Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF
The result: althoug the bees were black, they had about equal amounts of four races Apis mellifera mellifera, Apis mellifera ligustica, Apis mellifera carnica and Apis mellifera caucasica. We thought that cleaning out the AMM part would be too big a task for us.
The original AMM living for instance in Lasö island in Sweden is very gentle. European Union has decided to make half of Lasö island a reserve, but unfortunately there is one beekeeper with italian bees on the other half...
Juhani that would be a very typical result for pretty much all bees that are "claimed" to be AMM.
Except possibly, in a few areas of Australia although they are rare.
I have just dealt with one of my own hives that swarmed, then went really vicious, and in a way that reminded me of the AMM hybrids we used to have here. I think their genes are still around but have to by luck, all combine to get something resembling AMM. Although that is not necessarily a good thing.
BTW the AMM bees here in NZ were originally brought here from England, they were the vicious kind, and for a long time were the only bees here until Italians were imported. It is pretty likely you would have worked hybrids of some of these bees when you were here in 1986 / 1987, when there were still quite a few of them, do you recall any?
One way forward might be for tf beekeepers to trumpet their honey as 'chemical/treatment free', and demand a premium for a superior product. Of course the comms will fake it, but it will still get the story across, and offer an incentive. I'm thinking of making a 'Real Honey from Real Bees' label, and explaining why its 'real' on the back.
Michael Bush. I totally respect the article and all articles that you share on your website....http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm . The Practical Beekeeper
Beekeeping Naturally....Thank you for the time and energy you have put into it. There is a lot, and I mean a lot of info out there. I appreciate all of them also, but as a new beek, studying hard this year and starting my adventure in the spring of 014 up here in the Lake Superior Region of Wisconsin, I lean very heavily on your expertise, and about 5 others.I two want to go naturally drawn comb and TF.I want to raise bees that are genetically adapted to this region and Lord willing, will. .Just wanted to put in my two cents....
Beregondo , I like the points you made, especially #3.
let him labor, working with his hands, that he may have something to give him who has need.." Ephesians 4:28
You (Mike) know that I've been trying to get my head around this stuff for quite a few years now but in all truthfulness I don't feel I'm much farther forwards than I was a few years ago, one thing I'll say though is that I no longer have any personal confidence in answers being locked up in a feral population, not in this area at any rate. I can remember far more dead-out ferals than I know of extant ones.
I don't think a study of that sort would ever be proposed or funded, for this reason: it is fundamental to all life sciences that natural selection will take place in all natural populations, and the corollary is is a matter of simple logic: where natural selection is undermined, there will be consequences. In this case, the consequence is entirely predictable, and found: around treating apriaries use of treatments against varroa will suppress the rise of what would otherwise be very natural developing resistance - that is found in isolated populations.
There is no proof, because no proof is needed.
I think it is helpful to focus on the way evolutionary understanding (co-evolutionary theory) directs all the scientific work concerning the relations between bees and mites. To help with that I've put below some extracts that show how the situation is cast in the literature, as well as demonstrate the present situation.
Besides suppressing mite reproduction, both Varroa resistant European honey bee populations in this study also share the fact that they have been unmanaged, enabling natural selection (as opposed to artificial) to shape the evolution of their mite resistance. This is an important consideration since it highlights the impact that apicultural practices otherwise have on these host–parasite interactions (Fries and Camazine 2001), suggesting a human interference in coevolution between species.
This tri-layered complex host–parasite system between honey bees (a multilevel organism with high genetic recombination rates), the Varroa mite (with a fast generation time but low genetic variation), and the viruses (vectored by Varroa) that infect both the bee and the mite (de Miranda andGenersch 2010), challenges basic coevolutionary theories and has not been fully exploited by evolutionary biologists as a model for host–parasite interaction theories. Our hope is to stimulate interdisciplinary research between apicultural studies and evolutionary biology to provide new insight into parasitic interactions of this system. A deeper understanding of how honey bee colonies naturally coevolve with parasites, and understanding the mechanisms and traits behind such coevolution, is necessary for establishing new optimal and
long-term sustainable honey bee health management strategies in apiculture.
Host adaptations reduce the reproductive success of Varroa destructor in two distinct European honey bee populations Barbara Locke1, Yves Le Conte2, Didier Crauser2 & Ingemar Fries1
(From Table II indicating severity of effects of various pathogens):
(Varroa): *** Only severe [effects] where the mite has been recently introduced or where effective mite control is employed.
In the case of Varroa, which is a worldwide menace to beekeeping, we believe apicultural practices are responsible for maintaining virulent forms of the pathogen. In areas where the parasite has been established
for several decades in honey bee populations, without being controlled by beekeepers, the parasite no longer is lethal to infested colonies. This is the case in South America both for Africanized bees and bees of European origin (Rosenkranz, 1999) as well as in North Africa (Ritter, 1990).
Under the influence of apicultural management practices that promote opportunities for horizontal ransmission, a more virulent host-parasite relationship should be retained. With a long history of co-adaptation on its natural host (the Asian honey bee, Apis cerana), the Varroa mite is in fact a benign parasite, as expected for a pathogen that is primarily vertically transmitted. The European and Asian honey bees have very similar life histories and it seems likely that Varroa should develop a benign host parasite relation in European honey bees, if given the opportunity.
Implications of horizontal and vertical pathogen transmission for honey bee epidemiology Ingemar FRIESa*, Scott CAMAZINEb
Currently, the apicultural industry depends heavily on chemical Varroa control treatments to keep managed colonies alive. These chemical controls can leave residues in hive products, have negative impacts on honey bee health, and remove selective pressures that would be required for host or parasite adaptations towards a stable host-parasite relationship (see section 3.4). Therefore, there is an urgent need for a sustainable solution to the threat of Varroa mites for the economic viability of apiculture and agriculture, as well as for honey bee health, conservation and for ecosystem services.
Understanding the interactions and adaptations between honey bees and Varroa mites is an essential first step towards achieving a long-term sustainable solution. This thesis presents aspects of host-parasite adaptations and interactions by investigating unique honey bee populations that, through natural selection, have adapted to be able to survive Varroa mite infestation without beekeeping management or Varroa control (Papers I, II & III).
3.4 Control of Varroa
A major obstacle to the development of mite tolerance in the European honey bee is intensive beekeeping practices including mite control. Since the mite has been introduced to the western world, beekeepers use methods to remove the mite from colonies, therefore eliminating the selective pressure of mite infestation that would be required for adaptations towards parasite tolerance or resistance in the bees, or towards lower virulence in the mites (Fries & Camazine, 2001). Further, these mite control methods are often based on chemicals and can be problematic for several reasons:
4 Host-parasite interactions
Honey bee societies, the Varroa mites that infest them, and the honey bee viruses that are vectored by the mites, together form a complex system of hostparasite interactions. Coevolutionary theories in the study of host-parasite interactions indicate that antagonistic reciprocal selection pressures will lead to an “arms race” with a series of adaptations and counter-adaptations by the host and the parasite (Thompson, 1994). Such antagonistic interactions actually accelerate molecular evolution compared to selection pressures of environmental changes (Paterson et al., 2010). The evolutionary dynamics of host-parasite coevolution can lead to a relatively stable relationship between the host and parasite with fitness optimality for both by means of a natural selection process (Schmid-Hempel, 2011). However, this coevolutionary process has been hindered for the European honey bee host since apicultural practices remove the mite and consequently the selective pressures required for such a process.
Coevolution theory predicts that parasites will have an evolutionary advantage over their host due to their faster evolution through a shorter generation time (Hafner et al., 1994; Schmid-Hempel, 2011). However, in this particular study system, the Varroa mite is of clonal origin with low genetic variation (Solignac et al., 2005) and the honey bee has a 10-fold higher recombination rate than any other higher order eukaryote (Beye et al., 2006). These aspects provide the honey bee host with an evolutionary advantage in the arms race with Varroa, as the mite’s options for genetic adaptation are limited compared to those of the bee. For this reason, adaptations of resistance or tolerance due to coevolution are most often discussed in general literature from the host’s perspective (the honey bee), in contrast to adaptations of virulence by the parasitic mite.
The Varroa mite situation is far less documented in Africa compared to South America. Nevertheless, since the mite was first detected in South Africa in 1997, a stable host-parasite relationship has developed and these bees do not need mite control treatment (Allsopp et al., 1997). In tropical South America and in Africa, the wild and feral populations of honey bees comprise a much larger proportion of the overall honey bee
population than in temperate North America and Europe where the majority of bees are managed (Moritz et al., 2007). This means that most of the honey bee population in South America and Africa is subject to natural selection pressures towards adaptive resistant mechanisms to Varroa infestation. These naturally adapted traits can then be passed to managed colonies through natural mating events between the wild and managed bees and could be an explanation for the overall mite-tolerance seen in both South America and in Africa.
Host-Parasite Adaptations and Interactions Between Honey Bees, Varroa Mites and Viruses
[End of Extracts]
That's a bit of a scattergun selection - but do you see Roland how the co-evolutionary theory that accounts for resistance in isolated populations, but not in treated ones, is predicated on the breeding relations, and these, of course, are determined by proximity. It is those colonies closest to the treated ones that _must_ feel the impact most sharply.
That is the scientific basis for the understanding that 'survivors' are most likely to be found in isolated areas, and least likely to be seen around treated apiaries. That it couldn't possibly be otherwise supplies the reason for no studies, and 'proof'.
