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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    We definitely need more true research on our current feral population - what it is, what it does, traits, etc. and not just a generic study like the USDA did with "AHB". Their study is quite flawed and paints the picture that they are all the same, when we actually have many different populations of distinctly different genetic descent. I would love to find out "what's in" all the other feral bees - especially the northern ones.

    I feel the USDA did beekeeping a grave dis-service when it basically reinforced all the stuff that the Brazilian government said to discredit Mr. Kerr for his social activism.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  2. #42
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Uh, Huh.

    I'm waiting for the day that everything is 'illuminated' regarding the issue of genetic diversity in feral Honeybees.

    Paul, while I'm kinda busy right now, I do similar work regularly.

    So, while I'm working on plants, I can do work similar to Dr. Delaney's.

  3. #43
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    St. Petersburg, fl, USA
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    As a Florida bee keeper we get constantly bombarded with questions about Africanized bees. Some literature from the state claims that over 70% of our bees are Africanized. And unless they have changed if the last year or so the Pinellas county powers that be don't call for a bee keeper when a feral hive is discovered-they call an exterminator. We do bee removal as a part time job and we have yet to find a hot hive here in the county.I think that the genetic influences may account for more hives being found out in the open (under overhangs, on an window sill etc) and maybe a little more willingness to swarm if things are not exactly to the bees liking but I don't think that we are experiencing any full on Africans. By the way we have a couple of feral hives that are fantastic honey producers. We also see fewer mites but that may be because most of the ferals we have are less than two years old.We do keep records so maybe in a year or two I can say with more certainty that the ferals are more mite resistant.

  4. #44
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    I really think by killing them off we are cutting ourselves off from future options to cure some serious issues. The study shows that we are killing lot's of swarms unnecessarily. We have taken the opposite approach in NM, and have had the exact same results. Most hives are pretty well behaved except for the few mean ones - I would say about 1 in 6 in my area. And the mean ones are really not much different than any other bees. The typical feral hive I remove is usually not aggressive at all- at least no more so than my regular Italians. Side by side other than some different survival traits, and the fact that they are somewhat runny, you would not be able to tell the difference. They can be somewhat unpredictable, because they are wild, but they make a hella' big amount of honey and they seem impervious to most bee ailments. Around here they are just wild bees. I like to compare them to the difference between hereford cattle and wild longhorns.

    I don't care if they are African or not if they:

    1. Survive.
    2. Make a stupid amount of honey.
    3. Are docile enough to handle without special precautions.
    4. Not excessively runny.
    5. Not overly swarmy.

    I toss out the queen if they don't pass those tests. They used to genetically test them here for free, so I used to test all my bees to see what they were. About 1/2 my removals came back as African, so I religiously re-queened them. Then I sent in some samples from my purchased domestic queens, and about 1/2 of them came back as African. I gave up and started just selecting by behavior. The sequestration cut all funding for genetic testing, so all we really have is behavior. At this point, I have been growing my own long enough they seem to be pretty good bees, and I no longer do so many removals. I import a few queens from other beekeepers every so often and raise a few open mated queens from them to keep the inbred factor down. Like I said, I am quite happy with them, and most of the locals seem to like them. I do not plan to sell to people outside my region. These are Southern NM Sacramento Mountain bees, open mated at high altitudes. I do not normally make queens from lowland desert bees. Those don't usually pass the test. They are usually too runny and a little unpredictable. Too much effort to weed through them to find a decent queen, though they are out there.

    A curious note - the bees from up here high in the mountains are by far more aggressive more often than the desert bees - but most of them tested out as European.

    So, we are obviously dealing with multiple populations of bees that have differing traits. A generalized view of them - African or European - is not accurate. The African traits I see are pretty "watered down". So much so that unless you really know what to look for you would hardly be able to tell them apart from domestic bees. there is one difference though - toss two of them in an empty hive boxes in the desert side by side and the wild bees here will still be alive after several years, while the domestic bees would have long perished. I have one hive of them currently in it's 4th season with no feeding or treatments. They are a little wild, but holy cow can they pack away some honey! They are from a removal I did a long time back. That hive was HUGE! and had been there for at least 15 years. True to form, they are doing the same thing in my hive. They can be a little feisty, but my Italians are actually more defensive.
    Last edited by Paul McCarty; 10-25-2013 at 11:13 PM.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  5. #45
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    The claim by some of the forum participants that they can create Treatment-Free lineages in three years is ludicrous.
    That isn't the claim. The claim is: given already resistant starting stock and a strong effort to maintain that resistance, tf is possible. That effort does depend on keeping resistant input going strongly through the drone side. So unless you in a locality where ferals are thriving you need to raise large drone population from your (resistant) stock. The more treaters are around, the greater that effort will have to be.

