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  1. #201
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    Where was your hive acquired from? A package, a swarm, a nuc? I'm assuming based on your past comments it was a swarm. How do you know it was never treated?
    Apiary, not hive. I can account for the origins of many of my collected swarms (and of course, queenside, for all their offspring). There's my oldest, for example, from a cherry tree 30 yards from my sister's kitchen window... 'been there 5 years without a break'. There are the 3 I've picked up this and last year from a chimney colony about 5 miles away. 'I've been here 7 years and its been there that long'. There are more like this and several cut-outs with similar histories. So there's reason for thinking these are survivors - and many of them seem of be thriving - some outstandingly.

    Some I know have been apiary swarms - I've seen marked queens on a few occasions. Some have been very large, most have gone off like a bomb. They've all petered out before the next spring.

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    Where did you get your woodenware? How do you know it wasn't stored next to treatments? Where did your wax foundation come from? Did you test it for chemicals?
    Made it all from fresh-sawn cedar that I'd dried myself. No wax foundation - small starter strip. Yeah that might be loaded with chemicals! You're clutching at straws.

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    I think you assume alot Mike. Could be wrong, maybe you've already thought about that.
    As you are finding out, it is you who are assuming a lot SpecialKayme.

    Mike (UK)
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  2. #202
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by VolunteerK9 View Post
    Define treatment..

    Just kidding
    I'll do it:

    "Any substance or manipulation that increases the chances of survival, or raises the appearance of health in the colony."

    Or:

    "Anything (substance or manipulation) that 'works' on a colony, and which will therefore (given open mating) downgrade the local breeding pool in the longer term."

    Mike (UK)
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  3. #203
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by VolunteerK9 View Post
    So, there shouldn't be anything wrong with treating bees as the effects are only temporary and not genetically modifying them?
    Some may see the effects of medications and treatments as negative because one is keeping alive a set of genes that w/out medication and treatments would die.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  4. #204
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    No one KNOWS where their swarms came from Mike. Unless it's an artificial swarm, or you're on an island, or you're God. The rest is speculation.

  5. #205
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    No one KNOWS where their swarms came from Mike. Unless it's an artificial swarm, or you're on an island, or you're God. The rest is speculation.
    When you collect a swarm from somebody's garden, and they tell you they saw it come from that hole in that tree over there two hours ago, and it does that every year, sometime twice... and you can see the bees around the parent colony... you can be pretty sure you _know_ where it came from.

    Mike (UK)
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  6. #206
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    I'll just repeat my comment Mike. Maybe the second time you read it, it can sink in
    You can repeat it as often as you like. It won't alter the facts. I know where many of my bees come from - I know something of their histories, and from that something of their qualities. And what I know gives me reason for optimism.

    I'm not sure why you're having such a problem with that Specialkayme.

    Mike (UK)
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  7. #207
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    Actually, no, this is not a straw man argument of any sort.

    On the rather obvious level, organic acids and essential oils (both used as miticides by beekeepers) absolutely impact microbial cultures in the hive. Formic acid is what one might use to sterilize a petri dish, and essential oils are what plants use to keep from being eaten by microbes.

    The group looking at fungi (which includes Diana Samataro and Jay Yoder) has shown, in addition to acids affecting the fungi, that feeding HFCS does as well (accelerates some, retards others...throws everything out of balance).

    Martha Gilliam's early work (in the 70s) documented large changes in the gut microbe population when bees were fed sugar, confined, exposed to 2,4,D, fumagillian and TM.

    So, what treatments do you think have no effect on gut/hive microbes?

    Point being: these microbial communities are heritable (like genetics), and treatments create impacts that last 20 years or more.

    deknow
    Sorry Deknow, been away a few hours LOL.

    And as Deknow refers to a post from a while back, just for context, he refers to a post of mine when I discussed the straw man argument that is used when people think they are talking about mite treatments, but somebody else is really talking about antibiotics.