PS If you remain unconvinced I have an analogy up my sleeve... its a scenario involving a black rabbit farmer who has a fenced compound in an area of the arctic where only white rabbits survive wild....
Last edited by mike bispham; 12-14-2013 at 10:11 AM.
"People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney
I'm sorry Jim, its nothing personal. You could think of it simply as a measure of commercial competition.
There are mixed-up strands here Jim, that I'm not inclined to try to unravel. I like wholesomeness, and to me that is about the means of production just as much as the product itself.
It means its much, much, more natural than ordinary honey, and that in making it I haven't harmed any wild bees.
Those are two aspects are part of a joined-up philosophy of husbandry geared promoting to a kind of farming that deliberately minimises its impact on the natural ecology. More: it recognises a responsibility to farmers to protect the ecology for unborn generations.
Some will say it's cause Lusby has Africans and small cell doesn't work but common sense says that it can't hurt either. If varroa prefers the bigger cells of drones then the smaller the cells the less quickly varroa can a get a foot hold. (mites have more success reproducing multiple young in bigger cells.
Not a cure all. But part a management system that will work.
Kent Williams bees I really like. Helped me to be successful in my treatment free yards. Produce honey as good as any hive I know of in my state. No treatments needed.
Last edited by Kamon Reynolds; 12-14-2013 at 10:26 AM. Reason: spelling
Mike: Yes honey packers I deal with are very much concerned about purity and liability, they dont take my word for anything. They run their own tests on the honey before choosing to accept it. That "your honey is real" and that "comms will fake it" clearly implies not just that there is something better about your honey but that there is something wrong with the other honey. In your marketing you may focus all you wish on what you do but stay away from implying what others might be doing. The likelihood that my honey contains contains chemical residues is virtually the same as the likelihood that your honey contains chemical residues in that its out of my control where my bees might forage. Agreed, perhaps not everyone can say that but I am here to make it clear to everyone choosing not to treat that the danger of tainting the purity of your honey is only a criteria for those who choose to abuse and make off label applications.
"People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney
"Most of my exercise comes from wrestling with pigs and beating dead horses."
I'm coming to this party kind of late. I'm a modified tf beekeeper, and using IPM and will treat if need be rather than simply consign a colony to a needless death. I'm making honey, not pedigrees, though much of my stock is local ferals, many of them testing positive for Amm.
I raise open-mated queens from survivors of tf hives, but I'm willing to treat hives designated for production because I want the honey. I often use formic and I'm getting to like powdered sugar dusting. I check for mites using the alcohol wash, which in my opinion, is the most accurate.
I'm not convinced of the argument (and not trying to make it one, Kamon) that I'm polluting the neighborhood with inferior genetics. We have tons of ferals in southeast Missouri. And queens fly great distances, way beyond their own sons, to mate with different drones. This is one realm of beekeeping I cannot delude myself into thinking I have any control over.
I have some 100% tf yards and I'm tf because they are the remotest, hard to reach yards and I almost have to schedule their inspections. They do just fine despite my procrastination.
I also like the idea of tf from the perspective of epigentics, that environmental cues can turn genetic switches on or off in the bee. If one of these environmental cues is, say Apistan, and it is applied to kill mites, do we know if it turns off a gene in the bee which fights viruses? We don't, but we know there are synthetic chems that alter a queens reproductive capacity, a drone's sperm count (yeah, I'd like to try and sell that research paper to a academic committee). Randy Oliver is a champion of epigenetics.
It's also the sub-lethal side effects from synthetic chems that move me to be tf. But we also have to remember how polluted the environment has become. There's a ton of garbage in our air and water that the bees will pick up even though we beekeepers go tf.
Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725
1. Contamination from chemicals introduced into the hive via various treatments and feeds. Chloramphenicol in chinese honey anyone? Fluvalinate in beeswax?But we also have to remember how polluted the environment has become. There's a ton of garbage in our air and water that the bees will pick up even though we beekeepers go tf.
2. Contamination from bacterial growth in honey, food poisoning can originate from improper handling.
3. Environmental toxins that bees encounter as they forage. This includes both man-made and natural toxins.
I make no brags of any sort about my honey. If someone asks, I tell them that I do not treat for mites and have not treated in 8 years. I sell every bit that I produce.
I hear what MB is saying about wanting to get back to what nature intended for honeybees. I also hear what JL says about doing the best he can to manage bees so that pure honey is produced. Both positions are pretty extreme given the world we live in. My position is to avoid putting anything into my colonies that I would be scared of eating myself. Reality as I see it is that commercial beekeepers could go cold turkey the same as I did. They don't because they have not figured out the steps that make it work.
DarJones - 45 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell