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  1. #201
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    "By supporting hives that would otherwise die, the beekeeper artificially subverts natural selection"

    Beekeeping itself subverts natural selection. I am not sure I agree that differentiating one interference from another makes a difference. I have also seen it mentioned many places that treatment free is not simply putting bees in a hive and walking away. but that many other measures are taken. To me that is just handling the mites with alternative methods. That is not allowing natural selection to play it's roll any more than chemical treatments are. I have also seen the comments that say "I don't do anything for mites, I don't have them". But then neither do I according to my last inspection. But the colony that I cut out last March had them. pretty badly. three weeks later they didn't.

    I do not agree that bees are weakened by treatments. The bees I treat are already infested. They where already weak. and that was true when the very first colony became infested. it had not been treated. so treatments are not the cause of susceptibility. Now keeping may be and I do have a strong suspicion that is true. So in all I keep a reserve of opinion that says treatment free may be barking up the right type of tree, but they need to find a bigger tree to do their barking at. I believe that beekeeping and imposing our goals and desires on the bee for centuries has lead to the bees we have today. We decided that africanized genes where bad. Bad for Who. us or the bees. How can selection fro what is good for the beekeeper result in good bees? So I see in all the picture is much broader than just mite management.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  2. #202
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Daniel, you're in the wrong forum again. If you want to argue about treating, do it in Pests and Diseases. This is question and answer, not question and argue.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #203
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    >I do not agree that bees are weakened by treatments. The bees I treat are already infested. They where already weak. and that was true when the very first colony became infested. it had not been treated. so treatments are not the cause of susceptibility.

    But they are contributing to susceptibility.

    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%...l.pone.0033188

    Terramycin makes them more susceptible to AFB. Fumidil makes them more susceptible to Nosema. Anything that disrupts the natural flora and fauna in the colony makes it more susceptible to pathogens and pests.

    But I don't think that is the real issue. The real issue is that propping up those weak genetics contributes to weak bees in the future. It's the genetics that are the real issue. We need to keep the ones that are inherently healthy and not keep the ones that need to be propped up.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #204
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    sol, you mentioned using queen castles for mating, three by three in a ten frame box i think.

    how did they do for you and how did you set them up?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #205
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Did the loss surveys from last winter give any data on the percentage of loss on treated VS untreated colonies?

  6. #206
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    Did the loss surveys from last winter give any data on the percentage of loss on treated VS untreated colonies?
    Yes, for the previous year. I don't think that breakdown is available yet for this past winter.

    http://beeinformed.org/wp-content/up...-Philosopy.pdf

    Long story short: no significant difference.

  7. #207
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    This is a curious dilemma in the non treatment philosophy.

    On one hand we get told that treating bees, keeps the bees with weak genetics alive that would have otherwise died, so interferes with natural selection.

    On the other hand we get told that there is no significant difference in hives survival whether they are treated, or not.

    Both opinions repeated often enough, and in this thread, we have been told both of them within the previous 4 posts.

    They cannot both be true.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 07-23-2013 at 12:48 AM.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #208
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    This is a curious dilemma in the non treatment philosophy.

    On one hand we get told that treating bees, keeps the bees with weak genetics alive that would have otherwise died, so interferes with natural selection.

    On the other hand we get told that there is no significant difference in hives survival whether they are treated, or not.

    Both opinions repeated often enough, and in this thread, we have been told both of them within the previous 4 posts.

    They cannot both be true.
    There is no contradiction. They can both be true. Bees under selective propagation regimes are currently surviving at about the same rate as bees under veterinary management.

    Separately, the selective propagaters can argue (from their understanding of natural selection and selective husbandry) that their populations should improve in resistance year on year, and so for them for them losses will diminish over time.

    The veterinary school can't make that argument.

    That doesn't entirely explain why what you see as a 'dilemma' (a logical contradiction is a better description) isn't there. But it shows you the way.

