Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
Your point is taken: but where would we be if we bred only from the Stephen Hawkins's? Would you deliberately propagate from only your weakest hives? Would you make efforts to keep them alive just to be able to reproduce them?

The answers are surely no, and no. The logic that flows from there is simple, time honoured, and consistent with standard practice in all other fields of husbandry. Put Best to Best. Never propagate weakness.

The fact remains: nature knows best. The natural way is ruthless selection of the best adapted in each generation; and the beekeeper who wants healthy bees needs to understand the process and work with it.

The problem is the bee farming industry is stuffed by people who don't understand - or who want obscure - that simple imperative.

My best are always the basis for selecting queen mothers and even I can be ruthless but by keeping more hives alive I have as broad a pool of drones as is possible and yes that would also include nearby feral stock. Greater genetic diversity surely has to be a good thing in any breeding endeavor. Add to that the fact that we have been able to dramatically decrease our mite treatments in recent years and the logic becomes even more clear. Ummmmm that is about all I believe I can really say (perhaps i have already said too much) as the unique forum rules here say that those who choose to be treatment free need not have to defend their point of view.