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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Quiney WI View Post
    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.
    Adrian,

    I'm sure you're right about all these things. What bearing does any of it have on raising resistance?

    Mike (UK)
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  2. #22
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Between work and managing this forum/site, I'm fortunate to still have bees.
    Three cheers for Barry! (Rah, rah, rah!)

    Seriously!

    I don't understand this dispute, because I don't see how it applies in what we actually DO do with the bees. I'm looking for practical applications. Mike, what do you DO with your bees?

    It seems like there's lots of opinions, and opinions about opinions. The sticky just carves out some space for discussion. If it sets high standards, I think we can fudge it, in what we DO, but that doesn't make the standards irrelevant.

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    The topic of conversation here starts from the premise that it is possible to get, or make, or maintain, bees with 'greater fitness'. ... We're here to talk about ways of raising 'fitter' bees. It is assumed that is possible.
    I'm not sure about that premise. The bees themselves (their genetics?) are only one part of the equation. (I was interested, elsewhere, in the microbial part of the bee colony.) And it seems to me the beekeeper is another part of the system. And what we take from the hive, as well as possibly put into it, and other manipulations, too, beyond what the bees themselves would think to do (with their genetic programming). Then there are lots of uncontrolled factors, like weather, time available for beekeeping, the local environment, etc.

    And pests and diseases come into the picture. One option is to try chemical treatments. Which seems simple, but they can mess up other, more 'natural' ways for the system to adapt. So for people who don't accept the "easy answers," there are some who say we can and should skip the chemical treatments. That doesn't mean do nothing, right?

    Mike, you seem to be saying that if we focus single-mindedly on raising 'fitter' bees, other issues will fall by the wayside. Maybe I've don't understand. But if that's sort of right, can you explain the basic steps involved that take us in that direction? The practical question for me is How?

    I've got three hives. I'm not up for chasing feral bees, if there are any around here. I'm in a Beek Guild that is talking now about improving the level of our stock, generally. So what are the practical steps we can consider?

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    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.
    Yes. And if I thought it was having a detrimental effect I'd adjust accordingly. But it seems to me that the main cause of swarming, most of the time, is too little space. When bees have nowhere to put honey they go into swarming mode. So simply giving them room isn't selecting for lower swarming rates. Its just working with their normal healthy system.

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    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 cramped them deliberatedly you'd achieve the same thing.

    The point is this: I want to select bees that are good at managing mites, and the only way I'm going to find out which ones fit the bill is to not cramp them and not artificially brood break them.

    Doing anything else will ruin the assay system.

    If, worse, I systematically split in order to control varroa for them then I've removed the pressure that would tell me which are resistant, and, worse, I've maintained those that are not resistant. They are now free to multiply, spreading around exactly the genes I'm trying to replace in order to raise resistance. There is no difference (in terms of undermining resistance) between that and chemical treating.

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    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.
    The 'species' natural behavior' takes place in a setting in which those that don't behave well are killed pronto. Those that behave best have their genes promoted.

    That is the most important part.

    Take away natural selection, and fail to replace it with a system of human selection that is as effective at ensuring the fittest reproduce in the greatest number, and the result can only be declining health.

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    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.)
    Its traditional husbandry of the sort that has been practiced for thousands of years, and which has given us all the domesticated species - vegetable as well as animal. It isn't 'Mike's philosophy', its traditional husbandry, and its necessary to avoid wasteful losses and human-hand addictive scenarios.

    Its also necessary to fulful the aims of this forum: "bees [that] cope with disease on their own."

    Yes, its 'unnatural'. Anything you do is unnatural, by definition. The important this is to do those things that Nature would be doing anyway, but quicker, and without the waste. (Nature is extraordinarily wasteful)

    Mike
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  4. #24
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by Kofu View Post
    Mike, you seem to be saying that if we focus single-mindedly on raising 'fitter' bees, other issues will fall by the wayside.
    I'm going to come back to you on the other questions Kofu, but here: varroa is understood to be the number one bee problem. In the main if beekeepers don't treat for it (or manipulate to help out) their bees soon fail to perform well, and usually die. It isn't just the mite that is the problem, its the fact that it vectors all sorts of the pathogens.

