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  1. #21
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    Dec 2012
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    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    The adaption to Varroa that does seemed to have fixed into the wild is the aggressive desert bee (AHB?) of Arizona and Texas. These swarm frequently, seem to maintain multiple queens in reserve, and have other relatively simple trait responses. They overwhelm Varroa (and other bee genotypes) with fecundity: swarming, multi-queen brooding, and willingness to divide and abscond.

    These desert bees are being mailed all over the US as an 'improvement'. I'm not certain this is a good thing at all.
    I'm not certain you have any credible evidence for these assertions.

    BeeWeaver bees do not seem to exhibit the behaviors you claim, in general, according to those who have reported their results with this line of bees.

  2. #22
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    Feb 2007
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    Lincolnton, NC
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    1,113

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

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    A Treatment-Free colony is very likely to suffer higher mortality and higher supersedure, so the likelihood of death of the genetic line is very high
    JW: I don't understand why this is true. Please explain to someone like me who knows little about genetics.

  3. #23
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    Jun 2012
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    Suffolk, NY, USA
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    587

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

    JwChesnut--thank you

  4. #24
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    Apr 2012
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    Gaithersburg, MD
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    363

    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.

  5. #25
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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

    Quote Originally Posted by heaflaw View Post
    JW: I don't understand why this [TF lineages die off/blink out at higher rates] is true. Please explain to someone like me who knows little about genetics.
    Fitness traits are not binary, but represent proportionally and marginally better survival. For example, a constellation of traits might confer 3% better year-over-year survival -- all other factors being equal. That 3% would represent a nearly unprecedented quantum jump in typical evolutionary fitness.

    We have been conditioned to think of all traits like GMO-injected Round-up ready corn -- a binary state, this is not true of whatever the mechanisms are for genetic resistance to parasite vectored disease.

    Various traits have been proposed:
    Hygenic removal of diseased larvae in both the Minnesota and Louisiana lineages.
    Grooming behavior (may be a single loci) in AHB influenced genotypes
    Leg-biting behavior observed in Indiana and Mexican bees.
    Swarm rate / Supersedure at 3 months (maintains young healthy queens)
    Russian-style strategic brood breaks when disease levels peak
    Enhanced immune response to virus (multiple loci involved)
    Reduced development days. (AHB trait)
    Multiple queen maintenance (AHB trait)
    Direct resistance to particular virus.
    Change of pheromone odors reduce mite homing and mating
    Life history stage changes in bees (increased nurse, reduced foraging).

    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.

    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.

    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.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
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    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    9,462

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

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    Giving people glasses significantly narrows this gap in survival and reproduction.
    Not to get off topic here, but this is the first time I've ever heard that eye glasses up the odds of reproduction!
    Regards, Barry

  7. #27
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    Mar 2011
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    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    My "desert" bees don't swarm any more than regular bees, nor do they keep multiple queens. The worst attacks I have experienced have come from domestic stock. So the points said about "desert" bees are not accurate. Mine do not seem to be as affected by varroa as the domestic bees I have gotten (which do not seem to survive). I prefer a little wild in my bees because I KNOW they will survive. Traits I HAVE observed include seeing them groom mites off each other (yes, I have sat and watched them). They do have them, but it never seems to reach a point where it causes issues.

    I don't mail my bees around, because in my opinion, they need to stay regional or we end up with no regional adaptations. Nor will I ever buy a queen from outside my region ever again.

    Now by "desert" bees, you need to be specific about that which you are speaking of - are these Texas bees, or true desert bees? I am sold on the wild bee you get from high altitude where I live here in NM, but the ones down in the flats, not so much. And TX bees - well not sure I care for them either. Most I have ever had were not a lot better than the others, and sometimes had an attitude.
    Last edited by Paul McCarty; 10-24-2013 at 08:14 AM.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  8. #28
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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

    I have experience with Arizona/Sonora desert bees. This type has been imported and spread into Southern California. I have direct experience with Michoacan and Oaxacan bees post AHB replacement (also Guatemalan and Costa Rican). The Texas bees I generalized from the detailed descriptions of genotype studies on the invasion of AHB types into southern TX.