    If you are going to accuse people of making ludicrous statements try to get the facts straight.

    Unless you have feral 'survivor' stock around you, 4 hives, as you say, probably aren't going to cut it.

    Keeping bees tf isn't about 'creating lineages'. I've never seen anyone claim it is. Its about having a permanent process that is designed to raise and maintain health and vitality through selective propagation. The process must be sufficiently intensive to combat the equally intensive dilution that will occur. The more such dilution is of a treatment-dependent sort, the more intensive the ongoing selective propagation process has to be.

    The approach benefits from good initial (and incoming) genetics, and reasonably skillful selection and propagation - its husbandry not rocket science.

    The depth and intensity of genetic management is entirely dependent on local conditions, especially with regard to density of treated colonies. Because of that little in the way of further generalisation is possible.

    Without artificial insemination the very notion of 'lineages' in bees is in my view a nonsense. In my experience very few tf keepers are interested in AI. 'Lineages' is a straw man.

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 10-27-2013 at 05:23 AM.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  6. #46
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    The effort to "specialize" the bee by inbreeding a mite-resistant race is mitigating against the bees own evolutionary pattern. It will tend to produce an inbred, and hence vigor impaired colony.
    As you say outside material will keep coming in. The trick is to try to minimise genetic material that contains little or no conditioning to mite presence due to treating, and maximise its opposite. That means bringing in plenty of feral, preferably local material, and keeping plently of hives.

    Commercial beekeepers have always maintained large drone hives as a deliberate policy to maintain the characteristics they desire. As and when inbreeding has shown up, they buy in a few unrelated queens.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Bees will tend to have the highest fitness when they are in dense breeding aggregations -- the more fathers the better the colony.
    That is one account: the study we saw recently about the genetic origins (and the two distinct parallel populations) by Dr. Deborah Delaney of US honeybees didn't reinforce it. Another study by the same researcher centred on the quality of commercial queens shows it to be incorrect.


    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Isolating your bees is the wrong evolutionary decision.
    In nature the resistant colonies are rapidly and comprehensively isolated - by the death of the non-resistant. And the population rebuilds, now (largely) resistant to whatever the problem was. That's the bit to emulate.

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 10-27-2013 at 03:02 AM.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  7. #47
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    The selected trait(s) confer the narrowest margins of improved survival in a system of natural selection. In an evolutionary time-scale (where hundreds of thousands of years blink by) these razor thin margins can establish new genotypes, where an accident of isolation permits a local population to "fix" the genotype without dilution.
    Not so. A single change can make a 100% difference. And it can happen almost overnight.

    In Africa there are no longer any large tusked males. In the early to middle parts of the 20th century all the large tusked males were hunted out. The genes for large tusks were removed from the population.

    Hunters weren't interested in small tusked males: for the population the problem was fixed.

    I don't know how many years elephants take to become fertile, but they do need to be large enough to defend a harem. We're not taking about rapid turnover here. Simply the excision of those genes that caused a problem (being hunted)

    Evolution works in many different ways simultaniously JW, and your analysis misses some of the most essential, most relevant ones.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    In a treatment-free apiary, 30-90+% of the trialed hives die. This includes the vast majority of colonies with marginally "improved" genotypes, they are good, just not perfect, and the mites overwhelm them despite their marginally better fitness. These lineages are now dead, extinct, unable to contribute to the next generation. The lines that survive are accidents of fate.
    Accepting, for a moment your figures (which are ill-founded because circumstances are different everywhere according to prior conditioning, and because your premise, as I've shown above, is also ill-founded...)...

    ...What has died are not 'lineages' but individuals. And that happens all the time in nature - to a small degree in some species, to a vast degree in others. Its a normal and beneficial part of the process of conditioning an existing population to the environment. It doesn't significantly reduce genetic diversity.

    In nature somewhere in the region of 80% of swarms don't make it through their first winter. They simply don't establish. Those that do, however, are the best suited to that locality/climate. And it is from them that the next generation is made.

    Of course, as you say, there is of course an element of fate; but that can be discounted on the basis ceteris paribus ('all else being equal') As somebody who dabbles in scientific reasoning you really should be familiar with that concept.

    Somehow, in your interest with detail, you seem to me to miss the beautiful simplicity and elegance of natural selection for the fittest strains. It is very very simple - breathtakingly so - and in that simplicity is its explanatory power. You're somehow looking at the trees and missing the wood - and your explanations as a result are fundamentally wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    In a directed selection model, the best examples are preserved, treated and promoted as the progenitors of the F2 generation. Their lineages are intact and able to contribute genes.
    Now you are giving us a good summary of how nature works, as outlined above, and a model for us to follow. And its simple... However, in tf beekeeping 'best' for selection means those that thrive without treatments. You don't keep lame cattle alive to breed from - you send them to market pronto. Individual terminated.

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 10-27-2013 at 05:27 AM.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  8. #48

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

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    There is a distressing casualness about the impact of the AHB traits on this forum.
    Fortunately none of those with the casual attitudes are responsible for public safety in any official capacity. One need only view the video from Dee Lusby's Arizona beeyard to appreciate what keeping Aricanized bees in the southwest US is all about.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  9. #49
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Agreed Dan. It's easy to tout the positives of scutellata from afar but my personal experiences with them up close and personal have been downright scary and I have dealt with a lot of mean bees through the years. I continue to believe, though, that some level of "Africanization" whether by chance or design may well have a positive impact in the battle against varroa.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  10. #50
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    You don't keep lame cattle alive to breed from - you send them to market pronto. Individual terminated.
    The decision is not nearly as simple as you make it out to be.

    From the University of Minnesota Beef Center:
    If a bull is chronically lame, his semen quality will continue to deteriorate over time and should be considered for culling. A bull that has been acutely lame, and has recovered, may need a period of sexual rest (45 days) before he will be able to breed cows again, because, as with cold injury, he will need to be allowed some time for the development and maturation of normal sperm cells, after the injury or insult has been resolved. Other factors that require consideration are eye health, libido, and anticipated work load.

    ....

    The ultimate factors that determine whether or not a bull should be culled are 1) Is he fertile (BSE annually), 2) Is he capable of breeding cows, 3) How many cows can he service, 4) How valuable is the bull (a high dollar, subfertile bull may get some extra chances if his decreased fertility is due to age related factors). These factors all weigh in when a producer is deciding to keep or cull a bull.

    http://www1.extension.umn.edu/agricu...ity_Lovaas.pdf


    .
    Last edited by Rader Sidetrack; 10-27-2013 at 09:11 AM.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  11. #51
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    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    BeemanDan - I AM a public safety official. I am a county fire chief. They are not an issue here other than basic safety as would apply to any wild beehive. I don't believe the bees we see in the temperate regions are anything near like the originals - maybe someplaces like Florida or Southern California, but not where I live. You can't paint them with a broad brush because they are not all the same. The rest of the world has gotten over them, how come the US can't? I think there are some in the bee and pest control industry that profit from the fear created. We should be researching them and using that research to make our bees better instead of destroying them indiscriminately.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  12. #52

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul McCarty View Post
    BeemanDan - I AM a public safety official.
    Heaven help 'em......
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  13. #53
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    Jul 2013
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    Morro Bay, California, USA
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    - Paper on genetic diversity of domestic honey bees promoted by husbandry -
    http://bama.ua.edu/~lreed1/paperforP...Management.pdf

