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  1. #1221
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    1. Nature’s Aim in Breeding
    Brother Adam gives significant weight to the fundamental mechanics of the honeybee's natural mating framework because he recognizes that systematic progress in bee improvement can only be made when we closely adhere to these immutable principles. He writes,

    “The first point we must deal with is Nature’s own breeding method. This is essential because this shows us the right lines we must always keep to in all our procedures. To ignore them inevitably leads sooner or later to failure.” [p. 80]

    So what does Brother Adam see as Nature's chief aim in breeding?

    In his book 'In Search of the Best Strains of Bees' he makes the point that, “… Nature with the means at her disposal has in no way produced a ‘best bee’ or an ‘ideal bee’, still less a race of bees which answers all the desire and needs of the modern beekeeper. The results of evaluating the different races makes one thing clear: every race has its advantages and its drawbacks, its good and its bad characteristics linked together and emphasized in a host of different ways, which have been determined arbitrarily by environment and chance.” [p. 206]

    So it is plain that Brother Adam does not assume that Nature will produce the perfect bee (even in it's stable, regionally-adapted setting), so what is Nature's goal?

    He unambiguously states that, “Nature’s aim in breeding is limited exclusively to the preservation and dissemination of a species and her sole means of doing this is a ruthless selection. Whatever could not adapt itself to a given environment was without exception left to its doom. The one aim was the survival of the most adaptable and the fittest." [p. 6]

    He goes on to note, “In no instance does Nature breed for the highest performance per colony, but only the preservation of the species and its adaptation to existing circumstances.” [p. 80]

    So we see here that survival is the primary aim of Nature's breeding program and that selection through either death or adaptation is the tool utilized to affect this end.
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

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  3. #1222
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    Default

    This might be common knowledge to many of you in the TF realm, but I recently came across this compendium of resources from the Russian Honey Bee Breeders Association that is a repository of many of the research papers associated with this US-based effort- I've learned a lot from reading through some of these papers thus far:

    http://www.russianbreeder.org/mechan...esistance.html
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  4. #1223
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    “The first point we must deal with is Nature’s own breeding method. This is essential because this shows us the right lines we must always keep to in all our procedures. To ignore them inevitably leads sooner or later to failure.” [p. 80]
    Building on this theme, I wanted to tie together a few loose ends related to Brother Adam's observations surrounding Nature's breeding method.

    At the outset, it appears that one central component of sustained natural reproduction that Brother Adam saw as preeminent is the role of polyandry:

    “Multiple mating of queens is without a doubt one of the most important measures devised by Nature to preserve the vitality of the honeybee. At the same time it acts as a counter to the many undesirable consequences of parthenogenesis.” [p. 21]

    For those like me who do not know what parthenogenesis is, it is defined by the Encyclopaedia Britannica as, "... a reproductive strategy that involves development of a ... gamete (sex cell) without fertilization."

    In this instance, Brother Adam is referring to the fact that drones are produced from unfertilized eggs which in-turn means that all their sperm are identical and represent a genetic reflection of their mother. Thus, Brother Adam sees this as one of the most significant contributors to inbreeding depression in closed honeybee populations.

    To wit, frequent incursions of unique genetic resources are required to maintain heterozygosity (and thus vigor) in honeybees.

    Attendant to this, Brother Adam observes, “Uniformity, whether of external features or of physiological traits, plays no part in Nature’s design at any time.” [p.80]

    In fact, it might almost be said that honeybees go to great lengths to maintain genetic diversity when afforded the opportunity to do so.
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  5. #1224
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    This might be common knowledge to many of you in the TF realm, but I recently came across this compendium of resources from the Russian Honey Bee Breeders Association that is a repository of many of the research papers associated with this US-based effort- I've learned a lot from reading through some of these papers thus far:

    http://www.russianbreeder.org/mechan...esistance.html
    Interesting read Russ, Thanks for posting.
    GG

  6. #1225
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Goose View Post
    Interesting read Russ, Thanks for posting.
    GG
    Glad to do it, Gray Goose. Thank you for all your help and input along the way. I sincerely appreciate it!

