Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ? - Page 70
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  1. #1381

    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    the quote should read "geneticists
    Yes, you are right, my typo.

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  3. #1382
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Goose View Post
    I would think it is a common practice to mark the book but who knows , good help is hard to find......
    GG
    Often the used books we buy at our local 'Friends of the Library' booksale are stamped 'Discard' on the edge, but almost as often they are not.
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  4. #1383
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Juhani Lunden View Post
    VSH breeders must evaluate their work "under natural conditions", that is: without treatments.
    Juhani:

    Thank you for your helpful feedback. I sincerely appreciate it. I expect that your breeding operation materially addresses these three fundamentals.

    This also serves as a good segue into wrapping-up a final thought from Brother Adam concerning breeding for resistance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    “Is it possible to combat diseases of the honeybee by means of selective breeding? I am able to give an unqualified affirmative.” [p. 76]
    I would understand Brother Adam to believe that careful cross-breeding of honeybee subspecies would be the key to ultimately unlocking a genetic answer to the varroa (and any other nascent) threat.

    He notes, “… the decisive role in this fight [against disease] is in every case provided by select racial crosses.” [p. 67]

    But what does this look like? Here is where it gets difficult.

    From 'An Inescapable Challenge':

    "This form of breeding [racial cross-breeding] has since the beginning of time — in regard to all sections of animate creation — been Nature's way of developing more vigorous genetically endowed races and strains, to supplant those that failed to match a particular exigency, according to her maxim of “the survival of the fittest”, within the limits of the genetic potentialities at her disposal. Her endeavors were of necessity restricted to her more immediate facilities, whereas the modem bee-breeder has a worldwide choice at his command. It was likewise Nature's sole facility of combating every kind of disease. The honey bee proved in no case an exception.

    However, cross-breeding as here envisioned, as the exclusive means of securing a fully efficient genetically based resistance to Varroa jacobsoni calls for a whole series of exceptional measures, without which any attempt at a task of this kind can be regarded as futile from the very outset. Indeed, I believe very few beekeeping establishments have at their disposal the essential facilities for a task of this magnitude. This is not based on an assumption, but on a lifetime of practical experience.

    On the other hand, as we have found, a properly conducted scheme of crossbreeding can reveal genetic possibilities of which we had no inkling before at any time.

    A practical instance will make this clear. From a cross between a queen of our strain mated to French black drones we secured in the F-3 a new color break we had never seen before. Moreover, though the French black strain was extremely aggressive, we nevertheless secured a new combination which proved by far the most good-tempered bees known to us. Also, this combination proved to be practically immune to the tracheal mite, notwithstanding the fact that the French breeder was extremely susceptible to this disease. In fact, of 12 colonies headed by French sister queens, only two survived. The 10 that died perished in the middle of the summer.

    However, to secure these results we had to raise no less than 1,200 queen cells of which only 200 queens, on emerging, were retained. These were mated to handpicked drones. Following a full year's test in a normal honey-producing colony, two breeders were chosen of the original 1,200 virgin queens.

    Apart from the case cited, we also found that crossbreeding, based on Mendelian findings, presents as yet a virtually unexplored section of modern beekeeping. The reasons are obvious.


    If understood correctly, I take this to mean that Brother Adam expected that a genetic answer to the varroa mite could be created but that such a result would require extensive and sophisticated selective breeding on a magnitude sufficient to develop a critical mass of resistant genetic profiles that could be sustained.

