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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Summer 2013, How's it going?

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    I'm thinking a lot just now about localism in beekeeping too. Local survivors will have gained, through competition, good 'knowledge' of the climate, bloom times and so on - they will be attuned.
    Mike (UK)
    Where is the attuned local 'knowledge' stored in the bee (meta-population) brain?

    These sort of statements miss the essential evolutionary imperative of honeybees. Honeybees are successful generalists. They resist niche specialization. Many insects pursue niche specialization and become highly fragile, fragmented species. Honeybees have a very different strategy -- they use social communication to adapt to conditions, rather than hard-wired specializations. This is why the same interbreeding species is able to prosper from the Equator to the Arctic.

    The "mythos" of local survivors is fundamentally an inductive reasoning error. An abstract good -- "local adaptation" is posited; and this abstraction is then promoted as a real thing. In reality, the bees have a breeding and social system designed to defeat niche specialization. The bees have higher fitness as generalists, and they are evolutionary successful and long-lasting because they have resisted the siren-song on local niche specialization.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Summer 2013, How's it going?



    I look forward to more JWC posts.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Summer 2013, How's it going?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Where is the attuned local 'knowledge' stored in the bee (meta-population) brain?
    There's food for thought here JW, thank you. I'd thought of 'local adaptiveness' as being stored in a similar way to regional predispitions. Obviously ( I suppose) this would entail 'genetic storage'.

    There is no doubt that there is a local pattern to blooming seasons in many places, and those colonies that are well aligned with nectar and pollen supplies in terms of build up and population maintenance will, all else being equal, do better than those that are poorly aligned. Perhaps that is the only mechanism in play, and perhaps I'm overestimating it. But I still think its sensible to try to allow my bees to find their own place in the nectar season - and stimulative spring feeding will undoubtedly - to my way of thinking - mess with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Honeybees have a very different strategy -- they use social communication to adapt to conditions, rather than hard-wired specializations. This is why the same interbreeding species is able to prosper from the Equator to the Arctic.
    Its a good point but... races from different climatic settings are known to have different spring building and supper population strategies. That fact supports my way of thinking.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    The "mythos" of local survivors is fundamentally an inductive reasoning error. An abstract good -- "local adaptation" is posited; and this abstraction is then promoted as a real thing.
    Not so fast. The notion of 'local survivors' tends to refer to strains that have developed resistance to varroa through natural selection. Its no 'mythos', and while the theroy may have been born as inductive reasoning, it is now scientific, empirical fact. We seek out feral genetics for that reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    In reality, the bees have a breeding and social system designed to defeat niche specialization. The bees have higher fitness as generalists, and they are evolutionary successful and long-lasting because they have resisted the siren-song on local niche specialization.
    I think you are right here - but to reason (inductively) from this position to the notion that there is no manner of regional or local adaptation is wrong. Honeybees do resist niche specialisation, but competition may fairly expected to bring about local as well as regional attunement to food sources. The former is at present, I agree (as far as I know) an inductively reasoned notion, but it has strong grounds. Its certainly no logic fallacy - its a straightfoward application of basic evolutionary theory.

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

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Summer 2013, How's it going?

    Mike (UK)
    Consider this: The overwhelming number of species that have evolved are now extinct, dead, no-longer extant.
    We tend to think of evolution as an "optimization" scheme always selecting an improved condition. This is easy with the examples of perfect mimicry in the insect world, and spectacularly complex mating systems. It is incorrect to think of evolution as always perfecting -- instead it is messy and wasteful.

    Most evolution produces fragile and static dead ends. The experiment is a failure. The species blinks out. We often conceptualize fitness as a neat bell curve with an optimum peak; however, in practice, their are multiple dips and bumps, and animals get stuck in some local minimum trap, a circular whirlpool that doesn't add fitness but is impossible to escape from.

    Honeybees are long extant with a very highly developed breeding system. Their key adaptation is for species stability. They combine this with a social system that is general, flexible, and highly communicative.

    The impulse to specialize and confine the bees is counter to their core evolutionary imperative. It is a misreading of the species. The great success of the "Italian" bee is not because it perfectly adapted to Tuscany or the Piedmont, but because its selection has been directed by humans to emphasize brooding over swarming. In the US, the bees with the greatest overall fitness are the mutts with mixed genotypes, and the greatest diversity of fathers for the workers. Instinctual behavior is differently expressed by workers with different fathers, a successful colony generates behavioral castes for this variation and uses its carefully preserved, universal social communication to direct the hormonally diverse castes.

    Rather than narrowing your genotype, you want to expand it. That is what bees are trying to do throughout their evolution, and it is demonstrably better husbandry.

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free, Summer 2013, How's it going?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Mike (UK)
    Consider this: The overwhelming number of species that have evolved are now extinct, dead, no-longer extant.
    JW,

    This notion comes up often, to what end I'm never sure. But it usually fails to take account of a several key factors. First, there have been periodic mass extinctions caused by massive physcal changes - asteroid strikes, supervolcanic eruptions or a combination of the two being the chief culprits. Second, many of the now extinct species have evolved into new species. They died out because evolution improved them for current conditions and their decendents took over.

