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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was reading some articles about "winter bees" (diutinus bees) and reverted bees (workers which return to an earlier state) in relation to winter survival. I came across a couple of interesting studies out of Norway that shows the longevity of the workers is correlated with their exposure to Brood pheromone. By removing all brood from a hive and caging the queens so that they can't lay, they were able to prolong the workers bees lives out beyond 200 days.

As an evolutionary adaptation it has two benefits to the colony, the first and most obvious being that when brood rearing drops off in the fall, the worker bees are able to survive the winter longer, and secondly in the case of a swarm (or package of bees) the lack of brood also increases the lifespans of the bees within the swarm giving them a population that lasts beyond when they are again established and producing brood.

Some may want to rethink their spring buildups; kicking them off early rearing brood starts a timer on their lives.

So the moral of the story is don't trust a blind guy's observations on bee lifespan.

http://jeb.biologists.org/content/212/23/3795.full

http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0069870
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Basically the more brood is in the hive, the shorter the workers lifespan and they has measurements where it could be as short as 2 weeks with enough brood present.

Conventional wisdom as spelled out by F Huber (the blind man) has been that bees progress through states from nurse bee to forager and at the end of their lives they work them selves to death by foraging. This study shows that that isn't the case; if they build a hive with newly emerged worker bees and keep them broodless they are able to forage for an equal amount of time as if they were broodless and clustered in the winter.

It is actually a pretty interesting study if you take the time to read it, very thorough with frequent samples harvested from the hives and dissected.
 

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maybe I missed something but they say bees in the winter not rasing brood live longer and that explains thier longer lifespan. I thought every beekeeper already knew that. I guess other countries also have too much money for funding. lol
 

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Very interesting. Only looked at the first study so far.

My wintering success is better if I feed early. The first study listed points to a reason; empty brood cells are filled with feed and brood rearing ceases.

As far as longevity, I am always amazed how long winter bees last. Last winter my bees went for 191 days without a cleansing flight. Most of the winter bees were probably emerged about 30+ days before the last cleansing flight and if they survived slightly more than one brood cycle after coming out of the wintering shed, they reached a ripe old age of 250 days. The brood rearing usually only starts after the hives are taken out of the wintering shed.

I've toyed with the idea of stimulating brood rearing a couple of weeks before the hives are moved out by feeding some 1:1 syrup. According to this article, this may not be that beneficial.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
maybe I missed something but they say bees in the winter not rasing brood live longer and that explains thier longer lifespan. I thought every beekeeper already knew that. I guess other countries also have too much money for funding. lol
I think the USA doesn't spend enough on bee research. Other countries research is eons beyond ours and beekeepers here are even more reluctant to review and implement changes biased on modern research. We still subscribe to beliefs published over 100 years ago.

Yes we know that they live longer in the winter cluster, but I bet you didn't know it was because of a lack of brood. Most people assume it is because they are not out foraging and "Working themselves to death".

You might wonder how this information is useful to a beekeeper? They live longer in the winter, why is it helpful for me to know why? Well what if beekeepers started setting up production hives without brood? What if they set up yards like Mike calls "Brood Factories" and used those to populate broodless production hives. The production hives could go all summer without feeding any brood, without cleaning out any dead and dying workers, all they would do is make honey... What would happen to honey production? What would happen to their mite loads if mites could not reproduce in a production hive? At the end of the summer you repopulate the production hives and let them head into winter without ever having to rear brood, and no mite loads. What about winter survival?

This is purely speculation on how this infor is useful to us, but those who use research to push the envelope are the ones who will be remembered for making the advancements in the industry.
 

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Other countries research is eons beyond ours and beekeepers here are even more reluctant to review and implement changes biased on modern research.
yes beeks are reluctant, show me two research articles that come to the same conclusion, or any conclusion, and don't end with "need's more research" ie more money. If they need more research how can I come to a conclusion. And since the govt funds many of these studies, why are they put behind walls that force me to pay when I already paid with my tax money? now I feel better:eek:t:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The USDA Research is all public, but it's focus is all geared to commercial beekeeping and primarily pollination. University Research is sometimes government supplemented and yes not publicly available online from your home. But a short trip to your local library and you can jump on infotrack or ebsco host and you have free access to all that research as well.
 

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I've always been under the impression that it isn't the smell of brood, but the raising of brood that depletes the workers. The last round of brood doesn't have to pass resources to the next generation.
Certainly the open brood hormone (s) stimulate brood rearing behaviors. My recollection is that this covered very well in "Fat Bee, Skinny Bee" out of Australia.

Deknow
 

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Pfetty much all of the techniques I use (and I bet the same is true for you) come from commercial beekeepers, not from academics.
I've learned lots of intersting facts from researchers both ancient and modern, but the only really successful publicly funded bee research that I know of is Dr. Kerr's.

Deknow
 

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It could also be because to feed brood they have to give of their own bodies top some extent. How do we know this? Dump a package of bees in a hive with a comb of eggs and no food other than syrup. They will feed those larvae royal jelly, it must come from their own bodily reserves.

Other simple experiment some may have done by accident, or design. I have occasionally had nasty evil black bees that sting the crap out of me anytime I dare open the hive. So if I see the queen in these hives I'll kill it. If I cannot requeen immediately I'll remove combs with young brood & give it to other hives, so they will not be able to make a new queen just as evil as the first one. Due to poor beekeeping / poor planning, sometime these hives have remained queenless several months before I have been there with a queen. I'll give them a comb of young brood and can see by the reaction to it if they will accept it and if so will requeen it. The surprising thing in those cases is how fast the dark bees disappear. Normally it will be a very Italian looking hive within the first 2 or three weeks of hatching brood, the older bees just seem to fade away once the new brood is hatching.
 

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The 12 colonies were wintered in a controlled environment room at 0°C and 50-60% RH (relative humidity). Over the next three weeks, colonies were observed every fifth day to verify that worker mortality declined,
In the real world the environment is anything but controlled. I understand the need for this but how did they differentiate the benefit of not having brood and the natural reduced metabolism that would occur at lower temperatures resulting in longer lifespan?

I would also like to know how they prevented the colonies from going into a laying worker hive when they caged the queen.
 

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"yes beeks are reluctant, show me two research articles that come to the same conclusion, or any conclusion, and don't end with "need's more research" ie more money. If they need more research how can I come to a conclusion. And since the govt funds many of these studies, why are they put behind walls that force me to pay when I already paid with my tax money? now I feel better"

:applause::applause:
 

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>Conventional wisdom as spelled out by F Huber (the blind man) has been that bees progress through states from nurse bee to forager and at the end of their lives they work them selves to death by foraging.

Actually Huber never said such a thing. It wasn't until the US beekeepers were changing over from black bees to brown Italians that anyone noticed it was age related. Huber assumed bees just had a job and kept that job as it was obvious that different bees had different jobs. As the new queens in the Italiniazed hives had offspring beekeepers noticed that the new lighter colored bees moved through the series of jobs as the black ones dissappeard from those jobs. In fact C.P. Dadant notes this in a footnote in his translation of Huber.
 

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Winter workers are bees raised in the late fall who survive for the early pollen flows come spring. They have more fat reserves than bees raised during other times of the year and likely live longer because, for the most part, they don't expend a lot of energy raising or producing food for brood. The incredible nutrition worker bees produce for the brood takes a serious toll on their bodies.
P23, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Beekeeping
 

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So take the queen from a colony now ans see how much honey you get from it. time how long it takes for the colony to die out. I suspect the situation is far more complex than bees that live for 9 months.
 

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I've always been under the impression that it isn't the smell of brood, but the raising of brood that depletes the workers. The last round of brood doesn't have to pass resources to the next generation.
My understanding of the Smedal et al. paper was that they concluded that their results refuted this assumption.

Quote from the discussion

"The negative influence of brood rearing was indistinguishable from the negative effect of synthetic brood pheromone blend. This outcome supports our hypothesis that worker longevity potential, which translates into colony-level survival capability (Amdam and Omholt, 2002), is influenced by primer brood pheromone rather than the nurse load placed on workers. It has already been proposed that brood rearing shortens worker life and can lead to colony deaths in winter (Eischen et al., 1984; Omholt, 1988; Fluri and Imdorf, 1989; Amdam and Omholt, 2002) but the cause—effect relationship was previously explained by the metabolic costs of caregiving (Amdam et al., 2009). "

This probably won't change practice recommendations but definitely changes the biological understanding of winter bees and vitellogenin.
 
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