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Thread: Our Gene Pool

  1. #141
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    Default Re: Our Gene Pool

    Back where?

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  3. #142
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    Default Re: Our Gene Pool

    I don't know I have only heard rumors, come on its Halloween get in the spirit.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  4. #143
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    Default Re: Our Gene Pool

    What sort of rumors? Are you going to start calling me Locutus next? We are Borg. We will add your technological and biological distinctiveness to our own. Resistance is futile. Have I proven my nerditude yet?

  5. #144
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    Default Re: Our Gene Pool

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    Have I proven my nerditude yet?
    Long time ago
    ==Northumberland County Beekeeper, Trent Hills, Ontario==

  6. #145
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    Default Re: Our Gene Pool

    Locutus Parker, that has a ring to it. TED
    ALABAMA BEE COMPANY-A member of the Sioux Honey association -*Sweetening a golden tommorrow*

  7. #146
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    Default Re: Our Gene Pool

    Alright enough of that nonsense. Back to the gene pool. So are things actually getting worse, or do we just think they are?

    In my experience, in 15 years, I've gone from every hive dying of massive mite problems the first winter to just a couple hives dying the first winter of things like failed supersedures and cold starvation. Seems like it's getting a little better to me.

  8. #147
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    Default Re: Our Gene Pool

    Well if you are talking about your own bees survival rates Sol, sounds like going from zero, to the greater percentage, it's improving.

    But if we are talking about the thread topic, the gene pool, those studies linked earlier indicate it's getting narrower.

    To some people that's not worse, to some people it is.

    However got to say, after 15 years experience, and only having to look after a handful of hives, i wouldn't be expecting any losses at all every year, if mites were not a factor. (if we have to keep talking about mites).
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  9. #148
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    Default Re: Our Gene Pool

    ....and I daresay that over those 15 years, despite probably bringing in some stock from time to time (on purpose or through matings) , that your genepool is.likely narrower than it was in the past.
    deknow

  10. #149
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    Default Re: Our Gene Pool

    Just a word about "failed supersedure" there really isn't any such thing. Supersedure is when the bees decide to replace their queen, so breed a new one. After the new queen is mated and laying eggs, they will then eventually dispose of the old one. If the new queen fails to mate (rare with a supesedure cell), they'll just continue with the old queen and try again.

    What you've described as "failed supersedure" was not supersedure. If the death of the hive was queen related, it would have been some emergency situation with the queen where the queen died or stopped laying, before a replacement could be raised successfully. Been a lot more of that since mites.

    "Cold starvation", I'm assuming you mean the bees died over winter even with honey in the hive? Almost unknown in my country, due to just cold, so I can't speak with first hand experience. But some of the commercial beeks on this forum told me it's been a lot more common since mites.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  11. #150
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    Default Re: Our Gene Pool

    You are correct Oldtimer, it was failed emergency queen replacement.

    When I talk about cold starvation, it doesn't happen "over winter" as you put it, it happens "over a week in November.". Last year, of my losses, two happened in November, one queen, one cold starvation, and the other one happened in Februrary when the hive dwindled to such low numbers they froze solid.

    I so much wish I had kept better records and paid better attention back when I first started so I had better data on why they died. But that was back when I was losing most everything to varroa. Not so anymore.

    I honestly don't understand where you've come up with he idea that I shouldn't be losing hives any more or that anyone shouldn't. That doesn't even make sense. It's a near statistical impossibility no matter the mitigating circumstances. You lose hives, Ted loses hives, everybody loses hives. If I undertake a philosophy that loses a few more than you, what is that to you? I'm still succeeding in meeting the goals I set forth in my operation. And most of my bees are still alive. Why do you get to decide because of a few percent here and there?

  12. #151
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    Default Re: Our Gene Pool

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    You lose hives, Ted loses hives, everybody loses hives.
    Interesting you would assume that, it says something about what you think is normal.

