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  1. #21
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    Mar 2005
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    Erin, NY /Florence SC
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    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    As to the question on commericial queen replacement - we replace our queens no later in the 2nd year although a great deal of that comes directly from 2 queen units which get a new queen in the top unit (on top of what might be a 2nd year queen or a 1st year queen) and after 23days are combined. My observations and study tell me the young queen usually survives. I do care about hive longevitiy and I think most commercial guys would, even though they could use nucs and purchased queens to replace losses every year. Being commericial does not reduce our need for better stock.
    As to survivor stock, we have run a yard of untreated bees for many years in working towards better stock. I would consider those my survivor stock and everything else at least has some of those traits bred in as well. I would agree with Marla's concept of a hive which survives for at least 18 months as a minimum benchmark but a any treatment would nix the label of survivor stock. I get calls all the time about bees that are "survivor" stock because they are in a location for years but most when investigated show evidence of "breaks" in brood comb telling me likely it is a hive which was repopulated annualy by swarms. I look for those little dark bees (maybe the little is evidence of small cell) which normally seem to have smaller but somewhat aggressive stock and are visibly different from the norm. Those in the wild, with anecdotal support, I would call survivor stock.

  2. #22
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    Jan 2005
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    Southern Oregon
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    1,162

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    Sippy, I don't think the extreme is helpful here. If one is going to go that far then even moving them to a flow or putting them in a box would disqualify. Once the beekeeper is involved in any way we are no longer talking about wild animals, which simply survive on their own. Its one thing for a hive to just survive, its another thing all together to prosper.

    We may all have slightly different definitions of what survivor bees are. Some may expect that to mean wild and completely untended with no role for a beekeeper period. Since we proclaim to be beekeepers this extreme is a moot point. We have a responsibility to shepard our flock. To me this means supply the best nutrition possible when necessary and seek a genetic basis of disease resistance as our front line of defense.
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  3. #23
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    Jun 2012
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    Citrus County, Florida, United States
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    258

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    The BMP for Florida, no doubt, is targeting the AHB issue. Avoiding the the usurping of colonies by AHB seems to be almost obsessive (my interpretation) in the suggested BMP. Again, the BMP that I posted is for Florida, from the official apiary inspection site and is totally VOLUNTARY.

    As JBJ mentions, the issue of feeding (within the article I quoted from and my comprehension of that article) is a bit fuzzy. Like JBJ stated, good stewardship/husbandry would involve some feeding. Spivak and the article author do no come out against feeding outright, but they DO STRESS that what is fed is what matters.

    "Professor Maleszka from the Australian National University conducted some profound research on the integration of environmental and genomic signals in honey bees and the critical interplay of nutritional, brain and reproductive networks."

    Maleszka's research showed how DNA expression is linked via diet. My interpretation (reading between the lines) is the whole HFCS issue. The whole notion of the "you are what you eat" is very much alive. Now, what is acceptable and at what level is never really addressed. Only proper nutrition and its importance is emphasized. Just as what the original poster to this thread asks...what exactly is meant or specified through "survivor bee" is not really clear cut. What is clear cut from the referenced article which includes Dr. Spivak's thoughts and philosophy is that "survivor" does NECESSARILY mean a length of time. That length of time being AT LEAST 18 months, with two years being even better (Spivak). What is NOT mentioned as a quality of "survivor bee" is origin. So, in my interpretation, commercially raised queens most certainly WOULD qualify as "survivors".

    Again, these are the ideas being bandied about in the referenced article,( Father Time Tested Mother Nature Approved in November 2012, Bee Culture) which does contain contributing thoughts from Dr. Spivak as well as information from the case study Rocky Mountain Survivor Queenbee Cooperative (RMSQB Cooperative) which was funded in part by a Western Agriculture Research Education grant. The RMSQB is currently establishing a survivor stock pedigree protocol for selection and rearing based upon remaining chemical-free. Their manual is being written and won't be available until next year (2014).
    Last edited by Nature Coast beek; 02-01-2013 at 01:16 PM. Reason: proper referencing and quotation

  4. #24
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    Jun 2012
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    Citrus County, Florida, United States
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    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    Quote Originally Posted by SippyBees View Post
    Personally.. I would not take feeding.. or any other kinds of management of a beehive to take away from the idea that they are survivors... I think we ALL just want to get off the pesticide treadmill if at all possible. I have much respect for the people who started to go chemical free 10+ years ago...Those first survivor breeders/ experimenters probably took HUGE losses in bees and financial losses....
    Daniel Weaver of BeeWeaver discusses their experience...much respect! BTW he also quotes conferring with Dr. Spivak as well as the Baton Rouge Bee Lab in the BeeWeaver program.

