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  1. #1
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    Default DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    My oldest hive without brood break is in it's 3rd fall. There was one other hive that was here when I took the yard over last spring, but I culled that hive last fall (after I had already split from each multiple times). The 3 year hive is currently sitting on 1 deep and 3 supers, with 1 super of brood(bottom) and 1/3 brood and 2/3 honey in the deep (no theory there, I'd rather run them on them on two deeps). The other supers are all capped honey, and I have already extracted boxes off this hive.

    When I pulled some capped brood frames the other day, I noticed a fair amount of pulled out brood/empty cells. Maybe 15 or so total on the frame. The past week I have noticed workers ejecting underdeveloped bees with deformed wings and white mites. I have not seen a lot of adult bees with small wings actually on frames or at the entrance.

    I have noticed other hives discharging young bees with mites but not like this one. It seems to have a vital population, often bearding well out of the hive every night. Last year I culled a hive that showed deformed wings, middling honey production and a limping population in late October.

    I am wondering if this hive is showing ramped up hygienic behavior in response to increased mite load. I am wondering how I will be able to predict if their hygienic behavior will keep up with the mites? I do have a screened bottom board... I could do a mite drop, really I don't usually. So I wouldn't really have a frame of reference.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    I don't know if Oregon has an Apiary Section in their Agriculture Department, but if they do they should have a ball park figure for natural mite fall numbers. The numbers vary from area to area, here any number higher than 50 is considered damaging to the colony.

    If you don't mind going to the trouble to do 24 hour natural fall counts, do a few. It will give you some idea how many can fall naturally and the colony still survive the winter.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    You can test for hygenic behavior -- freeze a brood circle and replace the cookie cutter section, and observe hygenic effort.
    You can test of mite load, the Drop underestimates, and a direct measure like a sugar shake is preferrable.
    My bees don't seem to have the "leg chewing" behavior being reported on mid-western bees, but look for that trait as well.

    In other words you don't have to guess. You can measure these traits directly. Hygenic less than 75% doesn't seem to help.

    My experience is DWV larvae removal (pink eye) and DWV "crawlers" don't have anything to do with Hygenic. DWV lethals are removed by all breeds of bees. DWV lethals can accumulate in the hundreds quickly (but the yellow jackets sometimes remove the evidence).

    DWV infects the queen, and she will lose fecundity. DWV is a proxy for all the other virus carried by Varroa.

    I don't see DWV resolving naturally (though MB does). DWV encourages supersedure, and that does reset the clock. A October Oregon supersedure doesn't sound positive, they could winter and then go queenless in early spring.

    Sounds like this is a good hive with good genetics. You should attempt heroics to preserve the lineage. Third year mite explosion is just typical.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    You can test of mite load, the Drop underestimates, and a direct measure like a sugar shake is preferrable.
    [...]
    In other words you don't have to guess. You can measure these traits directly.
    JW,

    How would a count cater for hives of different sizes? A large hive will, ceteris paribus, produce a larger mite count than a smaller one. Wouldn't you want to factor that out?

    Again, wouldn't you want to make comparisons with other similar hives at the same locality?

    Perhaps more importantly: many colonies seem to be thriving despite the presence of mites. In fact the presence of low fecundity strains of mite offers strong protection against an explosion due to high fecundity mites. This suggests an assay for fecundity would be wise before taking any decisions. Bees 'breeding' low fecundity mites is a good thing....

    Another problem: the sugar shake you recommend will knock back the mites - it will amount to a treatment. This will make it impossible to evaluate the ability of the colony to fend for itself, disrupting the selection process.

    People who do sugar-shake 'counts' regularly are in fact treating - with all that entails.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Hygenic less than 75% doesn't seem to help.
    75% what? 75% of the frozen sample brood removed? After how long?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    DWV infects the queen, and she will lose fecundity. DWV is a proxy for all the other virus carried by Varroa. I don't see DWV resolving naturally (though MB does).
    Several of my hives showed DWV in the spring, but it soon stopped, and they've gone on to be good goers.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Sounds like this is a good hive with good genetics. You should attempt heroics to preserve the lineage.
    If it can't resolve mite/DWV problems on its own it isn't a good hive. Not in tf beekeeping terms.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Third year mite explosion is just typical.
    Typical of what? Insufficiently resistant bees?

