Re: Commercial beekeeping and the historical decreasing use of harsh to soft treatmen
The work Rothenbuhler did with hygienic behavior did not directly correlate with mite tolerance and at the time it was done was only intended to find out if breeding could solve the major problem with AFB that was a nationwide scourge in the 1920's and 1930's. Unfortunately, they found that inbreeding is the achilles heel of honeybees as the more they inbred for hygienic traits, the more susceptible the bees became to EFB. I would argue an article in the May 1936 Gleanings that described finding two highly AFB tolerant colonies presaged most of the hygienic research and showed that hygienic bees are possible.
Who can tell me what the original research that was done many years before mites that guided scientist into the development of Varroa mite resistant bees??? TED
I will still stand by the statement that Brother Adam's account of breeding for tracheal mite tolerance precedes the hygienic research and is more directly correlated with the problems we have now with varroa. We now are reasonably sure that tracheal mite tolerance is a combination of higher pilosity and increased grooming/allogrooming behavior. I suspect that varroa tolerance is going to be linked to shorter brood development time, increased grooming behavior, and hygienic traits for removal of infested brood.
The problem with highly hygienic bees is that they start uncapping and removing excessive amounts of brood. Eventually they have to be outcrossed or they will remove so much brood that the colony dwindles and dies. Hygienic behavior has a part to play in mite tolerance, but it will be contributory, other traits will have more significant effects.
I did a little more digging to find some older references. The first mention I could find for grooming/allogrooming behavior in Apis Cerana was by Peng in 1987. This was followed by a description of hygienic cell cleaning of infested worker brood by Rath and Drescher in 1990. This was followed by numerious observations that shorter development times led to varroa reproductive failure.
Rinderer summed up most of the information available on breeding for varroa tolerance in this article.
Last edited by Fusion_power; 12-05-2011 at 05:44 PM.
NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest