delving into breeding at some level in order to offset the costs and maintain higher production levels.

    This is one great reason for testing... using selection techniques will help the honey producers keep up with the progression of their own stocks and allow them to know where, when, and how many vsh colonies to add to their yards when making splits.

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    So you believe that one day the proper level of VSH will stick to a strain and not be a recessive trait? One day a stable strain could exist without the teeter toter of adding and diluting the vsh trait?

    Do you think we we may find a better varroa resistant trait like aggressive grooming and chewing mites legs off or something or do you think that would have popped up by know if the trait was somewhere in the genetic pool? How about new traits like rare mutations. Are these things that take hundreds of years to happen or faster? Just wondering what your hopes or guesses may be or even knowledge may hold in the matter. It seems that varroa can adapt/evolve in a matter of a year or two.

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    Also in the millions of years apis millifera (or its ansestors) has been around it must have struggled with something like varroa or varroa itself in the past. Is it not likely that the genes needed are just locked at the moment and need a trigger or something to go off to work again?

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    The forms of resistances that strains all seem to be moving towards are vsh and excessive swarming. As the stresses of mites continue to progress the development of resistances, each strain will need to consistently be selected for production and lowered swarming. It will certainly be an uphill climb. While the bees are getting better at resisting mites, they will also be less productive in the honey industry. Honey producers will need to continue to try new methods of manipulations to get better crops, while breeders will need to maintain a strong focus on selecting for production. I believe that there not be a "perfect balance" that is derived naturally by the bees, because to them, the mites are the only obstacle... after all honey production is all about surplus, and the bees do not need to produce such high amounts, but they DO need to address the stresses that mites cause them.

    So basically everyone needs to keep testing and recording what they find... then communicate those findings as best they can. This will help the industry to evolve as the bees do and keep us from going too far or doing too little.

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-beek View Post
    Also in the millions of years apis millifera (or its ansestors) has been around it must have struggled with something like varroa or varroa itself in the past. Is it not likely that the genes needed are just locked at the moment and need a trigger or something to go off to work again?
    This is extremely likely and is supported by the fact that strains from so many regions are addressing the stresses of varroa by developing the same resistances. The issue with this is that our industry will suffer as the mechanics of colonies stop allowing our usual methods of surplus production to be as effective. Thus the methods will need to be addressed (ie... our usual swarm control methods and timing will become less effective, timing for catching flows will become less effective, etc...) Compare your colonies of today to early stage Primorsky colonies, only without the effect of the frigid environment of that region... in what ways would you need to alter your practices to maintain consistent brood levels and surplus production? Vsh workers seem to remain in "house bee" status longer than none vsh... this means foraging comes later, slowing build up and thus production... does that make sense?

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    Yeah, its a lame situation no matter how you look at it. I personally hope there will one day better solutions in treatment as well. So far treatments seems to be band-aids that work for a bit but soon lose effectiveness, have too harsh of side affects, ect. But these two new ones, mite away quick strips ( I think thats the right name), and the hops treatments sure sound like something has changed in our favor. If we can find a treatment that does not have significant side affects, can be used on a flow, and varroa cant evolve resistance, they we may finally start winning the battle. Hope is better than nothing.

    Thanks for responses Robert. I always enjoy reading and learning from your posts, especially when I fell your opinions are back by sound science much of the time.