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 09-08-2013 at 06:33 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    1. Sugar shake == 1/2 cup measured bees in jar, strain out mites from bees and sugar. == reliable count per unit volume of very small subsample of hive. Dusting 300 bees is not "treating", it is sampling.

    Your statement "many colonies are thriving in the prescence of mites" is unsupported in any unbiased literature. Mites cause problems, to deny this association, to say "my mites are sweet-tempered pets that my bees love" is ridiculuous. Evidence for this statement.

    The 75% threshold comes directly from the Spivak popular documents and papers on her hygenic trials. Her full protocol for sampling is all over the web, sorry I assumed you knew it. You can do the protocol without liquid nitrogen by removing and replacing home frozen rings.

    A third year mite explosion is a typical end state for an untreated hive. I see it again and again.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    I don't see DWV resolving naturally (though MB does). DWV encourages supersedure, and that does reset the clock. A October Oregon supersedure doesn't sound positive, they could winter and then go queenless in early spring.

    Sounds like this is a good hive with good genetics. You should attempt heroics to preserve the lineage. Third year mite explosion is just typical.
    What would heroics look like? Could I cage the queen now? I could also requeen with one of her daughters. Our water is done, and so is the golden rod. There is some 3rd cut alfalfa being saved for pasture that should provide some middling forage since we have recently broke our high pressure system, we may actually see some moisture from the sky.

    I've actually never seen this queen, but I could catch her if I had to. Actually my queen catching abilities are a comedy of errors... mostly I try to just herd them where I want. I need something like a cattle squeeze to get them in their cages.

    I cleaned out my screens yesterday - I have 3 out 6 on the big hives. The recent treatment-free conference I attended spoke of measuring mite counts per 300 bees as being more appropriate to measuring a threshold per hive. I'll have to look in my notes to figure on estimating that correctly. I'm doing a 48 without sugar on all 3. I'll do another on in a couple days? I haven't looked up the Oregon AG page more mites, but might get to that today.

    I have 6 nucs I grafted from this queen over the summer, a big spring split, and 2 big hives from last year's splits. I will be leaving this yard at the end of the season, so honestly my willingness to put in a lot of effort on this hive is waning. Call me lazy.

    I would be willing to test some brood for hygienic degrees, just to satisfy my curiosity. I would love to think there might be a few manipulations I could make now that would get them through till spring. I'm sure at that point they would supersede and/or swarm because there will not be anyone to manage the hives like me. I would be happy if someone got supers on the overwintered nucs...

  7. #7
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    1. Sugar shake == 1/2 cup measured bees in jar, strain out mites from bees and sugar. == reliable count per unit volume of very small subsample of hive. Dusting 300 bees is not "treating", it is sampling.
    JW,

    Yes, ok. Dusting a sample isn't treating.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Your statement "many colonies are thriving in the presence of mites" is unsupported in any unbiased literature.
    How do we determine 'unbiased'?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Mites cause problems, to deny this association, to say "my mites are sweet-tempered pets that my bees love" is ridiculuous. Evidence for this statement.
    Its widely recognised that there are differences in fecundity, and that the SMR trait permits the existence of low-fecundity females while removing those having many offspring, thus 'breeding' strains of mite that do not - cannot - reproduce explosively. [1] There are more and less damaging mites, and and therefore treating all mites as undesirable is unhelpful to the aim of encouraging co-evoltionary change in the apiary.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    The 75% threshold comes directly from the Spivak popular documents and papers on her hygenic trials. Her full protocol for sampling is all over the web, sorry I assumed you knew it. You can do the protocol without liquid nitrogen by removing and replacing home frozen rings.
    As far as I knew Spivak recommends a figure of 95% removal after 48 hours. [2] There's no need to apologise to me JW, it is Hazel-Rah who you were informing. As well as the suspect number you didn't state what it was the figure referred to.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    A third year mite explosion is a typical end state for an untreated hive. I see it again and again.
    I don't doubt you do, but that's (a) anecdotal evidence - and is contradicted by a great deal of other anecdotal evidence - here and elsewhere. It may (b) well be typical for a treated apiary that is suddenly untreated. It would be expected that in apiaries where resistance has been raised - one way or another - that things would be different - and the literature, and the anecdotal evidence here and elsewhere, suggests that expectation and reality meet nicely.

    Not all strains of mites are the same.