    So yes, raising resistance does mean that, in your words, "other issues will fall by the wayside". It is also the root subject matter of this forum ("bees [that] cope with disease on their own.")

    Getting free of treatments - getting to the stage where 'bees can live without our help' therefore involves raising their inbuilt resistance to varroa. This is fairly straightforward in theory, often harder in practice - there are variables that make a lot of difference.

    There isn't another way to achieve that goal - or another way to move toward it. Selective propagation is everything - though whether its you the beekeeper doing it, or a bee breeder, or natural selection in a feral population doesn't really matter. A combination of those three is probably best.

    But there is no other route. Everything else is just noise.

    Mike (UK)
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  5. #25
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Mike, how about spending time talking about the experiences you are having right now with your bees and what you're learning from them. Perhaps taking a break from theory and spending time on actual beekeeping, we could all relate better.
    Regards, Barry

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    Varroa is understood to be the number one bee problem. In the main if beekeepers don't treat for it (or manipulate to help out) their bees soon fail to perform well, and usually die. It isn't just the mite that is the problem, its the fact that it vectors all sorts of the pathogens.

    So yes, raising resistance does mean that, in your words, "other issues will fall by the wayside". ... This is fairly straightforward in theory, often harder in practice - there are variables that make a lot of difference.
    Can you list the variables? Not to hold you to them, but I'm curious what you had in mind when you wrote that last sentence.

    Selective propagation is everything - though whether its you the beekeeper doing it, or a bee breeder, or natural selection in a feral population doesn't really matter. A combination of those three is probably best.
    A lot of what I've learned so far moves me in a different direction, in the sense that there isn't one hoop to jump through and then everything is fine.

    Some examples:
    • Varroa came, chemical treatments worked for awhile, then they didn't. New chemicals worked, then they didn't.
    • Three packages of bees I got all superseded their Queens within weeks, so now I have 50% local genetics. If I choose the best among them (how?), I still lose 1/2 the genetics every new generation.
    • Most Queens (in the U.S.) are bred from a handful of mother-Queens. A lot of the local stock got wiped out during this past winter, and "everyone" is getting new packages from the South, again.

    I'm not saying you have it wrong, but it seems like we're on a treadmill that we have to keep walking on. (And that's okay.) Lots of things moving and changing. Humans developed breeds of cattle, horses, and chickens over the centuries, even thousands of years, and I think with industrial agriculture we're losing a lot of the diversity within breeds. That model worked while the world was more stable, but I'm asking, is that a model that will get us to a place where we can finally rest?

    I think we suffer by comparison with what seems like the Golden Age of beekeeping which we had, according to lore, for maybe 50-60 years in the last century. Mike, I have an idea of what "husbandry" is. (I looked it up.) Is that a quaint idea now, or is it an approach that can get us through the beekeeping troubles we're having nowadays?

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Obviously, I didn't look very far, on the topic of "beekeeping husbandry."

    I did not realize that in British Beekeeping, it's a big thing, with a General Certificate available to beekeepers who have three years of experience under their belt. And if that's not enough, you can get an Advanced Husbandry Certificate.

    The documents that attach to those pages are pretty interesting too. I realize on the one hand that "husbandry" in that context covers the whole gamut, but then I wonder what slice of that approach do you mean when you use the word, Mike?

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    Y
    Its also necessary to fulful the aims of this forum: "bees [that] cope with disease on their own."
    If you try to take away one of their innate coping tactics, you're making trouble for yourself, and them.

    We can talk about the long history of animal husbandry, but with bees,it wasn't so long ago that beekeepers had to destroy a colony to harvest honey. Swarminess was considered a virtue, because swarming was the way beekeepers made increase. You ignore that history when you attempt to prevent swarms, either natural or artificial.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    If you try to take away one of their innate coping tactics, you're making trouble for yourself, and them.
    I'm not sure what it is you think I'm trying to take away from them Ray. (Apart from vulnerability to mites of course)

    [QUOTE=rhaldridge;1075980]We can talk about the long history of animal husbandry, but with bees,it wasn't so long ago that beekeepers had to destroy a colony to harvest honey.

    I don't know the history, but Manley talks about starting his life as a beekeepers by 'driving' bees from skeps, paying sixpence for the resulting 'swarms'.

