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  1. #121
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Quote Originally Posted by LetMBee View Post
    Zhive9:

    More adaptive bees..... Less virulent varroa... I will take either so long as it means live colonies in the spring.

    it will take both to reach a tolerable host/parasite equilibrium.


    There is a cup half full argument for allowing weak hives to die in the winter. The mites in those hives die too. Therefore it is the end of the genetic line for those varroa.

    not the case, the dying hive will be robbed out by nearby colonies thereby spreading the genetics of the colony crashing varroa.
    jmho
    beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf

  2. #122
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Quote Originally Posted by jbeshearse View Post
    Not at all.
    Speaking in the genetic sense, about dying. Dying is my primary selection tool. It's a very effective tool.


    Quote Originally Posted by jbeshearse View Post
    "The Accelerated Bond test", at least as I understand it is let it live or die on its own.
    No, that's the Bond Test. The Accelerated Bond Test is when several frames heavily infested with varroa are introduced in the hive. The hive can either then clean it up, or die, thus accelerated. What is it deknow said about staring at the link is not appropriate preparation for talking about it? http://www.meamcneil.com/John%20Kefu...Themselves.pdf "Live and let die" = Bond Test "Survive or die now" = Bond Accelerated Test


    Quote Originally Posted by jbeshearse View Post
    Then in the process the hive sits how long before it is cleaned of the pathogen that killed it.
    The difference is all hives already have AFB spores by default.


    Quote Originally Posted by jbeshearse View Post
    How do you determine that mites were the cause of the winter losses if you are not monitoring them?
    Well, if the hive doesn't die, the mites probably weren't a problem. But think about what you're asking. How do I know it was mites? Why do I care? They're dead. It's not like I'm going to find a dead hive and think to myself "I better make a note not to breed from this hive, they are not good at dealing with mites." They're dead. Context. The nature of the mite causes overwintering to be one of the hardest times of the year for the hive due to lack of drones and brood, with a lowered population and therefore a higher concentration of mites after a long active season. Therefore, overwintering success is an important indicator in the ability to deal with mites, which is exactly what I said.


    Quote Originally Posted by jbeshearse View Post
    Depends on why they are weak. ...you may be losing resistant bees to poor circumstance rather than poor genetics or survival skills.
    There is no such thing as luck. If they are weak, they are weak, tough cookies. If it's because of a virgin, then they superseded or swarmed at the wrong time. Suck it up and deal or face extinction. That's how it works. I keep bees, not pets.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #123
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    First of all, it's the viruses transmitted by Varroa to Honeybees that do the killing. So, they need to bee virus resistant for the most part.

    Secondly, investigators have now found that DWV can infect and replicate in Bombus impatiens, the common eastern bumblebee.

    With a new, very large, environmental reservoir, and with the new horizontal pathway of virus transmission from Bombus impatiens, to pollen source, to Honeybee, to Varroa, and back again, I'd say that the 'Bond" hypothesis has a serious flaw.

    You're better off getting resistant stock from feral trapouts/swarms or other known resistant stock.

    One method can be justified as a form of conservation: removing exotic livestock from the environment.

    The other one raises the question, "Why take risks with an invasive virus?" .

  4. #124
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    >There is no such thing as luck.

    But there is. Survival of the lucky has always been around and the demise of the unlucky. Bees have to gamble to survive and if that gamble on when the flow will start fails miserably they die. A lot of success is timing.

    >How do you determine that mites were the cause of the winter losses if you are not monitoring them?

    It's not hard to count dead mites on the bottom board of a dead hive. Not hard at all to estimate if they are in the tens of thousands... or you have trouble finding them...

    >This might be because VSH focusses on just one mechanism, to target mites. The bond method, in theory anyway, does not target one thing, it selects purely on the basis of weather a hive can survive in mite infested areas. That ability to survive might possibly include ability to resist mite related pathogens.