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

  9. #209
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    That doesn't entirely explain why what you see as a 'dilemma' (a logical contradiction is a better description) isn't there.
    Correct, it doesn't, the logic in your argument is flawed.

    You are saying that both could be true, ie, there may be no significant difference in hive survival between the two groups, but yet, one group could argue that their hives will improve over time but the others not argue that

    The only way one group could argue that, from a selective pressure perspective, is if there is a significant difference around hive survival and therefore selective pressure.

    Just so you know where I am coming from on this, my position is that there is a significant difference in survival, treating hives can save them from death. Regardless of how some statistics may be selected and presented. Therefore selective pressure could be possible.

    Which does not mean theory is always the reality. But, it is possible.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  10. #210
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Correct, it doesn't, the logic in your argument is flawed.

    You are saying that both could be true, ie, there may be no significant difference in hive survival between the two groups, but yet, one group could argue that their hives will improve over time but the others not argue that

    The only way one group could argue that, is if there is a significant difference around hive survival and therefore selective pressure.
    That is the case (although your use of the term 'selective pressure' is a bit wobbly here). Lets go through it:

    If/when beekeepers simply stop treating, they'll often lose around 90% of their hives in the first year. That figure will fall year on year as the new population increasingly has the behaviours required that enable bees to manage mites thremselves. Depending on how much the beekeeper helps things along by deliberately pushing the desirable genes forward (and to the extend that s/he has the skills required to do this) the survival rates will improve faster or slower.

    Depending on the number of artificially preserved (treated) hives nearby, the process may be slowed, or may never take off at all.

    The 'selective pressure' here is being applied mostly by the beekeeper - its artificial, not natural. Any hives that simply perish through being left alone are part of the process of natural selection. So both natural selection and artificial selection are in play.


    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Just so you know where I am coming from on this, my position is that there is a significant difference in survival, treating hives can save them from death. Regardless of how some statistics may be selected and presented.
    Sure it can. (I don't think the survey says it can't) But it will stop the bee population from developing the behaviours required to manage mites on their own - it will stop the development of resistance to mites that would otherwise occur.

    So its a short-term solution, but also a state of 'addiction'. The more you treat, the more your bees will need treatments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Therefore selective pressure could be possible.
    Here your logic falls down. You need to distinguish between natural and artificially selection first to get things clear in your mind about what is happening. Then read up on 'selective pressure' to gain a clear understanding of how that term is used in discussions about the effects due to the fact that behaviours and other qualities are _inherited_.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Which does not mean theory is always the reality. But, it is possible.
    Theory is sound to the extent that it can be shown to be in step with reality. The theory of natural selection for the fittest strains, and its application to husbandry, have been massively explored, and vastly tested for over 200 years. It has been shown, overwhelmingly, to be sound.

    You need to have a basic understanding of the way it works to be able to begin to apply it.

    Its application in beekeeping, in the context of varroa, has been amply demonstrated.

    I'd advise: keep studying, and talking, and form a new plan of attack to move over to non-treatment management. If you go at it half-cocked you are likely to fail again.

    You could do a lot worse than take one of Marla Spivak's courses, and ask questions on the FeralBeeProject list. It isn't hard - but you do have to do the right sorts of things.
    Mike (UK)
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  11. #211
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    Sure it can. (I don't think the survey says it can't) But it will stop the bee population from developing the behaviours required to manage mites on their own - it will stop the development of resistance to mites that would otherwise occur.

    So its a short-term solution, but also a state of 'addiction'. The more you treat, the more your bees will need treatments.
    This argument is circuitous. It is simply repeating the argument presented in post 203, which I pointed out runs counter to the statement made in post 206. Simply repeating or rephrasing the argument, unfortunately does not change that.

    I'm just highlighting the contradiction between the two oft repeated statements. Your presumption of my lack of basic understanding of the theory of natural selection, does not remove this contradiction.

    However thanks for the advice, and interesting ideas. I'll try not to be so half-cocked and now realise I should try to do the right sorts of things.