    Russ
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  7. #1226
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    Brother Adam observes, “Uniformity, whether of external features or of physiological traits, plays no part in Nature’s design at any time.” [p.80]
    One final thought from Brother Adam regarding Nature's aim for breeding surrounds this idea of uniformity and its implications for the managed apiary.

    In his book 'In Search of the Best Strains of Bees' he bluntly remarks that, “Mongrels are of no value whatever for breeding.” [p. 20]

    This he notes even as he also suggests that, “... bees which have been preserved by Nature for millions of years can survive in modern conditions and be an economic proposition without the beekeeper having to resort to breeding. There will be no notably high averages of honey per colony gained with a minimal expenditure of labour, but such beekeeping can be profitable.” [p. 7]

    So how do we reconcile these statements? I *think* the secret is in ones' beekeeping goals- namely ones' breeding approach (or lack thereof) should align with the fundamentals of bee reproduction and attendant results.

    More specifically, Brother Adam defined his breeding goal as, "...the development of a strain that will produce the maximum returns with a minimum of labour." [Best Strains p. 43]

    And the only way he saw he could predictably accomplish this goal was, "...by cross-breeding, by combining in one strain, as far as possible, the desirable characteristics of the various geographical races. Nature can never bring about such a combination; it can only be effected by the direct intervention of man." [Best Strains p. 43]

    Thus I would understand Brother Adam's thoroughly-considered opinion to be as follows:

    1. Nature breeds exclusively for survival expressed in colonies with a wide (and ever changing) set of internal and external traits. These traits will seek to impart vigor but may or may not align with the management goals of the beekeeper.

    2. Mongrels (containing a wide and unknown genetic make-up) will produce unpredictable results when breeding with other genetic strains which may or may not support the beekeeper's objectives.

    3. Isolated racial strains of honeybees provide the most-suitable breeding resources due in large part to their relative homozygosity. When crossed with other isolated strains in a consistent manner (i.e. Italian queen with Carniolan drone and vice versa), a relatively predictable outcome will ensue.

    Thus, in keeping with his stated objective, Brother Adam would meticulously conduct close-mated cross-breeding experiments between isolated strains and study the results for a period of years to ascertain whether the combination would seek to augment his breeding goals. In fact, one can review all his breeding notes for the years 1915 - 1922 (less the war years) here:

    http://www.pedigreeapis.org/elver/ori/origin-en.html

    So I am left to conclude that those of us who live in areas with a wide and ever-changing genetic background really only have two options:

    1. Utilize a strict and consistent system of closed-mating (either by breeding isolation or by frequent mated queen introductions) to maintain a predictable set of traits.

    2. Assume the benefits, liabilities and unpredictability of the local genetic population.

    This is obviously an oversimplification but does possibly help explain why specific traits (i.e. disease resistance) might be difficult to sustain in open-mated populations or why feral survival might be expressed in such wide and disparate modes in different areas, different years and different colonies.
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  8. #1227
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    So I am left to conclude that those of us who live in areas with a wide and ever-changing genetic background really only have two options:

    1. Utilize a strict and consistent system of closed-mating (either by breeding isolation or by frequent mated queen introductions) to maintain a predictable set of traits.

    2. Assume the benefits, liabilities and unpredictability of the local genetic population.

    well put
    However I think there is a 3rd option, Jon Kefuss' work suggests that you could pull it off by grafting and using cells/virgins as, and that means as long as you have a large eunff sample size to select a breeder from (maybe by working in a group) you could graft and requeen and get some trait contoral.

    From a Dee Lusby Artical
    The strongest tool that a beekeeper has for controlling colony genetics is the grafting needle. Colony characteristics that are favorable to a particular beekeeping operation or are adapted for a specific geographic area can be increased by grafting queens from colonies that possess the desired traits. By grafting their own queens, beekeepers can create lines of bees tailored for the conditions of their apiary sites and beekeeping practices.
    https://beesource.com/point-of-view/...lopment-times/

    but for "some" reason beekeepers don't seem to like to work in groups, this leaves the little guy with no choice but to requeen regularly with purched genetics or to accept the random winds of change

  9. #1228
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    However I think there is a 3rd option...
    MSL:

    Thank you for your input. I sincerely appreciate your reply, and you are likely on to something.

    While researching Brother Adam, I ran-across the following genome sequencing research from last year that which noted, "A phylogenetic analysis, suggested that the matriline ‘Buckfast bee’ has remained most closely related to the A. mellifera ligustica race from which it originated in 1917, despite being cross-bred with many other A. mellifera races over the past 100 years."

    Meaning (as Brother Adam knew) the matriline exerts a significantly greater influence on the resultant genetic cross such that even after over 100 years, "The genetic distance between the ‘Buckfast bee’ and A. m. ligustica mitochondrial genome was 0.00036, which corresponds well to the genetic distance generally observed within A. mellifera subspecies."

    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full...9.2018.1450660

    mitochondrial genome sequencing.jpg

    p.s. Dr. John Kefuss is next on my reading list...
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  10. #1229

    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    MSL:

    Thank you for your input. I sincerely appreciate your reply, and you are likely on to something.

    While researching Brother Adam, I ran-across the following genome sequencing research from last year that which noted, "A phylogenetic analysis, suggested that the matriline ‘Buckfast bee’ has remained most closely related to the A. mellifera ligustica race from which it originated in 1917, despite being cross-bred with many other A. mellifera races over the past 100 years."

    Meaning (as Brother Adam knew) the matriline exerts a significantly greater influence on the resultant genetic cross such that even after over 100 years, "The genetic distance between the ‘Buckfast bee’ and A. m. ligustica mitochondrial genome was 0.00036, which corresponds well to the genetic distance generally observed within A. mellifera subspecies."

    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full...9.2018.1450660

    mitochondrial genome sequencing.jpg

    p.s. Dr. John Kefuss is next on my reading list...
    The closeness of Buckfast mitochondrial genome to Italian bees only confirms that 100 years of buckfast pedigree book keeping has been done properly. It has nothing to do with whole genome and qualities of worker bees what so ever. Their genes come mostly from other than Italian sources.

  11. #1230
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juhani Lunden View Post
    The closeness of Buckfast mitochondrial genome to Italian bees only confirms that 100 years of buckfast pedigree book keeping has been done properly. It has nothing to do with whole genome and qualities of worker bees what so ever. Their genes come mostly from other than Italian sources.
    Juhani:

    Thank you for your input. You know much more about this topic than I so I will defer widely to you on this topic.

    For those like me who need a simple explanation of mitochondrial DNA and its utility in bee genome sequencing, the attached page was helpful personally:

    http://www.killowen.com/genetics12.html
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  12. #1231
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    I suggest that the A. mellifera ligustica natural tracheal mite resistance skewed the matriline, and as with mitochondrial DNA as it doesn't matter if you have a "yellow" mother mated for 200 generations with "dark" drones and your "dark" yourself.. the mitochondrial DNA comes back as "yellow"

    in modern context lets look at Kirk Webster's- Apimondia 2019 presentation
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFD2jD0B67k
    He suggests trachea mites selected for booming spring hives and made his genetics "stronger"
    I suggest, just like Brother Adam, TM selected his stock for the natural (ligustica) Resistance and associated traits of early build up and large population that comes with it .

  13. #1232

    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full...eedAccess=true

    Quote from this study:
    "Due to the large amount of cross-breeding with many different races, the ancestral lineage of the Buckfast bee remains unclear. "

    This is something which can be checked from Brother Adams pedigrees, but I have always thought that he did all of his crossings into his main stock in the way that grafts were made form the original stock and the new combination ( after 10 years of crossing and culling) was introduced from drone side.

    Study result confirms this.

  14. #1233
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    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    ... in modern context lets look at Kirk Webster's- Apimondia 2019 presentation
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFD2jD0B67k
    MSL:

    That is a great gem of a video- thank you for sharing this. It was a real paradigm shift for me to consider seeing pests as a positive selection mechanism.

    It seems his talk might be summed up by his observations of the work of Sir Albert Howard:

    "By the end of his time in India, Howard was convinced that insect pests and diseases should never be viewed as enemies or just something to be wantonly destroyed. Instead, they should always be viewed as friends and allies, welcome in small numbers, and only exploding in population when a certain balance of Nature has been violated."

    https://kirkwebster.com/some-problem...d-agriculture/

    Thanks again for sharing the video.

    Russ
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Juhani Lunden View Post
    Study result confirms this.
    Thank you, Juhani. Your response helped me to better understand your previous post.

    If I am following you correctly, you are saying that the study simply helps to confirm that Brother Adam made subsequent cross-breeding introductions to the Buckfast on the drone side as a rule.

    By doing so, the mitochondrial genome was retained but the overall new genetic signature now incorporated the new genetics.

    Thanks again for your input.

    Russ
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  16. #1235
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    It was a real paradigm shift for me to consider seeing pests as a positive selection mechanism.
    To be clear it was my point to counter kirks position that his bee got stronger from TM selecting for strength and early spring buildup

    I see it as simply his genetics shifting to Itailan do to there natural Resistance, and bringing the outher traites that have made them "the bee" to have for centyrys along for the ride.
    At 12min in he points out that varroa slects for a very different kind of hive, small cluster, slow to build up etc
    There are lessons here.
    He bought improved genetics and then weened his operation off treatments over several years, one section at a time as he grafted and did controlled mating to adjest the lines to fit his area and needs.

    His queen rearing operation went TF right of the bat with nonslect stock... all the spliting and brood breaks make this a common occurance.. and while they were TF queens, they would not hold up in a full sized production hive

  17. #1236
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    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    At 12min in he points out that varroa slects for a very different kind of hive, small cluster, slow to build up etc
    There are lessons here.
    Good point, MSL. I did pick-up on his commentary regarding the difference in colony dynamics from the tracheal mite to the varroa mite but failed to recognize the obvious correlation is not necessarily causation aspect of these selection pressures.

    While my understanding is admittedly limited, it does seem plain that there are various mechanisms at work in the honeybees' defense response to varroa which might ultimately manifest themselves as a different 'best' based on a specific locale and virus profile.

    Thanks again for the feedback. I sincerely appreciate it.

    Russ
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  18. #1237
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by msl View Post
    ....
    His queen rearing operation went TF right of the bat with nonslect stock... all the spliting and brood breaks make this a common occurance.. and while they were TF queens, they would not hold up in a full sized production hive
    Me too - noticed how it is much easier to be TF in the queen rearing/bee producing business.

    Not so easy in the honey producing business.
    But - the size of the so called "full sized production hive" is not an axiom either.
    As I demonstrated very recently - what the people already are doing in Euro - the full size production hive can be 1/2 or 1/3 of what is commonly understood in the US now.
    Just because Dadant said so one hundred years ago - it ain't necessarily so.
    As for me, it is not so at all.
    Time to swing the pendulum back (the side effect being - the CF methods can be leveraged onto the honey business side too).



    JWChesnut;
    Yes, you can outrun TF mortality if you make many young hives..
    https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...79#post1770479
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  19. #1238
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    2. Local Adaptation
    Building upon the discussion of Nature's aim for breeding, Brother Adam addresses the concept of local adaptation from both a theoretical and practical perspective. He observes-

    From a theoretical standpoint:

    “It is widely assumed that a bee which has for a long time existed in certain surroundings and completely adapted itself to the prevailing conditions must of necessity be the most suitable bee for that region from the point of view of successful beekeeping. It is true that such a completely adapted bee can manage to survive in the worst of seasons. But Nature never breeds for performance but only to preserve a particular type.” [p. 12]

    “… Nature never breeds for the perfection of the factors we desire for our commercial needs. Nature’s aim is almost exclusively for the preservation and multiplication of a type. True to this goal of hers, she breeds within certain limits, to bring about the best possible adaptation to prevailing conditions.” [Best Strains p. 11/12]

    “From its first existence the honeybee has been forced to adjust itself to its immediate environment of perish. The indigenous bee of any particular region reflects in its characteristics the qualities needed for survival in that region.” [Best Strains, p. 135]

    Here he is underscoring the point that Nature is selecting for local survival utilizing the genetic resources at its disposal and that while this local adaptation will ultimately converge to the optimum result available based on the resources at its disposal, this result is likely far from the optimum result that could be attained if more genetic resources were available.

    From a practical standpoint:

    “The notion that a bee native to a particular habitat must of necessity be the best for that region is based on fallacy.” [p. 93]

    “It was argued with some justice that, in the course of thousands of years, natural selection would with unfailing certainty evolve and mould a bee best adapted to the peculiar requirements of our island climate. But I know from the hard lessons of first-hand experience how utterly fallacious this argument proved.” [Best Strains, p. 135]

    Here Brother Adam is reflecting on his own experience not only with the collapse of the native British Black Bee in response to tracheal mites but also to the incredible success he had with selected cross-breeding using bees from tropical and subtropical environments in regards to subsequent overwintering success (as one of many examples).

    Yet I think that Brother Adam had a keen sense of the interplay between genetics and the environment itself in creating the observable traits of honeybees when he noted that, “Although the essential characteristics of any race do not change as regards their genetic makeup by being placed in a different environment, yet a change of environment does transiently affect the development and moulding of the characteristics of a race.” [p. 94]
    Ecclesiastes 11:4

  20. #1239
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Litsinger View Post
    .......
    Here Brother Adam is reflecting on his own experience not only with the collapse of the native British Black Bee in response to tracheal mites but also to the incredible success he had with selected cross-breeding using bees from tropical and subtropical environments in regards to subsequent overwintering success (as one of many examples).
    .....
    Well, the local adaptions have to do with the locally persistent factors (those that persisted for long enough).

    But local adaptions are irrelevant (initially) with regard to the newly imported factor (a mite).
    Once the newly imported factor becomes one of the "locally persistent factors" - the local bee will become adapted to it.

    So, unsure what was expected of the native British Black bee - when exposed to a brand new pest.
    It is only normal for a die-off to occur.
    Then it is normal for a rebound to occur (in time) for as long as the species is resilient enough - which it is (the darn bees are very resilient and adaptable, on the species level).

    I don't get the Brother Adams' logic.

    PS: well, I can only understand his logic with this qualifier - "the change must occur quickly enough FOR ME, for my time frame" - that I can understand from the personal point (you want to see your work results) - not necessarily the best results, but rather quick results.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  21. #1240
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    Default Re: Treatment-Free Bungling 2018 - ?

    “The notion that a bee native to a particular habitat must of necessity be the best for that region is based on fallacy.” [p. 93]
    While that is is true of a natural population, In managed bees local stock is usually better.. (If such stock exzests, its questionable if it does in many parts of the US do to constant import of packages/nus to replace losses do to little propagation of the stock that lives)
    To that end The Pan-European Genotype-Environment-Interactions Experiment https://coloss.org/accomplishments/the-gei-experiment/
    @greg, take note that the local adaption was not irrelevant to mite in this case

    Here he is underscoring the point that Nature is selecting for local survival utilizing the genetic resources at its disposal and that while this local adaptation will ultimately converge to the optimum result available based on the resources at its disposal, this result is likely far from the optimum result that could be attained if more genetic resources were available.
    "Developed by the hand of man" *snip* "you have to be ruthless" Brother Adam on selection, The monk and the honey bee https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...PQg20MeW8SRN-R

    You have hit on the truth of bee genetics
    Nature is not going to reliably select for us and in many cases the local bees in our area may not have the genetic tool kit for best results.
    Last edited by msl; 12-16-2019 at 01:29 PM.

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