Results 1 to 20 of 48

Hybrid View

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,820

    Default definition of "survivor bees"

    The term "survivors" when applied to a colony no doubt has many interpretations, I have used it myself in the past to label some of my hives, but lately I have begun to question whether there is such a thing at all. If you feel there is reason to call a colony a "survivor" what characteristics are present that differentiate it from any other colony that exists for several seasons at least. John

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,250

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    The term "survivors" when applied to a colony no doubt has many interpretations, I have used it myself in the past to label some of my hives, but lately I have begun to question whether there is such a thing at all. If you feel there is reason to call a colony a "survivor" what characteristics are present that differentiate it from any other colony that exists for several seasons at least. John
    Good point John. Once your first hive dies then all others are, well, survivors....right? To me a "survivor" is a hive that survives what our operation and the weather put it through in any given time frame.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,285

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    another good question john.

    for me, 'survivor' means an unmanaged feral colony that propagates swarms year after year, and doesn't die out. some folks question whether or bees surviving in the wild on their own exist. granted, it would be hard to find and regularly observe these wild hives to verify they did not die out and weren't just replaced with swarms. i believe they are out there in my area.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    hinesville ga usa
    Posts
    311

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    another good question john.

    for me, 'survivor' means an unmanaged feral colony that propagates swarms year after year, and doesn't die out. some folks question whether or bees surviving in the wild on their own exist. granted, it would be hard to find and regularly observe these wild hives to verify they did not die out and weren't just replaced with swarms. i believe they are out there in my area.
    I agree, and in my area I am convinced, because I am in an area that has only one other beek, and he has Italians, yet there are large black drones that visit my hives, and I have caught a couple of swarms of dark bees. The queens from these behave like dark bees, they cut back production of brood in the winter and winter with smaller numbers of bees. They also go to work well below 57 degrees. Back in the eighties an outfit out of Jesup Ga. kept a large number of Midnight ( or Midnite ) bees nearby. These were dark bees, I am working to develope a bee that will work at lower temps and exspand the brood-nest in mid winter. I firmly believe these bees have survived in the wild for over twenty years.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Calvert, Md,USA
    Posts
    1,701

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    Do they have to live "in the wild" to be feral? And, if they are not "managed" but still make their home in a lang, given the criteria, are they not survivors? There are those that do nothing but add supers then take the honey. My friend and I have two hives that are basically yard ornaments. He at least takes some honey. I have not. Started this two seasons ago, third coming. Probably have swarmed. They are strong vigorous hives. No treatments. ( reason we did it ) I guess some might say they are just un managed, we are lucky so far,,,, maybe
    I have one queen that if she makes it this winter, this spring will be her fourth season. I put her in a nuc early each year and let the hive make a new queen. I do not routinely re queen. JMO.
    2 cents
    Rick

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Saint Louis, Missouri
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    Em... A queen that has not been allowed to issue a swarm, that overwinters, lays a solid brood pattern for at least two to three years is a 'survivor' for the local area.

    I have had very productive queen who swarmed high in the fifth season and got away, but other three or more year colonies reside in the same apiary. That fiver produced splits and her daughters mated with drones from other survivor stock to a frequency that I can accept as 'survivor stock'.

    FYI: Starting stocks are from the entire range of sources (mail order, cut-outs, swarms, etc.), approaching 20 hives, 9th year, not a breeder, but have sold some splits.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Raymond, Mississippi, USA
    Posts
    177

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    For the average hobby beek... how often do you replace a queen? Is it based only only laying patterns... after a specific time ( 2 years is what most that I knew replaced after )... I have not heard of people keeping queens for many years.. but is this common?
    Thanks

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    nashville tn usa
    Posts
    222

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    WCubed can give a good answer to the question

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Southern Oregon
    Posts
    1,162

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    Good question. Here is what I look for in a breeder queen:
    Productivity- Can the hive produce surplus of all three; honey, bees, and Pollen? Don't settle for just one.

    Mite tolerance- Can the queen make 2 winters or more without a acaricide and remain productive?

    Hygienic behavior- Can the colony achieve a 100% clean out on freeze killed brood test on at least two occasions?

