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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Dilemma

    Interesting list of questions Mike. Could you answer even question one for yourself, describing how you know the swarms you collect are feral survivors, and detailing initial genetics? How are your own hives coming along?
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Dilemma

    Please read the current forum rules concerning ignore list.

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...94-Forum-Rules
    Regards, Barry

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Dilemma

    OK, How do you know if a swarm is feral or not?
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    OK, How do you know if a swarm is feral or not?
    Apparently there is genetic differences. Deborah Delaney has done some work on feral bees that is interesting. The whole video is worth viewing or you can jump to 30 min in.


  5. #25
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    OK, How do you know if a swarm is feral or not?
    Great video, thanks!

    It varies according all sorts of factors. You have to try to get yourself in a position where you can make educated estimates of the likelihood that they are feral. Sometimes a combination of factors will lead you to feel pretty much 100% certain - lack of commercial and sideliner apiaries nearby, many reports of wild bee colonies in the vicinity, good year-round forage, personal testimony of continuous long-term habitation. Its pretty common-sense stuff.

    According to the film most US ferals are Amm. So look for their features.

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

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    You have to try to get yourself in a position where you can make educated estimates of the likelihood that they are feral.
    Well JWChestnut sounds pretty educated to me, so by those standards looks like problem solved.

    Regards AMM, they were common in fact a problem in my country until varroa arrived, which wiped them out I haven't seen one in years. They are pretty much extinct in your country also Mike after mites arrived, as you might be aware. They are not the stuff of feral survivors, tough and hardy as they may be (or were) they cannot withstand mites.

    Many of the claimed AMM I hear of now are reported as gentle AMM's. I do not believe they are actually AMM's, gentleness was certainly not one of their traits.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    According to the film most US ferals are Amm. So look for their features.

    Mike (UK)
    I didn't get that impression. Some are mellifera mellifera, but they are a minority. What I found interesting was the fact that ferals in general are genetically distinct from managed populations. And also that the researcher talked about the benefits of local adaptation.

    Another interesting element she brought out was the bottleneck of commercial queen breeders. She said four or five hundred breeder queens are used to breed a million daughters for sale. That's a very narrow genetic base.

    She also talked about how hobbyists and smalltimers are more inclined to catch swarms rather than buying commercial stock. When she said that, I wondered if that might account for some of the difference in results between smalltimers and commercial beekeepers who try to reduce reliance on chemical mite treatments.

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    I didn't get that impression. Some are mellifera mellifera, but they are a minority.
    You're probably right - I did struggle to hear her at times, and I only watched from the 30min point. But I'd value another opinion on this matter. It would be useful (for you in the US) to know more about ways of identifying ferals.



    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    What I found interesting was the fact that ferals in general are genetically distinct from managed populations.
    Yes, she spoke about two distinct populations, the commercial and the feral, and a possible mechanism of separation: different breeding periods. I find this a fascinating aspect, prompting thoughts about how the ferals have adapted not just to the introduced predators like varroa, but also to the corrosive commercial population.

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    And also that the researcher talked about the benefits of local adaptation.
    Again, yes. Bees _do_ adapt to local conditions (JW take note)

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    Another interesting element she brought out was the bottleneck of commercial queen breeders. She said four or five hundred breeder queens are used to breed a million daughters for sale. That's a very narrow genetic base.
    Highly damaging, as she says. But she also emphasised that not all commercial breeders are so irresponsible.

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    She also talked about how hobbyists and smalltimers are more inclined to catch swarms rather than buying commercial stock. When she said that, I wondered if that might account for some of the difference in results between smalltimers and commercial beekeepers who try to reduce reliance on chemical mite treatments.
    I'm sure it makes the world of difference. The worst possible starting stock for tf must be a population that has been conditioned to a 'no parasite threat' state. Any parasite control behaviours will have been minimised.

    Good commentry, thanks,

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

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    I didn't get that impression. Some are mellifera mellifera, but they are a minority.
    Little follow up from a thesis written under Dr. Delany's supervision:

    "In the 1600’s, settlers successfully delivered a limited number of honey
    bee colonies across the ocean. The first subspecies reported to make the over-sea
    journey was A. m. mellifera. There are no known records indicating the arrival or
    importation of any additional subspecies of Apis mellifera until the mid-1800’s
    (Sheppard 1989). Apis m. mellifera had greater than two centuries to proliferate and
    establish a feral honey bee population in the forested regions of eastern North
    America.

