Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,073 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have always thought it odd that researchers have taken the russian bee to louisiana for breeding and testing. I think over time the bee will change to the enviroment.

My thoughts on this are many but would like to focus on one main point for now. In louisiana the nectar sources are pretty much throughout the year. The yearly brood cycle must be longer than in the north. Although I have never been to russia and the primorsky area, I would imagine the nectar sources and brood cycles would have to be different from louisiana. Are we taking a bee programmed for lasting long(er) in winter and somehow weakening it by breeding it in louisiana? In russia, those bees not able to last through genetics or other characteristics, for periods of 4, 5, or 6 months, are naturally culled from the gene pool in winter. Is the same being done in Louisiana?

I don't need a bee lasting 2 or 3 months though winter. I need a bee capable of lasting 4 to 6 months depending on how bad a particular winter is.

I have seen great losses in the past several years all come from late winter kill off. Seems they do fine for a period of time, and then they hit a brick wall, and losses quickly mount up. I have seen it from many beekeepers. I have stated previously that bee life-span is questionable. Not just from the mite and associated viral and bacterial pressures, but perhaps even from treatments themselves. (acids, etc.)

I think that over time the bees in the south are not being culled as what would be naturally dictated by longer northern winters.

Have we been breeding the bees in the south, able to cope with a southern winter, then asking them to handle a different set of requirmenets after we ship them north. I have always thought this. But never really thought specifically about the russian bees in louisiana.

Will this effect the russian bees over time when we place so much on the efforts such as in facilities in louisiana for a more northern bee as the russian?

Comments?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
918 Posts
It seems to me that it would require a long period of time to breed out the bees genetic distinctions. I would think that it would require a LARGE number of generations to change the inclination of the russian bees to have a smaller winter cluster than say the italians. I can't see even this one genetic property of the bees being changed in just a few years time.

If the strain is kept pure in Louisiana and not watered down by matings with local bees, I would think that it would take more than our lifetimes to actually breed out this one particular distinction.

However, I will admit that I'm an engineer and not a biologist or geneticist. Heck, I'm not even sure I spelled them right.

[ November 09, 2006, 01:52 PM: Message edited by: carbide ]
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,073 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
carbide,

In the thread "are russians more mite resistant", there are comments about the bee lab in louisiana regarding honey production and gentleness. Seems claims of vast improvements and selection are being made. This apparently being from a mere two years of selection.

Can human hands change things so quickly but mother nature through selection takes generations? I realize that selection without the random forces of nature taking part, can speed things greatly by pinpointing selection, etc. But are we sure that mother nature takes so long?

[ November 09, 2006, 02:28 PM: Message edited by: BjornBee ]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,030 Posts
I am continually amazed by nature in general and bees in specific. It would not at all surprise me if the workers somehow nurture the larvae with traits that will help survival in whatever environment they are in. If this was done with drones, they could speed evolution.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,965 Posts
carbide sezs:
It seems to me that it would require a long period of time to breed out the bees genetic distinctions.

tecumseh replies:
I think perhaps you should have said 'a very, very, long time'.

bjorn bee adds:
But are we sure that mother nature takes so long?

tecumseh replies:
this is the difference between incremental and punctuated genetic change. most math models that model genetic mutation use the incremental approach (the math is much more straight forward). yet quite obviously from fossil/bone records a lot of the genetic change was been punctuated. many bioliogist believe that punctuated genetic change is marked by exteme environment condition (which I like to refer to as a genetic hammer and anvil.... the genetic forge)

for certain any change or modification at the 'lab stage' once transposed and then tested in the real world, those improvements that are not really improvement are very quickly weaned from the gene pool.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,078 Posts
I believe that genetic traits are not always lost just because they are not expressed in a given situation. Just like the human brain has huge capacity that is not used,there are many more genetic traits that can be dorment until they are triggered by the environment. That is how animals have been able to survive all the drastic changes that take place until they evolve to fit the new environments.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
918 Posts
It may be that even though a specific breed of bees is known for a particular trait, that breed of bees may in fact have contradictory traits that only appear when environmental circumstances force them to appear. If this is the case, maybe researchers can "force" these traits to the forefront by the right application of appropriate stimulus. Maybe since climate typically requires a long time to change, mother nature would eventually cause these traits to surface, we just manage to bring them out because we are specifically looking for them.

[ November 13, 2006, 11:31 AM: Message edited by: carbide ]
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
597 Posts
.
Some features of bees are easy to breed but others are like "nose in face" features. It is very difficult to take off swarming tendency from Carniolans.

So it depends what features you are hunting. No one knows what happens and what are you going to do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
918 Posts
So, a recessive trait may occasionally appear in a bee line, however if the trait isn't particularly advantageous to the offspring it will quickly become recessive again. If on the other hand the trait is particularly advantageous to the offspring then it could become a dominant trait in the next or subsequent progeny.

If man, in his infinite wisdom, decides that a particular trait is desirable (such as mite resistance, low swarming tendency, small winter brood, etc., etc) he will breed his bees to try to retain or expand on this trait's likelihood.

Contrarily, if a particular trait is dominant in a breed of bees, this trait can be induced to become recessive if the environment no longer requires this trait.

BjornBee, to answer your original question, relative to the winter longevity of russian bees being bred in Loiusiana, the answer, I believe, is MAYBE. If the breeders are not mindful of the possibility of breeding this particular trait out of the bee, then they may inadvertenly do so. If they do not follow up with the beekeepers that buy their bees and raise them in the North then they wouldn't know if they can still withstand the colder northern winters. As you have questioned, the bees that they overwinter in Louisiana may no longer be an indication of the actual wintering capability of the breed of bees that they are raising.

[ November 15, 2006, 12:16 PM: Message edited by: carbide ]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
242 Posts
Nature v. Nurture is what seems to jump at me here.

I personally believe that there is more differences in the various bee breeds than we generally take into account.

I have seen many responses on these forums that don't even consider the breed when this may well be a factor.
I have been thinking about buying bees that are raised in my area. The nature of the bee won't be different but the nurture will be. A recessive trait in Russians may very well be brought out in a southern climate. This would not change the genetics in any way but it could cause a greater population to exhibit a supposed recessive trait: nurture.


Disclaimer: This is not from empirical knowledge. I am a first year Bee Keepper that enjoys reading about bees.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top