Don't think for a second that the bond method is just as capable or simpler than MAS. The end results can be the same as the bond method just weeds out the markers that aren't working anyways. MAS selection really helps you get down to the nitty gritty quickly, but you need to know what you're looking for and what you have. The bond method is just sloppy as you may lose other desirable traits in the short or long run where MAS would help you maintain the whole package while looking for what you want or need at the same time. Also, MAS is used more to integrate genes from wild species into commercial lines, which doesn't really translate well into bees. It has some use in finding what you're looking for though, but you would just be screening other peoples bees for markers you wanted or it could tell you if your bees had the favorable or known markers associated with certain genes.
The only thing about that paper, not sure if they even used real markers as I haven't heard of many being developed for bees. I didn't read the whole thing though, but since it was a case study, and based on 20 colonies or something, I take it with a grain of salt. Right now, most of us could only use phenotypic selection of FAS as they call it but if they do get some markers identified it would be useful for queen breeders to get some good solid genetic data on their lines.
The model in this study is a bit simplistic. The adaptive target is static for instance. In real life there will be shifts even in local situations without much genetic in migration. In a commercial migratory system, there will be wild swings in the adaptive landscape and any system will fail in these circumstances, probably without much predictability in the short term. We still haven't come to grips with this concept.
In my situation, with bond the base line of selection, I would hope to use MAS to characterize my population of bees both in terms of whether a given marker is there or not, and its relative frequency in the population. Using this information, I can bring in queens with markers absent in my local population and see what bond and my selection does to them. A scientific tool to understanding natural selection at work using bees as a model. We can also by detailed tracking of the pathogen environment, see how population genetics respond to a shifting adaptive landscape. If we can do this to different bee populations, we could get a sense of how variable and volatile adaptive landscapes are, and maybe model what happens with various amounts of artificial bee(pathogen) movement.
Last edited by lharder; 12-27-2017 at 11:02 PM. Reason: bad writing
So after a long absence (I've been busy with renovations and life) I'm back for a bit. Looks like a very busy summer ahead.
I've had a chance to go through some bees.
First the bad news. Late nucs I started in August were a disaster. 5 of 17. They were under alot of robbing pressure during a severe drought. The middling nucs were devastated by skunks at one site and I expect poor survival of the 20 i have out there.
At home I lost 2 of 4 second year hive. I still have one hive continuously occupied for 4 winters I believe. I starting to lose track.
At one of my country locations I have 14 of 19 survive, all with pretty good clusters. Breaking it down 5 of 6 early nucs, and 9 of 13 2 year old hives. At my other country location I had 11 of 16 survive. 1 of 2 nucs (one nuc that died was set back by a bear) and 10 of 14 second year hives. All the second year clusters that made it are decent to very strong. I didn't mark queens so I don't have a good handle on how many supercedures took place. Quite a few clusters occupying 2 medium boxes and spilling into a 3rd. Overall the bees are much stronger than last year and I'll have lots to choose from for making queens compared to last year. A few of the strong clusters were light and I added food. The decent clusters were just competent looking. Still had lots of food for spring.
The long term project is still a go, and a protocol is in place. Looks some other interesting side projects are also possible. Somehow I need to free up some time to take more data. At least some of my queens will be marked going forward. And yes I'll probably spend some time counting mites and tracking weight gain.
way to go lharder, many thanks for the update!
marking queens and a few more mite counts are on my list to to do's for 2018 as well.
Not a bad report, Leroy. Best to you!
I checked my skunk ravaged nucs. Only 6 of 24 made it. I'm guessing if it wasn't for the skunk I would have had 10 or so more hives. I also checked a couple of hives I had left at someone i was helping get started. I wasn't expecting anything as they were weak nucs coming out of last winter. My mentee thought they were dead as he hadn't noticed any activity. Popped the lids and bees came spilling out. I think that brings my hive total to 42 or 44 this year. Last year I had 35 going into spring and sold 7 nucs. Considering the poor nuc year, I'm happy the 2nd year hives have picked up the slack.