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    Swarminess was considered a virtue, because swarming was the way beekeepers made increase. You ignore that history when you attempt to prevent swarms, either natural or artificial.
    Maybe there should be some fact checking before we build on that assumption.

    Mike (UK)
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  10. #30
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Mike, how about spending time talking about the experiences you are having right now with your bees and what you're learning from them. Perhaps taking a break from theory and spending time on actual beekeeping, we could all relate better.
    Barry, I have 28 overwintered hives which I'm encouraging to build (early) so as to give myself plenty of bees to work with. I'm aiming to triple numbers this year, with 60 entering next winter as 6 frame nucs, some to be offered for sale next spring.

    I'm also making 4-8 hive outstands in what I consider to be worthwhile places. And developing three dedicated mating sites.

    The outstands and home hives will be production colonies, which I'll evaluate for breeding stock.

    So I'm developing a breeding apiary aiming at producing varroa resistant bees for sale, with a touch of honey production on the side. The goal is that this supplies about a third of my living, taking about a third of my time.

    My experience right now is that almost all colonies overwintered through the wettest winter on record (and probably the windiest too) and I understand why the 5 that failed did so. All look good - lots of pollen coming in, only a very slight touch of dwv from a couple of colonies. The older and larger ones remain competitors. One that has always struggled still struggles.

    What am I learning? Small late colonies can come through mild wet winters on almost no stores; more comb and stores = faster building (of course); evaluation for selection purpose continues to be a puzzle but I think I've thought about it enough to be happy that I'll make the right sorts of choices. Thriving older hives will be the best evidence of resistance.

    I'm sure there's lots more, but that's the sort of stuff that occupies my mind just now.

    Mike (UK)
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  11. #31
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Mike Bispham: "So yes, raising resistance does mean that, in your words, "other issues will fall by the wayside". ... This is fairly straightforward in theory, often harder in practice - there are variables that make a lot of difference."

    Quote Originally Posted by Kofu View Post
    Can you list the variables? Not to hold you to them, but I'm curious what you had in mind when you wrote that last sentence.
    Hi Kofu,

    A) Access to bees with the right genes

    B) Proximity to bees with the wrong genes.

    You can look at this from the perspective of 'initial genetics' and 'maintaining genetics'.

    Initial Genetics Factor:

    If you can get hold of resistant bees, and you can maintain their resistance, you're well placed

    If you can't get hold of resistant bees, and have to raise your own its all much harder

    Maintaining Genetics

    If you are near resistant bees, and have good genes flowing in, its easier

    If you are near systematically treated bees, then even if you can get hold of good 'uns, you will have to take strong steps to keep them that way. (My position)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kofu View Post
    A lot of what I've learned so far moves me in a different direction, in the sense that there isn't one hoop to jump through and then everything is fine.
    If you sourced resistant bess, and you have resistant bees around you, that should be the case. Not everyone can/has. Many people (and most commercials) are starting with unresistant stock, and their air is full of unresistant drones (theirs). Grim.

    The Big Thing you have bear in mind, the underpinning of traditional husbandry, and 'having bees that can cope with disease themsleves' is this:

    Populations of living organisms respond to environmental pressures. One of the most important parts of the environment is the predators that are determinedly targeting your energy! There is a constant evolutionary 'arms race' between predator and prey; and each must evolve to stay ahead of/stay with its partner.

    Stop that evolution in the host, and the predator starts winning.

    Natural selection for the fittest strains takes care of that in nature.

    Human selection for the fittest strains does that in traditional husbandry

    If neither are happening then the predator will advance. As sure as night follows day, as sure as animals need oxygen: populations have to undergo selection to stay ahead of their predators.

    Many people find this too complicated to follow, or too abstract to rely upon. But it is a reality. All organic husbandry always has, and always will, relied on good 'population husbandry'. You have to 'put only best to best' to maintain health. Routinely, systematically. Or else.

    So while there may be more than one hoop to jump through, this one is certain, compulsory, in all circumstance, everywhere, always.

    Or, you can rely on treatments. Bear in mind that unlike other stock, bees mate openly - so the treatments will feed poor genes back into the breeding pool, making more poor bees. And the predators the treeatment target will develop - adapt, evolve - resistance to the treatments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kofu View Post
    I'm not saying you have it wrong, but it seems like we're on a treadmill that we have to keep walking on. (And that's okay.) Lots of things moving and changing. Humans developed breeds of cattle, horses, and chickens over the centuries, even thousands of years, and I think with industrial agriculture we're losing a lot of the diversity within breeds. That model worked while the world was more stable, but I'm asking, is that a model that will get us to a place where we can finally rest?
    No. There's no rest. Its an arms race. But it isn't hard: you simply make effective selective propagation a routine part of your beekeeping.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kofu View Post
    I think we suffer by comparison with what seems like the Golden Age of beekeeping which we had, according to lore, for maybe 50-60 years in the last century. Mike, I have an idea of what "husbandry" is. (I looked it up.) Is that a quaint idea now, or is it an approach that can get us through the beekeeping troubles we're having nowadays?
    I'm hoping the above answers that question Kofu, but keep reading and keep asking!

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 03-21-2014 at 03:46 AM.
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  12. #32
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by Kofu View Post
    Obviously, I didn't look very far, on the topic of "beekeeping husbandry."

    I did not realize that in British Beekeeping, it's a big thing, with a General Certificate available to beekeepers who have three years of experience under their belt. And if that's not enough, you can get an Advanced Husbandry Certificate.

    The documents that attach to those pages are pretty interesting too. I realize on the one hand that "husbandry" in that context covers the whole gamut, but then I wonder what slice of that approach do you mean when you use the word, Mike?
    Excellent question: I don't know, I haven't done the courses, and I don't know anyone that has. But I do know that UK beekeeping is reliant on treatments. FERA (the uk bee oversight body) does issue guidance about treating 'lightly' to locate those that have some resistance, and making increase from them, but is a small part of a big 'husbandry' course that is largely focusssed on recogning diseases and treating them. Its 'orthodox' modern beekeeping.

    As to 'husbandry': the uk beekeeper's model is the 'veterinary' approach used by all kinds of husbandry nowadays - but without the 'population husbadry' that underpins health everywhere else.

    While the 'veterinary approach' largely works with closed mating systems, with (opem mating) bees its a disaster - the treaments rapidly become addictions.

    Its that trap we're trying to get away from here, by having 'bees that can cope with disease on their own'

    I try to speak separately about 'individual husbandry' and 'population husbandry'. They are very different things. In 'traditional husbandry' the latter formed the foundation of animal health, and the former was used to help maintain income.

    In tradional husbandry all less healthy individuals are strictly kept out of the breeding pool. Sires are the very strongest individuals only - your prize bulls.

    This is not for fun: its necessary to remain competitive. The best breeder is the richest farmer. Its about both health and productivity - and recognises that the two are intimately linked.

    Amateur beekeeping has never really gone in for strict breeding. It didn't need to - bees were kept healthy enough in the large feral/wild populations, and - well it was only a hobby. Lose the ferals, and the need changes hugely. Get the population addicted to human help and the ferals won't survive anywhere near treating beekeepers. Now its a very different picture. The populations are sick, and the sickness is perpetuated by beekeepers. We're trying to break the grip, the cycle, of treatment - more treatment-addicted bees, by raising bees that can cope with the predators on their own. That requires dumping the veterinary approach (what the UK beekeeper education industry calls 'husbandry') and applying the methods of traditional husbandry.

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 03-21-2014 at 03:39 AM.
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  13. #33
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    "So yes, raising resistance does mean that, in your words, "other issues will fall by the wayside". ... This is fairly straightforward in theory, often harder in practice..."

    Initial Genetics Factor:

    If you can get hold of resistant bees, and you can maintain their resistance, you're well placed

    If you can't get hold of resistant bees, and have to raise your own its all much harder

    Maintaining Genetics

    If you are near resistant bees, and have good genes flowing in, its easier

    If you are near systematically treated bees, then even if you can get hold of good 'uns, you will have to take strong steps to keep them that way. (My position)

    If you sourced resistant bees, and you have resistant bees around you, that should be the case. Not everyone can/has. Many people (and most commercials) are starting with unresistant stock, and their air is full of unresistant drones (theirs). Grim.
    I've cut the answer down to the essentials, above. Thanks. So it looks like I'm doing as well as possible under the conditions. I'm expecting a package of resistant bees, but the other colonies are one generation removed from systematically treated. At least they survived the winter. But systematically treated bees are all around -- the genetics are, anyway, regardless of how they've been treated, or not, since they arrived. Many local beekeepers are getting commercial packages from Georgia (again) to replace the deadouts from this past winter.