    Not all strains of bees are the same.

    We have to take those facts into account when making statements about bees and mites.

    Mike (UK)

    [1]
    "Since 2001, we have been incorporating another trait into the MN Hygienic line called "Suppression of Mite Reproduction" or SMR. We also have been investigating the mechanism for the SMR trait to determine how bees can reduce mite reproductive success. Our results demonstrated that bees bred for SMR are both hygienic and have some yet unknown property associated with their brood that reduces the number of viable offspring the mites produce. Combining the SMR trait into the hygienic line, therefore, helped increase the degree of hygienic behavior in our line, and added another factor that helps suppress mite reproduction. Field trials in commercial apiaries have demonstrated that the Hygienic/SMR cross significantly reduces mite loads in colonies relative to the pure Hygienic line and unselected lines of bees.

    A Sustainable Approach to Controlling Honey Bee Diseases and Varroa Mites, Marla Spivak, Gary Reuter, 2005
    http://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/...ienic-Behavior

    See also
    Suppressed mite reproduction explained by the behaviour of adult bees
    JOHN R HARBO AND JEFFREYW HARRIS
    https://afrsweb.usda.gov/SP2UserFile...0Explained.pdf

    "Boecking & Drescher (1992) and Spivak (1996) reported that bees were more likely to be hygienic when cells were artificially infested with two rather than one mite, and their findings may indicate that bees were responding to adult mites. However, the presence of more adult mites may have been an indirect stimulus for removal. In their studies, bees may have removed the contents of doubly infested cells at a higher frequency than singly infested cells because doubly infested cells are more likely to have mite progeny, even if from only one of the foundresses. Spivak (1996) reported a high level of non-reproduction among mites that had been artificially introduced into cells, so if 40% of the artificially introduced mites produced no progeny then one would expect only 16% of the doubly infested cells to have no progeny. Therefore, as with our results, their results could be explained by worker bees targeting cells with reproductive mites. The removal of reproductive varroa by adult bees unifies the
    reports of varroa hygiene (Boecking & Drescher, 1991, 1992; Spivak, 1996; Correa-Marques & De Jong, 1998; Boecking et al.,2000; Nazzi et al., 2004) with those that relate mite resistance to a high frequency of non-reproductive mites (Ruttner et al.1984; Ritter, 1990; Eguaras et al., 1995; Harris & Harbo, 2000).
    All are probably linked to varroa hygiene."

    [2] The frame with the freeze-killed brood insert is placed in the center of the brood nest. Two days (48 hours) later the frame is removed and the number of sealed cells remaining is recorded. A hygienic colony will have uncapped and removed over 95% of the frozen brood within 48 hours. A non-hygienic colony will take over six days to completely remove the frozen brood. The speed with which a colony removed dead brood is correlated with its ability to remove diseased and parasitized brood.
    [...]
    It is very important that colonies be considered hygienic only if they remove >95% of the brood on two consecutive tests.

    A Sustainable Approach to Controlling Honey Bee Diseases and Varroa Mites, Marla Spivak, Gary Reuter, 2005
    http://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/...ienic-Behavior
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    OH, OK , I get it... put the bees in the jar, then you get your 300 count. Taadaa! Since I already cleaned my boards, I'm curious to check them out. But comparing that against a small sugar shake seems ideal.

    Also, thanks for your exhaustive references Mike.

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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Does it have to be a cut out from the center? I have a frame in there currently that is 70% hatched out. Most of the remaining brood are along the bottom of the frame, not clustered together. On the other side is some honey, but not capped. Could I just freeze this whole frame?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    You can test for hygenic behavior -- [...] You can test of mite load [...] a direct measure like a sugar shake is preferrable.
    JW, how do you read your sugar shake results?

    Mike
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    I have a double ended jar (two jelly pints) with a window screen between them. I shake the bees/sugar mix and tip the jar over. Mites and sugar drop to the second jar through the screen.

    I disolve the sugar in hot water and tip the mites into a watch glass --any small glass bottom plate would work.

    The Spivak test uses a can sized subsample from the center of the frame. To compare results, use her protocol, as killing a whole frame of brood would have issues of scale.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    treating all mites as undesirable is unhelpful to the aim of encouraging co-evoltionary change in the apiary.
    Mike, this is the core of my disagreement with this "Bond" religion. Co-evolutionary change does not happen at the backyard hive level. Some folks with sketchy knowledge of evolutionary processes have decided that they are creating new genotypes by letting hives die and mites opt for lower reproduction. Look at the mathematics of horizontal transfer of mites, there is zero adaptive advantage to lower reproduction if the keeper is letting weak hive get robbed out and its mites transfer.

    Hazel will lose her best hive (she thought highly enough of it to graft its eggs). Her honey production will vanish for a year as she builds out young hives from these grafts. This is all completely un-necessary and enormously wasteful.

    If Hazel thinks this hive represents a favorable combination of characters, she should ensure its continued lineage. In some future, those genes will help other hives with even greater fitness. Traits don't change in live/dead binary jumps, but build up slowly generation by generation. You select the best and improve each step of the way. Its a slow, painstaking process, always a best approximation, and it requires -- saturation, isolation and managed in-breeding. Letting a lineage with favorable traits die out is just plain wasteful.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Mike, this is the core of my disagreement with this "Bond" religion. Co-evolutionary change does not happen at the backyard hive level.
    JW,

    It happens in every generation. It involves relatively minor changes - the shifts within populations from one set of alleles to another, rather than major change cause by mutation - but preferential change due to sexual recombination and natural/deliberate selection is going on all the time.

    Both bees and mites are changing due to shifts in alleles in both populations. This is resulting in bees that are better at managing mites, and mites that do less harm to bees. These facts are written into all the relevant literature. Why would anyone be assaying at all if they didn't thing selective propagation would make a difference? You know this, so I don't understand quite what you are trying to get across here.

    Perhaps what I'm missing is the meaning of 'backyard hive level'. We are talking about somebody with just a few hives, perhaps surrounded by treaters, with no feral population, for whom breeding toward mite resistance is all but futile?

    If that is the case, perhaps the best thing to do is to explain why anything other than a veterinary model is inappropriate, and direct them to the commercial section?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Some folks with sketchy knowledge of evolutionary processes have decided that they are creating new genotypes by letting hives die and mites opt for lower reproduction.
    I don't think many people here are thinking in terms of genotypes at all. They are thinking about the husbandry of alleles conferring desirable traits. Its simple stuff and there is no benefit in overcomplicating it. It just health animal husbandry by selective breeding, which acknowledges and works with a simple truth: Some individuals are better suited to the present environment than others: (some of) the reasons why are found in their genes, and genes and the traits that make it so are inheritable.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Look at the mathematics of horizontal transfer of mites, there is zero adaptive advantage to lower reproduction if the keeper is letting weak hive get robbed out and its mites transfer.
    The robbing bees will be more and less well equipped with behaviours that will enable them to cope with those mites. Those better equipped will, ceteris paribus, do better; and pass on their genes. A measure of adaptation has ocurred. Where is the problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Hazel will lose her best hive (she thought highly enough of it to graft its eggs). Her honey production will vanish for a year as she builds out young hives from these grafts. This is all completely un-necessary and enormously wasteful.
    If we were in the commercial section I'd agree - and even here I might. But that would be talking about a specific case - not about the way genetic husbandry works on the general level.

    Some people (me for one) would say that forgoing a few pounds of honey is a small price to pay for furthering the long term aim of improving the genetic position.

    What is wasteful? Losing a few pound of honey? Or losing a colony that isn't contributing to the aims of tf beekeeping?

    If Hazel-Rah only has a few colonies, and no prospect of getting any likely better genetic material (in terms of resistance to varroa/self sufficiency - bees that can be kept without treatments or manipulation) then preserving the bees with the aim of raising numbers, and getting in the position of being able to breed toward resistance (but not from them unless they are her best colony in resistance terms).... then... treatment now as a preservative measure might be a good thing.

    But treating is something we're trying to stop doing, and we shouldn't be advising people here how to keep bees non-resistant.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    If Hazel thinks this hive represents a favorable combination of characters, she should ensure its continued lineage. In some future, those genes will help other hives with even greater fitness.
    Fine. Assay, then make a proper decision.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Traits don't change in live/dead binary jumps, but build up slowly generation by generation.
    The build _in populations_ as a result of a process that removes _most_ individuals from the breeding pool, producing each new generation only from the fittest. They _cannot_ build to the extent the unfit are kept alive and allowed to reproduce.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    You select the best and improve each step of the way. Its a slow, painstaking process, always a best approximation, and it requires -- saturation, isolation and managed in-breeding.
    I think you have in mind a closed breeding pool model, and an aim of fixing, embedding, a particular trait that represents an endpoint. We don't have that breeding model, and our aim is not to try to fix anything - that would be futile. It is to raise resistance steadily (and to prevent its backsliding) by... making increase from the most resistant, and _not_ allowing poorly resistant individuals to reproduce.

