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  1. #1
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    Default Hygenic behavior in my bees - where did it come from?

    Yesterday I inspected a few hives that I had some concern with - the ones that look good and are not light I'm leaving be.

    One of them that is a single box (8M) headed with a late summer queen had a very noticeable number of uncapped brood - that is they were among capped brood, but had been opened. The ones that I fished out were mostly live, and had varroa. A couple were dead and starting to break down. There were also empty cells or with eggs scattered about that might have been previously cleaned out. I've seen this before in other hives, but not to the same degree as this one. It might just be more infested than most.

    So, this queen is descended from my original queen that came with my first package (spring 09) from Rossmans - no advertised hygenic trait. I have in my yard one Russell VSH queen - which has done very well, and grown to be an A+ hive since I got it in June.

    So, my question - are my queens becoming more hygenic from open breeding, or are the drones from one VSH hive in the same yard having a noticeable effect. Are all bees selecting towards more hygenic behavior due to the presence of varroa?

    Anyway, I'm keeping an eye on this one.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Appling, Georgia, USA
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    216

    Default Re: Hygenic behavior in my bees - where did it come from?

    Good question david...
    I am seeing the same thing in one of my hives. I do know that it is infested pretty good right now and will be treating when the hopguard gets here tomorrow. I have been wondering though, if what i have been seeing is the same thing as you. In the mornings there are quite a few larvae and new bees (dead or dying) out on the landing board. Also quite a few varroa. Hive is weaker than it has been all year, but seems to belaying well still and no sick bees alive in the hive. there is dwv on the bees bees outside, but none seen inside the hive.
    When breeders breed for hygienic traits, do they just let the colonies go and whoever survives then they breed from them? I would imagine this is the case, but just curious. I would also guess that many hives are lost in this process.
    I would let mine bee, but don't want to lose the hive.
    Looking forward to the replies.
    thanks,
    mike

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Hudson, WI USA
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    2,211

    Default Re: Hygenic behavior in my bees - where did it come from?

    Mike, Marla Spivak and Gary Reuter select for Hygienic behavior by freeze killing a patch of capped brood and then 24 hrs later seeing how much of it has been cleaned out. The ones that have cleaned out all or almost all of the dead cells are selected.

  4. #4
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    Jun 2011
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    Appling, Georgia, USA
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    Default Re: Hygenic behavior in my bees - where did it come from?

    Thanks Adrian,
    Looks like i have some reading to do!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Hygenic behavior in my bees - where did it come from?

    I haven't bred for hygienic behavior. Not directly anyway. The only things that I have selected for are gentleness, low swarming, and overall hive health. I don't keep mean bees or those that swarm for no particular reason, and any hives that don't "do good" are removed from the breeding pool. I've only really been at it for a year, but so far my bees are noticeably less aggressive toward me - hardly any "jumpers" or "yard guards" that I used to have. So it isn't beyond belief that I'm making progress on those other traits as well.

    Maybe by selecting from hives that "do good" I'm indirectly selecting for hygienic behavior as well.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Hamilton, Alabama
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    Default Re: Hygenic behavior in my bees - where did it come from?

    Your statement revolves around "hygienic behavior" but you don't define what you mean by the term. There is a gene for hygienic behavior that causes bees to uncap damaged brood. There is another gene that affects removal of dead brood from open cells. If your bees uncap damaged brood but do not remove it, they are not hygienic. There are still more genes that control VSH (Varroa Specific Hygiene). If you are not actively selecting for hygienic behavior, then you are not making much more progress than trying to paddle a boat upstream using your hands as paddles.

    If you want mite tolerant bees, stop treating for mites and let the susceptible bees die. Breed from the survivors. It will take about 5 generations to have mostly mite tolerant genetics. Before you do this, try purchasing some mite tolerant queens. It is well worth the cost. I haven't treated for mites in about 6 years now. My bees are thriving.

    DarJones
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  7. #7
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    Jun 2011
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    Appling, Georgia, USA
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    Default Re: Hygenic behavior in my bees - where did it come from?

    That is what I have been doing also david. I won't have mean bees either, Not for long anyhow.
    Dar, So by seeing my bees bringing the larvae and varroa to the landing board, I am getting from what you are saying that they are showing Hygienic behaviour. If this is true, would it be advisable to not treat them and see what the outcome is? The hive is noticeably lighter and weaker at this point. I realize that this would be taking a chance on theri dying, however, if they are showing these traits now, they possibly could overcome this infestation?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Pensacola, Florida
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    159

    Default Re: Hygenic behavior in my bees - where did it come from?