    In the period between 1859 and 1922, there was an increase of importation
    as beekeepers experimented with different subspecies. Seven additional subspecies
    were brought into North America and tried as potential breeding stock for a
    developing beekeeping industry (Sheppard 1989). The US Honeybee Act of 1922
    halted further importation in response to honey bee losses on the Isle of Wight. This
    mysterious bee die off was linked to the identification of the honey bee parasite,
    Acarapis woodi (Rennie) in Europe (Needham et al. 1988). The importation of adult
    honey bees into the United States is still prohibited;

    The unique importation history of Apis
    mellifera into North America has led to the creation of two genetically differentiated
    honey bee populations: the feral honey bee population, composed of a higher
    percentage of bees representative of A. m. mellifera, and the commercial or managed
    honey bee population, largely controlled by queen breeders and composed of bees
    representative of A. m. ligustica and A. m. carnica (Sheppard 1989)."

    http://udspace.udel.edu/bitstream/ha...pdf?sequence=1

    The language isn't clear, but I can't read it any way other than ... 'Amm genes form the basis of US ferals', or something of that sort.

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

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Dilemma

    Perhaps now some folks will stop saying that these ferals are all swarms that got away from local beekeepers.

    They're not the same as the usual Italians and Carnies.

  11. #31
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Dilemma

    The unique importation history of Apis
    mellifera into North America has led to the creation of two genetically differentiated
    honey bee populations: the feral honey bee population, composed of a higher
    percentage of bees representative of A. m. mellifera, and the commercial or managed
    honey bee population, largely controlled by queen breeders and composed of bees
    representative of A. m. ligustica and A. m. carnica (Sheppard 1989)."
    Perhaps now some folks will stop saying that these ferals are all swarms that got away from local beekeepers.

    They're not the same as the usual Italians and Carnies.
    Notice >Sheppard 1989<
    Much has changed in 24 years.

    Perhaps when referencing the above, the most accurate way to comment may be " in 1989, now 24 years ago, ............"

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Dilemma

    Some of this is a little over simplistic.

    First off, the video was looking at wild hives in a small forrest.

    Secondly, the claims as to AMM ancestry were based on mitochondrial DNA, not nucleus DNA. It is the nucleus DNA that makes the bee. Mitochondrial DNA is passed from mother to daughter but is outside the nucleus and plays little part in the makeup of the bee. So hives in a forrest that years ago were AMM, could have mated with Italian drones for many generations until they resemble Italians, but still have AMM mitochondrial DNA because the bees in the forrest are descended from a line of mothers ( matriarchal line) that was origionally AMM. But it is really a misnomer to call them AMM if physically they are not. Even though the bees are essentially Italian or some other breed, the matriarchal line as represented in the mitochondria is AMM.

    I did notice how excited she got about one particular wild hive she found that did actually physically resemble AMM. She said how lucky it was the guys in the tractor helped her get that one. Which indicates this was a somewhat rare thing for her.

    Don't really like to disagree with someone with a lot of knowledge and letters to her name, but to say the breeds do not mix because they have drones at different times of the year is well, nonsense. Italians, Carniolans, and AMM's, all have drones throughout the season. AMM's start drone production a bit later, but when AMM's were prevalent in my country contamination of pure Italian breeding stock by AMM genetics was constant, and likewise near pure AMM's would quickly get diluted by Italian genetics. I was a bee breeder during those years and trying to keep bees pure was a never ending battle and took a lot of work.

    What I can say from working with these species, is that when we had large numbers of AMM's in our country, cross breeding was a major problem the breeds could not be kept pure it was a constant battle. Then came varroa, and within a short time AMM's based on physical characteristics of the bees, were extinct. But I would hazard to guess that a mitochondrial DNA test would still find hives showing a matriarchal descent from AMM ancestors as evidenced by mitochondrial DNA. But the nucleic DNA and physical characteristics of the bees would be Italian or Carniolan.

    Some AMM genetics do live on in my country and occasionally it will all come together in a bee, there will be a hive that looks a bit AMM'ish, and is extremely aggressive. We would be naive to think every last bit of AMM genetics has been eradicated. But here anyway it's a rare thing.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  13. #33
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    Aug 2013
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    West Palm Bach, FL, USA
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Dilemma

    CALBEE: My sympathies for the loss of your bees. Also, my sympathies for the lack of civility of some of the posters. I am a new beekeeper and understand how frustrating it must be and then to see some of the responses likely added to the frustration. It is a difficult task to transition bees from treatment to treatment-free. I suggested (like other posters) to get bees from a treatment free source to increase your chances of success in being treatment free. I believe natural sizing is an important part of the key to being treatment free. I also believe another major factor is good genetics, which obtaining bees from treatment free supplier would help with. Getting bees from the same beekeeper will not change your bees' genetics. Bees have survived in nature for thousands of years without human intervention, so it is very possible for them to live treatment free. Keep up the good fight!
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Zone 10a; Elevation 13 feet

  14. #34
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by WLC View Post
    Perhaps now some folks will stop saying that these ferals are all swarms that got away from local beekeepers.

