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  1. #1
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    Default Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    From the sticky:

    "The Treatment-Free Beekeeping Forum [has] the stated purpose of discussing how to keep bees by letting them cope with disease on their own." (My emboldening and underlining)

    That seems to me to be a plain enough statement of purpose, but a little close reading might be useful in the interests of having good quality on-topic conversations.

    I think we'll agree that that doesn't infer 'letting them cope with disease on their own from the get-go' - that would be 'hard bond' and the sticky also makes clear that the forum is not prescriptive about any course of action.

    But it does define a clear general aim. That aim is not merely 'not putting stuff in the hive'. It is about having bees that don't need help to thrive.

    Since most people don't already have bees that can do that, part of the goal of the forum must be to direct them toward getting bees that can do that. That will mean identifying the differences between those that can thrive alone and those that can't; and working through the ways to have the former and not the latter.

    That is, talk about how to keep bees that can be healthy and productive without help.

    Any role of manipulations can only therefore be contemplated in the context of temporary aids while the deeper topic of gaining and maintaining bees that can 'cope with disease on their own' is pursued. Manipulation-based management systems do not fulfil the stated aim of the forum.

    Have I got that about right?

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 03-20-2014 at 03:23 AM.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Ain't this poor horse dead enough yet? You've been beating it soooo long that there can't be much of the carcass left.




    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    Since most people don't already have bees that can do that, part of the goal of the forum must be to direct them toward getting bees that can do that. That will mean identifying the differences between those that can thrive alone and those that can't; and working through the ways to have the former and not the latter.
    Great, have at it. Personally, I think you put too much weight in trying to attain/find/raise the "right" bee. The experience of Dennis Murrell and myself has been that of using bee stock from a variety of sources.
    Regards, Barry

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Great, have at it.
    Thanks Barry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Personally, I think you put too much weight in trying to attain/find/raise the "right" bee. The experience of Dennis Murrell and myself has been that of using bee stock from a variety of sources.
    If you and Dennis Murrell tried to find the wrong bee, and deliberate did the wrong things with it, would you expect the same results?

    Maybe we're talking about the same thing. Any race/line that has some resistance is fine by me, and the more resistance the better - there isn't so far to go. Given that, what matters is ensuring you don't backslide in each generation. That means some sort of assay in each generation followed by selection for propagation.

    Mike (UK)
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Hills Farm View Post
    Ain't this poor horse dead enough yet? You've been beating it soooo long that there can't be much of the carcass left.




    Rusty
    Neigh! That was just waking it up!

    M
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    If you and Dennis Murrell tried to find the wrong bee, and deliberate did the wrong things with it, would you expect the same results?
    Say what?
    Regards, Barry

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    Neigh! That was just waking it up!

    M
    Trolling hard still.....

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Originally Posted by mike bispham
    "If you and Dennis Murrell tried to find the "wrong" bee, and deliberately did the wrong things with it, would you expect the same results?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Say what?
    I'm trying to understand what you mean by "too much weight in trying to attain/find/raise the "right" bee."

    " The experience of Dennis Murrell and myself has been that of using bee stock from a variety of sources."

    What makes you think I'd disagree with using bee stock from a variety of sources?

    I wouldn't want severely mite-crippled stock in my breeding pool though. Would you?

    Mike (UK)
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Mike, have you considered that one of the adaptations that some "survivors" have incorporated is frequent swarming? Bees have adapted to Varroa by swarming, and benefit from the inherent broodbreak that swarming provides.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Mike's assumption is the bees with greater fitness will be bees with most suitability to being kept for human honey production.

    Alternatively, consider whether varroa contributes fitness to a genotype of bees. I know this sounds absurd --but: Genes are transmitted without delay by drones which are capable of being created by 6 week old queens -- these particular "selfish" genes might find that high parasitism promoted their competitive advantage over genes that create long-lived colonies. The genes don't care if the colonies live for three years, only that they can expand and replicate -- and r-selection -- quick, rapid expansion with low-investment propagules -- such as drones -- is typical of very successful "weed" strategies.

    Varroa has been challenged by hundreds of millions of feral hives across continents -- it persists a high levels because it is performing a critical evolutionary function. Mike is completely missing the logic of his own position.

    Mike is equating what is convenient for a British pensioner (easy collection of surplus honey), with what is adaptive for a species. Colonies die all the time, it is the ones with the greatest reproduction that dominates a population. A gene that promotes the toxic death of its direct competition with have the greatest reproductive capacity.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    I don't have time to go find your quotes, but you have placed heavy emphasis on feral bees as the answer and have had negative things to say about commercial breeders. I have used commercial stock in my hives. It hasn't been an issue with me at least. I haven't gone out of my way to spend a lot of time breeding a resistant bee. They do it themselves.
    Regards, Barry

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Quiney WI View Post
    Mike, have you considered that one of the adaptations that some "survivors" have incorporated is frequent swarming? Bees have adapted to Varroa by swarming, and benefit from the inherent broodbreak that swarming provides.
    Yes I have Adam. But they can all go into the pond, and any that swarm too soon/too often/don't respond to my asking nicely not to swarm (by giving them room) won't get much weight.

    I reckon that's the way to handle it.

    Mike (UK)
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    I don't have time to go find your quotes, but you have placed heavy emphasis on feral bees as the answer and have had negative things to say about commercial breeders.
    Just a mo: are we talking about mite-resistant breeders (like Weavers) or commercials who are working toward resistance, or commercials who simply medicate systematically?

