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Thread: SMR hybrids

  1. #41
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    Part of the confusion here is that no honeybee is truly domesiticated, and every bee not actively being keep is referred to as a feral. As far as I can tell the primary difference between ferals and domestic stock is that one is actively selected for it gentle nature, and the other is selected by the whims of nature. I don't think there are any significant genetic differences between feral and domestic population (think of stray cats, volunteer tomatoes and mustangs), except possible that ferals are outbred vs. inbred.

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  3. #42
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    -- As far as I can tell the primary difference between ferals and domestic stock is that one is actively selected for it gentle nature, and the other is selected by the whims of nature.

    ------->

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    The difference according to Erickson.is that populations of domestic honey bees are the product of extensive artificial selection for honey production and characteristics of economic value, and therefore vulnerable to the pressures of natural selection.

    Where as the moment a domestic honeybee colony becomes wild there is extensive pressures of natural selection towards traits that contribute to survival, reproduction and fecundity (colony fitness). Research had found a significant relationship between many fecundity characteristics and most colony measures of fitness, and Brother Adam states that Fecundity is an essential prerequisite for any exceptional performance.

    So the foundations for exceptional performance would likely exist in many of the remote ferals. As the whims of nature would have it, traits that contribute to colony fitness are exactly the traits that are needed and actively strived for in many domestic breeding populations today, because many of the traits affecting fitness and fecundity are essential for disease, parasite resistance and traits of economic value in honeybee colonies.

    Perhaps, natural selection is not that whimsical after all.

  4. #43
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    Given our rather limited ability to prevent interbreeding between wild and domestic populations, honeybee selection was slow at best prior to the advent of II. Controlled reproduction is a prereq for domestication. The Indian elephant and the reindeer are prime examples of exploited captive or semi-domesticated populations. I would place the honeybee among them.

  5. #44
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    Probably the Africa provides the strongest example of wild honeybees. Most of these critters do not lack for production, disease resistance or fecundity, but are temperamental by most accounts and difficult for even the locals to manage. My point is not to say that we haven't been selecting honeybees for a long time, but rather to show the importance of isolated breeding areas and II. Some of your comments on the resistance of survivor stock (another thread) made me wonder if you felt that isolated apiaries didn't exist, while some of your comments on artificial selection imply that we must have had them for a very long time.

  6. #45
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    Good points Aspera! I believe there are very few isolated breeding apiaries that exist, this has been shown in studies that drones do get into the mating sphere of isolated apiaries. That being said, as in the remote ferals I occasionally discuss that are showing some interesting traits. Perhaps you need not have total isolation or II to achieve remarkable success. Perhaps, all that is needed is to tip the balance in your favor.

    From casual observation, it seems that total control over breeding is not needed to achieve the desired results. Ferals as little as 2 miles into the woodlands are showing traits different from that of others caught nearer to other beekeepers. With the abundance of voids that would likely exist in the woodlands, I could imagine that breeding sphere is relatively dominated enough so that for example long distance foraging and other traits that are relatively specific to woodland ferals are developing.

  7. #46
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    <Perhaps you need not have total isolation or II to achieve remarkable success. >

    I also believe this, but the problem is that I don't have a large enough apiary to saturate the area with SMR drones. I was thinking of offerring to raise some queens for my neighbors to achieve this, but I think that it could still take decades, by which time I will have moved. It is unfortunate that hygienic genes don't act in a simple dominent fashion.

  8. #47
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    MB, did you know that Marla Spivac tested SMRs and found them to to be slightly more hygenic than her bees. The last time I spoke with her she was planning to incorporate them into her program. Interesting about all of theses desirable recessive traits. Over time we could see natural selection force a genetic drift, perhaps. There are large populations of bees heterozygous for thses traits now, so we should see the traits expressed in a percentage of future generations naturally. Fecundity rules.
    JBJ
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  9. #48
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    JBJ, I tested my ferals for hygienic traits and found 60% tested at least 90% hygienic. My non hygienic bees were requeended with hygienic ferals. So the trait seems to be expressing naturally in the feral population.

    For a colony of bees to be found hygienic only requires that 13 to 50% of the bees to carry the genes for the behavior. This may explain the wide range of degree of expression of hygienic behavior, from hygienic bees on up to SMR or VSH which where explained by Marla Spivac to be hygienic behavior to a higher degree.