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    Your very welcome, and thanks for the kind words. I agree fully about the availability of treatments. It is a tough situation all the way around and unfortunately, creating a treatment to kill an insect off of another insect is like trying to make a hair dye that only effects the grey hairs without touching the rest. The bees will get around varroa in time... but in the process, as they change, so must some of our practices. But just like you said, hope is better than nothing.
    Last edited by rrussell6870; 04-02-2011 at 08:44 AM.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    Robert, you made the comment that VSH house bees remain house bees longer than non-VSH house bees, thus the lowered honey production. Would a program of reduced drone population, coupled with a larger overall population of bees, help compensation for this? Or would the larger space (more brood boxes) enabling a larger bee population simply mean more space needing more house bees? sigh... did I just answer my own question?
    Or would the combinations of lower drone population, young vigorous queen, more house space (both brood space and honey storage [supers] to contain booming population and lessen swarm pressure) provide more foragers?
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    Yep! You answered that perfectly! lol. We use 2-3 deeps with 1 or more mediums or shallows on top... Our Sunkist lay 2 deeps and 1/3rd of the 3rd box (whether shallow, medium, or deep)... anything above that is surplus, as she will stop laying in the third box during the summer heat so they can use it to build up winter stores.

    Now take the above scenario and think of it after adding the VSH trait... The more VSH drones that the VSH queen has mated with, the more VSH workers will be present in the population... keep that in mind...

    The issue is not the population of foragers during the later months, but rather the population of foragers during the early flows and most importantly, the timing of brood rearing... the more "picky" the queens get about when they cut back their laying, the more complex the issue becomes... Just as they are building up nicely, the flow hits... but you have tons of house bees and not enough foragers to benifit... during that flow, the queen is laying (brood has to be fed), but when it starts to dwindle, so does her laying... Next flow hits, you have tons of new brood hatching and house bees moving up to foragers, the queen starts laying like crazy, and they consume a lot of the stores for rearing brood... Flow dwindles, so does the laying... Now the hot dry summer is here... the brood that was being laid so heavily in the second flow is now hatched and going through the motions... then after a long dry summer, the fall flow kicks in... Tons of foragers, tons of nectar, tons of new brood... Winter should be easy... Surplus, not so much...

    The best honey production queens will build up early and continue laying consistantly throughout the season, but at a slightly slower pace and in a slightly smaller area... so that the work force is consistantly in rotation and they never miss a flow... BUT at the same time, they do not use as much to feed brood either...

    The VSH trait means some brood is lost, house bees are busy uncapping and cleaning instead of preparing strorage space, foragers come too late to catch the best flows... but there is no stopping this trait as it is one of nature's responses to our mistakes... However... It also means healthy colonies that are not dwindling year round due to mites and diseases... we simply need to remain flexible with our management practices until this trait has settled and we know exactly how to manipulate them at that time... I encourage producers to make their usual manipulations at slightly different entervals and record the results of each alteration... This would be a good step in the right direction... Just a little foresight... I try to stay ahead of issues... I think we all have been through enough "Re-grouping" from pest after pest after disease... you get my point...

  11. #31
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    As a medic, scientist, and amateur beek (read: I'm picking my first package in just a few days) I must ask two questions:

    1. Are we talking short term or long term gain?

    2. How dependent are we, as humans in the US, on honey?

    Why I ask: first, the medic in me says, 'the strong will survive and the weak will not', while the scientist says, 'what makes 'the perfect bee'', while the complete bee newb says, 'how can my colony thrive with a minimum of interventions on my part?'

    If we are to create a honey bee that tolerates - or, preferably, thrive - in the face of parasites then we can't keep chemically treating them for said parasites. If this means less honey production then what of it: do we want survival or money? Humans do not need honey but many make their living from it, so what will we have: long term survival of the bees or the commercial beek? I've no wish to disparage the commercial folks - I myself was in the Army for a long time and now work at the VA so I know all about 'doing the best you can with what you've got' but this whole issue seems to me to be devolving into one simple issue: them, or us?

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Cris View Post
    As a medic, scientist, and amateur beek (read: I'm picking my first package in just a few days)

    If this means less honey production then what of it: do we want survival or money? Humans do not need honey but many make their living from it, so what will we have: long term survival of the bees or the commercial beek?
    why not both?
    you haven't even picked up your first package and already you think the "commercial" beekeeper is a bad thing.
    I would suggest that if it wasn't for the commercial beekeeper there wouldn't be enough bees left for you to even buy a package.

    frazz

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    I never said a comm. beek was bad: I said we were going to end up choosing between production (and therefor the continuation of honey as a commercial crop) and long term survival of the bees (which would be in favor of the hobbyist).