    We're talking about raising more resistant stock, locally, but really we're just getting started and most of us are still going for what's easiest — commercial packages. The guy who hauls them up, by the truckload, is a nice guy, long-time beekeeper, well regarded, and I'll sound like a crank if I object too loudly. There's very little local production in place, so what's the use?

    So to go back to one thing you said ...

    If you are near systematically treated bees, then even if you can get hold of good 'uns, you will have to take strong steps to keep them that way.
    What strong steps can I take? Or is this really a "we" thing?
    Beekeeping - a form of magic that weaves together two elements: wood and bees.

  14. #34
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    As to 'husbandry': the uk beekeeper's model is the 'veterinary' approach ... While the 'veterinary approach' largely works with closed mating systems, with (open mating) bees its a disaster - the treatments rapidly become addictions. ... I try to speak separately about 'individual husbandry' and 'population husbandry'. They are very different things. In 'traditional husbandry' the latter formed the foundation of animal health, and the former was used to help maintain income. ...

    Amateur beekeeping has never really gone in for strict breeding. It didn't need to - bees were kept healthy enough in the large feral/wild populations, and - well it was only a hobby. Lose the ferals, and the need changes hugely. Get the population addicted to human help and the ferals won't survive anywhere near treating beekeepers. Now its a very different picture. The populations are sick, and the sickness is perpetuated by beekeepers. We're trying to break the grip, the cycle, of treatment - more treatment-addicted bees, by raising bees that can cope with the predators on their own. That requires dumping the veterinary approach (what the UK beekeeper education industry calls 'husbandry') and applying the methods of traditional husbandry.
    Thank you. The distinctions are helpful. And it illustrates what we're up against.

    For me, thinking of traditional husbandry, I imagine the Germanic tribes with their cattle, encroaching on the Roman Empire, and then centuries and centuries of local breeding. It doesn't seem like we've got that kind of time now. I realize we have "modern husbandry," developed in the 1700s, which accelerates the process. But that also has changed a lot in the last fifty years, to artificial means with a radical narrowing of the genetic pool for many commercialized species.

    Techniques such as artificial insemination and embryo transfer are frequently used today, not only as methods to guarantee that females breed regularly but also to help improve herd genetics. This may be done by transplanting embryos from high-quality females into lower-quality surrogate mothers - freeing up the higher-quality mother to be reimpregnated. This practice vastly increases the number of offspring which may be produced by a small selection of the best quality parent animals. On the one hand, this improves the ability of the animals to convert feed to meat, milk, or fiber more efficiently, and improve the quality of the final product. On the other, it decreases genetic diversity, increasing the severity of disease outbreaks among other risks.
    -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_...ing_techniques

    (Sound familiar?)
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by Kofu View Post
    The guy who hauls them up, by the truckload, is a nice guy, long-time beekeeper, well regarded, and I'll sound like a crank if I object too loudly.
    Maybe a diplomatic approach will keep everyone happy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kofu View Post
    There's very little local production in place, so what's the use?
    Production of bees? Why not? Because the ones you're using don't overwinter well? Maybe time to start changing that...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kofu View Post
    So to go back to one thing you said ...

    What strong steps can I take? Or is this really a "we" thing?
    I work alone and have space and resources to make a good stab at, if not dominating my airspace, having my representatives there. But the first 'strong step' maybe is a sound plan, underpinned by a good understanding of what makes a difference. From an earlier post of yours:

    Quote Originally Posted by Kofu View Post
    Three packages of bees I got all superseded their Queens within weeks, so now I have 50% local genetics. If I choose the best among them (how?), I still lose 1/2 the genetics every new generation.