  10. #49
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    Aspera, I started my hygienic testing and other evaluation techniques as a way of determining the best colonies in my operation for breeding. From there, I select from the best and requeen the poor performers to get them out of the gene pool with feral stock that has been tested the previous year. Over time, I hope to gain enough genetic influence to control breeding to an acceptable level. According to a talk with Dennis, State Inspector, you only need about 60 drone source colonies to exhibit acceptable influence over the breeding, and many others say you need a minimum of 50. But by selecting and keeping only the best bees with the traits you want, you can begin over a couple of short years to influence the genetics of the ferals around you. Ferals where always a driving force in breeding bees in Pennsylvania because they are so abundant, and their fitness adaptations the PA climate make them an important aspect breeding bees here I am finding hygienic and other desired traits in the ferals which makes them valuable part of my breeding, in affect flooding the area with the genetics I want and diluting the domestic genetics.

  11. #50
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    >MB, did you know that Marla Spivac tested SMRs and found them to to be slightly more hygenic than her bees.

    Yes, I did. She presented that at the KHPA meeting.

    >The last time I spoke with her she was planning to incorporate them into her program.

    I think she said this is already in progress.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  12. #51
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    The part that bugs me is if you buy a "Hybrid" at say $20 it basicaly ties you into replacing queens every year to keep these desirable traits.
    If you have a large apiary this is not really cost efficient.
    Second peeve is all the talk by breeders of Isolated apairies. What, do they all live on islands.

    Unfortunately this with AHB is gradually forcing breeders to II.

    Just my rambling....

    Kieran
    \"I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree<br />And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made<br />nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee<br />and live alone in the bee-loud glade.\"<br />-- WB Yeats

  13. #52
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    It doesn't tie you into anything. Not replacing the hybrid just means accepting that if she is superceded, you will have a new queen that is producing workers with feral genetics.

  14. #53
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    if you dont replace the queens wouldnt you just lose the smr and russian resistance to mites by allowing the queen to be superceded naturally.
    plus whatever hybrid vigor they may of had from an f1 or f2 cross.

  15. #54
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    The drones of the SMR mother are exclusively SMR drones and her daughter queens are three way hybrids (russian/smr mothers mated to whatever drones). It is often stated than the SMR heterozygotes have an intermediate level of resistance. Also, I'm not really sure that the Russian mechanism of resistance has ever been worked out genetically. I suspect that its related to many traits including frequent brood cycle interruptions. The "Smart" bees that you buy are usually the daughters of something like the SMR x Russian cross. Unfortunately, I haven't observed any hybrid vigour in the workers of my SMR x Russian queen. Maybe they spend too much time being hygienic, and not enough foraging. No bee can do it all.

  16. #55
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    &gt;&gt;I am a little confused here.How are these bees considered hybrid. How is it any different then what takes place in nature.

    Artificial insemination. Or a very controled breeding environment.
    Allowing open nonrestriced mated provides a mutch diverse queen mating.

    &gt;&gt;Not replacing the hybrid just means accepting that if she is superceded, you will have a new queen that is producing workers with feral genetics.

    Yes, but not expressed, for we are talking of the ressessive SMR trait. And it will not be expressed as long as the superceeded queens continue to mate in a very diverse beekeeping environment. How will you continue to propagate a hidden trait? It means continual stock renewal, or dilution with drone mating colonies.


    Try growing a crop from a open pollinated Hybrid crop, and you will understand completely.
    Not only do you loose all the hybrid vigour, all the neglected unwanted traits start expressing themselves.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
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  17. #56
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    Hey does anyone know if Minn. Hygenics are a recessive or dominate gene ?
    Everything happens for a reason. Time heals all wounds - time and a half heals them even faster

  18. #57
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    &gt;&gt;is often stated than the SMR heterozygotes have an intermediate level of resistance.

    maby meaning that there is a dominant gene, perhaps tied to the resessive SMR traits, that are contributing to the tolerant behaviour.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  19. #58
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    I took it to mean that there is partial penetrance of the trait. Another example of partial penetrance would be to cross a red and a white flower and obtain offspring with pink flowers. Since more than one gene is involved with SMR, my thinking might be muddled on this

  20. #59
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    Minn. hygienics have a subset of the SMR genes which are now reported to be a form of varroa specific hygiene (removal of infested brood). The Minn. hygienics have been selected for honey production and mostly come from top producing commercial queens incorperated into Dr. Spivak's breeding program. She states that they have some level of varroa resistance but still require regular treatment or prevention.

  21. #60
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    Ok, I understand that the recessive SMR trait will disappear becuase of out crossing. But what you have to remember is that after a few years of using recessive traits, those same traits begin to appear agian in later generations and become more and more common when mites kill off the bees that don't have those traits. Recisive does not mean the gene is gone just because it disappears for a generation or two. It can come back espcially if we continue bringing in new queens with the trait to pass on to the ferral colonies in the area.

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