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Spring has finally arrived here, the prunus is flowering, and all my hives are nicely regimented in the large and varied orchards that will - all being well - be their home for the future. I currently have 53 building, out of about 70 that went into winter. These are mostly 2014 swarms and nucs, but there are 10 that originated (as swarms or nucs) in 2013, and 2 from 2012. But queens may have been superceded in any of these - I don't track them. Some are my own bait-box fly-ins - that is, probably older queens from my own apiary.

All these bees originated as collected swarms and cut-outs, in many cases from well attested longstanding nests. None have ever been treated against mites in any way. They are survivors - so far anyway.

My plan for the coming year is to raise numbers strongly, drawing genes from what I think are the best of these. On the female side I'll use my version of scorecards. On the male side my plan is to run unlimited brood nests and let those that want to and can raise as many drones as they like. I'm dominating the area, although there are treated bees nearby.

I may also buy in some bred tf queens, and will continue to collect swarms and cut outs. But mostly the plan is to model nature pretty closely, let natural selection do its thing, and do my best to interfere only very carefully.

Mike (UK)
 

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Good luck.
Two things though, your scorecards will be largely meaningless without keeping track of the queens your scoring, and I have hundreds of hives in a sparsely populated area of the UK and I wouldn't begin to dream that my drones are "dominating" the area. I have followed Galtee's thinking with a "Dun Aonghusa" system of concentric apiaries surrounding my main breeding apiary and yet the foreign drones still get at my virgins. 50 colonies won't scratch the surface of the local drone population in anything like a good area imho.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Good luck.
Two things though, your scorecards will be largely meaningless without keeping track of the queens your scoring, and I have hundreds of hives in a sparsely populated area of the UK and I wouldn't begin to dream that my drones are "dominating" the area. I have followed Galtee's thinking with a "Dun Aonghusa" system of concentric apiaries surrounding my main breeding apiary and yet the foreign drones still get at my virgins. 50 colonies won't scratch the surface of the local drone population in anything like a good area imho.
Thanks for the good wishes mbc.

I think your point about drones feeds in with the 'natural selection management' characterisation, which as rwurster points out is, on the surface anyway, something of an oxymoron.

The way I'm looking at things, natural selection and breeding are closely allied processes. Just how close depends on how 'closely' you breed. At one end of the spectrum is carefully selected pairs mated under II; at the other is unaided hives under a program of selected increase, with an effort to influence the drones input.

At the first end control is tight; and the other end loose - but still present. (The power of the ability to convert all hives to half-sisters shouldn't be under-estimated - even without drone input biasing)

Having a reasonable number of hives in one place is a start: letting the strongest raise as many drones as they like pushes things further in your favour. Yes, having outlying hives will help still more; getting rid of the treating hives nearby more still.

The point is to do what you can to speed up and help along the natural processes - allowing weak hives to perish, forcing the rest to deal with varroa; repeating the process without end. It's not fully controlled breeding, but its much more than not breeding at all.

As to marking queens, yes. But I think using the time that would take to do other things is my best plan just now. I'll probably regret it later. I will try to mark all new queens as they come out of mating nucs.

Mike (UK)
 

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24.3% overwintering loss is not bad at all mike. you have probably detailed your scorecard here before, but do you mind sharing it again?
 

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IMO, actively selecting colonies that have the most mites and requeening them from the colonies that have least will result in significantly faster genetic gain. Bringing in some known mite tolerant genetics is also a good strategy.
 

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Good luck.
Two things though, your scorecards will be largely meaningless without keeping track of the queens your scoring, and I have hundreds of hives in a sparsely populated area of the UK and I wouldn't begin to dream that my drones are "dominating" the area. I have followed Galtee's thinking with a "Dun Aonghusa" system of concentric apiaries surrounding my main breeding apiary and yet the foreign drones still get at my virgins. 50 colonies won't scratch the surface of the local drone population in anything like a good area imho.
I was amazed how many male dogs were in the neighborhood when my dog went into heat.:)
 

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Having a reasonable number of hives in one place is a start: letting the strongest raise as many drones as they like pushes things further in your favour. Yes, having outlying hives will help still more; [HIGHLIGHT]getting rid of the treating hives nearby more still. [/HIGHLIGHT]
How are you planning to implement the 'getting rid of the treating hives nearby' part of your plan, Mike? :scratch:

Buy out the neighboring beekeepers, perhaps? Move your apiary somewhere else? Or perhaps some ... uhh ... midnight activity?:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
How are you planning to implement the 'getting rid of treating hives nearby' part of your plan, Mike? :scratch:

Buy out the neighboring beekeepers, perhaps? Move your apiary somewhere else? Or perhaps some ... uhh ... midnight activity?:eek:
No, I can ease the most significant one out by being more effective at pollination - I came in because I undertook to work at being more effective. The only significant other beekeeper I'm hoping to convert to tf. I'll outnumber him significantly anyway - factor of 3-4.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
24.3% overwintering loss is not bad at all mike. you have probably detailed your scorecard here before, but do you mind sharing it again?
SP,

I think all I did was post a kind of thinkpiece, with this (from a spreadsheet - imagine the figures line up nicely..):

Queen Selection

Age 2 1
Yield 3 3
Origin 2 2
12 6


Age 2 2
Yield 3 2
Origin 2 2
12 8


Age 2 2
Yield 2 2
Origin 2.5 1.5
10 6



Age 2 1
Yield 3 2
Origin 2.5 1.5
15 3


That shows a few illustrative variations on results (bold). Then I've have to decide on an arithmetic scheme that draws out the right sorts of conclusions.

I'll probably add present performance (honey crop) to the past performance figures. As I say, these are just thoughts toward a system. In fact its more likely to be: gosh, this one's doing well, look its three years old and it did well last year too - lets go. Then there are decisions about how many to go with, in what sorts of proportions... I expect it'll become pretty obvious by late May.

Mike (UK)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
IMO, actively selecting colonies that have the most mites and requeening them from the colonies that have least will result in significantly faster genetic gain. Bringing in some known mite tolerant genetics is also a good strategy.
I'll probably requeen some duffers, though I don't suppose I'll have time for mitecounts.
 

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Two hives that have survived three
winters is not a bad start at all toward a sustainable Bisham ethic/Bond method apairy.

The pudding may prove to be as good as you have so persistently declared it to be in the past!

Heartfelt congrats, Mike.
 

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Age 2 1
Yield 3 3
Origin 2 2
12 6


Age 2 2
Yield 3 2
Origin 2 2
12 8


Age 2 2
Yield 2 2
Origin 2.5 1.5
10 6



Age 2 1
Yield 3 2
Origin 2.5 1.5
15 3


What are the second digits, Mike.

If you run natural selection management, do you feed bees, when and how much?

Do you manage brood size by expanding space for egg laying during spring?

Your link don´t work. http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk/CCD/ or http://www.suttonjoinery.co.uk
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Dragiša-Peđa Ranković;1249946 said:
Age 2 1
Yield 3 3
Origin 2 2
12 6


What are the second digits, Mike.
Sorry, each little group is a comparison, the compound of which is supposed to be a final figure I can use. So above I changed the Age factor by one year, keeping the rest the same, and the result is that I get a rating of 12 instead of 6. In the next two groups I've changed one of the other factors, while keeping Age the same.

The last group shows I think an ideal sort of contrast - what happens when a hive supplies the right data for all three factors. 15 against 3 is pretty dramatic, and that's the sort of thing I was looking for.

Dragiša-Peđa Ranković;1249946 said:
If you run natural selection management, do you feed bees, when and how much?
Yes I do. If I haven't left enough honey they get fed syrup in the autumn. If they're small and getting robbed they get fed more. Then I put fondant on so can largely forget about them over the winter. At the moment I'm feeding stimulative syrup to try to get them to build faster (and they had sub in february). I need them to build fast because I want to make rapid increase early in the year (before the queen takes her summer break) and because they're on spring pollination duties.

Dragiša-Peđa Ranković;1249946 said:
Do you manage brood size by expanding space for egg laying during spring?
I give them unlimited space. Sometimes I'll expand the brood nest by inserting an empty frame or two. But on the whole while I'm certainly interfering on the feeding side, I like to not interfere with nest management. I want my yield figures to reflect the bees own ability to respond to my regime, and my thinking is I'm going to get that best by treating all equally.

Dragiša-Peđa Ranković;1249946 said:
I know, its offline for now.

Mike (UK)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Oops! :)

A domain name Whois lookup shows:



Time to pay the piper:rolleyes: or lose the domain registration! :eek:

.
I broke a finger badly in February (while making guess what?) and have been largely out of action on the income side. This was one of many casualties. On the plus side I've learned to play (3-fingured) banjo, and my singing has improved.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Dragiša-Peđa Ranković;1250208 said:
2 1 Age
3 2 Yield
2.5 1.5 Origin
15 3

[I've turned the table around to try to get it a bit clearer - MB]

Is the origin changed with new queen?
Yes, as and when known. At present the emphasis is on number building, not close tracking. I'm counting hives that have thrived multiyear as successful, regardless of whether they might have changed queen - and that will obviously supply some wrong results. But I think the chances are on my side that the new queen will carry sufficient of her mother to be worth trying again.

As I've said, the emphasis here is on general non-interference (in the sphere of genetic transmission) rather than close control. I think that imiating a natural selection setting in which (the genes that make for) sick individuals constantly disappear, and the strongest make the highest contribution to increase, will get me to where I want to be. It won't be neat and tidy. But with luck a bit neater and tidier than nature.

Dragiša-Peđa Ranković;1250208 said:
I didn't read it all, and can't really see what this contributes. In my way of thinking its about tiny details in the toothing of a clock gear. What I'm focused on is the workings of the clock as a whole. Do you see what I mean?

As John Kefus says: you don't need to know _how_ it works. You do need to know _that_ it works.

Mike (UK)
 

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It contribute to your story and all about bees (natural) selection. That is story in every single hive.

If there is a enviromental pressure by various factors such as varoa, disease or what ever pressure is, better survivors in the hive select by percent of them which larva get more rojal jelly and more attention.

That is how ˝non-management˝ (natural selection) select better survivor.

If you know that it´s ok to tell all the others.

Do you agree with that?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Dragiša-Peđa Ranković;1250250 said:
It contribute to your story and all about bees (natural) selection. That is story in every single hive.
Well, yes, but you can say that about many other things, some of them unmanageably complex to ordinary folk. In general terms, looking at the details can easily make it harder to see the big picture (we have a saying: 'can't see the wood for the trees')

Dragiša-Peđa Ranković;1250250 said:
If there is a enviromental pressure by various factors such as varoa, disease or what ever pressure is, better survivors in the hive select by percent of them which larva get more rojal jelly and more attention.

That is how ˝non-management˝ (natural selection) select better survivor.
It may be one of many many sub-mechanisms by which natural selection presses forward the fittest genes. If you can tell me how I can use it as a practical aid to what I want to do, I'm very interested. Otherwise, as I say, its a detail that doesn't help enormously.

It does sound like, if its true, some ways of queen rearing might well be better than others (natural supercedure rather than external rearing for example) Is that the case?

Dragiša-Peđa Ranković;1250250 said:
If you know that it´s ok to tell all the others.

Do you agree with that?
I don't follow you there. Can you try again Dragisa? (I hope that's the right form of address?)

Mike (UK)
 
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