Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
Hi Crofter,

I agree with all you say, except that part which seems to be saying 'carry on treating, because to do otherwise risks losing genetic diversity'.

Its easy to label a proposed solution (or rather, an understanding of the mechanisms in play that can lead to solutions) 'simplistic'. But it seems to me to be a case of: give a dog a bad name and kill it'. In what way are the things here - the principles and the actions they indicate ' simplistic'? I think you make a charge with that term, and I think it requires justification.

Marla Spivak, whose method I've indicated might be of interest to large commercial operations wishes to wean their bees off the meds, makes a specifical global point along these lines: It is best for this to occur at a local level, so that genetic diversity is maintained, rather than to have central breeding operations which could easily narrow diversity alarmingly.

It isn't the case that nobody is thinking about this. And its a good point. But it isn't a reason to do nothing - to carry on with the meds.

There is ample evidence showing that where bees are able to be free of treatments their natural defences are bought to the surface by natural selection, and the age-old problem of a new introduced parasite is taken care of. In what way can that be said to be simplistic, or meddling?

I think 'backing off and letting nature take its course' is precisely what many of us are willing to do - on a local basis - and that the evidence we will provide will strengthen the diagnosis: the biggest health problem bees face is addiction to meds.

Mike
Backing off and letting nature take its course - on a local basis - I agree with. Local experiments with active control while protecting the whole of the gene bank till you see where the experiment is taking us, but dont burn any genetic bridges in the process. I guess that was Marla Spivaks advice. It is unfortunate that concurrent treatment by others can and likely will hamper the process. Sadly we are deeply into the same conundrum with human medicine.

"There is ample evidence showing that where bees are able to be free of treatments their natural defences are bought to the surface by natural selection, and the age-old problem of a new introduced parasite is taken care of. In what way can that be said to be simplistic, or meddling?"

Man is currently interfering with the natural evolutionary process in so many ways I dont think we can simply back away in any one area and claim that what results was the will of mama gaia. Letting mother nature retake control is a noble thought but I dont think we can muster the will to allow it. (in the big time frame however, nothing else prevails!) Once you have become part of the active process doing nothing becomes in essence an action.

The problem I foresee here is that our European bees inclination may be to emulate the Asian bee to combat their introduced mite: they swarm typically 10 or more times a year and produce virtually no honey surplus. You can be sure that wont be allowed, so man is still going to be keeping his fingers on the levers. We seem to be locked into a spiral of increasing complexity and ever victim of unforseen consequences of each of our solutions. Like it or not man has become part of the evolutionary force. Lots to think about; it may not be such a simple solution.