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  1. #81
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    Default Re: a little scientific involvement with TF bees.

    It was my thought as well that it could have an influence. I will try to investigate and report.

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  3. #82
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    Default Re: a little scientific involvement with TF bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Juhani Lunden View Post
    Supercedure can reduce mite count 90% in my experience. Donīt ask where they go, maybe to other hives.
    Absolutely. The important principle to appreciate: selection of pre-adaptations (frequent supersedure) will occur far more rapidly than exotic mechanisms (such as VSH based on recessive traits). The simplest mechanism out competes complex and delicate ones, in the absence of directed breeding.

    In a "Keefuss-type aka Bond" trial, you have a race to the bottom. Hives swarm frequently, supercede, and shrink in pre-swarm size. The bee go "feral", in the same way a plow horse is no thoroughbred.

    Repeatedly, the discussion on this forum falls into the "Ascent of Man" fallacy that bedevils popular and amateur genetics. This is belief that evolution always makes things "more perfect" (which of course has Perfect defined as utility for man). NO, NO, NO... Evolution promotes "whatever works" -- and small, swarmy, non-productive hives work just fine for the bees.

  4. #83
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    Default Re: a little scientific involvement with TF bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    The important principle to appreciate: selection of pre-adaptations (frequent supersedure) will occur far more rapidly than exotic mechanisms (such as VSH based on recessive traits). The simplest mechanism out competes complex and delicate ones, in the absence of directed breeding.
    Do you have any scientific backing for this John? It seem to me that some advantages may be seen first, but natural selection doesn't stop once its over the first hurdle. It continues, fine-tuning toward the best adapted - the strains displaying the best collections of mechanisms leading to efficient conversion of energy resources to viable offspring.

    What makes you think frequent swarming is 'simpler' than any other mite management mechanism?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    In a "Keefuss-type aka Bond" trial, you have a race to the bottom. Hives swarm frequently, supercede, and shrink in pre-swarm size. The bee go "feral", in the same way a plow horse is no thoroughbred.
    Nonsense. You have a perfectly natural elimination of the least well adapted, leading to a population inheriting the strength-providing characteristics. Where on earth do you get this stuff? Plough horses btw are bred for ploughing!

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    Repeatedly, the discussion on this forum falls into the "Ascent of Man" fallacy that bedevils popular and amateur genetics.
    You just made this one up too didn't you (nothing comes up on google)

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    This is belief that evolution always makes things "more perfect"
    'More perfect' is a nonsense. Perfection is absolute - something is either perfect or it isn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    (which of course has Perfect defined as utility for man).
    It does? I'd have thought that in this forum (non-treatment section) the understanding that bees are best bred for independent health was at least as strong as any tendency toward utility.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    NO, NO, NO... Evolution promotes "whatever works" -- and small, swarmy, non-productive hives work just fine for the bees.
    And within (if I grant you that early outcome) the community of small swarmy hives, individuals will compete resulting in strains that can convert available energy to viable offspring better. Some of those will be larger (since that provides is a standing advantage in bees).

    Evolution promotes what works best, according to that criteria.

    My bees are largely naturally adapted (over just 20 years, in the face of disruption from treating beekeepers), and show no signs whatever of excess swarminess. They're not all as large and productive as I'd like them, but I think that's always been the case - more uniform productivity is one of the primary aims of breeding - precisely because it doesn't happen naturally..

    Mike (UK)
    The race isn't always to the swift, nor the fight to the strong, but that's the way to bet

  5. #84
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    Default Re: a little scientific involvement with TF bees.

    The UBC research group came out today to do their last sampling of the year (mites and virus) and to access clusters and get a weight going into winter. 9 of the original 12 (3 dropped out because of supercedure) were sampled. 8 of 9 had viable clusters with maybe 3 with large clusters. I should be getting official data on this as well. One has gone downhill drastically, and had lots of mites on the bottom board. I forget which number it is but will relay that info when I get a chance. I have them all to a reasonable weight for winter, and they have their insulated telescoping cover, the extent of their winter protection. I think I am more or less done with that yard.

  6. #85
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    Default Re: a little scientific involvement with TF bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by lharder View Post
    The UBC research group came out today...
    can you share what the year end sampling revealed?

    where do you stand at this point in terms of colonies going into winter and losses so far?
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #86
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    Default Re: a little scientific involvement with TF bees.

    See, without having a method to remove the mites off the colony, all winter long when they are in
    clustered mode will crashed the colony. At early Spring build up if the colony is overwhelmed by the
    mites then they will have a hard time building up the hive population leading to an eventual hive crashed.
    I won't be repeating this same mistakes again this year. Better to take the mites out of the cap frames early on.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  8. #87
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    Default Re: a little scientific involvement with TF bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by beepro View Post
    See, without having a method to remove the mites off the colony, all winter long when they are in
    clustered mode will crashed the colony. At early Spring build up if the colony is overwhelmed by the
    mites then they will have a hard time building up the hive population leading to an eventual hive crashed.
    I won't be repeating this same mistakes again this year. Better to take the mites out of the cap frames early on.
    Letting them do things their own way is how you find out which colonies can keep mite numbers low going into winter, keep them low coming out again. Its also how you can easily eliminate the genes of those colonies that can't do that.

    Transferring what will happen with mite-vulnerable bees to resistant ones doesn't work. Some bees have what it takes to get through and build again, and its finding them, and multiplying them, and eliminating the rest that TF beekeeping hinges on.

    Mike (UK)
    The race isn't always to the swift, nor the fight to the strong, but that's the way to bet

  9. #88
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    Default Re: a little scientific involvement with TF bees.

    I'm still waiting for data and will share it when I get it. The research field team has been working hard this fall into the holiday season. They have survey hives near Vancouver where it is considerably warmer compared to the interior of BC where I am.

    Out of the 12 original hives, 11 had viable clusters. 3 dropped out of the sample population because of supercedure. 4 more splits were put out there in fall. So 15/16 started the winter with survival potential. I haven't checked them recently. Its been cold. We've had probably 2 solid weeks of -15 to -20 C. Some of my hives at home have little frost beards above the upper entrances. Warmed a bit to -10 but still not at temperatures where I want to pop lids and disturb things. For comparison, average highs this time of year are in the -1 C area. I'm waiting for some 10 C or so weather to do a late winter assessment whenever that comes.
    Last edited by lharder; 01-06-2017 at 10:46 AM.

  10. #89
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    Default Re: a little scientific involvement with TF bees.

    sounds really good lharder, thanks for the update.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  11. #90
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    Default Re: a little scientific involvement with TF bees.

    What is the goal? To identify the most resistant hives with the least amount of hive resources used going tf! In this case using 8 nuc hives not 300 hives.

    As far as I know, there are 2 ways to check for resistance. The old traditional let them die hard bond method. Doing it your way as suggested to eliminate the entire hive without the resistant. Or my method to let them build up resistant again by removing 95% of the mites during the winter time. The parents coming from the mite resistant apiary already. All summer long leading up to mid-Oct. with no treatment. The resistant hives will build up to 3-4 frames strong in a few winter months with sugar and patty subs feeding while the less resistant bees just dwindling away. I blamed it on the queens not strong enough to recover. Some strong queens, needing in a hurry for winter survival, do not care as they just laid away and allow whatever the bees can keep up with warming the broods. This is not your normal way I know! With 4 frame of bees coming out of our mild winter environment, they will build up into strong colony by May. I will stop feeding once our early flow begins. The hives that don't have this ability to recover fast enough will not make it in my breeder queen selection process. Of the 8 nuc hives using my method of resistance testing, 3 are already dead (one queen I made them balled her, 2 went missing from the hives) and 2 showing a high re-infestation rate that they cannot rebuild the hive population fast enough. Of the 3 surviving colonies that showed a high re-population rate each of 3-4 frame of bees now with low mite levels, they are the ones that I will take grafts from during the early Spring queen rearing days as well as making some flying drones too. The other 2 survivors even though not that strong still showed that they can withstand the mites somewhat here. Every year we have the usual arctic chills flowing our way and this year is no exception either snowing in the higher elevation areas. This is my 2nd years testing them with this method. It is better than leaving the hive died in the middle of winter when the wax moths completely destroyed the precious drawn frames. During the real warm Spring build up time if none show any sign of resistance then they will not have it in them. Don't just test them from one angle. Evaluate them from multiple angles to see how resistant they are. 62.5% survival rate is not too bad, eh. Like they said there is more than one way to skin a cat!


    Hive with laying away queens:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by beepro; 01-06-2017 at 11:42 PM.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  12. #91
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    Default Re: a little scientific involvement with TF bees.

    So its been colder than normal here this winter. Three stretches of -20 C lows of a few days without any cleansing flight weather in between. I noticed quite a bit of frost build up above and sometimes in the upper entrance of the hives. So with the cold weather yesterday, I decided to take the opportunity to do an informal survey using this fact.

    At home, 2 of 4 hives in big boxes had upper entrance frost. 1 queen is going into her 3rd winter and the rest are new queens. Of 11 nucs, 9 had evidence of life.

    At my Heffley Creek site I have 16 hives in 10 or 8 frame boxes. Its in a fairly sheltered spot and 14 had frost, one with a trace. I had to clear some entrances out. 9 (now 8) were going into their 2nd winter. 3 are 2nd winter hives that had superceded this summer, the rest new splits from last spring. Looking ok though I am concerned about their stores as they will be going through lots.

    My nuc site is a bit different. More exposed, more sun, more wind, some extra ventilation with the inner covers. About half had frost, but I didn't get the sense that this technique was going to be accurate here. I suspect that a larger proportion of nucs have died at this site but will have to wait to pop some inner covers to verify. 2 nucs had some dysentery at the top entrance. Am a bit more concerned about this site. The nuc site had 30 nucs going into winter.
    Last edited by lharder; 01-13-2017 at 12:04 PM. Reason: addition

  13. #92
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    Default Re: a little scientific involvement with TF bees.

    excellent report lharder, thanks for keeping us updated.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  14. #93
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    Default Re: a little scientific involvement with TF bees.

    So I popped a few lids in my back yard yesterday. 8 of 11 nucs are still kicking, but the cold weather has beaten them down. Not so many bees, but I wasn't able to dig down so they may be deeper in the 3 box stack. One had a very nice cluster in the top box. So not so good overall with a bit of delusional wiggle room for hope. At least we have some mild barely above freezing weather for the next while.

    Of my 4 hives in larger boxes, 2 had died. Both didn't have many bees in them, probably a mite/virus collapse. These were queens going into their first winter. The other 2 had nice clusters in the top box with lots of food. One is doing nicely in its 3rd year.

    All hives had no moisture on the sides and inner cover. So at least that is ok.

    I'm going to go out today and check my big hive site and bring some food with me. Last I checked, 14 of 16 had evidence of life so I want to check moisture and food reserves and see where the clusters are. If time allows will check my nuc site as well.

  15. #94
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    Default Re: a little scientific involvement with TF bees.

    I checked the rest of my hives yesterday. It was about 6 C. I just pop the top lid off, and if the bees are deeper take a frame or 2 out so I can see deeper in the box. A few bees were flying. 11 of 16 at one site still kicking though I think a couple more will drop out. Looks like that last cold snap did some in. 22 of 30 nucs still going. Think some more will drop out there too. But there were some with nice clusters. Maybe 50 % overall by the time the first pollen comes in? Looks like another warmish day today. Fingers crossed for a good cleansing flight.

    Food is good, moisture excellent. In a couple weeks I'll put feeding shims on the strongest clusters and put frames of food from deadouts directly on them.

  16. #95
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    Default Re: a little scientific involvement with TF bees.

    So instead of a week, I decided to go out again today and put feeding rims and frames of food on my strongest clusters. Better safe than sorry. While my survival won't be great, I'm very pleased at the strength of some of the clusters in both my 2nd year hives and the nucs. Certainly not dwindling like JW reports for his site. I'll have something to work with. Getting excited for 2017.

    I got a note from UBC, and I should be getting the final fall mite count shortly.

  17. #96
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    Default Re: a little scientific involvement with TF bees.

    So here are the mite count numbers including the fall numbers

    Varroa count- Leroy
    Colony Mites per Hundred Bees- round 1 round 2 round 3
    1147 0.626078133 2.212429379 15
    1148 0.521543986 0.525382756 1
    1149 1.260125034 0 11
    1150 0.583511523 2.448375154 8
    1151 0 3.423785595 10
    1152 0.618256051 6.099753695 14
    1153 4.890953 2.142334282 9
    1154 0.349433512 2.070519099 7
    1155 0.424164994 0 -
    1156 0.696279845 0 -
    1157 1.893210283 1.192315637 -
    1158 1.226117103 0.769450549 -

    Round 1: 05/09/2016
    Round 2: 07/25/2016
    Round 3: ​10/13/2016

    The last four hives superceded but had clusters going into winter. I have 11 out of 16 surviving out there last I checked, but don't have hive numbers. I will attach that data after I go out there next.

    It looks like the first 2 samplings aren't that important as most of the mites must be in the brood. Its when the colony shrinks in fall that mites counts really become significant. Except for possibly one, its doesn't look like these bees are super aggressive getting rid of mites. It will be interesting to see the mite mauling data when it comes. I think I really need to do a spring mite count to see what happened to mites over winter.

  18. #97
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    Default Re: a little scientific involvement with TF bees.

    1148 looks interesting. Now the question is what kind of colony has it been over the past year and does the cluster look good for spring.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  19. #98
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    Default Re: a little scientific involvement with TF bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    1148 looks interesting. Now the question is what kind of colony has it been over the past year and does the cluster look good for spring.
    Yes, the info is a little piece meal. I hope to consolidate it in some way so the info can be understood in context. There is more coming, so the context only grows richer.

  20. #99
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    Default Re: a little scientific involvement with TF bees.

    AutumnMite.jpeg

    The summer mite colony data reasonably predicts the autumn mite tally (a 5x expansion). The regression is improved by taking a "max" value of the spring and summer numbers. In other words, baseline load reasonably predicts the autumn maximum.
    Good reason to eliminate mites early in the baseline period (and/or use minimum baseline number as a split selection criteria) to avoid winter losses.

  21. #100

    Default Re: a little scientific involvement with TF bees.

    Quote Originally Posted by lharder View Post
    So here are the mite count numbers including the fall numbers

    Varroa count- Leroy
    Colony Mites per Hundred Bees- round 1 round 2 round 3
    1147 0.626078133 2.212429379 15
    1148 0.521543986 0.525382756 1
    1149 1.260125034 0 11
    1150 0.583511523 2.448375154 8
    1151 0 3.423785595 10
    1152 0.618256051 6.099753695 14
    1153 4.890953 2.142334282 9
    1154 0.349433512 2.070519099 7
    1155 0.424164994 0 -
    1156 0.696279845 0 -
    1157 1.893210283 1.192315637 -
    1158 1.226117103 0.769450549 -

    Round 1: 05/09/2016
    Round 2: 07/25/2016
    Round 3: ​10/13/2016

    .
    Why do they report results with such a vast number of decimals? The accuracy is ridiculous.

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