    To answer the main points without requoting everything

    Organic acids and essential oils can impact microbial cultures in a hive. Yes. Totally destroy them? No, the hive is not totally aseptic following such a treatment.

    If you say that acids and essential oils can shift the balance between various fungi in a hive, I'll believe you no doubt you are correct. Question is, does it matter? I used for the first ever time last fall, Thymol on my hives. It's now our spring, those hives are pumping. The fungal balance shift, if there was one, does not appear to be a problem, or has reverted back to normal, don't know which.

    Your reference to Martha Gilliams work with Fumigillian and TM and their effect on gut microbes, shows just how ingrained this straw man argument is in some peoples psych. Fumigillian and TM are antibiotics and are not used for mite treatment. The fact that you use this straw man argument even in your post trying to argue that people don't use this straw man argument, demonstrates the mindset.

    What treatments do I think don't effect gut microbes? Well I really cannot say with authority. But the ones most commonly used here are Apistan, Bayvarol, and Apivar. Those have little, or likely no, effect.

    These microbial communities are heritable, but not like genetics. They can be carried with a swarm, are easily added to by the array of microorganisms that coat everything.

    We are commonly told about the 30 different kinds of mites, and 30 different kinds of other insects, that form part of the natural balance of a hive "superorganism". If they really exist, yes, I'm sure treatment would effect them. But again, does it matter? I kept bees from 1969 to early this century completely chemical free. No chemical of any kind was added to a hive other than (occasionally), sugar. But hey even Solomon does that.
    During all that time I never saw these 30 kinds of insects, other than 2 kinds of wax moths. I did see some mite looking critters that would invade litter on the bottom of the hive, but were they essential to the hive? No, they got thrown out with the garbage.

    My treated bees now, far as microflora related issues go, are every bit as healthy as the chemical free bees I had then. Mind you I have never used antibiotics so cannot from experience comment on that. But as far as mite treatments go, long as they are done right, no noticeable microflora related health issues on the overall "superorganism".

    Having said that, pretty much every treatment that exists, has some adverse effect on something, somewhere. For example, Apistan effects drone fertility. I'm not in denial about that. But as to the importance of (possible) shifts in microflora balance, can't say I've seen anything that matters.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #208
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post

    ( Originally Posted by deknow
    Treatments reduce the diversity of these populations.)

    I'm not following. I don't understand how treatments reduce the diversity of bees. If anything, I would assume that it keeps some colonies alive that would have otherwise died out, thereby enhancing the diversity of the bees. It might be enhancing bees we don't want, but it's a greater diversity, not a reduction. What am I missing?
    This is a good question, and I'm not sure there is an easy way to answer it. I think somehow you have to take a couple of steps backward in your understanding, before you can take the right step forward. Its a common enough assertion - keeping colonies alive preserves their genetics and thus enhances diversity - which seems to be self-evident, but it is, I think, completely wrong.

    In the first place, genetic combinations (individuals) that don't work properly are undesirable, full stop. Nature dismisses them, and rightly so, because, ceteris paribus (all else being equal) the offspring from that individual is likely to downgrade the health of the population rather than enhance it. And its the population that matters - not the individual.

    In the second place, nothing other than the result of a single roll of the vast dice that is the population is lost. All the genes that made up that (unfit) individual are still contained in the remaining population. And in nature provision is made for such losses through built-in overfecundity. That's the process, roll, pick the winners, roll again, repeat. You simply cannot take short cuts on that process and expect any sort of lasting success.

    Treating supplies a terrible influence on the health of the local population, carrying unfit genes into wild/feral colonies and introducing widespread weakness that, lacking anyone to treat them, tend to perish. This causes real loss of genetic material. Local bees that were suited to - and attunued to - the individual environment disappear, and with them the great healing mechanism of natural selection for the fittest strains, that, in all human history, has enabled beekeepers to maintain thriving colonies.

    And of course, unless steps are taken to prevent it, the same goes for the immediate apiary bees - making increase from bees that need treating just makes more bees that need treating.

    For these reasons their preservation runs counter to the most fundamental principle of (population) husbandry.

    To summarise; not only does treating not maintain genetic diversity, it seriously corrodes it.

    This understanding demands health control at arm's length, guiding and nudging health into the local population, and thus the apiary, rather than the futile and destructive attempt to force health on genetically inadequate stock through medications and manipulations. In an openly mating organism, that is, in husbandry terms, sheer madness.

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 08-25-2013 at 06:47 AM.
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  9. #209
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    Treating supplies a terrible influence on the health of the local population, carrying unfit genes into wild/feral colonies and introducing widespread weakness that, lacking anyone to treat them, tend to perish. This causes real loss of genetic material. Local bees that were suited to - and attunued to - the individual environment disappear, and with them the great healing mechanism of natural selection for the fittest strains, that, in all human history has enabled beekeepers to maintain thriving colonies.
    Question for you. Your statement assumes a viable "feral survivor" population, that are under threat from influence from treated hives. So in your case, as I understand, over the last year you have been able to collect something up to around 30 or so what you have called ferals, ie, cutouts and swarms. If you have got 30, it's a fair assumption there are quite a few more you didn't get, likely many multiples more.

    So, how does the success or failure of your projected 40 or so hives influence that?

    By your own claims you have removed existing feral hives, that were essentially subjected to bond conditions, and relocated them to your own hives, where you will subject them to bond conditions. Looking at the whole bee population not individual hives, how do you consider what you will do with these ferals will affect the whole area any differently?
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  10. #210
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Question for you. Your statement assumes a viable "feral survivor" population, that are under threat from influence from treated hives. So in your case, as I understand, over the last year you have been able to collect something up to around 30 or so what you have called ferals, ie, cutouts and swarms.
    This needs unwrapping a bit, showing, I think, 4 distinct questions in here.

    First: yes to the key assumption: there are wild/feral bees around me. Yes there are treating apiaries nearby. Not all that I've collected have been from feral colonies. Some, I know, have.

    Over the last three years I've collected perhaps 30-40. Most didn't make it - more might have done had I protected them more (regardless of not treating). My present 30 hives (reduced from 40 by uniting) are either these swarms or (mostly) offspring mated locally.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    If you have got 30, it's a fair assumption there are quite a few more you didn't get, likely many multiples more.
    Of course.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    So, how does the success or failure of your projected 40 or so hives influence that? By your own claims you have removed existing feral hives, that were essentially subjected to bond conditions, and relocated them to your own hives, where you will subject them to bond conditions. Looking at the whole bee population not individual hives, how do you consider what you will do with these ferals will affect the whole area any differently?
    A slippery question because the key term 'local' varies in its impact. The bees have been collected from a _wide_ (local) area - lets say a 20 mile radius around my location. They have been concentrated in a _small_ local area, which now consitutes a significant part of a local breeding pool.

    How has that affected the small local areas they were taken from? Well, if and where they are mite resistant bees, and if they had managed to become established in their original places, then those places are presumably poorer for my taking them. In the case of cut-outs they were being taken because they were unwanted in their locations, so moving in with me has saved them.

    So, how does my success or failure impact on, first, my immediate area? If successful: it is my hope that my management will raise mite resistance (considerably) aiding local wild/feral bees in becoming self-sufficient and more populous, supplying a counterweight to the treaters in this breeding pool, and spreading outward. If unsuccessful no impact on existing wild/feral bees.

    Impact on larger (wide) area from which bees were collected: again, the hope will be that success will lead to improvents being exported, by drones, by selling queens and nucs, by showing others that it can be done/how to do it both locally and more widely. I currently have half a dozen outstands over a radius of about 15 miles, some in likely wild/feral country, and I don't restrict brood nests so my drones can, and will continue to have immediate wider influence.

    I think that sums to a net positive effect in terms of my beliefs about what is good for bees, and for beekeepers. If I didn't I wouldn't do it.

    Mike (UK)
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  11. #211
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Question for you OT. What do you mean by bond conditions? Is it not the colony that has decided to stay in the box or container we have given them? Are they not free to leave if they so choose?
    Brian Cardinal
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  12. #212
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    it is my hope that my management will raise mite resistance (considerably) aiding local wild/feral bees in becoming self-sufficient and more populous, supplying a counterweight to the treaters in this breeding pool, and spreading outward. If unsuccessful no impact on existing wild/feral bees.
    Ok quite a thoughtful answer although I don't think I quite phrased my question properly. The initial claim was the (assumed) feral survivors are under threat from the influence of treaters. If you move them to your hives, they are still subject to the influence of treaters, regardless of your management, because your management is really just bond. So how does that change anything?

    Agreed that selling resistant queens will help spread resistant bees, but the question was not what will you do after you get resistance, more how will you get that resistance in the first place any better than the feral hives would have if left alone?
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  13. #213
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Question for you OT. What do you mean by bond conditions? Is it not the colony that has decided to stay in the box or container we have given them? Are they not free to leave if they so choose?
    I just meant using the bond method on them. When they are wild they have the same thing.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  14. #214
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    To summarise; not only does treating not maintain genetic diversity, it seriously corrodes it.
    I'm sorry Mike, but that post made absolutely no sense [to me].

    Was it just me? Did anyone else understand his point?

    Diversity defined by dictionary.com:
    di·ver·si·ty [dih-vur-si-tee, dahy-]
    noun, plural di·ver·si·ties.
    1. the state or fact of being diverse; difference; unlikeness: diversity of opinion.
    2. variety; multiformity.
    3. a point of difference.
    Starting with the understanding that more variety, more points of difference creates greater diversity, allowing colonies to die decreases diversity. Those genetics are not able to pass on to the next generation, meaning the next generation is less diverse.

    If you start off with 10 colonies, and 5 of them contain "bad" genetics, so you either kill them or let them die, then repopulate their "space" with 5 splits off the remaining 5 hives, thus making 10 colonies again, those 10 colonies will have half as much diversity as the 10 colonies you started with.

    At any point in the game, the removal of colonies will equal less diversity.

    Just because the genetics are bad, and the removal of them is better for the future generations, that doesn't mean doing so makes things more diverse.
    Last edited by Barry; 08-25-2013 at 08:43 AM.

  15. #215
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    For those that haven't been paying attention, "bond" is a reference to James Bond, the fictional secret agent, and one of the series book/movie, "Live and Let Die".

    More info here:
    http://survivorstockqueens.org/John%...Themselves.pdf


    (I'm not particularly endorsing the point of view expressed at the link, it is posted simply as a reference for the background of the "bond" phrase.)
    Graham
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  16. #216
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Specialkayme View Post
    Just because the genetics are bad, and the removal of them is better for the future generations, that doesn't mean doing so makes things more diverse.
    Doesn't mean it's better either. If we select bees for just one trait and discard all others, we can lose much. The bond method does exactly that. All bees that cannot withstand varroa are eliminated just on that trait alone, when they die, they take all their useful characteristics with them.

    In the past, beekeepers could never imagine a pest like varroa. In the future, new challenges may arise for bees that we cannot even imagine at the moment, and that is what they need genetic diversity for.

    To change tack slightly, bond in nature is a rarer form of evolution, because when two alien species meet, one often goes extinct, that is what has happened down the ages.
    more commonly, species evolve together, which does not involve the rapid "evolution", that bond is being claimed to do in bees in just 2 or 3 generations. An example of a more natural method and one that does conserve useful genetics, is the animals on the African plains. Over time, lots of it, both predator and prey, have got faster. But this is not because the prey animals suddenly had 95% losses. It's a long process where the bottom few animals are removed each year, most survive. This constant pressure over a long time means just by removing the worst, there is gradual improvement in the average, but the difference with that and bond as applied to bees, is that on the African plains, the good genetics are all preserved. IE, some animals may have a useful mutation that has nothing to do with escaping lions. But because most of the population survive in any year, the useful mutation is preserved in the population, where a 95% wipeout by the lions could have removed it.

