Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
I think I'm with you, Solomon.

Honestly, I think letting them alone in terms of selecting for survival is all any of us are really qualified to do. There are just too many things we don't (and may never understand about the bees).

I think we must continue to select for traditional traits like temperament and production levels, as these are things that are important to our interaction with them. But in terms of survival, I think survival itself is the only trustworthy indicator.

Adam
I'm with you both on this - as an ideal. But the question was: how does a large commercial operation go over to treatment free without loss...

For myself: I source survivors, don't treat or manipulate, and don't feed. I only propagate - from the best. So my bees _are_ survivors in every sense.

One of the things I aim to do is carefully support, and definiately don't downgrade, my local breeding pool. I want feral bees around me, sending their genes inward, and I want to be able to think I understand their needs. So my bees are selected to be strong (which I think benefits the ferals) and to carry no impeding traits. They know when to build, when to raise winter bees and when to store. They are local bees tuning themselves constantly to local conditions. I haven't yet felt the need to select for temperament or quietness on the frames. (I worry - probably foolishly - that gentle bees might be more prone to robbing)

Mike