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Perhaps unfortunately, Man is now a large part of natural progression. I dont think we really can say with any accuracy what is mother natures job or that "she" has intentions. Very much of what we call nature is under mans influence. What we do is influencing survival of our chosen species. We have assumed the power to control the future but we certainly dont seem to have much forward vision. We can interfere with what might have been. Should we? Will we? Is there any chance of concensus about these options? I think we know the answer to that. Hand wringing is what we are doing but I dont have any suggestion about what else we really can do. Jump in front of the bulldozers?
 

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IMO This thread really needs to go over to treatment free.

Posts/threads like this are just going to confuse new beekeepers into believing that their location is special, and they can get away with treatment free.

Please Take this entire thread and plop it with the rest of the TF on the TF forum.
 

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Maybe buying and propagating resistant stock?
Yes that looks like the most reasonable approach. I would put some weight on what A Novice says about not permanently bottlenecking diversity to achieve this resistant stock. (permanent solution to a temporary problem; dont compromise what may be a solution to a future problem). Msl, I think, speaks to the necessity of doing constant negative culling as well as positive selection to maintain a level of superior performance. This is also emphasized in the UOG video #3 that maintenance of above the norm characteristics is not a one and done scenario. The effort must be sustained or it reverts. It is very difficult due to bees inherent resistance to shift. Randy Oliver also talks about the difficulty in trying to fix any gains.

This need to have large numbers to select from is what makes backyard attempts to create the super bee not much more than entertainment. Certainly a backyard beekeeper like myself should be using some control over which queens he breeds from but in most conditions the background drone genetics makes this rather ineffective. It doesnt hurt to try: I find it entertaining and I do not have enough influence to be dangerous in the big picture. If I was shedding mites to my neighbors in the process though, I think I should be stepped on somehow. When ones dreams starts impacting someone elses' reality it warrants a wake up shake! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Yes, I agree.
Of course, if we restricted Beesource to actual science, there wouldn't be much left.

The primary utility of armchair science is to bring into question other armchair science.

the secondary utility is in planning the direction of real science. But real science being difficult, expensive, ambiguous in its outcome and usually disappointing, that use is rarely executed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Maybe buying and propagating resistant stock?
Nope. Not even close.

Selecting from your own open mated stock.

Of course, you will have to treat. Just like my grandma needed to feed her chickens.

If you keep animals, you need to care for them.

If all you do is trap bees in hives that make it convenient to you to rob them, and do nothing to keep them alive, you are a bad master.

The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel. Proverbs 12:10

That verse summarizes what I think of TF. If a beekeeper doesn't even try to keep his animals alive, he is wicked, and his method of beekeeping is cruel.

That is how I see it.
 

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That verse summarizes what I think of TF. If a beekeeper doesn't even try to keep his animals alive, he is wicked, and his method of beekeeping is cruel.
Thanks, Jon. I think you and I share a worldview concerning stewardship. I'll grant that I may not articulate myself well but I think we may have a lot more in common than meets the eye.

In response, I'll offer three brief thoughts- you are welcome to disagree:

First, I don't think it is a given that if you don't treat your bees they will die (at least not as a direct result of varrosis). I think this is highly dependant upon the stock you start with, and the ongoing efforts you take to maintain genetic fidelity.

Secondly, I accept and hold no ill-notions toward those who treat their colonies for economic or necessary purposes- and I only seek to cast a positive vision for moving the population forward as regards resistance- by whatever means fits ones' individual goals and objectives.

Third, it is my opinion that it has been an open question since varroa arrived as to what the best path forward is. While we all no-doubt have opinions about what we think the best approach is, there has not yet been a clear consensus adopted by the industry at-large. To that end, I for one am heartened by folks trying different things and looking for different pathways to a potential solution to a problem I think we all want solved- the varroa menace.

Best wishes to you as you seek answers.
 

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Oh, about treating the resistant stock? I considered that a given! ;) I have had some from Szabo that were fierce groomers and VSH but they need some help from time to time. They were only mite resistant, not mite proof. Thriving bees, not surviving bees, is the target for me.:giggle:

There was a time when I was young that we kept animals that were mostly "surviving". Not pretty at times. I dont want to see that picture again. From what I have seen of Randy Olivers studies I think that approach is quite warranted. He pulls out and treats those colonies that do not appear to be keeping up. It is the operators that insist that letting colonies perish and claim breeding from the survivors is the only way to go, that give a bad image. That simplistic doctrine used to be pretty popular with many of the Gurus. They are too lazy to do the kind of science that Oliver does. Yet they have a following.:rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Thanks, Jon. I think you and I share a worldview concerning stewardship. I'll grant that I may not articulate myself well but I think we may have a lot more in common than meets the eye.

In response, I'll offer three brief thoughts- you are welcome to disagree:

First, I don't think it is a given that if you don't treat your bees they will die (at least not as a direct result of varrosis). I think this is highly dependant upon the stock you start with, and the ongoing efforts you take to maintain genetic fidelity.

Secondly, I accept and hold no ill-notions toward those who treat their colonies for economic or necessary purposes- and I only seek to cast a positive vision for moving the population forward as regards resistance- by whatever means fits ones' individual goals and objectives.

Third, it is my opinion that it has been an open question since varroa arrived as to what the best path forward is. While we all no-doubt have opinions about what we think the best approach is, there has not yet been a clear consensus adopted by the industry at-large. To that end, I for one am heartened by folks trying different things and looking for different pathways to a potential solution to a problem I think we all want solved- the varroa menace.

Best wishes to you as you seek answers.
As I have said before, as long as a beekeeper is doing what they can to keep their bees alive, I don't care if they are treating or not.

But there isn't anything noble about those who let their bees die, thinking is serves a noble purpose. If A beekeeper can have reasonable success without treating, good for them. I wish I could.

But if a beekeeper (knowing that in almost all cases untreated colonies become laden with mites) fails to monitor mite levels and take action to save his or her bees if mite levels get high, they are being irresponsible. If they continue in that manner, they are being cruel. Choosing to select queens from colonies that apparently have fewer mites makes sense. Selectively breeding for behavioral traits makes sense.

That is how I see it.

When I was a boy, I lived on a farm. My dad kept cows and sheep. Once he kept a feeder pig. But we rarely ate meat from our own farm, other than venison. My dad hated to slaughter his own animals. Maybe I am too much like him.
 

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Maybe buying and propagating resistant stock?
While I agree it might help, I am not confident even that would do much since although I can control my stock( only if I am isolated) I cannot control what bees are in the DCA. In one summer all my efforts go down the tubes if a great queen is superseded and the virgin mates outside my area. Sure my resistant genetics are also in the DCA for other beekeepers, but then once again we are not even remotely sure that any of those resistance genetics would be passed on.

I am not negating the need to try, I just don't think that it will fix the varroa problem. There are too many variables unless one is quite isolated, and even then the minute those bees are out in the general population it can all be gone with the first mite infestation.
 

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Question #2 - How many of you all test with Randy Oliver's Alcohol mite wash, and if so, how often?
I test one hive in each of my yards every (wash) month and do a great deal of observation of the landing boards or any dead bees pushed out. I was fortunate to take a class with taught by a Master Keeper with a commercial apiary who almost got wiped out in the early varroa stages and preached about testing and treating. Further, she taught that we should test before treating rather than guessing and was not a fan of harsh chemicals. So far that strategy has worked well for us.
 

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You all make salient points, and I hope I never come across as offering universal solutions to admittedly unique dynamics in our individual locales and operations.

I accept that for many (or most) treatment might be necessary and only gently appeal for all of us to do what we can to move resistance forward.

For some fortunate souls, this might mean taking good care of a locally-isolated population that is making strides forward.

For others, it might mean treating only when necessary and adding mite population growth to their evaluation criteria.

For still others, it might mean frequently importing resistant stock and possibly going to more of a closed-population model which allows the resistant queens to rear drones and flood the local DCA's.

And then there are combinations and permutations of the above that fit our specific circumstances and goals, and other approaches I am not even thinking of.
 

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A possible explanation for why.......

There is no good-enough explanation.
BUT - the question is finally asked and that is progress already.

Next question is - what ARE these areas of apparent and consistent resistance and what do they have in common (if anything)?
About time should be a common map with points of resistance mapped out and some GIS magic done to it and some GARP algorithm work on the top.
 

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Next question is - what ARE these areas of apparent and consistent resistance and what do they have in common (if anything)?
Good question, Greg. Here is the closest I've seen approaching a unifying theory:
Here's a companion article to this study published in this month's BBKA which outlines, '... resistant populations from all different regions appear to have the same three key traits in common.'
 

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If I was shedding mites to my neighbors in the process though, I think I should be stepped on somehow. When ones dreams starts impacting someone elses' reality it warrants a wake up shake! :)
agree. it's just common courtesy not to kill your stock and screw someone else over simultaneously

They were only mite resistant, not mite proof. Thriving bees, not surviving bees, is the target for me.
agree. There's no mite proof honey bees. VHS stock is questionable.

also. What good is a survivor colony that barely manages to get through the year, and dies a the next season?

This thread should really be more appropriate over in the TF forum - because the idea of not treating is ridiculous in most areas.
 

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Well being on this forum gives us a bit more flexibility without treading on the rules of the TF forum. I can see a conflict in our visions. I dont see enough promise of TF being possible so I dont devote much effort into seeing if I could wean myself off it. To someone who is optimistic of it coming about, I am merely being defeatist. I maintain I am merely being pragmatic. :) Maybe part of our basic make up. I dont buy lottery tickets and they tell me I cant hope to win if I dont buy a ticket! :) Hard to bridge that chasm ain't it?:cool:
 

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But real science being difficult, expensive, ambiguous in its outcome and usually disappointing, that use is rarely executed.
I dont buy lottery tickets and they tell me I cant hope to win if I dont buy a ticket!
A little fun along these lines:

'In science as in the lottery, luck favors he who wagers the most — that is... the one who is tilling constantly the ground in his garden. If Pasteur discovered bacterial vaccines by accident, he was assisted by genius.'

~Santiago Ramón y Cajal
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
A little fun along these lines:

'In science as in the lottery, luck favors he who wagers the most — that is... the one who is tilling constantly the ground in his garden. If Pasteur discovered bacterial vaccines by accident, he was assisted by genius.'

~Santiago Ramón y Cajal
However, he who wagers the most loses the most.

Because in the lottery the odds are against winning.

The main difference between the lottery and scientific inquiry is in the lottery, you know someone will win eventually. It could be you. And there is no benefit to strategy, power of observation, or intellect.

In science, luck favors the courageous, the brilliant, the observant, and the persistent.

The most important thing in science is not to fool yourself. Because you are the easiest person to fool
After that, all that is required is basic honesty to avoid fooling anybody else.

Richard Feynmann
 

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About 40 years ago, computers were just becoming mainstream and I had purchased a commodore 64. My mother somehow convinced herself that I could use the computer to predict the lottery numbers. It took nearly an hour to show her why a computer could not possibly predict the numbers. I wish it were that easy to deal with varroa.
 
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