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  1. #61
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    Feb 2010
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    North Tazewell, Virginia
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    345

    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    Hey Ted: I experimented with B-Weaver queens myself I purchased the Taylormade queen I had a real good outcome with that queen. That queen produced a entire hive body full of of honey and 3 shallow supers. I never treated these bees the entire summer or winter. I was going to raise queens from her this year and a sow bear and cubs ate well. These bees were bred in australia and they can't send due to sickness on that continent. I was going to outfit all my hives with that strain. Currently I have been removing colonies from homes I hope to monitor them to see production of honey etc. Maybe hit a home run one hive collected last year produced 90lbs of honey and started from foundation. Later

  2. #62
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    Feb 2007
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    Lincolnton, NC
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    1,022

    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Omie View Post
    Well stated RR.
    Yes, you explained that in a way I hadn't thought of before.

  3. #63
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    Nov 2009
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    Columbia county, New York, USA
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    1,535

    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    Quote Originally Posted by rrussell6870 View Post
    We do know how and why bees become resistant to varroa... the main debate has always been whether to get them there by letting them build resistances over time by keeping the mites in check with treatments, breeding in foreign strains that have already been exposed to mites long enough to build resistances, or letting all of the "family lines" that are not yet resistant enough to fight the mites on their own completely die out leaving only the few lines that are currently resistant enough...
    What factor or combination of these factors do you think were at work when bees apparently became successfully resistant to tracheal mites?
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  4. #64
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    May 2009
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    Brandon, MS USA
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    I feel that t-mites were only an issue because of the quick spread and weakened status of the bees due to improper diet. Let's face it, bees are naturally suppose to have a diverse diet just as all animals are... monocrops and syrup do take their toll by throwing off the balance of microbes... that said, we have a responsibility to feed this nation and the agricultural system "is what it is", so instead of reinventing the wheel, we just have to make better tires... if that makes sense. Lol.

    The need for early build up in bees that are not acclimated to the early blooming crops requires some sort of feeding... there is no doubt about that... so when the t-mites hit, the bees were already well off balance and not in there natural state of microbial health... thus they were not able to address the t-mite issues that spread very rapidly and built in numbers across Apiaries at an overwhelming rate.

    This led to heavy initial losses.. the treatments along with a wave of new healthier feed choices gave the bees a chance to address the t-mites and I believe the same is true for varroa... in time each breed of bee will address the issue, but it will require this industry to focus on healthy diets as well as control of the mite populations within Apiaries.... even the most resistant colony will fail if it is overwhelmed by enough invading mites.

    Hope this helps!

  5. #65
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    Feb 2011
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    dadeville, alabama, USA
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    1,163

    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    Robert is correct in his post. I would like to add one thing. The tracheal mite had been previously encounted by our bees --(European Honey Bees) in the past on the continent of Europe. So there was already some genetically built in resistance in some of the lineages of European bees. Brother Adam had bred the buckfast bee from survivor stock in England for resistance to tracheal mite, known as the Isle of Wight disease in earlier times. Since Buckfast bees were already here in the USA, along with the importation of ARS-Y1 (Yugoslavian Carniolians), added to the latent genetic resistance of the general bee population in the USA, tracheal mites are for the most part "bred" out of existance. I am glad too. I got tired of handling menthol crystals in bulk form. Have you ever accidently sat on one of those pellets on your bee truck seat ??? TK

  6. #66
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    May 2009
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    Brandon, MS USA
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    I have one better... lol. I had a gallon jar of pure menthol with me in a yard that I was working a long time ago... I had set it on a hive and started working right at daylight... lost track of the time and around noon, I was ready to use the menthol in my test hives...(it was about 90 degrees by this time, but a sweat covered "man on a mission" just doesn't think things through very well. Lol)... so of course I knelt down by a hive and opened the jar... LIGHTS OUT!... about 30 minutes later I came to and had one heck of a head ache. Lol. That was the FIRST time that I was going to try menthol... it was also the LAST time that I ever opened that dang jar!

  7. #67
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Adams Co., Colorado, USA
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    157

    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    Interesting discussion. I have questions on 3 posts:


    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Kretschmann View Post
    While we bred a resistant bee, it was worthless for honey production. The crops were too small and the colonies were too small in numbers. So there is a trade off. You sacrifice something to get something. In this case, resistance for honey production.
    You said that you developed this strain over 7 years, then gave them away. Wouldn't it have been possible at that point to start selecting for production, and perhaps 5-10 years later, have both?

