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The way that I read the abstract, there must be a feral populaion out there.
Charie
 

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A tally of mitotypes recovered in each state (sampling is very heavily biased to Arkansas and Oklahoma) shows some interesting patterns, worth discussing.


C2, C11, C12, C31 are the major commercial "Italian" mitotypes found in queen breeder studies.
The M lineage is the Iberian and German Black lineage from Western Europe (some of these mitotype lines are also present in miniscule amounts in commercial breeder lines ( a previous Magnus study cite: http://comp.uark.edu/~aszalan/magnus_jas_2011.pdf)
The O lineage are Turkish and Cyprian mitochondria and are not reported from queen breeder lines. The paper reports parenthetically that Caucausian bees formerly considered "O" mitotype are now considered "C".

The study used a highly detailed DNA sequencing (as opposed to less subtle restriction fragment length polymorphism used previously), and some of it variant findings may be due to the higher resolution of the test.

The study found a signficant differences from the Delaney 2009 study of queen breeders and Magnus (2011) own study of queen breeders. Magnus found 7 haplotypes of Mitochondria in 140 samples of commercial queens, so finding a larger number of feral mitotypes is striking.

Magnus discusses several sources of the observed diversity: recent surreptitious importation of new adults from Europe and especially the mid-East (Syria and Israel for the O types) or persistence in the wild for very long periods independent of managed apiaries.

The paper's final paragraph reads:
Through DNA sequence analysis of a mtDNA marker, we have identified distinct
lineages in unmanaged colonies of honey bees in the United States that do not occur
in managed colonies. This provides evidence that these lineages are not recent
descendants from managed honey bee populations, and that they have been
surviving as feral populations for a period of time, independent of managed
populations. Studies have revealed that feral honey bee populations have traits that
differ from managed honey bee populations. Atmowidjojo et al. (1997) found that
feral honey bee colonies in Arizona were more tolerant of high temperatures than
managed colonies. DNA sequencing of the mtDNA COI–COII marker could be
used to identify feral honey bee lineages that could be studied, once established in
managed apiaries, to determine if they possess any traits that are beneficial for
beekeepers.
 

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I am not a molecular biologist, but I have read the article. Others with access and more expertise will have to chime in. I have only skimmed it so far, and hope to read it in earnest soon.
 

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The elephant in this outhouse is the divergence of commercial queen operations from relatively pure Italian and Carniolan genetics to producing bees with distinctive feral traits. My best guess would be 2 things happening. One is that queen breeders are elevating feral queens into their breeding programs because they are finding mite tolerant genetics and two is from queen breeders bringing in exotic stock for evaluation and integration into their breeding plans.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Fusion power:

My own thoughts on this are that as feral populations are rebounding, open mating will inevitably introduce more and more feral genetics into the stock. It could eventually become a bigger problem for queen breeders.
 

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JW:

While I appreciate your efforts to post material from the Magnus paper, It's not a free-access paper.

:no:
some of what he posted is available online and free by the way.

http://comp.uark.edu/~aszalan/magnus_esa_2010.jpg

and it would appear that michael bush is the neb. beek and Grant Gilliard is the Mo. beek, they may be able to add to the discussion.
 

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Did it mention anything about the Russian bee genetics appearing in feral colonies. There have got to be out there and spreading.

JW - Thanks for the summary and chart.

I would love to find out the general areas (ie counties/parishes) they sampled in. It would be worth trying to find someone in Louisiana in that parish that is capturing/raising feral bees and try to get some from them. LOL

Wonder if those are the small black bodied feral bees I have around here or is that just what bees revert back to in the feral form.
 

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We have a fairly healthy feral population in Peoria and Tazewell county in IL. I've been keeping track of every swarm and unmanaged colony brought to my attention through our association website. Some may be recent escapees from managed colonies but some are truly feral.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
There are more than a few reports of resistant ferals in your neighboring states.

Unfortunately, I have yet to see a study of your local populations.
 

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Did it mention anything about the Russian bee genetics appearing in feral colonies. There have got to be out there and spreading.
No mention of Russian lineage in the paper. All types were African or Western European.
 

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There are more than a few reports of resistant ferals in your neighboring states.

Unfortunately, I have yet to see a study of your local populations.
Study or not, I'll keep collecting swarms and doing removals to add to my yards. When I'm losing 10% and more experienced beeks around me are losing 50%+ I'll stick with my stock, feral or not.
 

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"Russian" bees primarily have mitotype C of the common Italian strains. Remember mitotype is simply clonal lineage of the queens. It is extra-nuclear, and has nothing to do with the selected traits of an organism. In wild organisms it is a reliable indicator of ancestry, in selected organisms it says nothing about the expressed traits (the Phenotype).

In California, Ukrainian beekeepers who have migrated to the US since 1990 have imported (in their coat pockets) queens of their favorite local strains. This importation and amplification of "Russian" genetics has nothing to do with the Primorsky selection.
 

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There is some misinterpretation occurring on this forum. The paper establishes that feral populations with partial origins different than standard commercial packages exist broadly across the US. It is a conservative assumption that these origins pre-date the importation ban of 1922. An alternative might be that unauthorized importation of novel genotypes is occuring ad hoc.

The persistence of these queen clone lineages imply that a fraction of wild bees have a fraction of genetics that are more diverse than commercially produced packages. This means that the ferals may have a reservoir of diversity that can be tapped for selection. Though conversely, the absence of these clonal lines in commercial package production likely means the out-groups express traits are considered commercially undesirable, and have actively been deleted from the breeding group. Whether the commercials have been making good decisions is a debate.

Looking at another result of the paper (here edited to show only one result)

K is "mean number of pairwise nucleotide differences" --not shown is theta, the standardized number of differences per total segment length.
This is a measure of within-lineage diversity. Note that Commercial Breeders and the M (German) lineage are homogenous -- low diversity. This implies low adaptive ability -- and an "inbred" or coalescent condition.
Feral bees (and especially the Middle Eastern clone) have high variation -- this implies a large reservoir of variability -- and a broad capacity to contribute novel genotypes.

The finding that "M" lineage bees have low variation has been reported before. An interpretation is German Black Bees have low adaptive capacity -- they represent an inbred and homogenous lineage.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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> it would appear that michael bush is the neb. beek and Grant Gilliard is the Mo. beek, they may be able to add to the discussion.

All I did was donate samples. I didn't do the research. It seems to me they sent me the DNA results of my bees and I have them somewhere, but I have not read the paper.
 

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What are the implications of the study for those of us who don't have an extensive background in genetics but wish to improve our stock?
 
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