    Most Queens (in the U.S.) are bred from a handful of mother-Queens. A lot of the local stock got wiped out during this past winter, and "everyone" is getting new packages from the South, again.
    Those 'local genetics' may well supply better overwintering qualities. And they may supply some resistance too. So you could be in with a shot.

    I'd avoid bringing in any more bees with dubious qualties, try to bring some with known or suspected resistant qualities. And gear up for making increase. You want to make more bees than you need so that you can let them alone and see which ones are better without losing them all. From the better ones make more, and replace the queens in the worst. (We'll talk about evaluating - 'assaying' later)

    That's the basics - you have to get your head round your own logistics plan.

    Yes, planning to work with others is a great idea. Be open about what you are setting out to do and others may be inspired to join in the effort. Then you can learn from each-other, swap good genetic material, make up each other's losses and so on.

    Mike (UK)
    Last edited by mike bispham; 03-21-2014 at 10:43 AM.
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  16. #36
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by Kofu View Post
    For me, thinking of traditional husbandry, I imagine the Germanic tribes with their cattle, encroaching on the Roman Empire, and then centuries and centuries of local breeding. It doesn't seem like we've got that kind of time now.
    There's an account of the benefits of selective breeding in the Old Testament (Aaron). The phrase 'put only best to best' comes from the European Middle ages. And the fact of the highly developed vegetables that we have from all over the world demonstrates that farmers have long understood that 'like makes like' - if you want the best crop, plant seed from the best of the last. So while there is an effect over time, the longstanding principle of 'put only best to best' is something that relates to everyday husbandry. Always make each new generation from the best of the old.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kofu View Post
    I realize we have "modern husbandry," developed in the 1700s, which accelerates the process. But that also has changed a lot in the last fifty years, to artificial means with a radical narrowing of the genetic pool for many commercialized species.
    As you say, deliberate breeding toward specific objectives is a newer development. But it doesn't mean the older routines can be abandoned. Sexual reproduction throws up a range of qualities; not all do as well or better than their parents. Nature's trick is to take the best and make the next generation in larger measure from them alone. That's what farmers have always copied. Try to go round that and the facts of Nature will bite you.

    Yes, loss of genetic diversity can be a problem. But its one we can largely ignore, because bees mate so widely. Unless you really are dominated by that one flow of constant genetical uniform bees. But in any case you'll be wanting to bring in bred resistant strains, and source ferals, so you'll be improving the local diversity constantly - or at least till you're happy you have a good local strain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kofu View Post
    Techniques such as artificial insemination and embryo transfer are frequently used today, not only as methods to guarantee that females breed regularly but also to help improve herd genetics. This may be done by transplanting embryos from high-quality females into lower-quality surrogate mothers - freeing up the higher-quality mother to be reimpregnated. This practice vastly increases the number of offspring which may be produced by a small selection of the best quality parent animals. On the one hand, this improves the ability of the animals to convert feed to meat, milk, or fiber more efficiently, and improve the quality of the final product. On the other, it decreases genetic diversity, increasing the severity of disease outbreaks among other risks.
    -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_...ing_techniques

    (Sound familiar?)
    Yep. Sensible in an open mating organism? Nope. Illegal? Should be.

    Mike (UK)
    Anti-husbandry: Medication + Reproduction = Continuing Sickness
    http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Swarminess was considered a virtue, because swarming was the way beekeepers made increase. You ignore that history when you attempt to prevent swarms, either natural or artificial.
    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post



    Maybe there should be some fact checking before we build on that assumption.

    Mike (UK)
    Before the invention of movable frames, honey was most often harvested by destroying the colony. Where do you think beekeepers got their replacement bees?

    Any way, you could check out what Eva Crane has to say about swarm beekeeping, and also what she says about driven bees. Driving bees was not a particularly reliable way of preserving a colony, because bees were reluctant to leave brood, and without movable frames, it was far more difficult to relocate brood combs.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=WVh...0swarm&f=false
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

  18. #38
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    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    SOMERSET, ENGLAND
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    And this one killing the brood over sulfur pits.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M788T26WIlY

  20. #40
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Clarifying 'Treatment Free'

    Quote Originally Posted by mike bispham View Post
    Maybe there should be some fact checking before we build on that assumption.

    Mike (UK)
    What assumption?
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

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