understood mike and i appreciate your response. this rationale has been posited before here on the forum.
the counter to it is that by virtue of you placing these wild creatures in an artificial home and manipulating them to your 'ends' you are already interfering with nature in a serious way.
where one draws the line is rather arbitrary isn't it?
if you value allowing nature to work itself out above and beyond all else then the logical approach would be to not keep bees at all.
however, since you are choosing to exploit the bees you have already compromised that principle. you and i are more in agreement than not. the difference is i have chosen to accept that we are already departing from nature, and my management choices are an attempt to achieve a balanced and thoughtful compromise.
my choices to euthanize colonies destined to die and to prevent the spread of pests and pathogens to my other colonies, my neighbor's colonies, and nearby feral colonies my may indeed hinder the natural progression of resistance to some degree, probably small. i'm really not so sure that what you and i are doing has a great impact on the species in the end.
journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives
Mike,, "Show me the Money" show me evidence of TF guys who are not manipulating brood and make honey, and can sell that genetic stock. You may have some there.... I hear lots of stories.... I am on board......
I do breed my best hives. trying for something. Just so far without brood breaks, nothing is moving past 18 months. second year the hives are struggling so hard with mites, honey cannot be had. Last year was tough, total honey number were way down, but all the 2nd year hives that WERE boomers, made 0.......
I'm not even getting 8 months right now TF, and that's on hives started from nuc's just this past spring. Many already dead and still collapsing as I speak. We did have a terrible spring and summer with temps way too cold and excessive rains which translated into the worse honey production in this area in 25+ years. I'm fairly certain colony nutrition suffered as well causing stress and no doubt put the bees in a less than optimal state to deal with the mites.
The Kent and Zayed paper found drone-associated gene regions did not have high recombination rates. This can be explained by drones as "flying gametes" -- they are haploid and have single alleles. Poor recombinations are negatively selected since they can't fly -- and indeed the whole impulse to recombine is negatively selected. This points out the fundamental role of haploid drones in pushing adaptation in bee breeding systems.
"Relaxed Selection" is the general term for allele effects that were responsive to a previous evolutionary condition (the development of social colonies) that has now become irrelevant or deleterious.
Remember the fundamental characteristic of honeybee is genotype conservatism. Honeybees are not evolving so much as accumulating an enormous portmanteau of variation. The higher the colony variation, the higher the fitness. Rather than diverse worker castes, they have phenotypically identical workers with internal genotype differences within a colony -- leading to complex behaviors. The higher the population variation, the lower likelihood of a single dominant genotype founding a new race/species/lineage. Bee's resist evolutionary drift at every turn.
Clement Kent and Amro Zayed (the authors of the cited paper on recombination rate) have done very interesting work on the role lethal diploid drones (due to honey bee's complementary sex determination) on extinction of local populations. I find this relevant to the amateur armchair experts pronouncements/discussion on this thread -- Zayed has found that small local inbreeding populations are at extreme risk of going extinct due to sex incompatibility. Backyard breeding advocates should take note of Zayed's other work-- little colonies of inbred lines are likely doomed.
Zayed has a great paper on evidence for positive selection in honeybees, including finding that South American AHB have differentiated from their putative A. mellifera scutellata.
Contact me if you don't have University library access.
A Genome-Wide Signature of Positive Selection in Ancient and Recent Invasive Expansions of
the Honey Bee Apis mellifera Author(s): Amro Zayed and Charles W. WhitfieldSource: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America,Vol. 105, No. 9 (Mar. 4, 2008), pp. 3421-3426Published by: National Academy of SciencesStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25461250 .
Last edited by JWChesnut; 01-05-2014 at 10:48 AM.
correct my if I am mis-interpeting, but we have two schools of thought, one is line breeding for a certain trait, the other says large scale diversity is the key and that line breeding will fail? Trying to simplify the conversation a bit.
Evolution is always a process of dynamic compromise. Line breeding can emphasize traits (but in doing it throws away the steamer trunk of other adaptations). Large-scale diversity incorporates the kitchen sink (but reduces the number of specialists -- as seen in VSH behavior in subsequent generations).
The Dadant Starline came up in this thread -- its my understanding that the enormous effort to maintain this 4 line double crossed-hybrid was dropped when tracheal mites invaded the US in the 90's -- the inbred lines were (unsurprisingly) tracheal-susceptible.
Putting bees in a box is no different to putting out a box and inviting them in - its a perfectly good home, mirroring in all of the important ways natural cavities. The 'manipulations' are guided by what would happen naturally. If, in order to achieve that, you have to offer a little artificial help, then you do so no more than necessary, and in ways that aim to disturb the natural processes as little as possible. If you want self-sustaining bees.
There is nothing difficult going on here.
Try to grasp: following nature's rules is not something that must be carried to extremes. Rather its recognition that Nature has automatic health and repair mechanisms, and interfering with those carries a cost. Treating bees is a first-class example. As Ruttner says, it is Nature that shows us how to do husbandry: she is the original, and we copy her.
What do you do drone side?
As recently observed, removal of the weakest (as well as not-too-concentrated selection of the best) maintains genetic diversity while achieving the promotion of desirable traits.
We're not talking high-end breeders breeding; we're talking traditional low-tech husbandry breeding.
Any fertilized egg can become a queen. The whole basis of queen grafting. The exception being the famous diploid lethal drones based which are homozyogous at a single gene locus. Workers and queens are genetically undifferentiated -- nutrition (including contributed hormones) are responsible for the caste difference.
Every single bee is non-identical to any other nest-mate. This is because "crossing-over" occurs early in the process meiosis (ie gamete-egg-sperm production). Recombination during meiosis is important to recognize -- workers and drones both are each and everyone a distinct individual genotype.
In fact, I'm indoors engaging with the "armchair experts" cause just can't face the depressing work of cutting all that comb into the melter.
I am going to try brood breaks this year for the first time. Been doing lots of research on this, many claim to have good results, many say otherwise. Honestly, if I could keep the mites at bay for 18 months before hive collapse I would be thrilled at this point. If timed properly, brood breaks do seem that they would hand the mites a setback, but is total mite numbers the only factor, what about the disease they spread? Are those diseases spread from bee to bee or does the bee only get them from the phoretic mite?
I counter that "blown" bees are likely an extremely effective way of creating a full brood break onto new and sterilized comb. The practice resets the disease clock completely -- not just varroa, but all the other comb based diseases. It is a really effective "chemical-free" process.
If you (or Radar) could find that thread, I would be interested to see if there are any I haven't looked at. Again. all I have tested or investigated, are useing something besides genetics or traits to keep hives alive past that 18 month mark.
As for my own. I am looking at hives that have Low mite counts in the fall, good clusters, and good honey builds. So far I have had several hives with nice low counts in fall, but next season is still a bust. I think that some hives do seem to outbreed the mites for a good while. but when winter comes the scales tip. so far no 2nd year hive has maintained that low count/ good production.
As for drones, not much to say, With queens not showing me anything (FYI that also includes a lot of Ferals) I havent spent a lot of effort on drones. add that to a large number of feral hives and there is not much point in drone control. I do only use the strongest hives near the queen yard.
we beekeepers are actually given a lot of latitude when it comes to where we drawn the line in terms of husbandry and this highly arbitrary and variable expression of the privilege to do so defines beekeeping.
it appears that you and i have a different point of view, and both of them are 'arbitrary', are they not?
journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives
The idea that man is only providing a box for the all natural bee is like believing man can raise the all natural maize by throwing corn into a field.
4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.