    They're not the same as the usual Italians and Carnies.
    This conversation is converging with one on another thread, and is probably worth a new thread of its own, but I'll post this here.

    It seems clear that our feral denialists are losing out to those who claim a viable feral population. The science is in. The discussion now cannot be whether there are viable feral populations, but what their qualities are, whether what it is that enables them to survive makes them useless for commercial purposes, how it is that they are different everywhere and suchlike. Its becoming ever clearer that the recommendation of locating 'survivors' for tf breeding purposes has been right all along. Nevertheless we can expect continuing resistance from the feral/resisistance/tf denialists.

    It would be good to try to learn more about the US ferals, and to this end I have made a list of a few papers that might help. I haven't yet tried getting hold of any, and its likely that some are behind academic firewalls. My suggestion is we team up and try to winkle some of them out, to get at the facts of US feral genetics, and form a reading list for those who want to access them.

    If we can't get hold of Dr Delaney's key paper, perhaps we could team up to make a detailed summary of her filmed lecture. Perhaps it would be a good idea if someone copied it in case it suddenly disappears.

    Mike (UK)


    ■Cobey, S. W., D. Tarpy, and W.S. Sheppard. 2011. Breeding Practices and Genetic Diversity in US Honey Bees, in Honey Bee Colony Health Issues, D. Sammataro, editor, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL 302pp.

    ■Delaney, D.A., Meixner, N.M. Schiff., and W. S. Sheppard. 2009. Genetic characterization of commercial honey bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) populations in the United States by using mitochondrial and microsatellite markers. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Amer. 102: 666-673. (also published in Genetics 102(4): 666-673.)

    ■Strange, J.P., L.Garnery, and W.Sheppard. 2008. Morphological and molecular characterization of the Landes honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) ecotype for genetic conservation. J. Insect Conservation. 12: 527-537.

    ■Strange, J.P, L, Garnery and W.S. Sheppard. 2007. Persistence of the Les Landes ecotype of Apis mellifera. mellifera in southwest France: confirmation of a locally adaptive annual brood cycle. Apidologie. 38:259-267.

    ■Arias, M.C, T. E. Rinderer and W. S. Sheppard. 2006. Further characterization of honey bees from the Iberian Peninsula by allozyme, morphometric and mtDNA haplotype analyses. Journal of Apicultural Research and Bee World. 45:188-196.

    ■Sheppard, W.S. 2002. Diversity of Africanized honey bees in the United States and the utility of mitochondrial DNA origins. In Africanized honey bees and bee mites II. ed. by E. Erickson. Westview Press pp 60-64.

    ■Loper, G.R., J. Fewell, E. Erickson, W.S. Sheppard. 2000. Impact of mites on, and the introgression of Africanized bees into a feral population of honey bees. Hoopingarner Roger and Conner, Lawrence J. (editors) Cheshire: Wicwas Press, UC pp. 47-51.

    ■Schiff, N.M., Sheppard, W.S., Loper, G.R., and H. Shimanuki. 1994. Genetic diversity of feral honey bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) populations in the Southern United States. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Amer. 87:842-848.

    Washington State University CAHNRS – Department of EntomologyAPIS Molecular Systematics Laboratory Publications

    http://entomology.wsu.edu/apis/publications/

    Also:
    Delaney, D.A. 2008. Genetic characterization of U.S. honey bee populations. Doctor
    of Philosophy thesis at Washington State University.

    DETERMINING LOW LEVELS OF AFRICANIZATION IN UNMANAGED HONEY BEE COLONIES USING THREE DIAGNOSTIC TECHNIQUES
    by Katherine Darger
    A Masters Thesis
    http://udspace.udel.edu/bitstream/ha...pdf?sequence=1
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  15. #35
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Dilemma

    I for one know Jamie Strange and his work on the local bees in Provence, France. A fantastic presentation, but it has nothing to do with feral bees. The work shows the local bees have a brood spike just before the lavender flow...in anticipation if you will. The imported Buckfast strain has a brood spike as a result of the lavender flow.

    This, to me shows that there can be local bee, but nothing about the presence or lack of feral bees.

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I for one know Jamie Strange and his work on the local bees in Provence, France. [...] The work shows the local bees have a brood spike just before the lavender flow...in anticipation if you will. The imported Buckfast strain has a brood spike as a result of the lavender flow.

    This, to me shows that there can be local bee [...]
    Its the sort of local attunement seen in probably every species of living thing that ever lived... but which is denied as impossible by some in honeybees... "where is the local knowedge held" from JWChestnut recently for example.

    That living populations attune themselves to local conditions is just plain obvious to anyone with a working understanding of natural selection. It couldn't be otherwise.

    That it makes a difference in beekeeping runs against the interests of those who want sell packages and queens. That about tells the story.

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

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