    Given the breeding aim of raising resistance (in order to be able to do tf beekeeping) ...

    The more isolation and saturation you can achieve the easier this is. Genetic input from surviving bees helps enormously, and bred resistant bees should be be added to the mix. The 'managed in-breeding' is a necessarily vague concept - without AI any attempt at close management is impossible. Bee parentage has to be managed at arms length on the male side. On the queen side, yes, you seect the best (and thus create the best chnce of improvement) every step.

    And this works - given enough hives to overcome the chief unfavourable factor of flying drones from systematically treated unfit colonies.

    The converse follows as a matter of simple logic: to the extent that you don't do these things - select from most resistent (and the frankenstienian preservation of unresistant colonies)... resistant won't rise in the population. And it can easily fall as a result of the preservation of unfit bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Letting a lineage with favorable traits die out is just plain wasteful.
    An individual is not a lineage. And you have to balance the traits. One good season from a possibly well-fed and vigourous queen with no resistant alleles to pass on doesn't amount to a case for preservation.

    Not, anyway, if you are trying to go treatment free.

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 09-10-2013 at 02:48 AM.
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Here's some reading for the day.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3255632/

    Our results are consistent with other studies that have been unable to demonstrate an epidemiological relationship between the Varroa mites and BQCV or SBV (19, 40, 43, 49, 50).

    DWV, BQCV, and SBV each react differently to Varroa mite infestation, despite similarities in particle and genome structures (12). Therefore, knowledge of virus epidemiology and, more specifically, virus-vector interactions is important in order to implement effective techniques to manage different virus infections.


    Page 14 has some very important data reported.

    Regards,
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    I think the point JW is making with the breeding/mating model bees use it's hard to get definite long term genetic shifts made on the 'backyard' model. How can you prove alleles have shifted without genotyping your bees at the beginning and then throughout the subsequent generations. Phenotypical selection only gets you so far unless you're flooding with drones of mothers with fixed traits you are trying to introduce into your area and even then open mating allows for drift and you're still selecting daughter queens based on a genetic crapshoot solely on phenotypical selection with varying pathogenic pressures every day/month/year.

    For example, if you look at Hazels 3 year old queen, or maybe older, how much genetic change has this hive gone over the last few years???? Very little from the queens perspective, perhaps some change depending on the drones she's mated with. How many generations did the mites go through now in 3 years which gave them that many opportunities to overcome any traits the bees may have to resist them?

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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Hazel will lose her best hive (she thought highly enough of it to graft its eggs)... If Hazel thinks this hive represents a favorable combination of characters, she should ensure its continued lineage. In some future, those genes will help other hives with even greater fitness...
    It's true that I thought highly enough of this queen to graft from her, but mostly by default. I took over this yard last spring and there were two overwintered queens. This is the queen that is longest lived, but I also grafted from a queen out of last year's spring split - with the most prolific honey and wax production. Although from what I hear in this forum, a gentle 3rd year queen with several gallons of honey to their credit is worth gold.

    I do think it would be wasteful to lose this queen if it was because I was merely not sensitive to the potential of helping them manage their mite load through their own survival mechanisms.

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    We are talking about somebody with just a few hives, perhaps surrounded by treaters, with no feral population, for whom breeding toward mite resistance is all but futile?

    Some people (me for one) would say that forgoing a few pounds of honey is a small price to pay for furthering the long term aim of improving the genetic position.

    What is wasteful? Losing a few pound of honey? Or losing a colony that isn't contributing to the aims of tf beekeeping?

    If Hazel-Rah only has a few colonies, and no prospect of getting any likely better genetic material (in terms of resistance to varroa/self sufficiency - bees that can be kept without treatments or manipulation) then preserving the bees with the aim of raising numbers, and getting in the position of being able to breed toward resistance (but not from them unless they are her best colony in resistance terms).... then... treatment now as a preservative measure might be a good thing.

