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  1. #1
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    Default Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    I've heard it mentioned more than once before:

    "These queens are treatment free. They will thrive without treatments. But if you do treat, you'll destroy the genetics and they'll never be able to be treatment free again."

    How true is that?

    If a certain strain of bees is genetically pre-dispositioned in some way to be treatment free (either hygienic, VSH, grooming behavior, high tolerance to mite spread viruses, ect.), how would a change in environment over a short period of time affect those genetics? While some treatments can be very harsh, I can't say any of them affect bees on a genetic level. And with the life span of a worker bee being about 4 weeks in the summer time, theoretically if you treat, and let all the bees be replaced, the current work force should still be just as genetically treatment free as the previous work force.

    I can see how over a long period of time if you treat that hive, and they replace their queen from new genetics and mate with other hives near by that are treated, you would be allowing weaker genetics to combine into the mix. But that's long term, over a series of years. Not short term, as in within one season.

    I'm aware that some will say "well, if they are treatment free, why treat at all?" Often times in treatment free situations, you have high mite counts, or borderline mite counts, where it's a coin flip as to whether or not the hive will be able to overcome the mites on their own or whether they will crash and die. Assuming allowing them to die is not an option, if you were to treat to help reduce the mite loads (and further spread their potentially partially mite resistant genetics) and keep the colony alive, the apiary might be better off for it (if two partially mite resistant stocks breed together, some might have no mite resistance, others might have super mite resistance, and by allowing it to die the year before you loose that possibility).

    Thoughts? Experiences?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Also, for the record, I didn't post this in the Treatment Free section for a reason. Since the concept involves using treatments on treatment free genetics, the underlying conversation instills a pre-disposed concept that the beekeeper is willing to, or has, used treatments.

    If this was posted (or moved) to the treatment free thread, I think there would be a bunch of responses along the lines of "why would you ever do that" or "I don't know, don't treat so wouldn't know what to tell you."

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    I don't believe the genetics are affected but depending on the treatment residuals will remain in the hive longer than one bee life. Also, there could be an issue with what the treatment does physically to the queen.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    No, the genetics won't be changed.

    If I treat you for head lice your genetics are not changed. Same thing.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    If I treat you for head lice your genetics are not changed. Same thing.
    Same thing? Really? Does everyone in your home die if your lice get out of hand?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    Same thing? Really? Does everyone in your home die if your lice get out of hand?
    Come on Solomon. What is changed genetically in the queen when varroa mite treatment is used? If someone is selling queens and saying that their genetics makes them immune or resistant to varroa do they include some sort of money back garuntee?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    >"These queens are treatment free. They will thrive without treatments. But if you do treat, you'll destroy the genetics and they'll never be able to be treatment free again."

    The statement makes it sound like they are claiming that treating with some unspecified treatment (or maybe all unspecified treatments) will make some genetic change in the queen. I don't know the context but that's what it sounds like out of context. Obviously that's not true.

    On the other hand. Recent studies on microbes in bees have shown that after using antibiotics and other things the disrupt the microbes the microbes do not recover for several years at least.

    http://mbio.asm.org/content/3/6/e00377-12.full
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    No, the genetics won't be changed.
    So it begs the question, why take a Hard Bond approach? Other than morally being opposed to treatments, or being too cheap/lazy/stupid to treat. If treating a colony to prevent it from dying has no impact on the genetic make up of the hive, and therefore no genetic impact on the gene pool of the area, why would you ever elect to simply let the hive die instead (at least, from a mite resistant genetic point of view)?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    I have not treated for mites in four years, but would not hesitate to treat to save the bees and progress they've made so far. But I will allow a target percentage to die out.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    So it begs the question, why take a Hard Bond approach?
    OMG! Sol was right....it was a setup.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    why would you ever elect to simply let the hive die instead (at least, from a mite resistant genetic point of view)?
    Because if you are going to use a chemical to treat you will contaminate the equipment and I do not want to contaminate my equipment for future use. If that is stupid, so be it.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    It's true. For the same reason that you shouldn't be vacinated of take aspirins if you are a generally healthy person. They will change you into a genetic wimp. Now where is that tongue in cheek smiley?

    There is the legitimate argument that by keeping less resistant stock alive you water down the whole gene pool. But if you conscientiosly requeen low performing hives with higher performing genetic stock - what advantage would there be to letting a hive die when you could prevent it?

    There is also the theory that you irreversibly polute the hive environment when you use some treatments. Which may be true.
    since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Acebird, post 3, got it right

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    It's true. For the same reason that you shouldn't be vacinated of take aspirins if you are a generally healthy person. They will change you into a genetic wimp.
    A citation for that exists?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    For instance treating with an anti-biotic will temporarily mask the symptoms of AFB but will make the hive more susceptible to it in the future.
    Heard that old chestnut a few times. A citation for it exists?

    What you are confused with is a hive treated for AFB with antibiotics, runs the risk of getting it again after treatment, because the antibiotics don't kill the spores. This has nothing to do with the thread topic, can a chemical treatment alter genetics. Straw man argument.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 08-16-2013 at 04:16 PM.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    > It's true. For the same reason that you shouldn't be vacinated of take aspirins if you are a generally healthy person. They will change you into a genetic wimp.
    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    A citation for that exists?
    Oldtimer, I belive that you may have missed David LaFerney's sarcasm. Here's the original paragraph:
    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    It's true. For the same reason that you shouldn't be vacinated of take aspirins if you are a generally healthy person. They will change you into a genetic wimp. Now where is that tongue in cheek smiley?
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Ah OK, I get it, the remark was tongue in cheek. Quite funny if one sees it that way I guess.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  16. #16

    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    But if you do treat, you'll destroy the genetics and they'll never be able to be treatment free again."
    Absolute fact! Once treated a queen will invariably begin laying neonic coated eggs.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    THis is like asking if after having sex for the first time is the person a virgin.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    "These queens are treatment free. They will thrive without treatments. But if you do treat, you'll destroy the genetics and they'll never be able to be treatment free again."

    How true is that?
    It's not true, but what will happen is depending on the treatment, the biology of the hive will be all messed up. For instance treating with an anti-biotic will temporarily mask the symptoms of AFB but will make the hive more susceptible to it in the future.

    So while your interpretation of the person's words is technically incorrect, the effect is the same.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    For instance treating with an anti-biotic . . . will make the hive more susceptible to . . . [AFB] in the future.
    Do you have evidence to support this?

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    For instance treating with an anti-biotic will temporarily mask the symptoms of AFB but will make the hive more susceptible to it in the future.
    Really? I know you wouldn't make that statement w/out something to back it up, would you? I think you should have used the word "may" and not "will".
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

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