    I think your theory of a NM refuge for Spanish colonial bees is interesting and compelling. Iberian bees are genetically distinct from the rest of Europe. Their mitochondria links them to North African races. The North African (and by extension Iberian bees) were able to fix genotype differences due to the "island" oasis effect in a drying Saharan desert during the post-glacial period.

    The Arizona bees from low desert (the type that has spread into Ca by direct importation) don't resemble your descriptions of Spanish colonial-NM bees. They are ground nesting, small-colony, multi-queened, defensive and mean as no-tomorrow, and willing to abscond at the drop of a hat. In August, we saw migratory swarms that attacked and robbed fixed colonies, before moving on. This same "migratory" pattern has been described from East Africa. Nests are not permanent, but are temporary and seasonal.

  9. #29
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    Mar 2011
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    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Yes, we do have bees somewhat matching that description in the southern low deserts. They like to nest in the old pack rat burrows under the mesquites. They are not common. but you do see them every so often. Most of the bees from the low desert here are way too runny and annoying for my taste. Their aggression levels vary, most are not that aggressive. There is a definite difference in them once you cross about 6000' in elevation. Can't prove anything, but they are definitely different. If I were a scientist, I would be investigating it, but alas, I am not. Most of my speculation is based on anecdotal evidence and a couple of genetic studies done by Roxane Magnus.

    Now, mind you, I do not think that it is the same for the entire state. Those areas where there have been lot's of beekeeping are not so much this way, but areas like the Gila region and parts of the southern Sacramentos, most definitely. Beekeepers, even in the old days, are few and far between here. The little town I live in HAD a beekeeping industry way back in the 1940's/50's, but it collapsed when the apple industry collapsed shortly after the railroad pulled out. Whatever was left from that has most likley been homogenized with the preceding feral stock. The old timers, like Les Crowder, do mention having seen Arabic type bees in the Southern NM area back in the 80's. Who knows? All I know is that here in NM, our honeybee genetics seem the most varied in african influences, more so than anywhere else. probably because we are somewhat remote, somewhat cold, and the "sky island" ecology dominates.

    Now I did a removal a few months back that had some of the most aggressive bees I have ever seen. They were almost totally dark black, and the queen, when I found her, was jet black with brightish (almost flourescent) orange speckles and spots. Some of the strangest I have run across. Totally runny, and when you smoked them they all came out of the hive and sat in a big buzzing ball on the ground. What they could have been, I have no idea. Not at all like the ones I am used to seeing. Maybe they were a pure Brazilian?
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  10. #30
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    Oct 2011
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    Coopersville, Michigan
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    260

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

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    I'm not certain you have any credible evidence for these assertions.

    BeeWeaver bees do not seem to exhibit the behaviors you claim, in general, according to those who have reported their results with this line of bees.
    I will start by saying that I have heard others with very good reports also and qualify that this was a few years back her I had even less experience but I had four packages from there. One absconded, one usurped its neighbor which killed them both in the end (too weak too late) and one that overwintered but was hot from 100 yards out. They were even hot when in bivowack after swarming. Felt pretty Africanish to me, but like I said lots of people had great luck and I was inexperienced.

  11. #31
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    Dec 2012
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    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    I queened a split with a BeeWeaver queen this summer. She did well for about 2 months or so and then was superceded. Her daughters were peaceful and did well, and the supercedure queen continues to be productive. Can't yet say if they have any mite resistance, but I saw none of the behavior attributed to Africanized bees. That said, the company offers to replace any queen that make aggressive bees. Some of them must be hot. So were the black bees of Europe, I understand, so aggression is associated with other lines.