    This has parallels with the commercial beekeeping situation in the US. Bond has not been practised, yet there is little doubt the general commercial bee population is more mite resistant than 20 years ago. If you believe the literature, something around 30% of commercial hives are being lost each year. This parallels the African plains good gene preserving model. The majority survive each year making it likely that good genes are kept whether related to mite resistance or not. It will take time, lots of it. But eventually these bees will be more genetically diverse and healthier than bee that have had the bond genetic bottleneck applied to them.

    that's in theory. In reality, genes will be getting exchanged between to two groups. But as treated hives make up maybe 99.9 % of hives, the main gene flow will be not fron bond hive to treated, but from treated to bond. So the bond hives stand to benefit and will likely all end up the same.

    This process will take a long time and pretty sure it will not fully play out in my lifetime.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 08-25-2013 at 07:50 AM.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  17. #217
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    In the first place, genetic combinations (individuals) that don't work properly are undesirable, full stop. Nature dismisses them, and rightly so, because, ceteris paribus (all else being equal) the offspring from that individual is likely to downgrade the health of the population rather than enhance it. And its the population that matters - not the individual.
    I'm not quoting the entire treatise, but this is where it starts to go wrong. "... don't work properly ..." doesn't apply. The only issue is survival. If a change allows individuals to outcompete unchanged individuals, that change is more likely to be passed on to a growing pool of future generations. "Proper" and "undesirable" are not terms that nature respects, and don't apply.
    Graham
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  18. #218
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Ok quite a thoughtful answer although I don't think I quite phrased my question properly. The initial claim was the (assumed) feral survivors are under threat from the influence of treaters. If you move them to your hives, they are still subject to the influence of treaters, regardless of your management, because your management is really just bond. So how does that change anything?
    One thing is that I have the beginnings of a non-treatment apiary which I didn't have before! I can do all those nice things I want to do, which I couldn't if I hadn't collected them! I've concentrated the required genes - that being a good thing for the chances of their continuation. By multiplying and willowning I can concentrate the mite resistant behaviours more, leading toward highly resistant bees that will a valuable addition to any apirary wishing to reduce dependence on treatments.

    But I'm not sure where you're going with this. Do you have an ethical objection to people removing feral swarms? (That seems perfectly reasonable btw - but I think I can make a case, in my situation, for the ends justifying the means - if you think I should)

    The point is: I want to _capture_ those qualities and keep them and multiply them. If I thought I was damaging the prospects for the original sites I might think hard about doing that. But in practice another beekeeper would take them and almost certainly make no attempt to take advantage of, or maintain, those qualities.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Agreed that selling resistant queens will help spread resistant bees, but the question was not what will you do after you get resistance, more how will you get that resistance in the first place any better than the feral hives would have if left alone?
    Maybe I won't - although concentrating the traits in one place and raising the proportion _here_ against treated bees ought to improve matters _here_ in my local area, in my apiary, in my bees. That is a precondition for any further good to be done. Isn't that obvious? And again, see point above - if I hadn't they'd probably have been wasted.

    Mike (UK)
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  19. #219
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    I'm not quoting the entire treatise, but this is where it starts to go wrong. "... don't work properly ..." doesn't apply. The only issue is survival. If a change allows individuals to outcompete unchanged individuals, that change is more likely to be passed on to a growing pool of future generations. "Proper" and "undesirable" are not terms that nature respects, and don't apply.
    Its the same thing, on one hand described from the perspctive of natural selection, on the other from the perspective of husbandry. I'm seguing from one to the other a bit, which is sloppy, but doesn't negate the point, or the logic.
    Last edited by mike bispham; 08-25-2013 at 10:36 AM.
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    Default Re: Does treating a "Treatment Free" queen really destroy her genetics?

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    Just sying 'the post made no sense'
    I didn't end there. I went on to explain my point.

    If I misunderstood something, or misapplied something in your post, I'm welcome to discuss it.

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