Checked a couple hives yesterday. I have a couple micronucs I wanted to shake some nurse bees into. I have a number of hives that are in 4 medium 8 frame boxes already. They were strong coming out of winter as nucs, and are strong again after their second winter. They have just produced their first crop of drones. Many of my hives were just sitting there since I last reported. They don't have much brood and seem to be waiting for spring and fresh pollen. They are bringing in big quantities now and imagine they will build up finally. Two distinct strategies. The boomers (who would be in danger of running out of food if I didn't add it) and the bet hedgers. One would be able to take advantage of empty cavities by swarming early, but run the risk of running out of food. The others have lots of food, but may miss out during the early swarm season.
kind of neat to have both so all bases are covered and equalizing for production is pretty straight forward.
i have only been wintering established colonies so far and haven't had a case of boomer running out of honey, but i can see how a nuc could if the weather turned unfavorable.
I don't like to equalize as I think it messes with my selection process, but I would like to see a smaller range of difference. My thinking is that a lot of this (and loss of small nucs) is down to robbing. I've never see large scale fighting but I see a lot of minor tussling and obviously sneaky slipping in, and I reckon sneaky and more hard-nosed thieving out of lesser colonies is rampant. Rather than go for evening up I'm going to try distance between large and small and robbing screens this year.
The race isn't always to the swift, nor the fight to the strong, but that's the way to bet
The "early bloomer" - a Southern trend rather (again, bad or good depending).
In the historic homeland, honey bees are still mostly confined to their own origins (though less so now than in the past).
Meanwhile, N. America is a proverbial "melting pot" for both people and the bees and this is what we get all over the place.
PS: as of this season, "late bloomers" in my place are better off; no spring in sight yet. In total we had 3-4 good flying days for the year 2018.
Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.
Everything gets darker, as it goes to where there is less light. Darrel Tank (5PM drawing instructor)
Seeing the quote about equalization reminded me of the 2 Keith Delaplane lectures I've seen recently.
Dr. D, who heads up the UGA bee lab, has a grant to study polyandry, and is excited about the new project. I'm not going to steal his thunder and I don't have access to his slide-deck, but one of the discussion points talked about during his lecture was how equalization can mimic the effects of polyandry (multiple mating).
So, the research shows that queens who mate with more males have generally better outcomes... better growth, better pest resistance, better disease resistance, better foraging. So, unless we artificially inseminate, how do we make sure our promiscuous queens mate with 30 dudes? (Anyone answering "buy them a drink" will be banned by Squarepeg for a week... I'm just saying... don't do it)
During a Q and A, Dr. Delaplane mused that rotating frames of brood around an apiary might have the same effect as prolific mating. Let's say you have 3 queens, each with 10 patrilines (unique mating partners). These are "ok" but not "great" mated queens. Now, move one frame clockwise from each hive. Each hive now has 20 patrilines. Now, rotate a frame counter-clockwise for each hive. Now you are at 30 patrilines per hive, and are mimicing heroically mated queens. (Disregard patriline overlap and some other pesky nuances... the point is you have more and different bees in each hive now).
The point being: what if only 1 of your 3 queens has some kind of hygienic behavior or a special defense against a virus? Well... after our big experiment, all your colonies have the benefit of that.
This was very exciting to me personally. I don't plan on buying a AI rig any time soon, and like most of us just "hope for the best" during mating. But, I've seen equalized hives really take off in the past. Now I'm wondering if there was more effect there than just "more bees" which I always assume was the whole difference. Maybe I was improving the genetic outcome of the colony by giving them some "adopted sisters".
But now you don't know which queens are the more resistant, and can't pick out the winners for genetic material going forward. Nor do the winners make more drones to move the better genes forward.
I might consider it in a production-only apiary, a long way from my mating apiary. Without that caution I think its another in a long list of foolhardy things to do that weaken bees through messing with (instead of supporting) the all-important selection processes.
The race isn't always to the swift, nor the fight to the strong, but that's the way to bet