  12. #32
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    Mar 2011
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    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    People worry too much about "african" - they are out there yes, but so are other mean bees.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  13. #33
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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

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul McCarty View Post
    People worry too much about "african" - they are out there yes, but so are other mean bees.
    I object. I attended funerals of long-time beekeepers in Costa Rica and Mexico who succumbed to Africanized attacks while tending their apiaries. There is a distressing casualness about the impact of the AHB traits on this forum.

  14. #34
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    Mar 2011
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    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Not to discount anything especially their lost lives, but that is in Costa Rica and Mexico where the bloodline is full strength. Totally different situation. All bees are dangerous - even the "nice" ones.

    A lot of recent research is starting to point to these bees adapting to a temperate climate and expressing more of the AMM side of their nature. And yes, they are dangerous too - but that sort of bee has been around for years. I think a lot of the dark feral bees we see nationwide are these bees that have adapted to a temperate climate and homogenized with the locals - sort of a mutt with the genetics of all of our bees, including AHB.

    The full strength Scutellata should not be the same in a temperate climate, as they are a tropical bee. I doubt they will live long except in places such as the ones they currently inhabit along our borders that resembles their habitat. They will have to adapt to move into the other areas - such as the bees I described above. I would not be surprised if people tested these dark ferals and they came back African - an MtDNA test,not a nuclear DNA test. They can be African and not express African nuclear DNA. Does that make them bad?
    Last edited by Paul McCarty; 10-25-2013 at 10:08 AM.
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  15. #35
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    Feb 2010
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    New York City, NY
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    I have recently posted a link to a Master's Thesis showing that A. Scutellata isn't as big of an issue in Florida as some would have us believe.

    Let's not assume that all ferals are 'Africanized', even the mean ones.

    It's clear to me that mistakes have been made in this regard. So, it's important to remain objective.

    PS-The faculty adviser for the thesis is featured in a video link on the 'Treatment-Free Dilemma' thread.
    Last edited by WLC; 10-25-2013 at 04:17 PM.

  16. #36
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    Mar 2011
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    Otero County, New Mexico, USA
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    I agree, I think the term "Africanized" is overapplied. Not only that, the testing is suspect. Few of the current test methods give accurate results alone. Like I said, just because the maternal DNA points to Africa it does not mean it is "Africanized".
    NM desert/mountain beekeeper - Black Mesa Honeybees.

  17. #37
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    Dec 2012
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    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    I object. I attended funerals of long-time beekeepers in Costa Rica and Mexico who succumbed to Africanized attacks while tending their apiaries. There is a distressing casualness about the impact of the AHB traits on this forum.
    Were they not wearing protective gear?

  18. #38
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    Feb 2010
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    New York City, NY
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    JW:

    I'm sorry for your 'Living Nightmare' experience. I truly am.

    However, AHB seems to be in the SW rather than in Florida, etc. .

    Delaney has done the work examining ferals in NC, etc. .

    They are different than AHB.

    So, the 'Hybrid Swarm' isn't the same in all parts of the country.

    I, for one, would like to know what's here in the North East.

  19. #39

    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.
    For the greater part of a century the ‘Bond method’ was unintentionally administered to bees in eastern Russia. Equally unintentional was the fact that the available drone pool was controlled as well. Consider the isolation of this area from any ‘nonsurvivor’ stock. And yet, in spite of the Russian Queen Breeder’s claims, all the anecdotal evidence is that they aren’t truly ‘mite resistant’.

    I will accept that drones requiring and fitted with eyeglasses did and continue to have a competitive disadvantage to those with uncorrected, perfect vision….but must submit that contact lenses may have leveled the….ahhhhh….playing field.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  20. #40
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    Feb 2010
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    New York City, NY
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    Default Re: Successful Treatment Free BeeKeeping = Breeding from Survivor stock

    I would like to mention the 'Reproductive Isolation' hypothesis at this point since we're on the topic of drones.

    I found it fascinating that Dr. Delaney mentioned that drones are produced with different timings depending on the stock, feral/domestic.

    I can swear that I've seen a difference in early (April) vs late (June) queens from the same open mated, queen breeder.

    There's something to that hypothesis, IMO.

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