randy oliver article in january '17 abj
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  1. #1
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    Default randy oliver article in january '17 abj

    i decided to spend $16 out of this year's honey proceeds and signed up for an online subscription to the american bee journal as a Christmas present to myself.

    i was mostly interested in reading randy's latest article about breeding mite resistant bees and was too impatient to wait for the free reading on his website.

    the online abj version is really nice although it took me a little while to learn how to navigate it. lots of very good stuff in there.

    the oliver article is pretty compelling and i especially liked the way he phrased his motivation and admonition to the industry:

    "I feel that the time has come to present the argument that we should finally get serious about dealing with varroa. For thirty years we’ve been managing The Varroa Problem with flyswatters and Band-Aids. We could make beekeeping so much easier if we, as an industry, worked together to shift the genetics of the North American bee population toward stocks that were able to manage varroa on their own."

    randy oliver, american bee journal, january 2017
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: randy oliver article in january '17 abj

    Mr Oliver makes the magazine worth the price. Yes better bees need developed. They are not developed by hobbyists and true belivers letting bees die from mites untreated again and again. I medicate and feed all my livestock but I still encorporate bees from resistent stock into my apiary.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: randy oliver article in january '17 abj

    The wheels have already been set in motion, concerted effort? no, but an effort none the less.
    The reality of the situation as I see it is it's a whole lot more popular for all involved to continuously talk about varroa than to do something about them, a whole lot easier too. Same with resistant bees.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: randy oliver article in january '17 abj

    Agreed; in principle.
    The problem is two-fold.

    #1. How can "The industry" stop everything and develop the resistant bee? If I were a commercial beekeeper how do I suddenly switch to all resistant bees.....which don't exist yet on that kind of scale? And who pays the bills while we work together to shift the genetics?
    We could make beekeeping so much easier if we, as an industry, worked together to shift the genetics of the North American bee population toward stocks that were able to manage varroa on their own."
    Sounds great, but the devil is in the "how"?

    #2. Because of the way queens mate the task of developing the resistant bee is made Herculean. How in the world would 'we, as an industry' saturate the entire country with resistant drones to keep the genetic lines pure enough? Artificial insemination cannot be done on such a scale as of yet.

    I love Randy Oliver but this is a head scratcher.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: randy oliver article in january '17 abj

    Quote Originally Posted by Arnie View Post
    I love Randy Oliver but this is a head scratcher.
    yep, can't wait to see what he comes up with in his forthcoming articles. i'm guessing he'll suggest that more of us get our hands dirty with the selection process and queen rearing.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #6
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    Default Re: randy oliver article in january '17 abj

    If the "mite resistant" bees that I have experience with are any indication of things to come; no thanks!
    Hot tempered, swarmy and small winter clusters.

    Many of us worry that queen breeders are taking so much pressure from beekeepers for mite resistance, that all of the good traits that we have developed in apiculture for hundreds of years could get swept away.

    For now, I am going to continue to graft from the best hives in our outfit and focus on gentile, productive hives that keep the lights on.
    My opinion is a little different than Randy's.
    I think that our main problem with varroa is that WE DON'T KNOW WHAT WE ARE DOING!

    The answer to varroa control is around the corner, out of sight, and has not come into view just yet.
    And when it does, we will look back at all of our flailing and floundering and just shake our heads.

    Will all of the good genetics we need in our bees, all be bred out by then?
    We need to weigh things a little more carefully, in my opinion.
    I have exactly ONE more hive than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond dispute!

  8. #7
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    Default Re: randy oliver article in january '17 abj

    Two items come to mind? Both issued with a note of scepticism mIght I add based on our own attempts at Varroa reduction through breeding. .

    1. What quantifiable provable progress has he made in this regards with his own operation if it is actually feasible?

    2. If possible what honest glimmers of hope have we even seen on the scene the past 30 years? Anywhere in the world that is.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: randy oliver article in january '17 abj

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    yep, can't wait to see what he comes up with in his forthcoming articles. i'm guessing he'll suggest that more of us get our hands dirty with the selection process and queen rearing.
    I'm all on board with that. But I think it will be a long process.
    We tried treatment free here with absolute failure. As soon as the second generation queens go out to mate, there goes the resistance. I don't have the stomach for constant colony death.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: randy oliver article in january '17 abj