    Since I got back into the hobby, around 4 years ago, I haven't lost a hive. But then, I'll deal with mites if they need it. Course if I had as many hives as Ted, I would lose some. I have the luxury of owning so few hives I just about know every bee personally LOL!

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    If I undertake a philosophy that loses a few more than you, what is that to you? I'm still succeeding in meeting the goals I set forth in my operation. And most of my bees are still alive. Why do you get to decide because of a few percent here and there?
    I don't get to decide. You do. If you are meeting your goals, that's fine.

    I think perhaps I did not express my meaning properly in the previous post. It was not a critisism of you. It was trying to express that although deaths may be ascribed to various causes, or no cause at all they "just died", mites are probably involved. IE, in the world as it was before mites, with your 15 years experience, it is unlikely (IMHO), that you would have ever lost a hive, or if so, rarely. But now, you do. My theory is it's to do with mites. All those three causes of death you've mentioned, mites can be a factor. Mites help exacerbate stresses that can make whatever else is wrong more likely to be fatal.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  13. #152
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    Default Re: Our Gene Pool

    Actually I have about 8.5 years experience but I've been on the forum for nine. I'm one of those newbees everybody talks about who starts out treatment free and fails...

    Only I didn't fail. I started with the idea that I would develop mite resistant genetics and to that end, I started with 20 hives instead of the typical one or two. Right now, I'm developing a plan for newbees that will be more inexpensive than the current typical and will introduce increase and breeding at the beginning when it can do the most good.

    Finding productive gentle mite resistant colonies can be done. But they're still a bit rare. In my experience, cross country hybrids are a possible good place to start.

  14. #153
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    Default Re: Our Gene Pool

    Oh, sorry, I took what you said in post 146 to mean you had 15 years experience.

    A plan would be good.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  15. #154
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    Default Re: Our Gene Pool

    Before mites hit, if you lost more than 10 percent of you bees in a year you were considered a very bad beekeeper. Normal was around 3-5 percent. The 30 percent loss that has been occuring over the past four years is not sustainable. The idea now is not to loose so many. Yes, Solomon ,we do loose bees. Last year it was around fifteen percent. This year maybe a little less. We loose more bees over summer than in winter due to stress caused by heat, drought, beetles, queenlessness and the fact that as commercial operators-we are hard on bees, because as much production as possible is squeezed out of the colonies. In the end, what survives the stress is a little genetically stronger than what proceeded before and a better bee is the end result. I have one advantage that all people with large numbers of colonies have-DEPTH. Depth in numbers and genetics. That fifteen percent loss can be replaced in the course of a week's work in the very early spring through splitting and making nucs. For any good plan as Solomon is proposing to work, the newbee he is assuming has a deep knowledge of honeybee biology and a grasp of beekeeping. That knowledge is only acquired with experience and working more than just a few colonies. Most commercial beekeepers that have worked bees for decades can walk up to a colony of honey bees, look at the activity at the entrance, and tell you exactly the health of the colony and what it needs management wise. TED
    ALABAMA BEE COMPANY-A member of the Sioux Honey association -*Sweetening a golden tommorrow*

  16. #155
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    Default Re: Our Gene Pool

    That's true. The greatest issue with a newbie trying to get to a treatment free management is that they haven't even learned how to manage bees in a low stress environment yet, so the high stress environment is far too advanced for them and causes great losses... which usually leads to discouragement and giving up on bee keeping completely...

    Developing a line of resistant bees with 20 basic colonies is impossible... it takes serious resources to be able to identify traits and promote them successfully within a stock, while continually selecting for production...

    I think that I mentioned it earlier, but the key to developing a serious strain (and by serious, I mean NOT one that is merely able to survive varroa and otherwise a horrible bee, but rather a bee that is productive, gentle, and responsive to simple management practices that allow it to fight varroa), is to take it one step at a time and identify the specific traits that you wish to promote from a pool of ALL productive and gentle stocks...20 colonies is just not enough to provide the necessary pool to select from, while also needing to have bee resources to be able to effectively produce multiple crosses and generations, and study colonies in order to see what each new line is becoming...

