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  1. #21
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    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.
    Hazel,

    Hmm. A rationale based an assumption: that swarming/brood break is the bees' (this bee's?) primary mite management tool... ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    Maybe brood breaks fall out of your standard of TF but I do believe it is within the parameters in this forum.
    I think it's easy to argue that it is a 'treatment' - especially where (my own) definition of treatment is in force: "Any artificial substance or action that helps the colony (and therefore obstructs development of resisance in the breeding population)"

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    Perhaps she will be superseded in the spring (in all likelihood they will at least swarm, since they will not be managed - or at least not very much.)
    I find that ensuring plenty of room greatly reduces swarming... and has the further benefit of supplying a true reading of non-swarming mite-management abilities.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    Next year and in those subsequent, I will be in a better position to isolate my breeding queens.
    I do understand - you need hives to make the hives you need to breed ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    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
    For those that haven't read it, the meat is: while VSH is by far the best trait for natural mite management, there isn't much of a correlation between frozen killed brood tests (FKB) and VSH - and easy assays for VSH remain elusive.

    "While it is clear that FKB hygiene confers some ability to remove Varroa, the response toward mites can be somewhat inconsistent (Spivak 1996; Spivak and Gilliam 1998b) and apparently stimulus-dependent (more hygiene against two versus one mite; Boecking and Drescher 1992). Screening for the removal of FKB as a means to select for resistance to V. destructor has been recommended based on prior observations that the hygienic responses toward FKB and V. destructor are somewhat related (Boecking and Drescher 1992; Spivak 1996). Our results using a variety of bee types having different selection histories do not support this recommendation; many colonies that had good hygiene against FKB had poor hygiene against V. destructor. A simple, effective way to select for strong VSH based resistance remains elusive." [1]

    I'm thinking that while an 'easy' test is elusive, feral/wild survival is a probable indicator, and broad thriving without treatments (of any sort) a better one.

    Worth noting some key results here (my emboldening):

    "Two of five variables related to V. destructor infestation in resident brood combs varied according to the type of bee (Table II and Figure 3). The
    percentage of mite-infested brood cells ranged from 1.3%in colonies of VSH bees to 17.7%in colonies of control bees
    (Figure 3a). Infestation in FKB hygienic colonies was statistically similar to those in controls and F1 VSH, and F1 VSH were similar to FKB hygienic and VSH. The percentage of recapped cells in resident brood was greater in VSH colonies (63 %) than in colonies of the other three bee types (mean, 42 %; Figure 3e). There were no differences between bee types for the percentage of infertile foundress mites (mean, 19 %; Figure 3b), the percentage of dead foundress mites (mean, 4 %; Figure 3c), or mite fecundity (mean, 3.1offspring per foundress mite; Figure 3d)."

    Of course this is only one study. But I like that 1.3%/17.7% comparison! Is anyone here versed in spotting recapping?

    There's also pulling off of legs, grooming, ability to withstand associated viruses - we shouldn't put too much weight on just one trait. Again, thriving without help (as measured by fair-comparison weight gain) seeems to me to be the best all-round measure.

    Mike (UK)

    [1]
    Extracts from The Discussion; Varying congruence of hygienic responses to Varroa
    destructor and freeze-killed brood among different types
    of honeybees; Robert G. DANKA, Jeffrey W. HARRIS, José D. VILLA, Garrett E. DODDS
    Apidologie Original article * INRA, DIB and Springer-Verlag France, 2013
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  2. #22
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    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....
    Is that actually supported by studies, or is it a factoid?

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    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.
    Me among them. I wasn't aware the correlation was so weak.

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  3. #23
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Mike,

    I read it on the internet its true! Perhaps I'm making a generalization but when you look at how AHB and other ferals deal with mites, it tends to be with brood breaks via constant swarming. Hazel, I didn't mean to imply you didn't know what the assay was for, just a general observation when people start talking mite hygenics and frozen brood assays people start linking the two when if you talk to the VSH breeders its more about having to pull capped brood and check for mites to truly assay VsH capabilities.

  4. #24
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Arizona Africanized Bees are notorious swarmy. I know of two commercial outfits that park 40 foot trailers in the desert (near Salt River cotton) filled with singles. They let them fill up with wild (Africanized) swarms, and they do. AHB appear to swarm when scouts detect nest availibility (I don't see that induced swarming in EHB). AHB maintain multiple queens so are always primed to divide when an opportunity presents itself.

