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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    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.

    Mike
    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.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Coming late to the game, but, you are assuming that Stephen Hawking came about from the combination of weak genes?.
    Hi Mark: no. I've made no assumptions about the cause of his illness at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    You are also assuming that we humans are outside of Nature and natural selection. Or that what we do w/ the husbandry of species is not in fact natural, part of Nature. Is that correct?
    If you think of Nature as what is, and happens, without humans in the picture, and 'artificial' as what happens as a result of our acts, you get a nice clear dividing line that enables to think clearly about the two separate spheres of causes. Humans practice 'arts', operate with 'artifice'. A round rock tumbling down a hill follows an entirely natural path.

    The human construct 'Nature' was devised to make this distinction (by the ancient Greeks), and I think that's the best way to use it. (Acts of Gods are also ruled out of Nature BTW. That leaves 'physica' as a mechanical sphere in which matter simply rubs against, and moves matter - and that makes it possible to look for 'laws' of nature. With all else ruled out you can make the assumption that identical causes will have identical effects - and the rest is the history of science.)

    Of course, we come from nature, and are part of nature - but if you think that way its very hard to have conversations about what is 'natural'.

    Mike
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  3. #23
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    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    I see. Thank you. If I understand correctly we have to seperate ourselves from Nature, the Natural World, in order to have perspective. Is that correct?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    I see. Thank you. If I understand correctly we have to seperate ourselves from Nature, the Natural World, in order to have perspective. Is that correct?
    I'm not sure I'd put it quite that way. Adopting that position enables clear and simple conversations, that's my point. This is human activity, that is natural activity. Natural stuff happens alone - the rock rolling down a hill example - human activity is artful, purposeful. Its results are artifacts, and artificial, in the sense of non-natural (according to our definition).

    Its not perfect, but its a useful way of working. We can say: 'bees naturally mate competitively', without having to then think about how we remove humans from the picture. We can talk about natural 'selection' as opposed to human selection (of parents).

    Mike
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  5. #25
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    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    Okay, then I have to ask, humans don't mate competitively?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Okay, then I have to ask, humans don't mate competitively?
    Yes they do. Quite naturally I guess. I think we're going a bit off topic here Mark. Why don't you try reading the Wiki article (an extract below), and thinking about the issues for a little while?

    Best wishes,

    Mike

    Within the various uses of the word today, "nature" often refers to geology and wildlife. Nature may refer to the general realm of various types of living plants and animals, and in some cases to the processes associated with inanimate objects – the way that particular types of things exist and change of their own accord, such as the weather and geology of the Earth, and the matter and energy of which all these things are composed. It is often taken to mean the "natural environment" or wilderness–wild animals, rocks, forest, beaches, and in general those things that have not been substantially altered by human intervention, or which persist despite human intervention. For example, manufactured objects and human interaction generally are not considered part of nature, unless qualified as, for example, "human nature" or "the whole of nature". This more traditional concept of natural things which can still be found today implies a distinction between the natural and the artificial, with the artificial being understood as that which has been brought into being by a human consciousness or a human mind. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nature
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  7. #27
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    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    Okay, thank you.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    Greater genetic diversity surely has to be a good thing in any breeding endeavor.
    Hi Jim,

    I'm not so sure about that. Doesn't natural selection tend to narrow diversity until a 'race' emerges? The best strain would then be that which does best any particular place at any particular time. Breeders of other kinds of livestock seem to go out of their way to exclude all but those showing desired characteristics, and aim to 'fix' desired traits by inbreeding. Of course if over-inbreeding can become a problem, and new blood is generally required from time to time - but there is no general aim for ever broader mongrelization.

    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.
    That would seem to be a good thing - although it could also mean you're getting better at targeting and using other tricks rather than raising mite-management skills through breeding. Would you be prepared to talk about that?

    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.
    Do you think they should have to? I'll be happy to offer a defence of my treatment-free beekeeping. I don't suppose the forum rules allow us to ask treaters to defend their point of view? But then, perhaps its rather obvious; they want to keep their bees alive, and (sometimes) to preserve and enhance their livelihoods, and they don't see an easy path to doing that without treating. Often they don't believe it is possible. Both positions are understandable. But I think non-treaters are entitled to complain, on grounds that treaters downgrade and endanger both wild bees (and the genetic diversity that belongs to future generations) and their own (i.e. my) bees. It effectively amounts to mass slaughter by genetic poisoning.

    Best wishes,

    Mike
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    Delete
    Last edited by jim lyon; 09-18-2012 at 06:14 AM. Reason: Poorly formatted
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    You get what you pay for. A $20 queen is a queen you're going to pay for over and over and over, so don't buy it.
    That blanket statement can be questioned strongly!
    Quality queens pay dividends.
    They do not cost!
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  11. #31
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    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    Re;
    Your DNA testing.
    What lab are you using and what is the cost per sample?
    Thanks,
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bishop

    Do you think they should have to? I'll be happy to offer a defence of my treatment-free beekeeping. I don't suppose the forum rules allow us to ask treaters to defend their point of view? But then, perhaps its rather obvious; they want to keep their bees alive, and (sometimes) to preserve and enhance their livelihoods, and they don't see an easy path to doing that without treating. Often they don't believe it is possible. Both positions are understandable. But I think non-treaters are entitled to complain, on grounds that treaters downgrade and endanger both wild bees (and the genetic diversity that belongs to future generations) and their own (i.e. my) bees. It effectively amounts to mass slaughter by genetic poisoning.

    Best wishes,

    Mike
    Mike,
    In my own case I have experienced that not treating is not a viable option. For me. Not yet. How to keep bees in largeish numbers w/out antivarroa mite treatments is not something I can afford or have not figured out how to establish in my business.

    This is sort of what you eluded to above. And I don't write it in defence as much as to agree w/ your point.