    All of which, as I say, is not especially relevant as far as I can see. The honeybee has been around, by most accounts, for 20 thousand thousand years, and that's not a bad duration in species terms. It has specialised regionally. And almost certainly one of the things that makes it robust in evoltionary terms is the ability to adapt to changing conditions on a local basis.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    We tend to think of evolution as an "optimization" scheme always selecting an improved condition. This is easy with the examples of perfect mimicry in the insect world, and spectacularly complex mating systems. It is incorrect to think of evolution as always perfecting -- instead it is messy and wasteful.
    That depend on your point of view - indeed whether you think it is useful or legitimate take any such view. Evolution is a process. The 'waste' is a necessary part of the process. It brings about not just remarkable but beautiful things - close to miraculaous wonders.

    These are just subjective reactions.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Most evolution produces fragile and static dead ends. The experiment is a failure. The species blinks out.
    See above - the picture is far more complex. Too complex to easily quantify. What you express is, like what I express, a subjective observation. Nothing more.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    We often conceptualize fitness as a neat bell curve with an optimum peak; ...
    We can legitimately do that. We can locate data and display it in a manner that supplies a neat curve. It all depends how we want to gather and treat the data to be displayed. However....

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    however, in practice, their are multiple dips and bumps, and animals get stuck in some local minimum trap, a circular whirlpool that doesn't add fitness but is impossible to escape from.
    .... I think what you are describing is a metaphor in tended to make a point about the results of evolution.

    Organisms can indeed get stuck - but given sufficient genetic diversity honeybees don't appear to be prone to that. It may be that here in Europe where honeybees are indiginous I can take a different view to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Honeybees are long extant with a very highly developed breeding system. Their key adaptation is for species stability.
    I'm not sure you should label that feature 'the' key adaptation. Its a feature of their make up, and as such certainly an adaptation. But they share species stability with just about every other other insect or mammal. That's what 'species' are - stable populations.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    They combine this with a social system that is general, flexible, and highly communicative.
    I'm not sure that a 'society' composed entirely of siblings or half-siblings ought to be described as a 'society' - but lets let that pass. Your adjectives are, again, subjective views. What does it mean to say of a 'social system' that it is 'general'? How is this 'social system' 'flexible - what are the grounds for comparison with other species? 'Highly' communicative? It seems to mat while, for insects, they have considerable communication abilities, those abilities ate extremely highly specialised. You coulndn't decribe them as 'broad communicators' could you?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    The impulse to specialize and confine the bees is counter to their core evolutionary imperative. It is a misreading of the species. The great success of the "Italian" bee is not because it perfectly adapted to Tuscany or the Piedmont, but because its selection has been directed by humans to emphasize brooding over swarming.
    First: consider this: in all its evolutionary history, the honeybee has communicated in the overwhelming number of cases with other local honeybees. Its first task, to survive and thrive, has been to do that successfully.

    Second, if we are to try to draw lessons inductively from an understanding of the bee's evolved nature, we should keep a focus on its natural evolution, not its 'success' as a domestic species.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    In the US, the bees with the greatest overall fitness are the mutts with mixed genotypes, and the greatest diversity of fathers for the workers.
    That wouldn't surprise me at all. I suspect it is the same here.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Instinctual behavior is differently expressed by workers with different fathers, a successful colony generates behavioral castes for this variation and uses its carefully preserved, universal social communication to direct the hormonally diverse castes.
    Hmmm I think that since evolution tends to narrow genetic diversity to those traits and qualities that work best, forming regional and local species, we ought to conclude that constantly interrupting that process wit new imports might not be a good thing.

    However: stop. While this is interesting speculation, it simply doesn't have the epistemic power to supply direction for the choice: import or work with locally evolved mutts (for that's all we have now). Its a personal choice, and furthermore, a false one. We can do both.

    We started by my speaking about the likelyhood of having found what I consider to be a (another) local 'survivor' hotspot, and your denying that any such thing could exist, on the basis of what has proved to be very dodgy inductive speculation.

    Here it continues to its 'logical' end:

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Rather than narrowing your genotype, you want to expand it. That is what bees are trying to do throughout their evolution, and it is demonstrably better husbandry.
    If 'better husbandry' is that which gets short term results as a domesticated animal, perhaps. That's not what I'd call 'better'. I'm looking for self sufficiency. I don't know where it has been demonstrated that a honeybee racial melting pot has created a stronger population in the long term.

    But again - if you think you need it, go for it.

    My situations is: its a fair guess my mutts are a residue of native bees and imports from all over. They are melting pot as it gets. That may and may not have helped them to locate the genes that permit resistance to mites - but as and where they've found it, and maintained the ability to thrive - that is what I'm looking for. I can't think of a better place to find genetically diverse mite resistant locally adapted honeybees than in my local survivor hotspots. I don't think you have any sort of argument to put up against that.

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

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