    The park-the-empty-trailer-in-the-desert and sell the Almond pollinators beekeeping model is incredibly profitable, and my guess is you are going to lots more of this. Right now its sort of black secret (as the hives are NOT really legit for California importation).

    Swarm propensity was bred out of EHB selectively, and swarminess is reversion to norm in ferals. Inductively, it raises fitness tremendously.

    My assumption on some of the very fragile anti-Varroa, and anti-virus expressions is these are going to difficult to maintain genetically -- way to complicated and delicate a gene. Swarminess is like weediness, a simple universally applicable fix. Genetic systems have entropy too, and the implies the simple will prevail over the complicated.

  5. #25
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    Hazel, I didn't mean to imply you didn't know what the assay was for, just a general observation when people start talking mite hygenics and frozen brood assays people start linking the two when if you talk to the VSH breeders its more about having to pull capped brood and check for mites to truly assay VsH capabilities.
    OK, hope I didn't sound defensive. I do see that the line can be blurry when clarification is not made. I definitely know I'm not going to be artificially applying mite infestations anytime soon!

    As for whether or not a brood break in a natural mechanism for mite suppression, or just anecdotal... I guess the jury is still out. It was suggested that hives that display DWV will eventually supersede the queen... I am recreating this as an experiment. It just so happens that I will eventually replace the old queen. Maybe - still might requeen with another.

    If we are to assume that imposing a brood break is tantamount to manipulations as a 'treatment', how do we categorize our choice to keep bees in a hive cavity that is larger then one they would naturally choose? Taking from Seeley's work, that bees prefer cavity sizes of approximately 40 liters, and tend to swarm on an annual basis(some more then this). If we are keeping them in a larger cavity to suppress swarming, isn't that a form of agricultural manipulation? I think that's OK, but we have to be honest with ourselves when we are asking the bees to preform under conditions they may otherwise... not. In such a case, it is conceivable that we could breed a far superior bee, one that can survive several successive generations without a brood break. However, that is a big bite for me to take on such a small yard. Also, it is not necessarily my priority to attempt to keep bees in a manner that IMO is not following a more natural cycle.

  6. #26
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    No problem Hazel, sometimes I can sound a little offensive but I don't intend to be. Brood breaks don't really solve the issue, it just prevents the mites from reaching critical mass when done properly. I don't know if DWV causes supercedure but what happens is the queen gets infected and it impacts her laying/progeny survival and you will see drastic reduction in cluster size early winter/late fall with heavy mite pressure. Some queens will shutdown until the mite pressure becomes less as well. I'm all for 'breeding' a better bee, it will be my focus in the next few years but it's not an easy task and I just don't see any way to perpetuate lines for any amount of time on a small scale.

  7. #27
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Swarm propensity was bred out of EHB selectively, and swarminess is reversion to norm in ferals. Inductively, it raises fitness tremendously.
    Lots of rationale built a very shaky assumptionshere guys. Not supported in the literature as far as I know. Yes, its broadly understood that bees (probably most organisms) benefit from getting out of nasty situations quickly. But once the emergency phase is over, and the targetted behaviours kick in that becomes an expensive option. Only a small proportion of swarms survive in temperate climates.

    I use mostly wild/feral swarms and cutouts. I've had no problems with swarminess. Or anything else for that matter. A couple of hives aren't going anywhere. That's about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    My assumption on some of the very fragile anti-Varroa, and anti-virus expressions is these are going to difficult to maintain genetically -- way to complicated and delicate a gene. Swarminess is like weediness, a simple universally applicable fix.
    This is site dependent. And management dependent. Yes, unless you have ferals/wild bees you need an active breeding strategy. And to to that effectively you benefit from good initial genetics (or it will be a long slow turnaround), strong hives (for drones), a good selection process.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Genetic systems have entropy too, and the implies the simple will prevail over the complicated.
    Mammalian physiology is simple? Life is a competition in which successful complexity seems to me to offer leads to ascension just as surely as advantages bourne by simplicity. I can't see that generalisation holding up. Can you let us have a proper source for the statement, or is it something you read on the internet?

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  8. #28
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    As for whether or not a brood break in a natural mechanism for mite suppression, or just anecdotal... I guess the jury is still out.
    For what its worth; most of my hives seems to shut down brood production almost completely for a few weeks in the summer. It caused a lot of searching for queens, and worry that the line had been lost. They all started back up again. This happenend mostly in the big hives that had built like billio in the spring. It might well be a mite induced trait. But they they produced well, and I'm not yet thinking of this as being problematic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    If we are to assume that imposing a brood break is tantamount to manipulations as a 'treatment', how do we categorize our choice to keep bees in a hive cavity that is larger then one they would naturally choose?
    If you follow that line of reasoning you'll end up in the wholesale treaters camp. Some bees find large cavities and do well in them. They may well sawrm every year, but I don't think that amounts to 'swarminess'. Any lifeform that is thriving will produce viable offspring just as often as it can - that's the name of the game of Life. I wouldn't breed away from that - though I would use tricks to overcome it.

    My test is: are you doing something that will tend to weaken the local feral/wild bees. Managing them in ways that create human dependency will tell to supress wild bees, and that is wholly undesireable in my book. I work by the joint countryman's adages:

    "Never help a wild animal"

    "Everything deserves its chance"

    These are bourne on the wisdom provided by countless generations of husbandrymen and gamekeepers regarding the management of open breeding life forms. You mustn't interfere with the process of natural selection. Anything you do do must work with the grain of that great process.

    Mike (UK)
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  9. #29
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    Brood breaks don't really solve the issue, it just prevents the mites from reaching critical mass when done properly.
    Natural brood break do go a good way to solving the issue. They give some stronger strains the ability to survive while other more targeted mechanisms are bought into play. Then the competition refines the responses to the most efficient (in terms of available energy to viable offspring).

    Unnatural brood breaks simply interfere with the process of locating the required behaviours, and like all (effective) treatments/manipulations suppress the local wild population - which is the most efficient locator and providor of resistance and general good health.

    Quote Originally Posted by JRG13 View Post
    I'm all for 'breeding' a better bee, it will be my focus in the next few years but it's not an easy task and I just don't see any way to perpetuate lines for any amount of time on a small scale.
    That's right. That's why expansion - from good initial genetics - is one of the most important things to do.

    And... Location, Location, Location!

    Mike (UK)
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  10. #30
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    If you follow that line of reasoning you'll end up in the wholesale treaters camp. Some bees find large cavities and do well in them. They may well sawrm every year, but I don't think that amounts to 'swarminess'. Any lifeform that is thriving will produce viable offspring just as often as it can - that's the name of the game of Life. I wouldn't breed away from that - though I would use tricks to overcome it.
    I wouldn't worry about me going over to the dark side anytime soon... I just think we need to be honest about having bees that are kept for agricultural purposes and in what ways we might be inhibiting their natural tendencies. You mentioned that you bees go on a mid summer brood break, do they also have a winter brood break?

    From mid-April to early August we are on HEAVY nectar flow in my valley... and if there is a summer brood break(which I doubt), I wouldn't know about because those brood frames are buried under 300 pounds of supers.

    If a hives response to symptomatic DWV is supercedure, then there is nothing unnatural about giving them a brood break at this time.
    Last edited by Hazel-Rah; 09-13-2013 at 03:57 PM.

  11. #31
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    [You mentioned that you bees go on a mid summer brood break, do they also have a winter brood break?
    I've no idea at all what they get up to in winter!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    If a hives response to symptomatic DWV is supercedure, then there is nothing unnatural about giving them a brood break at this time.
    I work with the view that 'nature' is what happens when humans are not around/don't interfere, and the rest is by definition unnatural. I try to interfere as little as possible, on the grounds that any interference muddies the readings I'll need to make breeding selections. So I suppose I keep it as natural as possible because that helps me help the natural selection along with some unnatural selection.

    I'm very wary of rationales that justify our doing what it suits us to do. I quite like rationales that stop us doing what we would like to do.