    An individual is not a lineage. And you have to balance the traits. One good season from a possibly well-fed and vigourous queen with no resistant alleles to pass on doesn't amount to a case for preservation.
    Ok, well the conversation about the priorities and goals of my yard don't have to be hypothetical...

    Losing this hive would not be the end of the world. As I have stated before, I'm not even going to be managing this yard next year - which is not to say I do not care to set the bees up for their highest vital potential. Otherwise I would not have brought this yard from 2 queen-right hives to 17, counting the nucs.

    Losing this hive would also not likely put much of a dent in my honey flow. I'm not commercial and while this is a very productive hive, other - younger- daughters of this queen actually put out more gallons. This is my 2nd/3rd most productive hive.

    Also, I'm not going to 'treat' them, so no need to guess there. But I DO think this queen represents desirable characteristics for agricultural honey bees. So I am interested in what measures can be taken to help the bees cope with a possible terminal mite load. Considering that I have kept this hive in an unnatural cycle of non-swarm - I don't think it would be overly manipulative to go in and break up the brood cycle now.

    Maybe that will help stave off DWV and critical mite load, maybe not. I'll let you know in the spring.

    Also, I do have the results on their hygienic test and mite drop... *drum roll* They scored a little better then 90% on their hygienic, with nearly all the brood removed from a section the size of a mason wide mouth. Their mite drop of 300 bees from the brood chamber showed 13 mites... which according to the Oregon State Beekeepers website means I gotta hit em' with those chem-bombs!! That does seem high... I guess.

    I found the queen today, nice looking with no symptomatic DVW. I put her in a deep with a few frames of brood, honey/pollen and empties. I'll give them 10 days, break out their queen cells and maybe do again? At what point do I run the risk of a laying worker?


    Quote Originally Posted by BEES4U View Post
    I guess what I actually need is an RNA extractor.

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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    I think the point JW is making with the breeding/mating model bees use it's hard to get definite long term genetic shifts made on the 'backyard' model.
    We're back to trying to do logic using fundamentally vague terms. It doesn't work. What is a 'backyard model'? How many hives does it entail? Of what sort of size? On free comb or partially drone restricted?

    And then: what are the surrounding bees like - are there long-term surviving feral/wild bees, a number of non-treaters of or just lots of treating apiaries?

    These things make a difference. Until and unless we have answers to these questions, we can't offer specific recommendations.

    It seems to me that what JW is saying amounts to: 'below a certain level of control we'll assume nothing constructive can be achieved in (open) breeding terms, and we'll call that state of affairs a 'backyard model'.

    What can do is take a different appoach. We can state that a greater amount of breeding control does permit a measure of success in terms of raising resistance. We can talk about why that is -what is happening. We can identify the factors that restrict breeding success.

    Just to come back to....

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    ...hard to get definite long term genetic shifts
    Its all but impossible to get 'long term genetic shifts'. What you can do is press in a particular direction, and if you press hard enough you can expect a genetic change that will remain for as long as you keep pressing. If you are lucky enough to live someplace where nature is doing that for you, and not too many people are messing up the process, it will happen naturally. But it will start unpeeling just as soon as enough people start treating.

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    How can you prove alleles have shifted without genotyping your bees at the beginning and then throughout the subsequent generations.
    First, any such 'shift is, as above, not a permanant feature, but a response to breeding pressure (selection) Second; the answer: because they're thriving without recourse to treatments. That the only data you need.

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    Phenotypical selection only gets you so far unless you're flooding with drones of mothers with fixed traits
    Flooding with drones is normal bee breeding practice. No mothers have 'fixed' traits. They have the desirable traits - we know because because their worker progeny are expressing the required alleles, as evidenced by thriving. They may have got those alleles from her, or from the drone fathers, or both. The queen and the sperm she holds may also carry less desirable alternative alleles. The more we can control the genetics of the population the more we can be effective in reducing those - in the population.

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    ...you are trying to introduce into your area and even then open mating allows for drift and you're still selecting daughter queens based on a genetic crapshoot solely on phenotypical selection with varying pathogenic pressures every day/month/year.
    Yes. Its always something of a crapshoot. You work hard to shift the odds in your favour, then keep throwing the dice. Repeat. That's bee husbandry.