    Quote Originally Posted by Arnie View Post
    I don't have the stomach for constant colony death.
    These are the exact words I have thought many times. Beekeepers do not have the stomachs for the down and dirty efforts required for actual breeding efforts. It is not pretty and as Harry wrote, production traits need to be balanced against "improvements".
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
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  11. #10
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    Default Re: randy oliver article in january '17 abj

    When SMR came out , I bought breeder queens and brought that into my outfit. When Russians were released I bought breeder queens and brought that into my outfit. I bought Minnesota Hygienics breeders, Purvis queens , and others. Guess what? I am no closer to good mite resistant bees than when I started.
    Too much hype and fairy tales in this business.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: randy oliver article in january '17 abj

    I believe the answer lies in a different approach for hobbyists and small sideliners like myself. We are not under the same fiscal pressures as commercial beekeepers, and do not need to have a constant return on investment.

    I have found that by making replacement splits under the Disselkoen method, and raising them in 5 over 5 frame nucs following Michael Palmers principles (as best as I can) has enabled me to replace winter losses with my own stock without resort to chemical treatments. I didn't know that these methods are a subset of Biotechnical control. A term which "is now often used to describe non-chemical mite control methods. There are a number of beekeeping management practices that are likely to affect mite populations, but biotechnical control can probably best be defined as beekeeping management techniques specifically designed to reduce mite levels in a colony." If you are interested in Biotechnical mite control strategies there is more to be read in this excellent old pdf from New Zealand.
    http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/files...rroa-guide.pdf Drone brood removal is another type of Biotechnical control.

    If, or when, the next badass invasive mite gets here - Tropilaelaps clareae - there will be a lot of interest in biotechnical control as Vietnamese beekeepers deal with both Varroa and Tropolaelaps by using biotechnical methods - see 12.6 of the resource for how they do it.
    The constant monitoring and treating that scientists and the commercial industry recommends sucks the fun out of beekeeping for hobbyists and does not fit in with their views of "organic/natural/locally grown food" - who wants to run an ICU in their backyard to produce honey? I don't.

    I would like to see ABJ and Bee Culture devote more print to biotechnical methods and hope that Randy investigates them. In the meantime I will continue to work on refining Biotechnical methods that work here in Wisconsin and keep incorporating stock that has resistance as I find it or buy it.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: randy oliver article in january '17 abj

    "splits under the Disselkoen method, and raising them in 5 over 5 frame nucs following Michael Palmers principles (as best as I can)....I would like to see ABJ and Bee Culture devote more print to biotechnical methods and hope that Randy investigates them....beekeeping management techniques specifically designed to reduce mite levels in a colony."
    Like you I have been following Mel's and Mike's method. Then add one of my own now. Removing mite infested cap brood frames into another colony is a way of Biotechnical control. Do it early enough before the Spring build up is on. Taking advantage of the long live winter bees will give you more time to reduced the mite level doing it a few time. It is all down to the timing!
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  14. #13
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    Default Re: randy oliver article in january '17 abj

    And now I read in the Alberta Bee News, an article from Aarhus University's Science Daily that claims that Deformed wing virus can be transferred to queens from infected drones during mating.
    Did you know that?

    "The results showed that queens that had mated with drones infected with deformed wing virus also often became infected with the disease. Virus was found in both the sexual organs and other body parts of the queens."

    We are attempting to solve a problem that we poorly understand.
    Usually, the first step in problem solving is clearly understanding the problem.

    WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT!!

    Although I probably do not know anything more than you, here is my prediction:

    The final solution to varroa will have nothing at all to do with our queens or genetics.
    It will probably have nothing to do with bees.

    The solution will come from better understanding mites and their natural enemies and predators.
    At this point we are shooting in the dark without a clue.

    Let's start thinking out of the box and start turning on our brains.
    We can do it!!
    I have exactly ONE more hive than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond dispute!

  15. #14
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    Default Re: randy oliver article in january '17 abj

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...1004104622.htm

    I was wondering how they tested and it appears they used open mating. I'm not sure how they implemented the control; it seems that it would be difficult.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: randy oliver article in january '17 abj

    I have on many occasion! Attack the problem from multiple angles like oav and oacs, took out the cap brood
    frames, cut the mites in half with a small sharp razor. Been thinking about applying the grind up oa powder to
    a fine dust for dusting the bees. Or sprinkle the fine dust on the glycerine strips to put inside the brood nest all
    winter long. Once I decided to go treatment again then the oacs making machine will be turn on again. In the mean
    time my mite level is manageable. Let's see how they do on the early Spring build up.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  17. #16
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    Default Re: randy oliver article in january '17 abj

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Quiney WI View Post
    If you are interested in Biotechnical mite control strategies there is more to be read in this excellent old pdf from New Zealand.
    http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/files...rroa-guide.pdf
    One of the best guides I've found so far. Thank you very much!

