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  1. #1
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    Question Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    (First Year Beekeeper)
    I have started a small 4 hive apiary this year and I have decided to practice the "Treatment free approach". I have a neighbour, less than a quarter mile up the road who has a 15 hive apiary who practices the “treatment approach”. I suspect our bees will mingle & my queens will potentially breed with his drones… Will his “treatment bees” significantly affect my efforts to succeed at Treatment Free Beekeeping?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    I'm not an old-timer who's been at this forever, or an expert on treatment-free bees, or on bee breeding, so take this for what it's worth. The premise of your approach is that over time, your bees will develop their own natural resistance to mites and other problems, correct? So, drones contribute 50% of the genetic material for any worker or queen that is raised by your bees. As a result, any drone that is not kept in a treatment-free scheme will 'dilute' your efforts, but not prevent you from getting where you want to go. It will just take longer than if all bees in a 5 mile radius were treatment-free.

    You might want to try 'drone-flooding' by putting a frame of drone comb in each of your hives, greatly increasing the effect of your bees on the local drone population.

    I'll be waiting to see what others think about this.
    Once the bee is inside, Mr. Veil is no longer your friend.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    I'm no expert either, but I'm interested in what those that are have to say. My understanding is that queens come about through parthenogenesis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthenogenesis), and I think that makes the drone issue irrelevant. Also, my understanding is that drones and queens fly different distances to mate, so it wouldn't be drones from nearby hives that you'd need to be concerned about. Curious to read any corrections to that.

    Edit: I reviewed that again - it's the drones that are produced through parthenogenesis - so that at least was wrong.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    I don't consider drones true parthenogenesis. Drones are haploid. You need to look a your 'breeding' practices and determine what you want to get out of it. Most people assume treated bees have inferior genetics but I'm betting most treatment free bees came out of treated stocks at some point.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    well, polar bears came out of grizzly bear stock, but if you want the characteristics of a polar bear, you don't pick a grizzly bear.

    If you are going to puchase queens, then the drone supply in your area has no bearing on anything...the queens will come already mated, and you will replace them purchased queens if they superced in a way you don't like.

    If you are going to make "progress" with breeding bees that don't require treatments, then you need to be doing some kind of selection. If you are raising queens, you might as well raise enough for your neighbor as well....select what queens you give him/her based on what you want for drones (ie, not closely related to the queens you want to have mated).

    deknow
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    I'm a beginner, so I might be wrong, but my research and thought on the matter has convinced me that even treated bees are responding to evolutionary pressure from mites. Mites still kill treated bees. You can't breed from dead bees. So even treated bees should be getting slowly more resistant to mites. My personal feeling is that the process would move along a lot faster if no one treated, but obviously that is not a choice that someone dependent on bees for his livelihood is likely to make.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Ray, I think that is like saying that humans are becoming less dependant on eye glasses over time because people who need them to see well have access to them.

    deknow

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    I'm a beginner, so I might be wrong, but my research and thought on the matter has convinced me that even treated bees are responding to evolutionary pressure from mites. Mites still kill treated bees. You can't breed from dead bees. So even treated bees should be getting slowly more resistant to mites. My personal feeling is that the process would move along a lot faster if no one treated, but obviously that is not a choice that someone dependent on bees for his livelihood is likely to make.
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Also, save for an attempted treatment after "the point of no return", mites don't kill treated bees if the treatments are effective at killing the mites.
    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    I'm a beginner, so I might be wrong, but my research and thought on the matter has convinced me that even treated bees are responding to evolutionary pressure from mites. Mites still kill treated bees. You can't breed from dead bees. So even treated bees should be getting slowly more resistant to mites. My personal feeling is that the process would move along a lot faster if no one treated, but obviously that is not a choice that someone dependent on bees for his livelihood is likely to make.
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    I'm a beginner, so I might be wrong, but my research and thought on the matter has convinced me that even treated bees are responding to evolutionary pressure from mites. Mites still kill treated bees. You can't breed from dead bees. So even treated bees should be getting slowly more resistant to mites. My personal feeling is that the process would move along a lot faster if no one treated, but obviously that is not a choice that someone dependent on bees for his livelihood is likely to make.
    Well said. Very pragmatic.
    since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Depends on whether you are thinking of effects from his bees genetics altering that of your bees. Are your bees from tested hygenic or mite resistant stock? Will you be bringing in new queens from such stock or plan to grow from open mating of your present stock? Unless there is significant genetic difference between his and your bees I think they will not change the outcome from the genetics angle. His bees will certainly rob out any hives that get weak though! You will have to be on top of any thing that is a drag on your bees.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Quote Originally Posted by khicks12 View Post
    You might want to try 'drone-flooding' by putting a frame of drone comb in each of your hives, greatly increasing the effect of your bees on the local drone population.
    As an alternative you can run some or all natural comb. Natural comb will have much more drone brood than standard foundation. Personally I use a combination of NC and small cell with a approximate ratio of 1:2
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Good luck w/ that. I'd suggest you treat a few and not treat a few. Chances are you will be fine this year if they are first year colonies but next winter you will be wishing you treated for mites. Just because bees are treated does not mean that their drones don't have good alleles to offer the population. Treating does not select against more robust treatment free traits, just allows inferior traits that require periodic treatment to remain as well.

    With four hives I don't think you have enough to try to go 100% treatment free. If you had 100 then maybe you'd have a shot at having a few starters that can make it through. Better approach is to treat a portion and then try to wean off over the course of a few years once you have hives surviving PAST two years. I have 4 too and treated one. One hive is supposed to be mite resistant but they have quite a few mites so we'll see how resistant they really are.

    Queens are not produced via parthenogenesis. They are diploid, 50% related to their queen and 50% to a drone sperm. Same with all workers. Males are haploid so are 100% related to their queen. As a result, workers are more related to their sisters than their own offspring (average 75% vs 50%)--except for males. This is why nature has "allowed" them to raise sister queens as opposed to raising their own daughters and also leaves an incentive for laying drone eggs--hence drone-laying workers if not suppressed. This is at the heart of one theory as to how sociality evolved in bees, ants, and wasps.

    Anyway, I'd worry less about mating right now and more about varroa because there is some pain ahead.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Quote Originally Posted by JClark View Post
    Just because bees are treated does not mean that their drones don't have good alleles to offer the population. Treating does not select against more robust treatment free traits, just allows inferior traits that require periodic treatment to remain as well.
    Most traits that provide for resistance of any kind (chemical, parasite, predator) are metabolically more expensive (requires more energy). If you start with a mixed population (some resistant, some not) and treat them all, the resistant individuals are at a disadvantage because they are expending the energy to maintain these traits, but gain no advantage over non-resistant because the threat is chemically eliminated. Those expending less energy (the non-resistant individuals) have a clear advantage in either natural selection or beekeeper selection.

    deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    Most traits that provide for resistance of any kind (chemical, parasite, predator) are metabolically more expensive (requires more energy).
    deknow
    Interestingly, this is the general paradigm but there is little actual evidence, and some evidence against, this hypothesis. May be true in some cases but what about behavioral resistance, e.g. avoidance or, in the case of bees, altered grooming behavior.

    I'm actually in the process of wrapping up my dissertation on this topic but with mosquitoes (actually how diurnal temperature fluctuations during immature development influence insecticide susceptibility and expression of life history traits in susceptible and resistant populations) and have found some unexpected trends--like risistant mosquitoes living longer--and this is a metabolic resistance to carbamates and organophosphates.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Quote Originally Posted by Yvesrow1 View Post
    (First Year Beekeeper)
    Will his “treatment bees” significantly affect my efforts to succeed at Treatment Free Beekeeping?
    This thread has been hijacked to different topics. I have four hives and decided to go treatment free with natural cell sizing. About half a mile from me is a beekeeper with about fifty hives; he does bee removals, but I don't know his requeening plan. There will be cross breeding, but why worry about it? You can't control it. I try to only worry about the things I can control. Good luck!
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Zone 10a; Elevation 13 feet

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Yeah, I always wonder why people who aren't interested in treatment free beekeeping styles want to voice their opinions on treatment free stuff.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul McCarty View Post
    Yeah, I always wonder why people who aren't interested in treatment free beekeeping styles want to voice their opinions on treatment free stuff.
    It's an interesting question. But I suppose one thing more mysterious than bee nature is human nature.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    (" Originally Posted by Paul McCarty
    Yeah, I always wonder why people who aren't interested in treatment free beekeeping styles want to voice their opinions on treatment free stuff.")
    It's an interesting question. But I suppose one thing more mysterious than bee nature is human nature.
    I'm curious to know who you two have in mind? I thought this thread had been pretty clean...

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 11-09-2013 at 12:48 AM.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Clean View Post
    I have four hives and decided to go treatment free with natural cell sizing. About half a mile from me is a beekeeper with about fifty hives; he does bee removals, but I don't know his requeening plan. There will be cross breeding, but why worry about it? You can't control it. I try to only worry about the things I can control.
    The thread is about breeding from survivor stock. 'Breeding' is entirely an activity in which you take steps to control parentage.

    _You_ can't control (male side) parentage because you're outgunned. Others can. Every site is different.

    The important thing is to know what makes a difference, and how to go about making use of it. Not worrying about it will, in most cases, lead to failure. You say your neighbour does lots of removals - that could well be a good sign...

    Apart from natural cell sizing, what other things do you do by way of control? Where did you source your bees? How long has treatment-free worked for you?

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

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Quote Originally Posted by Yvesrow1 View Post
    Will his “treatment bees” significantly affect my efforts to succeed at Treatment Free Beekeeping?
    In my experience, I don't find it to be a problem. There's going to be a certain expected loss each year anyway. I have found that despite having several beekeepers in the vicinity, I don't have any excessive loss rate, and in fact have lower than anybody I know of.

    Don't be afraid of it. It's not like there is one single trait that allows bees to survive treatment-free and that every queen who mates outside your genepool loses that trait. That's not how it works. His bees are dying just like yours will. You just have a bit of a stiffer final exam.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

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