    Mike (UK)
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Last edited by Rader Sidetrack; 09-13-2013 at 04:42 PM. Reason: edited; no longer relevant
    ultracrepidarian >> noting or pertaining to a person who criticizes, judges, or gives advice outside of his expertise

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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    Any lifeform that is thriving will produce viable offspring just as often as it can - that's the name of the game of Life.
    Really??
    Do humans fit your idea of thriving lifeforms?



    Could it be that your brush is overly broad?
    ultracrepidarian >> noting or pertaining to a person who criticizes, judges, or gives advice outside of his expertise

  14. #34
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    I just think we need to be honest about having bees that are kept for agricultural purposes and in what ways we might be inhibiting their natural tendencies.
    good point, and one that i have made from time to time.

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    I work with the view that 'nature' is what happens when humans are not around/don't interfere, and the rest is by definition unnatural. I try to interfere as little as possible....

    I'm very wary of rationales that justify our doing what it suits us to do.
    (bold emphasis added)

    and what suits you mike is keeping bees under conditions that are not found anywhere in nature, even if you are only harvesting personal satisfaction. it is still drawing a line, your line.

    i would in no way begrudge you the privilege to do so, but let's do be honest, and let's let the one who is not 'exploiting' the bees cast the first stone.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  15. #35
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    I work with the view that 'nature' is what happens when humans are not around/don't interfere, and the rest is by definition unnatural. I try to interfere as little as possible, on the grounds that any interference muddies the readings I'll need to make breeding selections. So I suppose I keep it as natural as possible because that helps me help the natural selection along with some unnatural selection.

    I'm very wary of rationales that justify our doing what it suits us to do. I quite like rationales that stop us doing what we would like to do.
    Mike are you keeping Warre? Or permanent tree hives? I am totally all for those beekeeping practices but I think they represent a different(and valid) paradigm of beekeeping.

    I believe humans have the unique capability to perceive natural mechanisms of our world. We can exercise this privilege destructively, such as with clearcutting, dams and drains, successive plowing, application of selective crop poisons, invasive resource extraction, and selectively breeding productive, but not viable livestock and crops.

    Or we can learn to mimic and build natural vitality. Often these mechanism are more difficult and imprecise to manage or manipulate. But IMO it does not mean that our management is inherently destructive. In fact, I think that working with the soil and animals is our(humans) highest form of evolution.

    For example, a farm that has been exhausted of humus and organic material through exploitative management will return, through natural successions of weeds and brush, to a viable landscape. Or a farmer with knowledge of covercropping, proper rotational grazing, companion plantings and manure application can return that same landscape into viable, and productive land in far less time. Often these types of management programs can promote MORE biodiversity and fertility than if allowed to 'naturally' fallow.

    Anyway, my point is that it's more about the motivations behind the archetype of your agricultural goals then about following a fixed, non-intervention principle. There is a lot to be learned and gained from management techniques whose intentions are to better understand the mechanisms of the animal or crop and promote the vitality of said animal or crop, for their own sake. Especially when we understand that there is a greater potential that can be harnessed.

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    i would in no way begrudge you the privilege to do so, but let's do be honest, and let's let the one who is not 'exploiting' the bees cast the first stone.
    Amen

  16. #36
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Hazel,

    Keep us updated on this hive please, no matter what happens. I've got an isolated hive that's been untreated for a few years, I did see some mites in there early summer. They may have superceded the queen at some point but I never saw a break in brood but I inspect it maybe every 2-3 weeks if I'm lucky.

  17. #37
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    [...]and what suits you mike is keeping bees under conditions that are not found anywhere in nature, even if you are only harvesting personal satisfaction. it is still drawing a line, your line.
    That isn't my intention at all. I'm doing my best to mimic conditions of natural selection, recognising that in my setting that can only be done with a bit of judicious aid. I have to have the bees accessible so that can be done. I have to combat the effect of nearby treaters. I have to make up the deficit in natural homes (holes in trees).

    That minimum done I do my utmost to allow the bees to come to their own accommodation with their predators. I keep high in mind the welfare of the local feral bees - I want as healthy a breeding pool as I can manage.

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    I would in no way begrudge you the privilege to do so, but let's do be honest, and let's let the one who is not 'exploiting' the bees cast the first stone.
    I can't see that I'm overly exploiting the bees. I want to be in partnership with them, so that I can earn a contribution to my income while helping them overcome the depradations of those who exploit them close to extinction through greed, ignorance and stupidity.