    However the contradiction pointed out in post 207 has not been disproved by rehashing what has already been said.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 07-23-2013 at 06:49 AM.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  12. #212
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    how did they do for you and how did you set them up?
    They do well when conditions are good. My main problems this year were queens not coming back from mating flights, which I wouldn't consider related to the type of nuc, but I could be wrong. They're set up with one frame of capped brood, one frame of honey, and an empty frame or foundation. Once there is a major portion of new capped brood, then I move them into a five frame nuc.


    I think the disconnect in the rates of loss between treated and non-treated comes in what happens when you quit treating the treated group, they crash. Set up a scientific experiment with those two groups and cease treatment and the treated group will suffer higher losses. They're weak. I have no problem with the argument that both populations have similar loss rates under steady-state conditions, and yet one group is not able to handle disease without treatment. It is not a contradiction. One group requires more inputs, can't survive in the wild, etc., the other group is the opposite.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  13. #213
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Treating is not the default mode. It's like fat wooly sheep that can't give birth unassisted and can't climb mountains are not the default mode, therefore they suffer predation, and if left to their own devices would largely die out. The same goes for the bees. However, if one were to keep bees or sheep in a way that allows them to maintain their selected defensive traits, then when they get out, they're not barbecued by the first passing wolf.

    It's the age old tension in agriculture between having a productive animal and having a durable animal (or fruit tree or whatever). It is my position that both are possible in the bee, if not the sheep. With the sheep, we want to eat it and for it to make lots of wool. With the bee, we just want it to do what it normally does, only more, more honey, more pollination, more wax. And we'd like it to not sting so much. None of these things necessarily puts limits on its natural survival, where as a fat wooly sheep has lots of problems.

    Therefore, the default mode needs to be the goal, that means bees that don't die so rapidly when they swarm, bees that largely survive if the owner has to go to Afghanistan for a couple years. Maybe they swarm without a little extra management, but that again goes to maintain the default mode.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  14. #214
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    >On the other hand we get told that there is no significant difference in hives survival whether they are treated, or not.

    >They cannot both be true.

    Of course they can. If EVERYONE would stop treating you could make a dent in the genetic side, but as long as the majority of people are treating and bringing in genetics from other places from bees that are also being treated, they are watering down much of the genetic effect.

    “If you’re not part of the genetic solution of breeding mite-tolerant bees, then you’re part of the problem”– Randy Oliver
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #215
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    What would happen if everyone stopped treating has little to do with my original point. Nor does much else that's been said, what I was trying to get at has been missed.

    But really, it doesn't matter.

    Looks like I kicked the hornets nest LOL

    I'll leave now.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  16. #216
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    it's a fair question ot. the problem is using an unscientific survey that falls short of representing the universe of managed bees and drawing conclusions from it.

    not the the information isn't useful as it may show trends, but to say that there isn't any significant difference in treated vs. untreated is a stretch.

    the consideration as to what the differences in management have on the evolution of equilibrium between the parasites and hosts is a different question, and it seems plausible that treating may hinder that process.

    the happy medium would appear to be to choose treatments that lessen their impact on that evolution, and treat only those colonies that are very unlikely to survive anyway.

    if one chooses to practice the bond method, then it makes sense to euthanize the colony and kill off the parasites before they can be spread to nearby colonies via robbing.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  17. #217
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    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    if one chooses to practice the bond method, then it makes sense to euthanize the colony and kill off the parasites before they can be spread to nearby colonies via robbing.
    This demonstrates the frame of mind in the treating vs. non-treating (there's gotta be a better word than "debate"). This method would still have the goal of preventing the spread of a parasite when the goal of TFB is bees that deal with the parasite themselves, no matter where they come from or how many are brought home. Traits that could possibly lead to this eventuality are bees that won't rob diseased hives, or refuse to come home if they catch a parasite, or the parasite is removed by guards at the door, or parasite is killed inside the home hive, or parasite is otherwise eliminated in one way or another. None of these traits can be developed if the parasite is eliminated beforehand. That's still remaining in a medical mindset.

    I am quite unconcerned with the spread of parasites from dead or dying hives. Helping results in not helping. The goal is not to do the minimum to get hives to survive, the goal is to have the ability do nothing and get hives to survive. Surviving is their job. Management for reasonable production is my job. That's really the core of treatment-free beekeeping and the Bond Method.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  18. #218
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    i heartily accept every point you make there sol, and this is exactly how it happens in nature, but as i have pointed out before there is nothing natural about putting bees in artificial homes and molesting them on a regular basis. it seems only fair that if we impose these compromises on them then we shouldn't wholeheartedly dismiss intervening in other ways as well.

    for you and i who are sideline beekeeping and can afford to do so it's a perfectly valid approach from our point of view, but maybe not so if we are impacting nearby colonies (and perhaps native pollinators) in ways that others may not appreciate.

    for me i have decided on no treatments because my bees have not only survived but continue to thrive without them, and they have a sixteen year history of doing so. but out of respect for any unwanted impact i may have beyond my own beeyard i take the precautions i mention above, although it's very infrequent that i have to do so.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  19. #219
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    Default Re: Ask Questions Here!

    Could somebody just answer my question in simple English for my simple mind? What were the percents of loss, treated VS untreated? I do not see untreated on the survey.

  20. #220
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    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    the consideration as to what the differences in management have on the evolution of equilibrium between the parasites and hosts is a different question, and it seems plausible that treating may hinder that process.
    It doesn't hinder it. It throws it into reverse. You can take a population of perfectly good mite-managing bees and rapidly turn them into hopelessly treatment addicted bees that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    the happy medium would appear to be to choose treatments that lessen their impact on that evolution, ....
    Treatments inhibit the development (or the maintenance) of co-adaptation between bees and parasites to the extent to which they are effective. If it works as a treatment, it works to encourage dependence on treatments. The more effective at stopping the problem, the more effective at breeding out natural resistance.

    The only treatment that encourages the evolution of bee mite management from this perspective is one that doesn't work at all. The same goes for manipulations.

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    ...and treat only those colonies that are very unlikely to survive anyway.
    Treating only those colonies that are unlikely to survive is _precisely_ the opposite of what you need to do!

    To be a non-treater/population husbandryman is to be a _breeder_. Unbreakable breeding principles: a) Make increase only from the best; b) eliminate the worst from the breeding pool. In our context 'best' and 'worse' refer to the bees' ability to manage mites themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    if one chooses to practice the bond method, then it makes sense to euthanize the colony and kill off the parasites before they can be spread to nearby colonies via robbing.
    If you are trying to develop vigourous self-sustaining bees its no good isolating them from aspects of the environment. In fact John Kefus's 'Bond Method' purposefully throws the worst mites available into the hives! He only wants those strains that can handle them and thrive.


    It seems to me that these posts demonstrate a misunderstanding about what 'non-treatment' beekeeping is. Where modern husbandry focuses on individual hives, trying to keep as many as possible alive and productive, traditional husbandry focuses on the breeding pool, the larger population, as the means to make the individuals healthy and productive. You have to stop thinking so much about the stuff you can see - the hives, the mites, and think more about the stuff you can't - the genes, the matings.

    Husbandry in its proper sense means 'taking care of the flow of genes down through the generations.' It means talk of bloodlines, inherited qualities, the pursuit of vigour and productivity through manipulation of the parentage of each generation. This is what livestock keeping has always been focused, on for this reason: it works.

    'Husbandry' that focuses on the health of individuals is more akin to pet keeping. It is treating colonies like children, not like livestock. And, in an open mating animal, it is fatal to health.

    This is an entirely different mindset. It involves long-term, wide thinking rather than short term narrow thinking. The individual not only can - but must - be sacrificed for the good of the larger population.

    Stop thinking about the colony and start thinking about the super-organism that is the local breeding population. That's the proper object of husbandry.

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

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