    And I think this is essential. Survival may be a complex interaction or it may just be a combination of things that reach some critical mass. In other words if there are ten things that contribute to survival, and they have seven of them that might be what it takes, no matter which seven. Reality is I don't think we know what it takes exactly. But it is easy to measure survival.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #125
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    WLC: True it is the viruses, but the mites also parasitize the bees. You are correct though in that bees need to develop a defense against the the vector (mites) as well as the pathogenic viruses, but I do not doubt that they can do this. Varroa came from another parasite host relationship where both were able to coexist. Given time they will do the same with honeybees. The viral vector problem is not totally solved by hygienic stock. The idea of hygienic stock has been around for a little while. I don't think it is a magic bullet.

    You make an interesting point... Is all of this shipping of bees across the world a good idea?
    Jason Bruns
    LetMBee.com YouTube

  6. #126
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    There is chance and skill. Chance is the number of questions on the test you know the answers to. Skill is the total number of answers you know.

    Gambling is not luck. Gambling is skill and chance. The worst gambler has the chance of winning occasionally. The best gambler can win with the worst cards. Survival of the lucky is the same as survival of the treated. Once one stops getting treated, one returns to survival of the fittest. Luck is combination of things occasionally working out by chance and the human tendency to forget about it when it didn't work.

    Is it harsh, are my methods cruel, am I a cold heartless so and so? Yes. But my bees are awesome. ďThe Bond Test keeps you very busy doing nothingĒ - John Kefuss
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  7. #127
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Nice to find some people agreeing with me from time to time.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #128
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post

    This might be because VSH focusses on just one mechanism, to target mites. The bond method, in theory anyway, does not target one thing, it selects purely on the basis of weather a hive can survive in mite infested areas. That ability to survive might possibly include ability to resist mite related pathogens.

    And I think this is essential. Survival may be a complex interaction or it may just be a combination of things that reach some critical mass. In other words if there are ten things that contribute to survival, and they have seven of them that might be what it takes, no matter which seven. Reality is I don't think we know what it takes exactly. But it is easy to measure survival.
    Mike, this is the sticking point for me, and what caused me to make that decision to quit treating 15 months ago. I realized that we just don't know if anything we're doing is causing as much long term harm as it causes short term gain. I realized that through everything I could see through my research and experience, the bee is largely a mystery to us. So from my perspective, the best we can do is to employ a minimalist approach - mess with her and her ways as little as possible.

    Adam

  9. #129
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    That's how it works. I keep bees, not pets.
    I keep bees not pets also.

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    Chance is the number of questions on the test you know the answers to. Skill is the total number of answers you know.
    Chance is just a mathematical view of luck. Chance/Luck is the number of questions on the test you know. Knowledge is the total number of answers you know. Skill is knowing how to present the correct answer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    The best gambler can win with the worst cards.
    The only reason a gambler can win with the worst cards is that nobody calls his bluff. Mother Nature always calls the bluff.

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    Survival of the lucky is the same as survival of the treated
    Nice turn of phrase, but not an accurate analogy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    The difference is all hives already have AFB spores by default.
    That is a bold, unsupported and frankly false statement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    No, that's the Bond Test. The Accelerated Bond Test is when several frames heavily infested with varroa are introduced in the hive. The hive can either then clean it up, or die, thus accelerated. What is it deknow said about staring at the link is not appropriate preparation for talking about it? http://www.meamcneil.com/John%20Kefu...Themselves.pdf "Live and let die" = Bond Test "Survive or die now" = Bond Accelerated Test
    You still donít reference that burning hives was to prevent spread, and the accelerated bond has nothing in common with burning an AFB hive, which was your original assertion and prompted my initial reply. (but you are more than willing I see to try some small digs along the way, get a bigger shovel if you need to)

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    Therefore, overwintering success is an important indicator in the ability to deal with mites, which is exactly what I said.
    Yet since you donít monitor mites, you are guessing, and assuming that mites were the problem. You donít know, and I know you donít care. Which is fine. But you make an unsupported assumption every time you speculate on why the hive died. ďMy hive is mite resistant because it overwintered.Ē Yet it could have survived because a brood cycle break at the right time to keep the mite populations in check. You just donít know. Didnít you say you lost all your hives when you moved, mainly because they could not overwinter? Did they die because they had mites, or because they could not adjust to the new climate? I hear you say how southern queens donít do well up north. Is it because those dang northern mites are more virulent, or is it climate. Once again, you donít know, and you donít care. And once again, that is fine by me. You have your ways, I have mine. Both are valid and apparently adequately work for each of us.