    Early build up- Can the colony easily make the grade for early pollinations like almonds? We must pollinate to get the bills paid so they have to be suitable to the task.

    If I can answers yes to all 4 criteria then I would suggest that the bees in question would fall into the category of "survivor bees". Some may take umbrage with managed bees even being considered, however we need bees that are stable and sustainable enough to pay the bills. We always welcome some ferals to participate in the challenge every year.
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,285

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    good point john, it might be argued that managed bees have to be even 'tougher' than wild bees.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Citrus County, Florida, United States
    Posts
    258

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    Good article about the subject in Bee Culture, Nov. 2012, Father Time Tested Mother Nature Approved, by Melanie Kirby

    "Dr. Marla Spivak in her Keeping Bees in Northern Climates workshop states that it takes 18 months for Varroa to infiltrate and kill a hive. It is therefore plausible that survivor bees must be able to overcome that threshold--meaning survive past 18 months."

    "the minimum age for establishing any lineage of survivor stock should be at least 18 months and I recommend even older- at minimum two years of age. This passage of time not only reflects the ability of a ccolony to deal with Varroa, but also its ability to establish its Overall Lifetime Merit, the OLT as I call it, which tells how well a colony holds up to other various pests and diseases, maintains gentleness and productivity."

    The OLT is her naming of a "pedigree" system with longevity being one of her selection criteria. No doubt, time is a factor. "Survivor bees" have no connotation or association with their source such as "feral". The article also goes on to stress "local" and the reality that a survivor bee in the Northwest isn't going to necessarily be successful in say Michigan or Maine, but there is merit to the idea of regional sharing or breeding among know survivor stock. How colonies deal with dearth and other stresses are discussed. Taking the nature of the criteria being discussed and the "survivor" trait, standard management practices such as feeding would have to be called into question and a more "holistic" approach would need to be taken to determine "survivor stock".

    "This holistic approach relies on quality nutrition. And quality nutrition relies on the environment. The main requirement of nutrition is diversity and saturation, but, another crucial aspect of nutrition is dearth and compromise."

    Basically, the factor being stressed here is the ability of the hive to handle the dearth periods through brood minimization which gives the mites less opportunity at reproduction. Also the "frugality" of the bees would be important here. Again, surviving over time seems to be the critical factor (yes, productivity and gentleness are also criteria) with source ("feral" vs commercially bred) being of no importance. An interesting take with some very concrete methods/criteria on the whole "survivor bee" topic.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Saint Louis, Missouri
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    Quote Originally Posted by Nature Coast beek View Post
    Good article about the subject in Bee Culture, Nov. 2012, Father Time Tested Mother Nature Approved, by Melanie Kirby
    Melanie is the only breeder that I know of that monitors for longevity. It seems like an important trait to me.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Raymond, Mississippi, USA
    Posts
    177

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    Very good info here for me... am still formulating some deeper questions about the matter and will ask later... but just quickly... as for longevity.. 18 months.. etc... This may be important to smaller beeks.. or hobby beeks... but I was always taught to believe that Commercial beeks routinely requeen every 2 years. They don't usually have the time to do extensive evaluations on each and every hive when they are running 1000-10,000 hives... so they just requeen every other year. Obviously if 18 months is the time for Varroa to kill a hive... production will decrease far earlier than the hive death... but do commercial beeks really care if the hive/queen is going to last 2+ years? As a production queen breeder I think you would definately WANT to maintain the oldest surviving stock you have to try and maintain that genetic trait... and you would breed production queens from them.... but is a commercial beek going to watch his queens for 2+ years to see how they survive? I don't know... and that is why I am asking.... what does a commercial beek want in a production queen that they buy? How much intervention can a queen producer do to a hive before he really can't make the survivor claim? According to Dr. Spivak.. even feeding your bees would automatically deduct from your ability to make a survivor claim. So... what do commercial beeks who buy 1000's of queens expect or want?
    Thanks

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Southern Oregon
    Posts
    1,162

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Klein View Post
    Melanie is the only breeder that I know of that monitors for longevity. It seems like an important trait to me.
    We also monitor for longevity.
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads