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Re: Riverderwent Survival Treatment Free 2017

The complexity and invisibility of natural selection - particularly with honey bees - makes it hard for many to approach. But its there. If you getting working for you it can bring the results you want. Nothing else will, and if you ignore it, or misunderstand or misapply it you will crash.

Mike UK
Do you realise what you're saying ? "natural selection" and "the results you want" - together they represent an oxymoron.
LJ
 

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Discussion Starter #302
Re: Riverderwent Survival Treatment Free 2017

Do you realise what you're saying ? "natural selection" and "the results you want" - together they represent an oxymoron.
LJ
Well, yes and no. The trick is to see how to work with the flow, the 'methods', and the grain of natural selection - to let natural selection do its work and very carefully help it.

Breeders mimic natural selection (the term 'selection' comes from them - from 'selective breeding')

Choosing his words carefully and adding 'natural' Darwin carefully considered deploying "Natural 'selection' " to describe the process, but in the end went with the phrase we use today. And it works very well; Nature, through various mechanisms 'selects' the best parents to produce offspring best fitted to the environment in each generation. Of course there is no intentionality in such 'selection': nature is blind and purposeless. But the magic works; and to the extent that you interfere with it you risk the health of your population.

Its not always easy to speak in terms that convey the live and let die AND breed methods easily. You have use the term natural selection. And you have to use the term breed to do it justice, to convey your meaning. You are doing both.

Does that make more sense to you?

Mike (UK)
 

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Re: Riverderwent Survival Treatment Free 2017

Do bear in mind that Darwin's Theory is just that - a theory. It's a lot better than any of the other 'stuff' that's on offer - but it still remains a theory. Charles Darwin's theory, for which we have his grandfather Erasmus to thank of course, has so many holes in it - with the development of wings being perhaps one of the most controversial. But that aside ...

We humans have taken what we understand to be key principles of the theory, and are now employing these as if human influence can be taken completely out of the equation - and that our objectives are exactly the same as those which would result without our interference. We are engaged in Human Selection, and not the Natural Selection which Darwin described and explained.

But - with the same supreme human arrogance which once saw our Earth as being at the very centre of the Cosmos, the Creation of which was claimed to have been caused by some quasi-human god-like force which could be influenced by sacrifice or more lately, by prayer - we now manipulate the Earth's environment and the creatures upon it as if we have both the right to do this - and are in possession of the necessary wisdom to successfully pull it off.

I don't have that much of a problem with this sort of human behaviour, except when it is done whilst marching behind the 'Natural' banner. There's nothing remotely natural about anything related to beekeeping - beginning with the keeping of bees itself; the numbers of colonies per acre; the importation/ exportation of bees into novel areas; the artificial propagation of queens - and then mailing them long distances - the list could become a very long one. And for most of us, not even the environment in which we keep bees could ever be described as anywhere near 'natural'. But 'natural' is one of the really great 'buzz-words', second only perhaps to 'freedom'.

As 'natural' has such good baggage attached to it, it's a word freely used to gain moral advantage - but please let's not be seduced by such misuse ...

Of course there is no intentionality in such 'selection': nature is blind and purposeless. But the magic works; and to the extent that you interfere with it you risk the health of your population.
Nature is purposeless - whereas Humans have an agenda. In the Origin of Species Darwin was describing events which had not been subjected to any kind of human influence - so to continue to use the same terminology is inappropriate, if not dishonest.
LJ
 

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Discussion Starter #304
Re: Riverderwent Survival Treatment Free 2017

Hi All!

I was looking through Beesource for info about melting very obstinate crystallised honey, and thought I'd pop my head round the corner and say Hi!

Just to say: I'm still here, still not treating or fiddling against varroa (or anything else) in any way other than selecting mother hives.

Currently holding about 80 colonies, and finally learning how to be a better honey and bee farmer - without messing up the natural selection process I hope!

Hope you're all well,

Allbest

Mike (UK)

PS latest thinking: after repeatedly seeing hives falling and dying over winter, and turning worker-layer far too often, it has struck me that beekeepers have probably bred a large degree of supercedure capability out of bees by constantly replacing queens.

Anyone see that?
 

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Re: Riverderwent Survival Treatment Free 2017

What size containers are you wanting to melt?
 

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Re: Riverderwent Survival Treatment Free 2017

Anyone see that?
Can't see this.

How many colonies have a queen from a breeding program? Controlled mated queens? About 0,01 % of all hives maybe. So there is actually a lack of breeding instead of the propagated overbreeding.

Strong hives have a perfectly ability to supercedure. The problem for most bee observers is, to actually get hives strong and keep'em strong.