    Something to think about. If a glass is full and you want to add something to it, you have to pour some of the filling out. Same thing with bees. if you breed for something, then something else is lost. Just giving you a heads up.

    Now that being said, DarJones is correct. Some of the bees will uncap and some will remove, while some will actually take the trash from the landing board and fly it several feet to 20 or 30 feet away and drop it. At least that is the information I got.
    Peaches
    The Beekeepers Friend

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Hygenic behavior in my bees - where did it come from?

    I don't really care if my bees have any specific hygienic behavior or not. What I do care about is if they are productive within the cultural practices that I use - and reasonably gentle.

    I don't really consider what I'm doing to be "breeding" - I just get rid of the ones that I don't like. Kinda like if you hang onto a mean bull, don't be surprised if you end up with an unruly herd.

    The question that I intended to ask is if this behavior is ubiquitous (but unexpressed) in all bees - perhaps becoming more so because of pressure from mites - or is it the result of the drones from a single VSH hive?

    Treatment free - for or against? - would be another topic I think.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Hygenic behavior in my bees - where did it come from?

    David, I am not scientifically inclined so I cannot answer your question. If the bees don't make honey during the Spring flow, then I requeen. If the bees will not make wax, I requeen. If the bee brood is not to my expectation, requeen. If they are mean, requeen. That is about as far as my scientific brain will allow me to go.

    If the only way to save my colony, then and only then will I use chemicals. I haven't used any chems. in over 6-7 years. That is my way. Some bks will say that is wrong, but remember there is no wrong way to keep bees. There is only your way that works for you.
    Peaches
    The Beekeepers Friend

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    lee county, fl, usa
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    Default Re: Hygenic behavior in my bees - where did it come from?

    I am renewing this thread because I'm searching on hygienic behavior. I have a hive that died out this week and I wondered if keeping pests out is part of hygienic behavior? I suspect it is. I'd like to learn more about hygienic behavior and found all the replies here very interesting.

    Under what circumstances do you requeen?

    The dead out hive was a new split from spring with a reputable bought queen. It never built up well and also it was one of the few I have used screened bottom board. I put in a boost with a brood frame and a honey frame early August. Last week I pulled out half the drawn comb--all to one side--as it had wax moth webbing and larvae, and bull ants. I've mentioned before my problem with bull ants in my country hives. It's bad. I did this split with a full deep and it still happened so I am now very leary of screened bottom boards. Yesterday, about 10 bees remained with a pile of what looked to be empty carcasses of larvae on the bottom board. There was also water in some of the frames comb cells, and I hope I didn't accidently kill them myself as this lid had a feeder hole, I'd given 1 quart of feed at the time of the split in spring and left the jar and lid like that all summer. We are getting more rain this year than I've seen since moving here 4 years ago. Maybe jar loosened and too much water getting into hive?

    Is this merely a weak queen, or is there something more that I can learn from what happened?

    I have another hive that killed off the new queen I put in early Augst, dwindled significantly in population during it's requeening (one frame of brood at this point) but took good care of all the comb which I switched out 4 comb frames yesterday with foundationless frames. Same thing did not happen to second hive with the empty comb, and it's on solid bottom board.
    Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Prvb 16:24
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Hygenic behavior in my bees - where did it come from?



    They draged out my shb treatment checkmite sandwitched between 2 pieces of plasticell placed on bottom board
    In back of hive.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Hygenic behavior in my bees - where did it come from?

    Velbert, the bees said "That's disgusting!"
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Hygenic behavior in my bees - where did it come from?

    Quote Originally Posted by bevy's honeybees View Post
    Under what circumstances do you requeen?
    When I have plenty of queens on hand I have requeened ruthlessly for any reason that seems worth the trouble of finding the old queen. Since grafts are made from a queen mother who's hive is healthy, productive and gentle I always assume that any hive that is substantially below that standard has a good chance of being improved by requeening.

    I started doing this in particular because I had some vile tempered hives that I didn't want in the same area as my grand kids. So I started requeening any hive that had many of what I call "jumpers" - the ones that will jump up on your hand when you wave it over the tops of the frames. This made a very noticeable improvement in the disposition of my bees in just a few months.

    I don't necessarily recommend that this is THE way to go, but it does illustrate that if you select for and requeen against a measurable trait you can make a real difference pretty quickly even with a small apiary. Not counting mating nucs I've never had more than about 25 hives.

    In the last couple of years I have worked more on getting VSH into my apiary, and while they aren't downright mean my bees are no longer what I would call gentle. Apparently I can't do two things at one time.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  15. #15
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Hygenic behavior in my bees - where did it come from?

    Hay fusion power they have not see the full brunt of what the shb can do to know what disgusting is.

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