    However, as Ted has pointed out, losses can be made up easily each spring... THAT is how one can make advancements in their stocks without being devastated by losses... rapid increase... new colonies are less effected by mites unless the local mite population is very high and during summer the drift from losses can cause booming mite populations even in new colonies... so if the person is experienced enough to know how to minimize spread and get the area mite population under control, simply increasing rapidly will be a great benefit to their stocks and their ability to withstand a treatment free environment...

    If someone starts with 20 hives and jumps to 40 in spring, then to 60 in fall, surely they should come out of wither with at least 40 hives... then jump to 80 in spring and then if they wish to stop expanding, start selling off the older generations by way of producing nucs, thus continuing to make further increase even if they do not raise their colony numbers... in short, the genetics of this generation may not be able to survive mites, so you need to get daughters to take their places... by raising queens from your most productive, and resistant stocks, then using them to replace the last generation, you are advancing your number of generations that the stock has been allowed to survive while being exposed to mites... BUT as was pointed out, having the experience to know what the actual reasons for failure and reasons for success are is absolutely imperative... in many cases, people simply test their colonies for mite counts and breed from the ones that are lower... this is a mistake as the ones that are lower are usually only lower because they were slow to build up, do not travel as far to forage, and/or have swarmed excessively... some queens are "bee thieves" meaning that they are just too irresistible to other bees in the yard and thus draw in drift... these colonies may seem like they have too many bees, too many mites, and not enough production, while in reality, the bees are chewing mites in half and bringing in loads of forage per capita, but the high number of bees drifting in from other colonies are bringing in high mite loads and no forage... so someone without the experience to understand how to notice these things would assume they are poor bees, and select the colony with the low mite count nearby to breed from, but that colony is not resistant at all, but rather has lost its bees (and mites) to the pheromones of the first hive, which also leaves it appearing to have heavy stores and be gentle, due to the few bees that are left...

  17. #156
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    Default Re: Our Gene Pool

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    Oh, sorry, I took what you said in post 146 to mean you had 15
    My apologies, about 15 years ago, we were given a hive and we caught a swarm. But both died
    That winter. I didn't have bees again for a number of years, I don't consider it part of my contiguous experience.

  18. #157
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    Default Re: Our Gene Pool

    I would think that a narrowing of the genetic pool should be of great concern considering the condition of bees in the past few decades. But I also have several other things that have sent up red flags for me.

    1. The common practice of feeding bees sugar water. I am not making any claims but this one stands out as a possible problem in general nutrition.

    2. Queen Rearing practices. I suspected and have now read at least one source that supports that possibly current practices may be producing only marginally adequate queens rather than robust queens that posses their full genetic potential.

    3. The frequency at which queens / colonies are replaced. This seriously limiting the ability to monitor specific colonies for traits that would not show up for two years or more.

    Along with other concerns that cross my mind as I browse these forums.

    Leading my list of concerns as to the general health of bees today are the practices of feeding and queen rearing.Both simply strike me as having the potential for the greatest impact. Just my gut feeling and the first most obvious stones to turn over.

    Genetics may very well be one of the pieces of the puzzle. it complicates recognizing the role of genes if other methods are not allowing the genetics to even be seen.

  19. #158
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    Default Re: Our Gene Pool

    Requeening every second year instead of every year would reduce the
    inbreeding by half. Although, from what I see most beekeepers do it every
    year.
    There's 10 chefs in a kitchen and still not one will tell you how to boil water unless there's something in it for them.

  20. #159
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    Default Re: Our Gene Pool

    Requeening???? What's that? I never requeen my hives unless she disappears and they aren't making another one. Next year if my allows I plan on getting some queens from russel. I will make up nucs from existing hives and put them in there. Most of my queens have come from cutouts or swarms and survive pretty good unless I mess things up.

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