    A few last questions and I am done. Is overwintering success an important indicator in the ability to deal with mites in treated hives? If not, then why do they die? Possibly from the same things that caused non-treated overwintering deaths. Which is a way of me asking is it not plausible that your varroa resistance is higher than you think, since you donít know why the hives that did not overwinter failed?

  10. #130
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    So from my perspective, the best we can do is to employ a minimalist approach - mess with her and her ways as little as possible.

    Adam
    I agree completely. I think where most get into issues is trying to determine what "as little as possible" is.

    On one end of the spectrum we and do nothing at all, place them in a manmade structure and use them as much as we can. On the other end, we do everything humanly possible, within our knowledge to aid in their survival, due to the circumstances we have placed them in, which are not natural. Is one right the other wrong, I don't think so, we are all capable of choosing our own path, ad that is what your thread is about and a good one at that. I agree it's a path, not a destination, as is life in general. Its all about the trip, not the arrival.

  11. #131
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Quote Originally Posted by jbeshearse View Post
    ... we are all capable of choosing our own path, ad that is what your thread is about and a good one at that. I agree it's a path, not a destination, as is life in general. Its all about the trip, not the arrival.
    I think the thread title is stimulating, but I'm not sure I'd agree with it as a statement of what is.

    Traditional husbandry/the Bond Method _is_ a solution to the problem of the day. That is, poor health bought about by mites. (The viruses that are vectored by mites are btw incidental - there is little point in paying them any attention as without mites they are nothing.)

    Proper population husbandry fixes the problem, which is non-adaptation, due to: first, introduction of a foreign parasite, second, prevention of adaptation/co-evolution by systematic widespread treating.

    Getting to the point where the new/old system is working, ticking along as natural and human selective mechanisms systematically maintain the what-it-is-bees-need-to-thrive is what I'd describe as the journey - to the destination - which is the new/old equilibrium.

    The method/s are both the path (which way to go) AND the solution.

    Non-treatment is both the goal and the means to the goal. And the means to maintaining the goal.

    Stopping smoking cigarettes is the solution to stopping nicotine addiction AND the goal of the path 'giving up smoking'.

    The goal is an equilibrium between mite, bee and beekeeper. That is not a state where the beekeeper can do nothing because everything is 'fixed.' That isn't how population husbandry works. And there isn't a (successful) other sort.

    Ruminating over, thanks for the opportunity.

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 08-01-2013 at 02:29 AM.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  12. #132
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Good post LetMBee. The bond method works in accordance with evolutionary theory. So what cannot survive unaided dies. As per evolutionary theory there have been extinctions, and that's where the bond method can fail, as a method. As in my case, my losses were 100%. Which is quite in accordance with evolutionary theory and what has happened when two alien species encounter each other, historically, more species have become extinct than are currently alive. So it didn't advance my quest to produce a better bee at all. If a person gets some survivors though, he has a chance.
    Its worth remembering that evolution works on lots of different levels, and offers explanations for different things. In the main it supplies the scientifically accepted explanation for the rise of new species. That addresses as specific questions like: how did the different species arise; why do there appear to be similarities across species, close-cousin species and so on. So that is about the causes of life-forms and their relations and differentiation. Its also a big part of the explanation of how life itself arose in the first place.

    Natural selection for the fittest strains is that part of evolutionary theory that explains the mechanism by which evolution occurs.

    Separately (though in a related way) NSFTFS offers an explanation for how populations maintain health in the face of changing environments, in particular, new predators. This addresses questions about the here and now, rather than deep historical ones.

    NSFTFS (together with an understanding of genetic inheritance and genetic diversity) explains the ability of populations to adapt to such changes as new parasites and diseases, through changes that are often not evolution in the sense of something new arising, but still evolution in the sense that those best fitted to the present enviroment tend to reproduce in the greatest number.

    That is the bit that husbandry focuses on: trying to stay one step ahead of nature's winnowing (negative selection if you like) by emphasising the parental selection processes (positive selection - which also operates in lots of different way in nature - in competitive mating behaviours for example).