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    For example, if you look at Hazels 3 year old queen, or maybe older, how much genetic change has this hive gone over the last few years???? Very little from the queens perspective, perhaps some change depending on the drones she's mated with.
    Probably not. As I understand it the drones sperm gets well mixed, and all the drone fathers are 'in action' at once throughout her life.

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    How many generations did the mites go through now in 3 years which gave them that many opportunities to overcome any traits the bees may have to resist them?
    If you want to follow that logic, how many micropredators with very fast reproductive rates do humans have? Humans reproduce about, what, 40 times slower than bees? ...

    There is plenty of evidence to show it isn't happening like that. Honeybee have behaviours that allow them to control varroa mites well. These behaviours are bought about by particular combinations of genes. There are a number of specific behaviours, and different combinations work better than others. All the equipment is there. All that's needed is a chance for the bees to locate the equipment, and to experiment to find the best combinations - and to keep doing so.

    We can work with them. Or we can work against them. Its our choice.

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

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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    ...But I DO think this queen represents desirable characteristics for agricultural honey bees. So I am interested in what measures can be taken to help the bees cope with a possible terminal mite load. Considering that I have kept this hive in an unnatural cycle of non-swarm - I don't think it would be overly manipulative to go in and break up the brood cycle now.
    Hazel,

    I think that rationale can be used to maintain unresistant bees and mite control measures indefinately. I'd question whether that comes under tf beekeeping.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    I guess what I actually need is an RNA extractor.
    That sort of thinking will keep us all frozen for lack of 'essential' technology. What you need is a breeding yard and a process.

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

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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    You have a well one sided argument Mike, I will give you that. The tendencies to point out the outcomes of 'ideal' situations all the time is flawed though. The bees have all the mechanisms, clearly it helped them a lot when Varroa first became an issue. Also, nature tends to select for the path of least resistance and we see how ferals tend to deal with mites the most, by being swarmy. That being said, there's just a lack of clear data on a lot of what's been done or tried and how successful it's been. For instance, I see a brood assay was done here.... that type of hygenic behavior has nothing to do with VSH or removing mite infested brood, that's clearly been stated before. It may bare some correlation to better mite hygenics but it's not the correct assay for testing VSH characteristics, but it's a misconception a lot of people have.

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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    I think that rationale can be used to maintain unresistant bees and mite control measures indefinitely. I'd question whether that comes under tf beekeeping.

    That sort of thinking will keep us all frozen for lack of 'essential' technology. What you need is a breeding yard and a process.
    Maybe that's the rationale that other people use to keep non-resistant bees, but here, I am substituting the bee's natural mite suppression behavior to support this hive which has been possibly deprived of such earlier in it's life cycle. Also, this queen/hive seems to be far more vital than queens referenced by others on this forum. Most TF breeders I've spoken with or read, use the best of their 3 year queens - well, that's what I did.

    Maybe brood breaks fall out of your standard of TF but I do believe it is within the parameters in this forum.

    Perhaps she will be superseded in the spring(in all likelihood they will at least swarm, since they will not be managed - or at least not very much.). Or if she does not seem to be laying well, or starts to show increased symptomatic DWV, I will probably just requeen the hive with a daughter queen from my nucs.

    You'll have to learn that any credit I give to 'heady' technology is tongue and cheek. That being said, sarcasm is difficult to relay over the internet. I don't want an RNA extractor, I am a proponent of convivial technology. Next year and in those subsequent, I will be in a better position to isolate my breeding queens.

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    For instance, I see a brood assay was done here.... that type of hygenic behavior has nothing to do with VSH or removing mite infested brood, that's clearly been stated before. It may bare some correlation to better mite hygenics but it's not the correct assay for testing VSH characteristics, but it's a misconception a lot of people have.
    It's not a misconception I have, I don't think anywhere I mentioned that I was testing for VSH. These hive were purchased under the pretense of being VSH. I was simply testing the hygienic qualities to better understand the characteristics of the hive.

    In my first post I mention wanting to predict their ability to cope with the mite load - now I know the mite load and their general hygienic. I'm still open to a technique for predicting their VSH...

    And then I found this, http://vshbreeders.org/forum/attachment.php?aid=37

    So I guess I'll just be sticking to VSH as an ambiguous label for the near future...
    Last edited by Hazel-Rah; 09-12-2013 at 02:14 PM.

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