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  1. #1
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    Default Live and Let Die - Do you really reduce the gene pool?

    In cases where bees are not given mite treatments, and those who cannot survive are allowed to die, the approach is sometimes called "The Bond Method" or "Live and Let Die".

    An argument against this approach suggests that you reduce the gene pool by losing bees that might have other valuable breeding traits.

    But given that users of the method are so much in the minority, wouldn't it stand to reason that any of the genetic traits of a given be that are not maintained in the treatment free yards would be carried on in the treated yards in the same area?

    Adam

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Live and Let Die - Do you really reduce the gene pool?

    This seems to me to be a very nebulous subject. It's like dumping one bucket of water into another and trying to identify which molecules you've lost. How do you tell what you've lost? What does one set of bees have that another doesn't? Sure, you can say that something's lost, but what?

    If I die without having children, is the human species somehow disadvantaged because it no longer has something in the gene pool it once did? Most of our foods have been bred from plants and animals originally what we'd consider inedible. Goldfish revert to their native brown if they go several generations without selective breeding. Beyond that, there is massive amounts of stored information in our DNA that is inactivated, relics of our ancestors and of viral DNA that has inserted itself into our code.

    Perhaps what's lost, as in the case with the goldfish, is certain combinations of expressed traits. Without selection, those combinations are reordered, the wrong combination to a lock if you will. All the numbers are still there, they're just not in the right order.

    What do you think?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Live and Let Die - Do you really reduce the gene pool?

    Adam

    The Bond Project consisted of 150 isolated colonies and reached its conclusions based upon that set of circumstances. It may seem nebulous to some, but not to Dr. Locke, as she describes it in part of her doctoral thesis.

    http://pub.epsilon.slu.se/9036/1/locke_b_120912.pdf
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Live and Let Die - Do you really reduce the gene pool?

    rb, can you give a quick summary of her conclusions from the study?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Live and Let Die - Do you really reduce the gene pool?

    Peg,

    The link to her study can only explain it far better than I ever could. Take the time to read it; great paper. One of her summations is that “chemical treatments of honey bee diseases even if successful at the colony level in the short term have not eradicated the problem of pathogens at the population level". In other words you might be able to kill a few mites but you will do more harm to the bees as a superorganism in eliminating their ability to fight off pathogens and viruses that ultimately will lead to the demise of the colony as a whole.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Live and Let Die - Do you really reduce the gene pool?

    and this gets into the genetics of it which are above my pay grade.

    i'm all for not continuing lines of bees that consistantly require treatments to survive.

    this could be accomplished by requeening, if the only genetics that are carried forward are in the queen's dna.

    there was some information presented here (by wlc i think) that suggested that genes make it into the bees by other means, but i don't understand that.

    i take a look at the paper, thanks!
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Live and Let Die - Do you really reduce the gene pool?

    ok, did a 'speed read'.

    looks like at least two strategies responsible for varroa resistance have been developed in nontreated bees, and these traits are passed on to future generations. it was not determined if this is through the queen or the drone or both. so it makes sense to requeen with resistant stock, as well as cull drones from nonresistant colonies while pushing drones in the resistant ones.

    it also looks like the use of fluvalinate (apistan) was found to temporarily increase virus loads in colonies receiving treatment with it.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Live and Let Die - Do you really reduce the gene pool?

    see Peg your not so square after all.....(smiles) one does not have to be a geneticist to understand the basic principles of a proven study.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Live and Let Die - Do you really reduce the gene pool?

    thanks rb, i think.

    when i did my master's thesis, i had to use the .05 level of statistical significance to say that my data supported my hypothesis. but even that meant i had a one in twenty chance of being wrong.

    so 'proven' is always relative, and i don't know enough about this field to question the methodology ect.

    but it looks pretty straightforward, and the results are not surprising. i tend to like randy oliver's reviews on these studies, as he has the background to critique and challenge them.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Live and Let Die - Do you really reduce the gene pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    In cases where bees are not given mite treatments, and those who cannot survive are allowed to die, the approach is sometimes called "The Bond Method" or "Live and Let Die".

    An argument against this approach suggests that you reduce the gene pool by losing bees that might have other valuable breeding traits.
    Adam
    First keep in mind that natural selection and breeding selection have nothing in common. Natural selection is extremely diverse. It is selecting for a very wide range of traits under a wide range of conditions. so it actually selects for a vast genetic pool. It also practices in some ways inbreeding. For example when environmental conditions are favorable there is a higher rate of survival. creating a higher population and an increase in cross breeding. In times of unfavorable conditions there is a high rate of failure. at times coming near extinction. population s are smaller and can often become isolated resulting in inbreeding of specific genetic traits. These traits become more set as a result and some traits may even be bred out.