    In husbandry that parental selection process has two aspects: a) obtaining sound breeding stock in the first place, b) keeping the population healthy by selecting the healthiest parents to make each new generation. These aspects supply principles, are conditions that, to the extent they are satisfied, will alleviate the dangers of failure due to inadequate genes. In all forms of husbandry they are the primary health tool.

    I think Oldtimer that what happened to you was that nature terminated your bloodlines (for whatever reasons.) That doesn't have very much in common with the idea of extinction. Its just husbandry gone wrong because one of those conditions wasn't sufficiently satisfied, or because something external to genetics occurred, or both.

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

  13. #133
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Dear Oldtimer

    Mt Toler has kept an italian hive afloat, but he has had to feed these bees and monitor them quite a bit. Although I cannot state this with any surety, I would say the Italian hives are hybrids. I will inquire.
    The Buckfast Queens in our control group were purchased from Canada. Ferguson Apiaries.
    Mr Toler has had little success with Buckfast Queens purchased in the US. In fact, Both Buckfast queens he purchased from R Weaver this year, were destroyed by the colony within 30 days of their introduction and replaced with a custom queen.

  14. #134
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Dear Adam Foster Collins

    It is interesting to observe, that a strain or Queen, warmly received by one colony can be soundly rejected in another. Colonies are certainly aware of their own needs, and by our observations, waste no time in setting about exacting changes to fulfill those needs.

    Dear Oldtimer

    You have surmised the basis of an element of our rejection to be sure. We have learned that there will never be a "meeting of the minds" between Conservationists and Commercial beekeepers.

    I'm sure you noticed that we disenfranchised the Naturalists as well, by using Bayer Chemicals within a close proximity of these hives. We are after the truth in these matters, and have not landed soundly in one Camp or the other. We will continue to publish our findings,....and buy a stainless steel umbrella.

  15. #135
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Quote Originally Posted by eyeonyou View Post
    Dear Adam Foster Collins

    It is interesting to observe, that a strain or Queen, warmly received by one colony can be soundly rejected in another. Colonies are certainly aware of their own needs, and by our observations, waste no time in setting about exacting changes to fulfill those needs.
    True. In our case, the Buckfasts were accepted readily enough, and they survived the winter. They just haven't yet been stand-outs in terms of health or performance, and some failed during our poor spring. Still too early to give a true assessment, and in truth, I'd like to import some more in order to make sure it wasn't "luck of the draw", or just my own failures that caused them to struggle.

    Adam

  16. #136
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    I think the thread title is stimulating, but I'm not sure I'd agree with it as a statement of what is.

    Traditional husbandry/the Bond Method _is_ a solution to the problem of the day...

    The method/s are both the path (which way to go) AND the solution.

    Non-treatment is both the goal and the means to the goal. And the means to maintaining the goal.

    Stopping smoking cigarettes is the solution to stopping nicotine addiction AND the goal of the path 'giving up smoking'...
    Not everyone who is treatment free is will be practicing traditional husbandry. Many many treatment free beekeepers (and I might even venture to say the majority of treatment free beekeepers) will simply be buying more bees next spring. I say that based on my own experience in communicating with new beekeepers who are working just a hive or two and going treatment free.

    So while breeding is a method that can be seen as a solution, simply not treating is not a solution in itself.

    Quitting smoking is not a method of quitting smoking; it's just the path - moving from a state of active engagement in an addictive practice, to a state of abstaining, and then (hopefully) to a state where you just don't have the urge anymore, and don't miss it. How you manage to quit could involve innumerable methods along the way. (For me, it took 12 years and all kinds of methods). Seems simple enough, but somehow it isn't.

    Stopping smoking or treatments is not a solution, but a momentary decision which must be made over and over again, each time the urge to "medicate" arises, until it is carried through to a state where "all is well" without the "medication". So with bees, it may require husbandry, raising nucs, catching swarms, etc. etc. etc. To reach the goal of succeeding without treating. But just not treating is not that big a deal, because you could start again tomorrow without actually having made an ounce of progress.

    Just like I could say that I stopped smoking every time I put one out. Then I started again when I lit one up. In truth, I "quit" probably 50 times over that 12 year period. Oh yes, it was a lot more complicated than just "stopping". It involved a lot of stress, behavioral changes, physical withdrawal, etc. etc.

    The same is true for Treatment of honeybees. The stopping of treatments is easy - but running a successful, sustainable, healthy apiary without treatments is a road you take, and a state you (hopefully) reach.

    To your interest in husbandry specifically,

    I heard a recent talk called Honeybee Breeding: Fact or Fiction by Dr. Keith Delaplane about the importance of polyandry in honeybee breeding, and the genetic strength of the honeybee as an organism. Since then, my ideas about what the best approach to bee breeding might be have been challenged. I wonder how you see finding a balance between selection and polyandry - two seemingly contradictory ideas.

    Adam
    Last edited by Adam Foster Collins; 08-01-2013 at 03:58 PM.

  17. #137
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    Not everyone who is treatment free is will be practicing traditional husbandry. Many many treatment free beekeepers (and I might even venture to say the majority of treatment free beekeepers) will simply be buying more bees next spring.
    I wouldn't call that being a successful treatment free beekeeper, or a husbandryman. That's being a bee user. Unless you are using ferals of bred resistant bees you're just having someone else do your treating for you. And your drones are undermining the development of resistance in your area. You're part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    You are right Adam to point up the complications that arise when we try to express these ideas in clear and simple terms.

    We don't really get to make up language, to decide what terms will be adopted, and how they should be used. But we do need clear language in order to be able to converse effectively. I think I object to the practice of using 'treatment free beekeeping' for that sort of activity. Thanks for bringing this to our attention - I think its important.

    Perhaps we should try to develop the language we need to work with maybe using stronger terms to make the character of our activities plain. Bond Method beekeeping would work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    So while breeding is a method that can be seen as a solution, simply not treating is not a solution in itself.
    I agree - not anyway while simple replacement (with treatment-addicted bees) is being done.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    Quitting smoking is not a method of quitting smoking; it's just the path - moving from a state of active engagement in an addictive practice, to a state of abstaining, and then (hopefully) to a state where you just don't have the urge anymore, and don't miss it.
    I think the process of becoming free of nicotine addiction (I'll put it like that because otherwise patches and the rest will get in the way) involves stopping ingesting nicotine in the first place, and becoming used to that situation secondly.

    If we use the analogy of 'path' or 'journey' (remembering that is is an analogy) then we have to see that what the path 'is' changes as the process unfolds, and that it is different for different circumstances. But it has an element in common, an unbreakable principle: to treat (and then allow to mate) sabotages the goal - freedom of the need to medicate. Just as to start smoking again sabotages the main goal of becoming free of nicotine addiction.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    How you manage to quit could involve innumerable methods along the way. (For me, it took 12 years and all kinds of methods). Seems simple enough, but somehow it isn't.
    Same here. I found it easy to quit but hard to stay off, till I found a mechanism that would keep me off (a solemn promise to my kids that I'd never puff on tobacco again). Then it was simple. Every time I was tempted I had to ask myself: which is more important, the promise I made, or a cigarette? The promise won every time, no contest, a second's thought - and the desire for the cigarette disappeared just as fast.

    So maybe a special mechanism is needed here too. A determination to succeed at proper bee husbandry together with an understanding that just stopping treaments might well be catastrophic might be what is needed to ensure a proper plan and sound preparations are put in place. A determined willingness to see the project through come what may will also help if the temptation to treat arises.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    Stopping smoking or treatments is not a solution, but a momentary decision which must be made over and over again, each time the urge to "medicate" arises, until it is carried through to a state where "all is well" without the "medication".
    Or, as above, a plan can be made that involves never treating. A good plan will put in place the elements that will make success likely. (Success = realization of the goal of sustainable and enduring mite-managers)

    A good plan can only be assembled with a clear understanding of the mechanisms involved in raising mite resistance. But you can also use other's plans to good effect - Solomon Parker's, Michael Bush's or John Kefuss's for example. There are other models.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    So with bees, it may require husbandry, raising nucs, catching swarms, etc. etc. etc. To reach the goal of succeeding without treating.
    Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    But just not treating is not that big a deal, because you could start again tomorrow without actually having made an ounce of progress.
    As I said above, I don't think that counts as being involved in working toward the goal of not needing to treat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    [As with nictine] The stopping of treatments is easy - but running a successful, sustainable, healthy apiary without treatments is a road you take, and a state you (hopefully) reach.
    Yes. That is what I meant when I said that it is both things. Its the end and the means. And the 'end' is a continuation of the same thing (appropriate population husbandry - NOT 'just not treating')

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    To your interest in husbandry specifically,

    I heard a recent talk called Honeybee Breeding: Fact or Fiction by Dr. Keith Delaplane about the importance of polyandry in honeybee breeding, and the genetic strength of the honeybee as an organism. Since then, my ideas about what the best approach to bee breeding might be have been challenged. I wonder how you see finding a balance between selection and polyandry - two seemingly contradictory ideas.
    Adam
    Its a rather long talk. Any chance you could summarise the key points Adam?

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 08-02-2013 at 09:00 AM.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    ...
    Its a rather long talk. Any chance you could summarise the key points Adam?
    Sure, as it's something I think is really key to going forward on successful breeding, and I'd like to hear more thoughts on it.

    Dr. Delaplane's key points are:

    • For all the time and effort that has been put into bee breeding, how much success have we achieved? How much genetic "progress" has been made for the amount of selection we've done over the last century? He argues - not that much.

    • Bee breeding is centered on polyandry, or the drive for the female to mate with many males.

    • He and a team have done experiments, and although it is early in their project, they are finding that there is a direct relationship between the overall performance of a colony and the number of males the queen was mated with.

    • He points out that the polyandry (more genetic input) and selection (less genetic input) are seemingly at odds. And wonders who the two might be better reconciled for more effective breeding. He wonders if the trading of drones might be something that should receive more focus than it currently does.


    To my own thinking, the fact that bees mate multiple times, and take multiple mating flights to do so is proof of it's importance to their survival. Mating is so perilous, that if polyandry weren't so important, multiple matings would have long since disappeared, as there are always going to be more living queens who have mated fewer times, than there are living queens that have mated many times.

    Yet somehow, those who mate more times continue to be more successful.

    So I wonder - as we stop our treatments and turn to husbandry, how can we accommodate polyandry into our plans in a meaningful way?

    Would it mean raising stocks with a fairly wide genetic background and a focus on creating strong drone populations - or drone colonies specifically - to provide the breadth of high-quality males to mate with?

    Or should the typical practices be enough? Is Dr. Delaplane onto something? Or just on something?

    Adam
    Last edited by Adam Foster Collins; 08-02-2013 at 10:57 AM.

  19. #139
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    That was a very interesting talk. One thing I took away from it is that perhaps a successful treatment free program should have as much variety in its genetic sources as possible. I think there's some evidence of that in the observation that many successful treatment free operations make a large portion of their increase from swarms.

    Just by luck, I've sort of started out that way. Of the six colonies I presently have, the bees come from 5 different sources. I have Wolf Creek bees, New World Carniolans, Italians, a BeeWeaver queen, and a local nuc of mutts from a guy who raises a few every year. The local nuc has produced the best, and been the healthiest.

    Of course, this wide variety may be of more benefit to my neighboring beekeepers than to me, but still...

    Anyway, the main takeaway from the talk is that breeding bees is nothing like breeding cows or chickens. The unique breeding strategy of hymenoptera species makes it a lot more complicated.

  20. #140
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    Nov 2009
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    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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    Default Re: Treatment Free: It's a path, not a solution

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    ...Anyway, the main takeaway from the talk is that breeding bees is nothing like breeding cows or chickens. The unique breeding strategy of hymenoptera species makes it a lot more complicated.
    At least in the ones that are genetically predisposed to mate with multiple males. That's the crux of it - the seeming opposition between how we tend to get what we want (traditional selection - narrowing) and the bee's version of that (selecting through a wider selection).

    The bee still selects, but she does so over the broadest range possible. So how do we foster that? If we just provide her with lots of males from a few sources, she may mate plenty of times, but she's not getting the depth of genetic material.

    Is that something we want to foster? More depth? And if so, how?

    Adam

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