    Management increases genetic diversity of honey bees
    via admixture
    BROCK A. HARPUR, SHERMINEH MINAEI , CLEMENT F. KENT and AMRO ZAYED
    Department of Biology York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M3J 1P3
    Abstract
    The process of domestication often brings about profound changes in levels of genetic
    variation in animals and plants. The honey bee, Apis mellifera, has been managed by
    humans for centuries for both honey and wax production and crop pollination. Human
    management and selective breeding are believed to have caused reductions in genetic
    diversity in honey bee populations, thereby contributing to the global declines
    threatening this ecologically and economically important insect. However, previous
    studies supporting this claim mostly relied on population genetic comparisons of
    European and African (or Africanized) honey bee races; such conclusions require
    reassessment given recent evidence demonstrating that the honey bee originated in
    Africa and colonized Europe via two independent expansions. We sampled honey bee
    workers from two managed populations in North America and Europe as well as several
    old-world progenitor populations in Africa, East and West Europe. Managed bees had
    highly introgressed genomes representing admixture between East and West European
    progenitor populations. We found that managed honey bees actually have higher levels
    of genetic diversity compared with their progenitors in East and West Europe, providing
    an unusual example whereby human management increases genetic diversity by
    promoting admixture. The relationship between genetic diversity and honey bee
    declines is tenuous given that managed bees have more genetic diversity than their
    progenitors and many viable domesticated animals.

  14. #54
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    While there certainly are scutellata derived stock in the SW U.S. regions bordering Mexico, from what I've been reading in the scientific literature, much of the survivor stock that we're referring to aren't scutellata derived stock. You may as well call them Black Bees.

    In fact, I was astonished to find from the work of Delaney and one of her grad students that they may very well be chasing a phantom in Florida and much of the South.

  15. #55
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    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    We have more problems with rattlesnakes and black widows.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  16. #56
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    The research is out there WLC - just have to read it. But the stuff that is 20-30 years old is not accurate any more for us. Some of the research even suggests these African types are slowly changing into a form of "black bee" as they move into the temperate zones - if they in fact did not exist here already from past importations. So in essence it seems - they are becoming "mutt" bees like everything else wild.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  17. #57
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Fortunately none of those with the casual attitudes are responsible for public safety in any official capacity. One need only view the video from Dee Lusby's Arizona beeyard to appreciate what keeping Aricanized bees in the southwest US is all about.
    They do appear to be aggressive. However, in other respects, they don't follow the oft-repeated description of Africanized bees. How do you get Africanized bees to fill 3 deeps? How do you keep them from constantly swarming? How do you get high honey production from them? Other than the aggression, how do Lusby's bees fit the description?

  18. #58

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

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    They do appear to be aggressive.
    You’re referring to Lusby’s bees? Indeed. If you kept those bees in any sort of urban or suburban setting you’d be creating an absolutely unacceptable risk to your neighbors….in my opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    However, in other respects, they don't follow the oft-repeated description of Africanized bees.
    Again…Lusby’s? In what respects don’t they? I have no real inkling of her production or swarming. Do you?

    I believe that anyone who propagates and sells bees with the level of aggression that I’ve seen in the Lusby videos is a threat to all hobby and much commercial beekeeping. The only place those bees are even minimally acceptable are in the most remote beeyards….far from humans or livestock. Again…my opinion only.

    Are you proposing that spreading those genetics should be encouraged?
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  19. #59
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    Morro Bay, California, USA
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    I think much of the "he said-she said" discussion here is due to the confusion of Sonora desert bees and New Mexican desert-steppe bees.

    Genetic typing of NM bees supports Paul's assertion that NM bees are Iberian in origin and occur in equilibrium (the Hardy-Weinberg hypothesis) with many other races.

    Sonora desert bees (S and W of Tucson to Yuma and into California) are 80-90% African by nuclear and mito-type analysis. South Texas bees share the genotype of the Sonoran (with some additional "M" race (German Black) component), so are 75% African by mitotype. (There is a recent paper that gives this data and has a great graphic with pie charts by region, but seems to have been misfiled on my computer, I will edit this comment when I unarchive it).

    The Sonora desert bees are African in aggression, swarm behavior and every other metric.

    It is an open question as to how far the AHB will spread into California, and whether the always rumored "hybrid limit" will materialize. In the meantime, a cautious approach to spreading the Sonora desert bees is the only prudent course.

  20. #60
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    You are correct JW - All I ask is more research as we seem to have more variation than is currently accepted. As for Steppe bees - yes, that is exactly what they are. I guess that is a better way to look at it. I know they seem far different than either Texas or California feral types. Well, I won't say far different, but they are definitely not the same critter though technically they ARE african.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

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