    I'm finding this discussion interesting. I look forward to reading more.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Mike,
    In my own case I have experienced that not treating is not a viable option. For me. Not yet. How to keep bees in largeish numbers w/out antivarroa mite treatments is not something I can afford or have not figured out how to establish in my business.
    What sorts of things have you tried Mark?
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  14. #34
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    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    Well, my main experience w/ not treating for varroa waas either the same year as CCD was identified or the year before. I had 732 hives in May 2006(?) or was it 2005(?) and had not treated them that Spring. By Fall, when it was time to transport them South for the Winter I was down to 432 and did not treat them then either. By March of the next year I was down to 100 colonies. I have not yet recovered back to the original number or up to the 800 I have pallets for, for a number of reasons.

    I did not consider continuing not treating or even raising queens from the survivors. I am not that organized or that good at grafting. So I borrowed colonies to cover my pollination contracts. I bought honey to cover my obligations to my customers, stores. I bought queens to use in splits, every Spring. I used mite treatments which successful beekeeping friends used.

    Since then I have not had really big loss. I have had some years of 33% loss, but this last year losses were more like 10 or 15%. The best in years. Attributable to what exactly I can't really say. Don't really know. Coulds have been the mild Winter. But my hives Winter in SC where harshly cold weather is usually not much of a factor. Bees can be worked almost during any week of the Winter in SC.

    What else can I tell you? Thanks for asking.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  15. #35
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    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    Hi Mark, When you wrote earlier: "In my own case I have experienced that not treating is not a viable option. For me. Not yet. How to keep bees in largeish numbers w/out antivarroa mite treatments is not something I can afford or have not figured out how to establish in my business."

    ...I had imagined that you'd looked into given treatment-free beekeeping, come to understand the principles, tried it, and failed. (Had you rebuilt from your survivors I think you'd likely have made it!)

    A lot has been learned about raising mite resistant bees in recent years. If you undertook to study the principles and form a structured breeding program to that end, I'm pretty sure you'd be able to do it. There might be some cost to productivity for a while.

    I can't offer any more than that - I've never kept bees on that scale, and am in the early stages of a much more modest breeding program. But everything I learn shows that the increasing number of people who think that treatments are addictive and a major part of the problem, are right. The paper I linked to is just one of a number of sources that can help us understand the underlying nature of the problem - a useful first stage I think in forming a plan to overcome it. There are more from my link page at the website below my signature.

    Best wishes,

    Mike
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    BEES4U - As far as DNA testing is concerned - to answer the question... I use the county extension office. It is free. I believe they send it out to the ARS Tucson Bee Lab.

  17. #37
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    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    Hi Mark, When you wrote earlier: "In my own case I have experienced that not treating is not a viable option. For me. Not yet. How to keep bees in largeish numbers w/out antivarroa mite treatments is not something I can afford or have not figured out how to establish in my business."

    ...I had imagined that you'd looked into given treatment-free beekeeping, come to understand the principles, tried it, and failed. (Had you rebuilt from your survivors I think you'd likely have made it!)

    Best wishes,

    Mike
    I should have made it clear that I meant for me when I wrote that treatment free is not viable. Viable for me. If I did not make thaty clear.

    You could very well be correct Mike. But life circumstances will quite often direct actions. I am sure you understand that. Had I another source of income, a job other than what I supplied myself, perhaps developing a business based on nontreatment could possibly been doable. On the other hand I have only heard of a small handful of commercial operations smaller than mine here in the US. So, it seems that indicates that goinbg treatmenty free on a commercial basis is not practical, yet.

    Commercials do seem to be going towards softer, more natural, miticides like formic acid and thymol based materials. Perhaps in time this will lead to less or even no treatment. Time will tell. Then we will look back and wonder why we didn't do things differently from the start.

    ps: thanks for your patience and willingness to naddress this issue with me.
    Last edited by sqkcrk; 09-19-2012 at 08:39 AM. Reason: added a post script
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  18. #38
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    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    I have observed there seems to be a size cut-off for being able to go totally treatment free. I cannot tell if it is because of the ability to provide more oversight of the hives or if it is the "too many rats in tha cage" effect. The larger you get, the harder it becomes to stay totally treatment free. It seems to be that way with many animals.

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Commercials do seem to be going towards softer, more natural, miticides like formic acid and thymol based materials. Perhaps in time this will lead to less or even no treatment. Time will tell. Then we will look back and wonder why we didn't do things differently from the start.
    Hi Mark,

    Sadly 'softer' treatments are just as bad, in genetic terms as the harshest chemicals! The rule is: the better it works (at killing varroa), the worse it is in terms of reducing mite-tolerance in the next generation!

    The only good treatment, from the perspective of the feral bee population or the non-treater, is one that doesn't work at all. This also applies to mechanical tricks, sugar dusting and artificial swarming.

    Similarly, treating 'only those that need it' is a self-defeating strategy! They are the very first you want dead!

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    ps: thanks for your patience and willingness to naddress this issue with me.
    Its a pleasure - I just hope you find it all useful. As a large commercial beekeeper your problems with this are as much of interest to me. Have you looked at the various forms of advice and training offered by Marla Spivak?

    Best wishes,

    Mike
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  20. #40
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    Default Re: Coevolution of Honey Bees and Varroa Mites: A New Paper

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    Hi Mark,

    Its a pleasure - I just hope you find it all useful. As a large commercial beekeeper your problems with this are as much of interest to me. Have you looked at the various forms of advice and training offered by Marla Spivak?

    Best wishes,

    Mike
    I am finding it interesting. No, I haven't read or experienced Marla Spivak's training or advice. I have used some queens which came from her stock. I shouild look into what you refer to. Any advice on how to go about that? A websearch probably, right?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

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