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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Canterbry, UK
    Posts
    1,663

    Default Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    Here's a beautiful new paper. Look at this statement:

    "Coevolution by natural selection in this system has been hindered for European honey bee hosts since apicultural practices remove the mite and consequently the selective pressures required for such a process."

    More sound backing for the understanding: treatments ('apicultural practices') prevent the rise of resistance which otherwise occurs rapidly.

    Mike

    Host adaptations reduce the reproductive success of Varroa
    destructor in two distinct European honey bee populations
    Barbara Locke, Yves Le Conte, Didier Crauser & Ingemar Fries

    Ecology and Evolution 2012; 2(6):
    1144–1150
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ece3.248/pdf

    Abstract
    Honey bee societies (Apis mellifera), the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor, and honey bee viruses that are vectored by the mite, form a complex system of host–parasite interactions. Coevolution by natural selection in this system has been hindered for European honey bee hosts since apicultural practices remove the mite and consequently the selective pressures required for such a process. An increasing mite population means increasing transmission opportunities for viruses that can quickly develop into severe infections, killing a bee colony. Remarkably, a few subpopulations in Europe have survived mite infestation for extended periods of
    over 10 years without management by beekeepers and offer the possibility to study their natural host–parasite coevolution. Our study shows that two of these "natural" honey bee populations, in Avignon, France and Gotland, Sweden, have in fact evolved resistant traits that reduce the fitness of the mite (measured as the reproductive success), thereby reducing the parasitic load within the colony to evade the development of overt viral infections. Mite reproductive success was reduced by about 30% in both populations. Detailed examinations of mite reproductive parameters suggest these geographically and genetically distinct populations favor different mechanisms of resistance, even though they have experienced similar selection pressures of mite infestation. Compared to unrelated control colonies in the same location, mites in the Avignon population had high levels of infertility while in Gotland there was a higher proportions of mites that delayed initiation of egg-laying. Possible explanations for the observed rapid coevolution are discussed.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    ...hence, the comeback of the feral bee in many locations.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    JACKSON OHIO
    Posts
    486

    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    yep same here
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul McCarty View Post
    ...hence, the comeback of the feral bee in many locations.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,400

    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    Perhaps also, why the Varroa mite never really caused much of a problem, here in my apiaries.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
    Posts
    1,388

    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    I once had Les Crowder tell me that the bees we have now in the wild are there because the have adapted to the mites and should require no treatments. I tend to agree.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,942

    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    Hurrah! The bees are starting to coexist with mites successfully. There is unfortunately a disconnect between the people lauding this study and the people who are commercial beekeepers - that is - the potential for 100% loss of bees by the commercial beekeeper. That could very well put the beekeeper out of business. I applaud those who are big enough to play the percentage game and live in climates where rebuilding stocks are possible. It isn't for everyone. I continue to search for genetics that will make it treatment free in my climate. I am heavily feeding my yard of treatment free bees from Texas. They stored no where near enough honey to get them through a typical Maine winter. Should I just let them die because they weren't good enough to make it? I think not, as I want them to have another chance at getting accustomed to Maine and what they need to do to survive up here. If i let them die, I'm out a bunch of money and am still looking for "good" genetics. Studies like the one mentioned are encouraging and serve to remind us that in beekeeping there is no one size fits all answer.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    804

    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    Hi Guys

    Mike, thanks for the link.

    Years ago, I setup a small cell test yard optimized for the scientific method. But when those small cell hives become mite tolerant, I dropped my scientific approach and switched all my hives over to small cell, including the control hives.


    At the time I was more interesting in running healthy, productive hives. And less interesting in proving something.


    Since then, I’ve always wished I’d left a few of those control hives untouched. I've still got a few questions about that experience that nag me. And the impacts of natural selection and co-evolution are at the top of the list.


    And that's why, besides still having some small cell equipment, I'm going to try and replicate those past small cell successes. This time I'll be more interested in the whys and less interested in the hows.

    As a natural beekeeper, I've found that the more I can cooperate with the natural processes, the better my bees do. But as with any natural process, there's an interaction of a whole scheme of things:

    - bee genetics.
    - mite genetics.
    - colony health/stress.
    - environment.
    - colony decisions.
    - colony management.

    Alter just one and the results can dramatically change.

    Beekeepers tend to focus on bee genetics and will go to great lengths to get the right stuff. As a small time queen producer I focused on bee genetics and found out the hard way that:

    - when you select for something, you are also selecting against something.

    And that something that was selected against often becomes the bee's next weakness in the co-evolutionary dance for survival between the bee and its pests.

    My narrowly selected bees were absolutely varroa tolerant. But they were all wiped out by CCD.

    Regards - Dennis
    Last edited by BWrangler; 09-16-2012 at 08:55 AM. Reason: I forgot the most important part!
    I once wrangled bees. But now, knowing better, I just let them bee.
    http://talkingstick.me/category/bees/

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