    This is the treatment free forum. I'm doing my best to keep bees treatment free, and to discuss with others how to do it. Don't accuse me of throwing stones when I point out that treating bees puts that effort back.

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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post


    Really??
    Do humans fit your idea of thriving lifeforms?



    Could it be that your brush is overly broad?
    Well, to be fair, many of us go through the motions of reproducing every chance we get.

    As a consequence, humans used to have very large families, pre-science.

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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    Mike are you keeping Warre? Or permanent tree hives? I am totally all for those beekeeping practices but I think they represent a different(and valid) paradigm of beekeeping. [...]
    Hazel,

    No and no. I'm trying to raise healthy bees (bees that thrive without treating or manipulation) that are also reasonable apiary bees. I want to sell them (the bees) and sell a little honey and wax. I don't want to do this full time - about 1/3rd of the time/income - its part of a developing mixed smallholding operation. (My last post explains more about how and why I keep bees).

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    I believe humans have the unique capability to perceive natural mechanisms of our world.[
    No-one can argue with that. We also often think we know much more than we do. We can cause great harm while acting with good intentions.

    Part of the trick is to separate what _we_ want from our understanding of what-is (Nature). That is what science does.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    Or we can learn to mimic and build natural vitality. Often these mechanism are more difficult and imprecise to manage or manipulate. But IMO it does not mean that our management is inherently destructive.
    Sure. And we can't always generalise. Sometimes we have to look at each case separately, and judge it on its merits.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    In fact, I think that working with the soil and animals is our(humans) highest form of evolution.
    That's an opinion. I'm sure a great many people think similar high thoughts about what they do. And I'm sure too that a great many of them do an awful lot of good.

    However; thinking of yourself as uniquely privleged in some great scheme of being, and that you are thus equipped to act in a priviledged way, or that you have special knowledge, or dispensation to so, is another unique quality of humankind. History shows all too clearly it often conveniently smothers more mundane motivations. Which often leads to great harm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    For example, a farm that has been exhausted of humus and organic material through exploitative management will return, through natural successions of weeds and brush, to a viable landscape.
    I can see what you mean, but would you like to define a 'viable landscape'? Do you mean 'farmable'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    Or a farmer with knowledge of covercropping, proper rotational grazing, companion plantings and manure application can return that same landscape into viable, and productive land in far less time.
    Ah, 'productive'. In your philosophy perhaps 'capable of producing crops competitively without recourse to artificial fertilizer'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    Often these types of management programs can promote MORE biodiversity and fertility than if allowed to 'naturally' fallow.
    Yes of course. Land can be managed to promote natural habitat. As it happens I do it assiduously. I'm currently producing a management plan for my small woodland, a (UK) ' site of special scientific interest' that aims to align commercial and wildlife goods. Small areas of coppice rotation will allow in more light; having a variety of tree ages will supply different sorts of habitat continuously, and on and on. All good stuff. My grassland grazing is managed to promote wildflowers; I'm planting native species hedges... on and on. I'm trying my best to balance agricultural liveliood against conservation goals. Actually more; I'm trying to supply a living exemplar of a sustainable conservation farming system, to encourage others to do the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    Anyway, my point is that it's more about the motivations behind the archetype of your agricultural goals then about following a fixed, non-intervention principle.
    That may be true, but even the very best motivations can't undercut solid facts about Nature.

    And the fact is that keeping unfit individuals alive and breeding from them tend to lead fast to more unfit individuals. More loosely, its a crime against nature and husbandry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazel-Rah View Post
    There is a lot to be learned and gained from management techniques whose intentions are to better understand the mechanisms of the animal or crop and promote the vitality of said animal or crop, for their own sake. Especially when we understand that there is a greater potential that can be harnessed.
    I couldn't agree more. What is it that makes you think I need to have that pointed out to me?

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 09-14-2013 at 02:32 AM.
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    Default Re: DWV, Mites and Hygienic Behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    (Originally Posted by mike bispham: "Any lifeform that is thriving will produce viable offspring just as often as it can - that's the name of the game of Life.")

    Really??
    Do humans fit your idea of thriving lifeforms?



    Could it be that your brush is overly broad?
    I stand corrected. All natural lifeforms

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

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