As a side note:
I do not replace queens only because of the age. I have dozens of colonies that went with 5 year old queens into the canola/rape seed honey crop this year – and they made a good harvest, comparable to younger queens. Also they filled the broodnest pretty good and had no swarming issues either. If you know how to use the adaptable broodnest, even old queens perform well enough for the commercial beekeeping operation.
 

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Discussion Starter #307
What size containers are you wanting to melt?
5 gallon. They are from early 2018, probably partly oilseed rape (canola). I can melt them by going to 60 deg C. for 48 hours, but there is still filter- clogging crystal in there, and the honey has started to become caramelized. I'm concerned the small crystal coming through the filter will soon cause hardening again, even if I blend with new. Perhaps a candidate for set honey. As well as clearing this batch I'm trying to learn what is possible storage wise for future reference.

I'm going to try cooler/longer.

Any thoughts welcome.
 

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Discussion Starter #308
Bernard, you write: " how many colonies have a queen from a breeding program? "


First, there is 'fully controlled' as in a closed selective breeding system (none) then there is 'partly controlled' as in a mother selection process (and how hard that is run); then there is 'naturally controlled' as in a wild setting - which we wouldn't generally describe as being controlled at all.

'Control' lies on a spectrum. It's not a binary on-off matter.

My 'breeding program' is shifting from natural selection, or live and let die, toward a loose scheme that makes new colonies from the best 20% or so. Arriving at 'best' involves longevity times productivity.

Thus far I've allowed colonies to sputtered on till they perish. Thus those that genes that do supersede successfully have come through, while those that done, haven't.

That should give you an idea of how I manage to run 80 or so colonies with no medication and no mollycoddling of any sort whatsoever, with winter losses lower than the national average.

My proposition concerning supercedure is pretty straightforward. If there is pressure on a population to supersede individuals will maintain a capability to do so. If that pressure is removed, there is a very good chance that capability will recede.

The pressure is lightened in places where queen-changing beekeepers are more prominent, and the longer that has been so the greater the likely effect.

We don't need to complicate matters any more than that.
 

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5 gallon. They are from early 2018, probably partly oilseed rape (canola). I can melt them by going to 60 deg C. for 48 hours, but there is still filter- clogging crystal in there, and the honey has started to become caramelized. I'm concerned the small crystal coming through the filter will soon cause hardening again, even if I blend with new. Perhaps a candidate for set honey. As well as clearing this batch I'm trying to learn what is possible storage wise for future reference.

I'm going to try cooler/longer.

Any thoughts welcome.
This is what you need. https://www.powerblanket.com/products/bee-blanket/

As an aside, 60C is way too hot and will damage the honey. You should not go over 42C, and even that, just for a very short time.

I sell a lot of honey in 20 liter (4 point something gallons) and a lot of people want it liquid, the bee blanket does a good job BUT, as the honey melts the crystals fall to the bottom and don't dissolve. For that I have to put a pet blanket under the bucket. With the pet planket under the blanket plus the bee blanket, you have an effective bucket melter that will deal with the most difficult honey types in 3 days, and most honey types in 2 days. The bee blanket heats the honey to 35C which is enough, with a pet blanket underneath.

Always happy to be of service Mike. :D
 

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Re: Riverderwent Survival Treatment Free 2017

latest thinking: after repeatedly seeing hives falling and dying over winter, and turning worker-layer far too often, it has struck me that beekeepers have probably bred a large degree of supercedure capability out of bees by constantly replacing queens.

Anyone see that?
No. The issue is mites.

When I started beekeeping which was pre varroa, it was incredibly rare to lose a queen through winter. Without varroa, ie, bees natural un interfered with state, the bees were totally capable of detecting a queen nearing her end and superseding her in time. So capable in fact, that the first outfit I worked for had around 4,000 hives, and you could count winter queen losses on the fingers of one hand.
In these post varroa times, many beekeepers simply would not believe that because it is outside their post varroa experience. But, that is the way things used to be.

My theory is that varroa and associated viruses, often speed up the demise of the queen, and the bees get caught unawares. Best I can tell, average rates of going hopelessly queenless in winter now, in my country, is around 5%.

Re breeding out supersedure, have not seen it here. Now I am retired and just running 320 hives as a retirement hobby, I am running them by rather minimalist labor methods, and not doing any requeening at all, other than if there is an aggressive hive or some other undesireable trait that needs eliminating, I am leaving the bees to their own devises and finding they are mostly all superseding as required just fine.

Rather an odd position for someone to take who was once a full time queen breeder. Honey production is probably a bit lower than if I requeened religiously, as there is the odd hive with an old queen and poor production. However from an economic perspective there is a cost to requeening, either money if you buy them, or time if you make them. I'm pretty sure that in my outfit anyway, the cost of requeening would be more than the lost production by not requeening. The greatest number of hives have nice productive queens, and natural supersedure queens are normally big, fat, top quality queens. I still have around 5% queen loss through winter, which is around the same as everyone else.
 

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Discussion Starter #311
Interesting, thanks D. I pop my buckets in a fridge heated by a lightbulb, controlled by stat. 40 deg C is about my norm for filtering, but this old batch can go 3 or 4 days and still the grains clog the filter instantly.

I could, and should, filter from the settling tank, but... I retail my honey, and don't want it looking grotty in the jars on shop shelves.

I can get by and use this batch up. But I kind of had in mind long term storage to be covered for a bad year or two. So I need to find out how to make this work. I think the answer will be a bit of this and a bit of that - slow melting, blending, a few other things I have in mind.
 

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Discussion Starter #313
"Re. breeding out supersedure, have not seen it here. "

If you have that many hives, and are not systematically requesting, that would be expected, within my speculation.

I think you may well be right about mites, though I very rarely see them. It wouldn't have to be either/or. Both causes might be working together, in differing proportions according to circumstances.

I think I've been losing a lot to old comb. I've only just started rotating out systematically, and many of my failed hives were pretty ugly. I want to raise survival and strong early build up but I'm trying to avoid doing things that might interfere with my natural selection process. It's a tricky one.
 

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Old comb? I only throw it when it is so old that cocoons have built on the cell bottom to such an extent that they can't use it for brood any more because of the now close proximity to the other comb, cannot accomadate the length of a larva. I do know I'm of the minority in this view.

But when I asked if you saw my post, I meant the bee blanket one.
 

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Discussion Starter #315
Yes I saw your pet blanket post D, I thanked you for it 🙂
 

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Oh OK. I did not know I was referred to as D. :scratch:

Thankyou F. :D
 

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latest thinking: after repeatedly seeing hives falling and dying over winter, and turning worker-layer far too often, it has struck me that beekeepers have probably bred a large degree of supercedure capability out of bees by constantly replacing queens.
hard to re queen when there arn't drones or mateing flight weather

maybe the heart of the matter is the currant problems queen longevity

there is the argument that prophylactic replacement of queens led us down this road, eliminating positive selection for longevity.
fipside is Seeley's work shows wild queens have a short life and high turnover.. (90% don't see a 2nd spring) so it may not be a direct of human (active) selection and my just be a sign of the times (pests, ag cems, what ever)
 

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there is the argument that prophylactic replacement of queens led us down this road, eliminating positive selection for longevity.
I don't think many in the business would buy into that argument, although there will be a few.

In the main, breeder queens are at least one season old and often two, they have to be that old to assess their performance. Queens just good for a year are not going to make selection.

The exception might be breeders produced by II, which might be recently inseminated and have been selected on the merits of their parents. However the original parentage will have been selected on normal criterion, and would generally have to be good for at least two years.

I have heard this argument before, that we are selecting for shorter lifespan, but in my view the reverse is the case, if the queens have been raised by reputable bee breeders using normal selection criterion. The other thing, is that despite "prophylactic requeening", most hives are not "prophylactically requeened", not once a year, anyway.

fipside is Seeley's work shows wild queens have a short life and high turnover.. (90% don't see a 2nd spring) so it may not be a direct of human (active) selection and my just be a sign of the times (pests, ag cems, what ever)
That, emphasis pests.
 

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Discussion Starter #319
Sorry F, don't know where D came from, M 🙂
 

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Discussion Starter #320
Re: Riverderwent Survival Treatment Free 2017

Nature is purposeless - whereas Humans have an agenda. In the Origin of Species Darwin was describing events which had not been subjected to any kind of human influence - so to continue to use the same terminology is inappropriate, if not dishonest.
LJ
Little John,

Where humans are not interfering what is happening is natural. To the extent that humans interfere what is happening becomes less natural.

You can take an extreme position and say 'man has changed everything, and therefore there is no natural'

Or, you take take the opposite view and say: if men don't interfere what unfolds will, by definition, unfold naturally.'

I suspect you take the first, me the second, and that is causing misunderstanding.

My position is to interfere a little as possible allows natural solutions, if they are available, to work through.

In bee management we have a choice. We can interfere on all sorts of levels, making for very unnatural developments.

Or we can interfere as little as possible, and allow natural selection to 'make the decisions' on the all-important issue of which individuals make each new generation.

That is what I do, and what others (i.e. John Kefus of 'Live and Let Die' fame) have done.

My 'management' consists, as much as is possible, of allowing natural selection to 'make the breeding decisions.'

Does that make sense?
 
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