  14. #34
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    The bees aren't going anywhere... at least I can say MINE AREN'T. Simply because I REFUSE to allow some student to decide what kind of bees they want me to raise this year... The greatest threat to the survival of the bees is the one that is never really mentioned... but you just pointed out... the over eager acts of those assuming that the bees of the US are "weak because they die when you introduce parasites and diseases that they would never have encountered at such expansive rates in a natural state... the importation of fruits, vegetables, etc.. has always and will continue to bring new and deadly threats into our country... the government puts regulations on the experts to keep them from importing important maternal lines into the country to stop inbreeding, yet the government itself keeps bringing in pests and diseases then selling the "silver bullets" that THEY import from other countries... only to add insult to injury by adding lines that are hundreds of years away from becoming acclimated to our climates... these "overnight cures" may address one problem temporarily, but soon add a whole new list of issues for our industry to suffer through... this is why I keep pushing for people to think first, and take the long road to success instead of the "silver bullets" or letting their bees die off, taking entire maternal lines with them... the bees are not the problem, they never have been... the "fix" is the problem...

    The discussion that we were having is simply for the benefit of those that make their living from keeping healthy, productive bees... honey production WILL decrease... that is inevitable... but whether it drops quickly and destroys those companies that depend on it, or decreases gradually and allows the price to rise as the production lowers is up to us...

    If those that are accustomed to getting 1.50 per pound suddenly only produce half as many pounds, they will go out of business and their bees will likely die either from excessive splitting for salvage or from the next threat that comes along...

    But if that same producer sees a slow decrease in production, they will have a chance to slowly raise their prices and thus the market will adjust to the production levels of the bees.... then the producer stays in business, the bees stay in the hives, and when the next big threat comes along, they will have the resources to do whatever is necessary to protect the bees from it.

    Again... the bees are not dying because they are weak... they are dying because people are weak... keep this in mind next time you see melons, peaches, and strawberries at the grocery store in winter... we HAVE to start letting Americans feed America and the leaders of the industry that truly care (and have the most to LOSE) provide for the bees.

    Please keep in mind that the commercial bee keeper has more to lose than any usda lab, hobbiest, or retailer if the bees were to die off... for the vast majority of the commercial bee keepers, their job is not just about making honey, but more so about keeping bees... to make honey, they must first make bees... if they were not interested in having healthy, thriving bees, they would not be in business for long at all.

    Commercial beekeepers are those that have been taking care of bees full time, usually all of their lives, and in most cases they are the grand children and great grandchildren and great, great grandchildren of the people that were caring for bees all of Their lives... the founders of the industry are commercial beekeepers, they know bees... usually better than they know humans... keep an open mind and don't fall victim to the "hype" and falsehoods that you hear... that is all just intended to split the industry to boost certain markets... we are ALL bee keepers, we ALL care about the bees, and I assure you that the commercial beekeepers will gladly help you and anyone else that shows interest in bees... I also encourage you to tour a real commercial operation... you would be surprised at just how great their bees are and how much they know and do for ALL honey bees everyday.
    Last edited by rrussell6870; 04-05-2011 at 12:35 AM.

  15. #35
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    I'm not going to get into a slanging match with you Cris but just take another look at what you wrote and then tell me you weren't having a "go" at the commercial beekeeper

    Quote Originally Posted by Cris View Post
    while the complete bee newb says, 'how can my colony thrive with a minimum of interventions on my part?'

    If we are to create a honey bee that tolerates - or, preferably, thrive - in the face of parasites then we can't keep chemically treating them for said parasites. If this means less honey production then what of it:

    do we want survival or money? Humans do not need honey but many make their living from it, so what will we have: long term survival of the bees or the commercial beek? I've no wish to disparage the commercial folks - this whole issue seems to me to be devolving into one simple issue: them, or us?
    I dont know how to isolate and highlight multiple parts of a post so I have to do it this way.

    comments on paragraph 1,
    As a commercial beekeeper this is a question I also ask myself it's not something only a newbie or a "treatment free" beekeeper is interested in.

    Paragraph 2,
    Is this your opinion? scientific fact? or something thats a popular concept at the moment?
    It's not just honey thats important to commercial beekeepers alot of us rely on healthy hives to pollinate crops you can't pollinate crops if your hives are riddled with disease.

    paragraph 3
    this really gets my blood pressure up

    "do we want survival or money?"

    "so what will we have: long term survival of the bees or the commercial beek?"

    meaning what? that commercial beekeepers are only in it for the money and the way they manage their hives is bring down the bees chance of survival?

    that we can't have commercial beekeepers and long term survival of bees? because commercial beekeepers are only interested in the amount of honey they can get and will treat willy nilly to get?

    give me a break

    frazz

  16. #36
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    Cool Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    Long term survival of the bees is important to everyone whether they be commercial or hobbyist. If the bees die out then EVERYONE on the planet loses. Without bees no one has honey money or the majority of their food. Immunizations are used for humans to build up resistances. A SMALL dose of the illness is injected into our bodies thus allowing us to learn and fight it off if we ever come in contact with it. If a foreign disease showed up and we had no medicines to combat it and our bodies had no experience with it we would die. Same with bees. They are treated to combat the pest through time and small levels of the pests presence the bees learn to combat them as well. There also is no "them or us" in this industry. The bees come before most peoples family and especially before themselves. This is a statement from experience not an assumption. Most commercial beekeepers are doing everything they can to help the survival of honeybees. These guys started with only a few hives, worked like crazy to get where they are, i don't believe they just stopped caring about the bees survival. The commercial guys just have to work harder with a LOT more bees to keep them alive as well as provide honey, pollination (so we can continue to eat) as well as more bees to other people to try to keep alive. I am treatment free but only because someone took the time to build resistances in my bees by "helping" them to survive before i got them.
    Last edited by TwinkieBee; 04-05-2011 at 01:03 AM. Reason: mistypes

  17. #37
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Cris View Post
    Why I ask: first, the medic in me says, 'the strong will survive and the weak will not', while the scientist says, 'what makes 'the perfect bee'', while the complete bee newb says, 'how can my colony thrive with a minimum of interventions on my part?'
    A. Until you own bees you are not a beekeeper. Someone soon to be a beekeeper, may be a beekeeper soon, but not yet one. That would be like me saying I'm a Great Grandfather, since I have Grandchildren.

    B. I'm glad you are a Medic. I assume, since you mentioned The Army, that you were/are an Army Medic. You may have noticed that the strongest survived, but you didn't have that attitude about the wounded while in combat, did you?

    C. Sure, people can survive w/out honey, but is that all you want to do, Survive?

    Get back to us after you have had bees for a cpl years and have done what you can to keep them alive.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  18. #38
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    I'm a sideliner with two goals - happy, healthy, thriving bees chemical free; and financial income from honey and wax sales.

    When we speak of Us/Them in reference to beekeeping, bees, mites, and honey production, my first thought is Us = bees and their stewards/partners, the beekeepers. Them = the mites, and other pests/predators. As several others have pointed out, the bees will survive without us, but how will we do, either commercial, hobbiest, or sideliner (to say nothing of the food producers) without the bees?
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    I feel that you will have bees that are both pest/pathogen resistant and productive in the near future.

    They've only recently sequenced the honeybee genome as well as the genomes of a number of its pests and pathogens.

    It's just a matter of time.

  20. #40
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    What does it cost to treat a hive (including the labor to do so and travel ) if those hives only made half the amount of your treated hives how much of the extra income is being spent on treating those hives how many pounds of honey does it take to pay for the treatment.

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