  18. #17
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    Default Re: randy oliver article in january '17 abj

    Quote Originally Posted by texanbelchers View Post
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...1004104622.htm

    I was wondering how they tested and it appears they used open mating. I'm not sure how they implemented the control; it seems that it would be difficult.
    When a queen has sex with many different partners, it can increase her risk of infection with venereal disease. It can also lead to the collapse of her colony. This might read like ingredients for a juicy novel, but for bees it is reality.
    sure and that must be why they pulled all the antibiotics effective Jan 1, 2017
    mike syracuse ny
    Whatever you subsidize you get more of. Ronald Reagan

  19. #18
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    Default Re: randy oliver article in january '17 abj

    I am with Harry, I think the answer we need will be found via Varroa research. Dr. Cameron Jack in Florida has finally come up with some methods for culturing Varroa in the lab...the lack of this technique has so far made it very hard to study these little pests. Now we can start moving forward, and should see some research money flowing into Varroa research rather than bee genome research.

    There is nothing wrong with the bee genome, but I don't think it lends itself to tinkering such that it can ever become Varroa proof. And proof it must be as even small Varroa loads bring big impacts. There is some promise that we can at least make sure the Varroa we host are carrying benign viruses, but that is a daunting challenge as well, infected all Varroa world-wide with benign viral loads.

    Bee mating and gene transfer is one big obstacle, and the relative rapidity with which Varroa can evolve in response to selective pressure is the other. The third obstacle is that we have to believe we can actually get rid of Varroa if we put our minds to it. We seem to be able to extinguish species effectively, by accident. Let's make Varroa the first one we eradicate by design.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: randy oliver article in january '17 abj

    Thinking Star Wars technology, a device that uses some type of wave link that would kill only the varrora mite off the bee as it enters the hive. It would replace the entrance reducer that we use today. This way all bee keepers would use it and not lose any income or bees to varroa. Probably wishful thinking.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: randy oliver article in january '17 abj

    Re varroa research: below is a copy of a letter I sent to my colleagues at the ESHPA in NY outlining a talk I attended by Samuel Ramsey in Nov '16. He and the vanEngelsdorp lab seem to be on the right track:


    I attended the monthly meeting of the LI Bee Club this weekend. The guest speaker was Samuel Ramsey a entomologist in vanEngelsdorp's lab at the U of Maryland.
    The topic was Varroa destructor.
    Maybe you will find his research interesting:

    Samuel Ramsey, entomologist U of Maryland vanEngelsdorp lab.

    Varroa destructor current research.


    > Nearly all feral bees wiped out by varroa

    > VM feed on something more than hemolymph. Mite frass is 95% amino acids with very little water content. Less amino acids and more water content would be expected with hemolymph feeding. Further, the ratio of egg size to mother mite size appears to be one of the largest known, and eggs are laid every 30 hrs. Nutrition from something other than hemolymph is required to explain these points.

    >VM are observed feeding on the abdomen of bees, contrary to many photos showing them located on the thorax.

    >Biostains were used to determine the source of the VM food. Hemolymph and the Fat Body of the bee were stained different colors by feeding live bees in the lab. Lab raised live VM were introduced to the bees, observed feeding on the bees, removed and dissected. The VM had 80% more Fat Body stain color than hemolymph stain color.

    >Fat Body tissue found in the abdomen of the honey bee is responsible for growth and development, metamorphosis, nutrient storage, mobilization, metabolic activity, water loss and osmoregulation, temperature regulation, protein synthesis, vitellogenisis and immune function of the bee. Depleted or damaged Fat Body severely effects the function of the tissue and ultimately the health of the bee.

    >Vitellogen consumed by the VM when feeding on the Fat Body of the honey bee is utilized directly by the VM for reproductive egg formation without alteration.


    There are potential practical applications of this research by creating a miticide delivery mechanism via vitellogen. Monsanto has shown keen interest in this soon to be published research and has contacted the lab regarding the research.

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