    In comparison selection for breeding is targeted to a very small set of traits under comparable identical conditions. variability is limited as well as the genetic pool. None of teh traits selected for are not necessarily beneficial to the bee or it's ability to survive. much less survive a wide variety of conditions.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Live and Let Die - Do you really reduce the gene pool?

    look into the Saskatraz Honey Bee Project,

    http://www.saskatraz.com/

    right up your guys ally

    I'm buying queens from this outfit
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Live and Let Die - Do you really reduce the gene pool?

    very cool ian. if i were north of the border i'd get mine from them too.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  13. #13
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    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: Live and Let Die - Do you really reduce the gene pool?

    The near death of the native bee of the British Isles comes to mind. When Acarapis woodii invaded, Apis mellifera mellifera all but disappeared. This bee, that lived on the southern edges of the ice for eons, was taken out by a parasite it had never before encountered. Were the genetics of the bee that remained diminished in some way? I would say so.

    Also, I witnessed the initial infestation of Acarapis in North America. It killed my yellow bees, leaving the dark colonies seemingly untouched. My operation went from almost entirely yellow bees to almost all dark in just a few years. Yes, I requeened with carni and buckfast stocks...dark bees. But I also raised my own from strong colonies...both dark, and yellow if I could find them. The yellow bees all but disappeared. Was there a loss of genes? I would assume so.

    Now, it's been 25 years. I still raise my queens from my best stocks...not selecting for color. While my bees are predominantly dark, yellow colonies are coming back...and I haven't bought in any yellow stocks since the mid-80s.

    So was something lost, or something gained, or was it there in hiding all along? Beats me.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Live and Let Die - Do you really reduce the gene pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    ...So was something lost, or something gained, or was it there in hiding all along? Beats me.
    That's interesting. Makes one wonder about genetic traits, and how they might appear and disappear under different conditions. I don't really know 'yellow' bees. I hear of them, and have read about them many times in Brother Adam's work, but I don't think I know them to look at. Does it refer to the more typical Italian coloring? Is it really that yellow, or is that just comparative to the carni's and russians?

    I just feel that anything I'm liable to 'lose' in my yards, is just as liable to be sustained by another beekeeper in the area. I just don't see what is lost with the death of a small number of colonies in terms of important genetic material.

    I've heard of saskatraz a number of times. I sent them a one line email asking a couple of questions about getting queen cells. It took just over one month to get a reply, which was a shorter line than the one I sent and didn't answer my questions.

    I ended up going to Bill Ferguson for Buckfasts.

    Adam

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Live and Let Die - Do you really reduce the gene pool?

    your in NS though Adam, they have just broadened their wings a bit supplying out of SK. I would assume once they get logistics down, and have good demand, sending them further abroad would become more feasible.
    I can fly cheaper to England from here that I can fly to Fredricton
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Live and Let Die - Do you really reduce the gene pool?

    I understand. No doubt a busy man, and until this summer, Nova Scotia complicated things with a closed border and requiring permits. Looks like they've done a lot of genetic work up there, and I can see bringing in some of their stock at some point. Are you running Saskatraz stock now, Ian? If not, where do you source queens?

    Adam

  17. #17
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    Jul 2012
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    Jackson, MO
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    Default Re: Live and Let Die - Do you really reduce the gene pool?

    Genetics have resulted in pesticide resistant varroa mites after years of treatment. So why can't the bees adapt to resist the mites. Many colonies may die, but the survivors will be stronger.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Live and Let Die - Do you really reduce the gene pool?

    yes I have bought some of their stock this past season. Good producers anyway, time will tell if I like them or not. Im not sold on the mite tolerance bit though I do support all their work on the project. That is the main reason why I bought some in, 200 queened nucs.
    I also source California. But im getting tired of getting poor queens. I am seriously considering re vamping my whole op to run off the reliance of early queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    I understand. No doubt a busy man, and until this summer, Nova Scotia complicated things with a closed border and requiring permits. Looks like they've done a lot of genetic work up there, and I can see bringing in some of their stock at some point. Are you running Saskatraz stock now, Ian? If not, where do you source queens?

    Adam
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Live and Let Die - Do you really reduce the gene pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdmidwest View Post
    Genetics have resulted in pesticide resistant varroa mites after years of treatment. So why can't the bees adapt to resist the mites. Many colonies may die, but the survivors will be stronger.
    Its not just a matter of resisting the mite, they also have to become resistant to the number of viral infections transferred from the mite. before they were able to manage with a relatively high pop of mites, now, it seems if there is a trace of mites in the hive they will crash. Its the virus interaction also. so ya, they just have to be able to eliminate the presence of mites within the hive
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  20. #20
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    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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    Default Re: Live and Let Die - Do you really reduce the gene pool?

    I'm thinking of trying some queens from Quebec next season. Have you heard anything about these people?

    http://mielsdanicet.com/en/


    Adam

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