    I know with plant breeding, I can select multiple traits simultaneously, or get one trait down then work on another, so I'm curious.


    Quote Originally Posted by rrussell6870 View Post
    This is a complex issue for commercial producers and needs to be addressed especially as national production averages are suffering such a great decline.
    Doesn't higher production equal lower prices per unit? Like soybean growers for example... the more they produce, the less payout per bushel is the trend over the last 20-30 years. Won't your wholesale honey buyers pull the same stunt, cutting your unit price as your surplus production goes up?


    Quote Originally Posted by WI-beek View Post
    If we can find a treatment that does not have significant side affects, can be used on a flow, and varroa cant evolve resistance,
    That would be quite a hope, no? To stop one particular organism from evolving?

  8. #68
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    43,606

    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

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

    But how will that help? The complexity of the relationship of the host and it's traits and the pest and it's traits are almost infinite. Even if you can map every genome, the combinational analysis of all the possibilities is huge. The scientists keep finding one trait they think is related and then spend years breeding for that one trait. I don't believe they will find one trait. I think you need to let Nature find her level and work this out. But you have to let her.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Manitowoc WI USA
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    353

    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    This is such an interesting discussion. Diversity is important and you never know what backyard beek, or large commercial beek, or anyone in between will develop the next strain of bee capable of overcoming all of the hazards while producing more than ever. This would become a very important bee that would quickly replace all other strains...

    Sorry, that is not funny.

    I was wondering if anyone every tried to patent a bee strain?

  10. #70
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    May 2009
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    Brandon, MS USA
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    You cant really patent a strain because ultimately, you have no control over its make-up... there are no "recipes" for retreating an exact strain... as MB said nature creates the bees... selection for traits only tips the scale one way or the other, but selection from specific mothers "by colony performance", then "by strain", then "by trait", will produce great bees, but with different variances each time...

    Take the buclfast for instance... the true qualities of the original line were from the mothers of each strain that brother Adam crossed... you could spend a millennium crossing the same strains over and over and never truly reproduce the exact strain because every generation has changed the selected colonies that he used... nature and the breeders personal selections are the most important factors in creating a strain, thus if either the environment or the breeder changes, so will the strain... a strain of bees is a constantly evolving thing and has to be blended and corrected constantly to keep its own purity... some 120 generations later, it will "stabilize", but once intermingled with other strains, it will again have to be reconstructed.

  11. #71
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    Feb 2011
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    dadeville, alabama, USA
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    Yes we donated the best colonies out of the experiment to a good cause. Robert Russell donated more bees than I had in my whole operation at the time so the USDA would have colonies to work with. When the chips were down and the industry was looking at a very real death by Varroa, the breeders in the south responded and sent the best resistant stocks they had. From those stocklines that were interbred came some of the mite resistant SMR/VSH lines that are in use today. If there ever was a time when everyone worked together for the common good of the industry--it was then. I am proud to say I had a little part in it. The remaining bees were put back into production. Those SMR/VSH traits are still out in my operation, scattered among several thousand colonies. I had some visitors a few weeks ago to my operation that needed some bulk bees. They know more about breeding bees than I could ever learn in a lifetime. They watched and pointed out colonies of bees that had the VSH trait. You could see the bees removing the larvae that had been accidently hurt in our manipulations. The bees would remove them and carry them out of the hive. So yes, the breeding goes on but on the larger operation level as a whole. TED

  12. #72
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    Apr 2011
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    Adams Co., Colorado, USA
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    157

    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    Quote Originally Posted by rrussell6870 View Post
    You cant really patent a strain because ultimately, you have no control over its make-up...
    Your Supreme Court says you can indeed patent life.

    There are already patented GE plants... and GE pigs. What's to stop them from patenting bees? Or bee genes, as would be the case?

    Let's say Monsanto puts a GE bee on the market. You don't buy any. But your neighbor does... his bees mate with your bees... now you have Monsanto patented genes in your bees, and you now owe them money for violating their patent.

    This scenario already happens with plants. Hide & watch.