    You're right in thinking I am keen on ferals, esp. as here where there are no bred resistant bees to be had. As I'm sure you know I'm not the only one to adopt that approach.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    I have used commercial stock in my hives. It hasn't been an issue with me at least. I haven't gone out of my way to spend a lot of time breeding a resistant bee. They do it themselves.
    Do you do anything else Barry? Do you not treat and select from most productive? (Selecting for resistance). Do you use small cell? Do you have a healthy local breeding pool (ferals, non treating/beekeepers)? Do you create artificial brood breaks - deliberately or accidentally?

    Let us have some detail about your particular context, so we can try to understand why works for you might not work for others.

    BTW I posted recently about Randy Olivier's take on tf and 'domesticated' bees. Did you see that? Any thoughts?

    Mike (UK)
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Mike's assumption is the bees with greater fitness will be bees with most suitability to being kept for human honey production.
    Your 'greater fitness' is I reckon commensurate with the sticky's 'letting them cope with disease on their own'.

    That is: the topic of conversation here starts from the premise that it is possible to get, or make, or maintain, bees with 'greater fitness'.

    Challenging that premise, while perhaps not off-topic, is a bit eccentric. We're here to talk about ways of raising 'fitter' bees. It is assumed that is possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    I know this sounds absurd --
    Yes. As I recently showed your 'hypothesis' leads directly to absurdities in the form of contradictions to well attested realities: http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...28#post1074828

    I notice you didn't contest any of that post.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Mike is equating what is convenient for a British pensioner (easy collection of surplus honey), with what is adaptive for a species.
    I'm not theorising about such things. Its known that breeders can concentrate desirable traits, and that's what we're setting out to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Colonies die all the time, it is the ones with the greatest reproduction that dominates a population.
    Sure. But the dominant factor governing successful reproduction is efficiency at energy-gathering and conversion (to offspring). (Including successful storage/defence). "Energy is the fundamental object under contention in natural selection". See primer: Energetics of Evolution - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_...zmann_equation

    Both we and Nature want something very similar: bees that are good at their job (of passing on their genes): and part of the spec for both of us is: high productivity. So in selecting for self-sufficiency and high productivity we are doing just what nature does - which automatically fixes any problems below decks.
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    Just a mo: are we talking about mite-resistant breeders (like Weavers) or commercials who are working toward resistance, or commercials who simply medicate systematically?
    No Weavers. My last purchase was from Johnny (Broke-T) 2-3 years ago. Swarms as well. Who knows which breeder those genetics came from?


    Do you do anything else Barry?
    I paint the inside of my woodenware!

    Do you not treat and select from most productive?
    I'll bee splitting from my winter survivor and will buy a queen or two as well as let them raise their own.

    Do you use small cell?
    Yes.

    Do you have a healthy local breeding pool (ferals, non treating/beekeepers)?
    Not that I know of.

    Do you create artificial brood breaks - deliberately or accidentally?
    No.
    Regards, Barry

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    I'll bee splitting from my winter survivor and will buy a queen or two as well as let them raise their own.
    If you're splitting regularly you're creating artificial brood breaks. Do your hives last 3 or 4 years without any splitting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    (Small Cell)
    Yes.
    Some people swear by small cell, and it may very well be effective. But it isn't "letting them cope with disease on their own."

    It seems to me you could be inadvertantly creating artificial brood breaks, your small cell is helping, hives maybe aren't lasting long.

    I wouldn't say this rates very high on the scale of "letting them cope with disease on their own." Nor, in itself, that its likely to lead toward that aim.

    Maybe I'm wrong about some of this. We're just talking. I'd be interested to know more about your situation, including what you rate as success and how far you feel you are achieving it.

    Mike (UK)
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Mike, in one traditional form of husbandry the effect of parasites on crops or animals was reduced by rotating the crop or animal through a series of fields. That rotation had to start somewhere with one individual reasoning it out, or an individual noticing that it worked and deliberately perpetuating the system. I suspect when the process first started there was someone arguing against it, perhaps as being unnatural, against tradition, too complicated, or too much work.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    I'm sure that saying this will prove to be a pointless exercise, but in my view, suppressing swarming is taking from the bees a tactic that they have used to survive for millions of years. Of course, rather than letting one's bees fly away into the trees, one could get exactly the same effect by making a split-- same brood break, same effect on brood parasites as swarming. If you're going to try to breed resistance into your stock, to me it seems vastly more reasonable to work within the species' natural behavior than to try to subvert it by artificially avoiding all brood breaks. And that is exactly what you are doing when you provide your splits with mated, laying queens. (I'm not attacking this practice, I'm just saying that this is an inconsistency in Mike's philosophy that bothers me and prevents me from taking his anti-manipulation rhetoric seriously.)
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    If you're splitting regularly you're creating artificial brood breaks. Do your hives last 3 or 4 years without any splitting?
    I haven't been at one place long enough to get any kind of longterm data. Life keeps getting in the way. Some have lasted that long.

    Some people swear by small cell, and it may very well be effective. But it isn't "letting them cope with disease on their own."
    If you are anti managing bees, why even keep them? Why not just frolic through the forest and cut out wild feral comb when you have a honey fix? BeeKEEPING has always entailed manipulation. After all, we're going to steal some of their honey! But even here, I'm a minimalist. I stay out of my hives as much as possible. I tend to do less than more. Life is busy and that's how it works for me. Years ago I spent a lot of time working/testing/studying bees.

    I'd be interested to know more about your situation, including what you rate as success and how far you feel you are achieving it.
    Right now I don't have a goal with bees. Between work and managing this forum/site, I'm fortunate to still have bees.
    Regards, Barry

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    If you are anti managing bees, why even keep them?
    There are lots of different forms of 'managing'. Some contribute to a long term aim of raising resistance. Some don't. Some send it backwards.

    I like to understand which is which. It seems to me that to fulfil the stated aim of this forum we all have to do that. Figuring out how to is what the forum is for.

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 03-20-2014 at 12:13 PM.
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