    For my part, I continue to be hopeful (yet realistic) about the prospect that Nature herself is a sufficiently broad and sophisticated mechanism of unlocking these traits. Time will tell.
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  5. #1384
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlackBirds View Post
    I am curious what has been happening with breeder material in recent times on vsh bees.
    Lately the focus is on field tests, let the mites build up, those that have low mite counts have strong VSH trait's

    "The average mite resistance of randomly selected colonies with outcrossed queens would be expected to lie midway between the VSH and Control parents, as has been seen in prior studies (Harbo and Harris 2001; Danka et al. 2011). However, mite resistance in Pol-line bees was much closer to that of the VSH parent. The good response to V. destructor in the Pol-line population presumably arose because some queens mated with drones from relatively mite-resistant colonies in the local area, and our selection of the best performing colonies identified some of those that derived from these favorable matings. The selection we used (i.e., finding colonies with low end-of-season mite infestations) proved to be useful in lieu of the technically difficult measurements (i.e., measuring rates of hygienic removal of mite-infested brood or percentages of reproducing mites) needed to directly select for high expression of VSH. The technical methods are not well suited for use by commercial bee breeders. Our production of Pol-line honey bee stock using industry-appropriate methods may encourage adoption and further selection of mite-resistant bees with desirable beekeeping characteristics. We note however that the year-to-year and beekeeper-to-beekeeper variation in infestations underscores a need for vigilance when managing V. destructor even in bees with good mite resistance. Furthermore, we would expect rapid diminishment of resistance if Pol-line queens supersede and mate with less resistant bees in production settings.."

    Danka (2015) , Selection of VSH-derived Pol-line honey bees and evaluation of their Varroa -resistance characteristics https://www.ars.usda.gov/ARSUserFile...SH-derived.pdf
    The internet is instant, and the internet is often wrong-Kim Flottum

  6. #1385
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    However, mite resistance in Pol-line bees was much closer to that of the VSH parent.
    MSL:

    Great information. I was unaware of the 'Pol-line' moniker, so I looked it up and it looks like (based on the cited paper) that, "The selected population was
    given the name 'Pol-line Hygienic Italian honey bees' when breeding material was first distributed in 2011 by Glenn Apiaries (Fallbrook, California)."


    Understanding that the Glenns retired some time ago, I wondered what the current status of this project was.

    From the Harbo Bee Company website, I came across this, which seems to corroborate what I think the research is suggesting:

    "A valuable feature of VSH is that bees will express a high level of mite resistance when a colony contains as little as 50% of the alleles for VSH. A simple way to produce such a colony is to raise daughter queens from a VSH breeder and allow the daughters to naturally mate. This is good news for queen producers. They can rear VSH queens, mate them to any drones, and those queens will produce colonies that require no chemical control for varroa. Another benefit is that beekeepers can have mite resistant colonies without destroying their existing bee populations --populations which may be well adapted to certain locales or have desirable beekeeping qualities."

    Also, Mr. Harbo has included the following on his website which seems to go right along with what you have been talking about doing:

    "We will also begin the process of setting up a cooperative VSH breeding program, the objectives are (1) to get more queen producers involved with selection and (2) establish a robust and sustainable bee population that is constantly being selected to have the desired beekeeping qualities, foremost of which is varroa resistance. We havenít worked out the details but it may look something like this: send breeding stock to one member and receive stock from another, each year sending and receiving stock from different members. Exchanging stock in the form of virgin queens is probably the simplest, but we are open to suggestions on all aspects of this."

    Finally, I noted that VP Queen Bees now offers a VSH Pol-line 2.2 strain- wonder what the back story is on this one?

    https://vpqueenbees.com/vp-breeding-...eeding-strains
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  7. #1386
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    "We will also begin the process of setting up a cooperative VSH breeding program, the objectives are (1) to get more queen producers involved with selection and (2) establish a robust and sustainable bee population that is constantly being selected to have the desired beekeeping qualities, foremost of which is varroa resistance. We havenít worked out the details but it may look something like this: send breeding stock to one member and receive stock from another, each year sending and receiving stock from different members. Exchanging stock in the form of virgin queens is probably the simplest, but we are open to suggestions on all aspects of this."


    with hindsight being 20/20, i would have never supported giving the vsh parent stock to the USDA in the first place

  8. #1387
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    I don't under stand your point?
    The internet is instant, and the internet is often wrong-Kim Flottum

  9. #1388
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    We have definitely turned the corner here in Western Kentucky. While we still have some cold weather in the forecast, all the colonies have kicked into high gear in their pollen gathering efforts.

    The three strongest colonies in terms of population and foraging strength are:

    #1803- a 2018 hived swarm (swarmed in 2019): https://youtu.be/WO3aoKHb6R0

    #1903- a 2019 overwintered colony inherited from a neighbor (swarmed in 2019): https://youtu.be/JiivwCMPMJo

    #1912- a late 2019 trap-out (heavily fed): https://youtu.be/qgJ-JLL7W-I

    The weakest colony is #1911 (the 2019 'office' trap-out) with about three frames of bees.

    #1905 has made good progress in hauling-out the Mountain Camp feeding.

    1905 Mountain Camp (02.17.20).jpg
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  10. #1389
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Goose View Post
    Spraying a filtered tincture should work fine. Diluting should also offer a greater coverage area.
    Gray Goose:

    Alright, I finally got around to applying the propolis tincture. My experiment with the spray bottle was a big fail as I got about three squirts out before the tube got occluded- so I had to go back to the manual method of applying with a paper towel.

    In an effort to conserve resources, I decided to apply the tincture only to the interiors of brand new hive bodies and wiped it on only until achieving a light patina- but they sure smell good...

    20200221_170524.jpg 20200221_171509.jpg 20200221_171825.jpg 20200221_172325.jpg
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  11. #1390
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Yesterday's high near 70 degrees F afforded a great opportunity to take a quick peek inside the colonies to see how they were doing.

    Knock on wood, still 12 for 12, but also still plenty of opportunity for a late Winter failure here.

    Currently, all colonies are foraging as heavily as their internal resources (and weather) will allow, though the dandelion and hen bit are only blooming sporadically thus far.

    A few interesting observations:

    1. Foraging intensity doesn't necessarily correlate with cluster size- #1803 is arguably the most productive forager currently, but is definitely not the largest cluster. That prize goes to #1909, who is already drawing out fresh wax on the screened inner cover and storing fresh nectar. Interestingly, they showed a proclivity to draw on the inner cover last year too, even with ample empty volume below.

    2. The 'office' hive (#1911) is definitely the smallest cluster- While certainly not as small as the 'micro cluster' I found with #1804 last Winter, they appear to have come through in much more ragged shape than I anticipated. At this juncture I don't anticipate offering them any help, but will simply observe to see what they can do on their own.

    3. #1905 appears to now appreciate the 'Mountain Camp' feeding- I noticed last week that they seemed to be taking advantage of the feed so I added a bit more directly above the cluster (centered to the far right of the box) and it appears they have consumed most all of it. I intend to continue to feed them until nectar becomes consistently available. They are otherwise foraging fairly intensely and I am guardedly optimistic about this colony despite the poor job I did in helping them close-out last season.

    Otherwise, I have been spending my spare hours putting together a few more hive stands and getting swarm traps ready.

    When I have some more time, I'll follow with my 2020 apiary goals.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  12. #1391
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Hey russ
    My success does not seem so impressive to you now that you are surpassing it does it.

    On 1909 and the empty space below. Is there any comb there. If not, the bees may not recognize it as space. I am a big fan of moving a comb to empty boxes. One with brood is best in my mind.

    Either way, looking good.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  13. #1392
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    On 1909 and the empty space below. Is there any comb there. If not, the bees may not recognize it as space. I am a big fan of moving a comb to empty boxes. One with brood is best in my mind.
    Good point, GWW. While I am loathe to ever interfere with the integrity of the nest, I may very well need to do so with #1909.

    I do appreciate your kind wishes- as you correctly pointed out on your thread, time is the great equalizer... so I will forego making any definitive judgments about overall success or failure of the TF experiment until I have at least as many years at it as you do.
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  14. #1393
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    First drones on the wing today in Western Kentucky- #1905 and #1909.
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  15. #1394
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    I recently received a quarterly newsletter from Dr. Leo Sharashkin, who curates the Horizontal Hive website.

    He currently maintains approximately 40 colonies in Horizontal Layens hives in a treatment-free model and reported 100% winter survival this past year.

    Having heard a bit about him and knowing that he is located at approximately the same latitude that I am, I was curious as to what his background was.

    In short, he was awarded a SARE grant in 2015 to evaluate the viability of local feral swarms in the Missouri Ozarks as an extension of a home apiary project he started in 2013:

    https://projects.sare.org/sare_project/fnc15-1013/

    As a function of this grant, two (2) SARE videos were produced:

    Local Honey Bee Strains and Feral Swarms

    Propagating Wild Bees

    Succinctly, his message can be summarized by a quote by Georges de Layens who wrote: “Pick the hive model that is best suited to your locale, populate it with local bees, and the results will speak for themselves.”

    Dr. Sharashkin notes in the 'Local Strains' video that 80% of his hived swarms from 2013 were still alive at the time of the presentation (2017) and that he has an average 90% survival rate year-over-year.

    I am interested in anecdotes like this because there seem to be decidedly mixed results in many TF experiments when judged over a longer time horizon.
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  16. #1395
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    I am interested in anecdotes like this because there seem to be decidedly mixed results in many TF experiments when judged over a longer time horizon.
    For sure my documented personal experience demonstrates so far, I have it dramatically different here from the Ozarks - in my Northern suburbia, full of "bee-loving" people.
    The annual dump of the imported bees has just began (fortunately, some "Russians" are for sale again this year).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  17. #1396
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    For sure my documented personal experience demonstrates so far, I have it dramatically different here from the Ozarks ...
    GregV:

    Good to hear from you. I for one am glad you are continuing to experiment with TF. It seems plain to me that isolation plays a big (and maybe fundamental) role in inherent resistance, closed-mating approaches aside.

    Thinking of your situation and Russian bees, have you ever considered 'importing' in a few mated queens to see how they might hold up?

    It looks like there are a couple of breeders regional to you, and I heard good things about Manley's bees in particular:

    http://www.russianbreeder.org/manley-bigalk.html (Cresco, IA)

    http://www.russianbreeder.org/doug--shawn-way.html (South Bend, IN)
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  18. #1397
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    I recently received a quarterly newsletter from Dr. Leo Sharashkin, who curates the Horizontal Hive website.

    He currently maintains approximately 40 colonies in Horizontal Layens hives in a treatment-free model and reported 100% winter survival this past year.
    My opinion is not a single one of this motley band of "for-profit" gurus who are making their living promoting their miracle methods should be believed without verifiable independent confirmation. There is simply way too much documented fraud in the folks selling "happy stories" to the guillible newbees that want to believe their stories.

  19. #1398
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWChesnut View Post
    ... without verifiable independent confirmation.
    JW:

    Thank you for your post. I always appreciate your perspective.

    For what it is worth, I too tend to approach anything from a sales angle with a skeptical eye.

    Hopefully there will be more academic research in the area of US local adaptation forthcoming.

    In the meantime I suppose it remains 'buyer beware'.
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  20. #1399
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    GregV:

    Thinking of your situation and Russian bees, have you ever considered 'importing' in a few mated queens to see how they might hold up?

    It looks like there are a couple of breeders regional to you, and I heard good things about Manley's bees in particular:
    I would love to try Russian queens, but am fundamentally opposed to paying money for anything. :-)
    If Russians are markedly 'better' then the genetics will spread like crazy, like how Africanized bees spread down south. Then we will all have Russian bees without even knowing it.
    So far, my 4 hives are alive and flying around on warm days. No treatments but were split twice last summer.

  21. #1400
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by AR1 View Post
    I would love to try Russian queens, but am fundamentally opposed to paying money for anything. :-)
    If Russians are markedly 'better' then the genetics will spread like crazy, like how Africanized bees spread down south. Then we will all have Russian bees without even knowing it.
    So far, my 4 hives are alive and flying around on warm days. No treatments but were split twice last summer.
    Same here.
    Not buying - the fundamentals of my approach.
    Buying only serves one urge - quick satisfaction (same as drugs; which then is asking for a repeat).
    They will come to me.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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