  13. #73
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    Feb 2011
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    dadeville, alabama, USA
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    A long time ago cases went to the supreme court to determine who owns a swarm that lands on a tree but is in site of a beeyard. Is it the property of the beekeeper that owns the hive that the swarm issued from or the beekeeper that just happens to be in the area. The learned court determined that bees are not domesticated animals but considered "feral" in nature. Because of this determination, the brief goes on to state that the swarm of bees belongs to whoever can recover it because of its feral nature. The same would apply to the scenerio that you have proposed. I can not control where or what bees my queenbees mate with because they are feral in nature and wander where ever they please. For all I know they might go and mate with dung beetles and my honey might taste as such! So Monsanto would be hard pressed to patent bee genetics and expect the everyday beekeeper to pay a royalty. That would be paid by the bee breeder that signs a contract with the company. TED

  14. #74
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    Feb 2007
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    Lincolnton, NC
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Kretschmann View Post
    Yes we donated the best colonies out of the experiment to a good cause. Robert Russell donated more bees than I had in my whole operation at the time so the USDA would have colonies to work with.TED
    I've always wondered where the beginnings of VSH came from. How many others contributed and were all the bees from breeders in the South?

  15. #75
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    May 2009
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    Brandon, MS USA
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    Agreed. There is no way to patent a strain of bees, because you have no control over the consistency of the genetics.. today it may be a Italian/Carniolan hybrid, tomorrow a Russian/Italian/Carniolan mut... each time they reproduce, they mate with up to 20 drones.. a blend that can alter their behavior and color completely... and what traits do we breed honey bees for?? Behavioral and color traits...

    I know of a few breeders that are trying to contract their customers to pay "royalties", and all I have to say about it is please use common sense when dealing with people like that... we have worked with bees from all over for a very long time and produced some really exceptional strains, but the strains do NOT "belong" to us alone... they belong to the bee keepers of this country and the countries that we supply. No man invented the bee... and No man can tell you that the bees that they sell you today will perform the same way for each season...

    If some tells you that they want a "royalty", tell them that you will pay a royalty on any queen that you produce from their stock that can promise will produce colonies that are identical to the mother colony in every way... you won't be writing many checks...

    It's better for the queens that you buy to be allowed to reproduce naturally the following year amongst your best colonies BEFORE you graft from them to produce queens for your own operation... your bees are acclimated to your climate... add that to the selected traits of the purchased queens and a mix of drones from the purchased queens and your best colonies and you will get excellent colonies to graft from.

  16. #76
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Dorothy, New Jersey USA
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    This is a great thread, but has anyone mentioned selecting for a shorter pupal stage of the worker? I believe I saw somewhere that for every adult female mite that enters a worker brood cell an average of 1.2 adult female mites come out. Perhaps if we focused on cutting out 12 hours of the capped worker brood time period, we could lower that 1.2 figure to .95. That would leave drones as the only way that mites could get a lead on the bees.

    Tim Stewart
    Stewart's Apiaries

  17. #77
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    May 2009
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    Brandon, MS USA
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    Quote Originally Posted by heaflaw View Post
    I've always wondered where the beginnings of VSH came from. How many others contributed and were all the bees from breeders in the South?
    No. Several migratory operations, honey producers, and other queen producers such as weaver and wilbanks did as well. VSH started up naturally as the bees response to the stresses of mites... they just needed to survive long enough to produce enough generations dealing with lower levels of the stress to start developing the trait. Honestly the colonies under our own manipulations seemed to progress quicker than those in the labs... the trouble was that once something worked on the lab, they couldn't duplicate it well in a working operation... so it slowed the results.

  18. #78
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    Feb 2007
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    Lincolnton, NC
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    So, your (and Weaver's and other's) bees' resistance to mites is by VSH even though you have not purchased queens from Glenn Apiaries or another source from USDA?

  19. #79
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    May 2009
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    Brandon, MS USA
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    Absolutely. All bees will develop these traits as a result of the stresses of mites. Vsh and higher swarming are the first steps that they develop... through continually selecting for lowered swarming, you can minimize that effect, but vsh will still develop.

  20. #80
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    Feb 2007
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    Lincolnton, NC
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    Default Re: Resistant bees, productive or not

    I've read that bees can develop other methods such as self-grooming or grooming each other. Is that prevelant?

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