Systematic breeding in non-treatment management systems
Its no secret that many beekeepers use systematic low-level, low tech, selective propagation measures to raise and maintain resistance to unwanted predatory organisms. The 'no-treatment' systems of management manage the varroa problem by utilizing longstanding traditional techniques; chiefly, making selection for mite resistance their highest selection criteria.
That this works, and it what accounts for their success is well evidenced, and the mechanisms are becoming well understood.
I'd like to be able to talk with other beekeepers about these techniques, to share and improve my understanding of how they are done and how they work; and to explore the informative parallels between natural selection and traditional animal breeding. Many non-treaters describe one of their aims as beekeeping 'naturally', so its good to understand just how nature keeps bees healthy and vigourous.
One of the aims of gaining a better understand of the techniques available to beekeepers, and the basic reasons why they work, is to be able to predict what will be likely to work in any given circumstances.
I would like to see discussions grounded in the well established but basic evolutionary biology and animal husbandry sources. While it will be good to look at the deeper nature of the mechanisms involved, I don't want high-level technical discussions or pet theories to drown out the simple foundations of non-treatment beekeeping.
The idea is that anything we learn here will be accessible to all beekeepers. The focus is practical non-treatment beekeeping.
The race isn't always to the swift, nor the fight to the strong, but that's the way to bet