    "Will you still be in business by the time you get there? We lost 1000's of colonies in our efforts." --Daniel Weaver

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQhwc3Rt-g0

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Raymond, Mississippi, USA
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    177

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    JBJ... I wasn't advocating that feeding would remove the "survivor" claim... was just stating what Spivak was implying... that ANY intervention would ultimately lower the strength of a survivor claim... as I said.. that is not MY opinion, and I will feed bees. The whole point is basically... as we have all asked... IS there a definitive measure of what is a Survivor bee? Should we all USE that definition as the standard of accepting survivor bee claims when we are purchasing queens? IS the survivor traits going to really make a difference in first year production queens we rear from survivor colonies? Are there traits that survivor bees are demonstrating that are already being genetically implemented in other bees like VSH?
    I just see lots of claims for this and that... but nothing really specific that measures any of the claims... EXCEPT maybe longevity. And if Longevity is the only thing we are really measuring.... then the definition gets simpler.
    I am not trying to argue with anyone what is or isn't.... I just hope enough people will add here their own opinions here to get a general consensus of what is expected.... Hopefully more commercial guys will add what they expect also....

  6. #26
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    Jan 2005
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    Southern Oregon
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    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    For a hive to express a trait has a whole unit not every bee has to carry the trait. Look at the characteristics of Hyg behavior, VSH, and aggressiveness as examples. So I would say yes there should be some benefit to first year production queens. From Harbo's page: "A most valuable feature of VSH is that bees will express a high level of mite resistance when a colony contains as little as 50% of the alleles for VSH. A simple way to produce such a colony is to raise daughter queens from a VSH breeder and allow the daughters to naturally mate. This is great news for queen producers."

    I think the survivor criteria I listed earlier would be useful for commercial or hobbyist. Who has been doing survivor stock the longest? Well the first I heard of it was in the late 90's from John Kefuss and Kirk Webster. Next came Old Sol and Weaver. There are many more players now and lots of claims being made. Good queens speak for themselves.
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Raymond, Mississippi, USA
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    177

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    Thanks Nature Coast... excellent link for BeeWeaver... I completely believe everything he said.... and it is guys like THEM (there are others) that went out on a limb years ago and we are now finding that what they hoped for is possible. At this time for me.... and my opinion is subject to change in the future.... I would accept the term survivor for bees that have demonstrated 2 years and still productive, with no PESTICIDE treatment of the bees. Soft treatments such as FGMO or OA... or whatever... doesn't seem to affect the bees health or future genetics....and in my opinion should not take away from their qualification as survivors. JMO... and THAT is subject to change..
    I first read about Purvis about 6 or 7 years ago and wanted to get some of those to try then.. but didn't. I know he is limiting his production now.. and they aren't cheap... but I think I am going to try some of them this year if I can get on his list...
    I think sharing honest results from many different breeders/ queens will help all of us.... and I will do the same.

  8. #28
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    Jun 2010
    Location
    Stillwell, KS
    Posts
    625

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    Seems like to me you have to start counting time over for a hive every time it gets a new queen.

    I've got trees I will be catching swarms out of going on for the 3rd year, but I don't consider them survivors because they swarm and replace their queen every year, in effect starting over. The bees I will be catching this spring at best are the granddaughters and have only 1/4 of the genetics of the swarm I caught from the same tree just 2 years ago.


    Don

  9. #29
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    Jun 2010
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    Calvert, Md,USA
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    1,701

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    So what happens "in the wild"? Mother queen leaves with swarm,,,,,if she is not superceded, makes it through winter, she will be the queen that leaves with the next swarm. Makes it through winter and does it again. I don't have any data or references, but seems like that would be something. Seems it would be tough to even know.
    Rick

  10. #30
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    Sep 2012
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    Saint Louis, Missouri
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    40

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick 1456 View Post
    So what happens "in the wild"? Mother queen leaves with swarm,,,,,if she is not superceded, makes it through winter, she will be the queen that leaves with the next swarm. Makes it through winter and does it again. I don't have any data or references, but seems like that would be something. Seems it would be tough to even know.
    Rick
    True, thus marking a queen and splitting to prevent a prime swarm is required to keep track of that surviving queen... if I'm following your question.

  11. #31
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    Aug 2005
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    Washington County, Maine
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    2,673

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    Quote Originally Posted by SippyBees View Post
    , with no PESTICIDE treatment of the bees. Soft treatments such as FGMO or OA... or whatever... doesn't seem to affect the bees health or future genetics....and in my opinion should not take away from their qualification as survivors.
    Hey Sippy - no treatments means no treatments - US Beekeepers especially need to avoid putting unapproved substances (like OA) in hives. Gives beekeepers a bad rap and makes honey purity suspect. I'm with the extreme organic folks on this - a constructed copy of a naturally occurring substance in my book gives up any claim it has to being natural. Heck, I don't like putting lime in my garden and that is "just" ground up rock! [And for the record, I'm not proud of it but I have and will probably again used Formic Acid (both Mite-Away II and MAQS) and Thymol based products when the mite counts in some of my hives was high]

  12. #32
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    Jun 2010
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    Calvert, Md,USA
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    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    Hey Scott,
    More of something to ponder than a want to know. I also wonder if there should not be a distinction between Survivors in an apiary vs those in the wild for that reason. (marking wild queens). If I were buying queens, nucs, or whatever, I would want know. JMHO
    Rick

  13. #33
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    Jun 2012
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    Citrus County, Florida, United States
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    258

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    From what I've read and gleaned from the whole "survivor bee" subject, treatment-free also seems to be a critical criteria. In regards to queen survival/longevity, it's not clear whether or not they're (they being Spivak and crew) are being specific in regards to colony survival or queen & colony survival. On the surface I would think any intensive research would most certainly have marked queens which are being evaluated and, to me, longevity in the queen stock would matter. Again, RMSQB protocols/criteria are being worked on for publication in 1/2014. So the effort to define and outline protocols to determine just what "survivor" means is underway.

    So "survivor" traits/criteria would seem to be at least:

    1.) 18 months longevity (2 years is preferred/suggested by Spivak. Queen or colony...not clear?)
    2.) Treatment-free

  14. #34
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    Sep 2011
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    Reno, NV
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    2,818

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    Survival really is not subject to much interpretation. you can go ahead and make up a definition for yourself but it does not change the definition of survival it just means you like to play games with yourself. Survival means it is alive. I more accurate question is Survived what? Winter, beekeepers? A pesticide laden environment? a dearth? Migration and pollination? Diseases and parasites? Being robbed of massive amount of their honey stores? All the above? all the above simultaneously? If you are looking for that last one get a grip. And that is exactly what I believe the treatment free crowed thinks they can find. it does not exist and never has. Never will.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  15. #35
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    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    If you are looking for that last one get a grip. And that is exactly what I believe the treatment free crowed thinks they can find. it does not exist and never has. Never will.
    How do you explain that wiled bees still exist after millions of years?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  16. #36
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    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    Ace, Do they? everywhere at all times?
    image001.jpg

    I live an hour from there.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  17. #37
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    Jun 2010
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    Calvert, Md,USA
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    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    My questions were to generate some thought. Actually along the lines of DY but not so hard and fast. ( no dis respect meant,) IMO, it matters because venders are advertising Survivor bees and all matter of traits. If nothing else, this type of discussion educates and will afford the ability for one to ask the right questions of the vendor so you can wade through mis conceptions, interpretations and make sure you are getting what is being advertised. JMHO
    Rick

  18. #38
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    Feb 2004
    Location
    Raymond, Mississippi, USA
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    177

    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    FWIW... I agree along the lines of what Rick 1456 says. I know what I personally would accept as being survivor bees and the husbandry used in raising it.... but I am sure others have a different point of view. I am still hoping that several other beeks will share their opinions just to get a better consensus. The BeeWeaver video made a point that you can't raise a strong enough bee to survive a grenade. For ME that survivor trait is pretty much the ability to withstand a reasonable mite load, and SHB.... Those are important to me mostly cuz that is the things that I think give the most pressure to a hive where I am located. Sometimes a beek may do things to lower that pressure in the form of soft treatments... that is his call. I just want to get off the pesticide road... and I think that is what most people want. We will always be doing something to manage our bees or try to make a better bee.... that is what beeks do, but I think over the many years, we have learned that pesticides are EASY but have long term detrimental affects on bees as a whole. SO... for me.. survivor bees... or anyone I buy my bees from... would not use pesticides... that is pretty much an expectation from most of us I think. As to other forms of treatments or interventions.... I guess that depends on the individual as to what they would accept. As a minimum for me... I think I will be asking specific questions about the bees before I buy.... THIS thread has at least made me think about it all. Thanks for everyone's input...

  19. #39
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    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    Ace, Do they? everywhere at all times?
    Well that pretty much limits it to just humans that can live everywhere or most everywhere at all times. I don't see why honeybees couldn't continue to thrive if humans were not on the planet.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  20. #40
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    Default Re: definition of "survivor bees"

    Quote Originally Posted by SippyBees View Post
    SO... for me.. survivor bees... or anyone I buy my bees from... would not use pesticides... that is pretty much an expectation from most of us I think.
    All the bees I purchased were treated and if I buy bees again I suspect they will be treated. Yes, for me it is a contradiction but I don't have control of how the bees are raised BEFORE I get them, only after I get them. As a back yard beek even the colonies I split will most likely have genetics from drones that came from treated hives. I also don't have control of the foraging environment that my bees will seek. I feel it is silly for a back yard beek to buy a hundred dollar queen. You may feel differently.
    I think only if you are gong ho on being 100% committed to breading colonies would it make sense to buy "survivor bees". Again, your views could be totally different.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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