Don't shoot me or anything but I was sitting here wondering. Is it possible that people are making bees weaker by taking too good care of them?
I wasn't really be thinking about the selection process. I was thinking about how people wrap the hives for cold weather. I am also not saying it's a bad thing. I guess what I am wondering is now that people do things like wrap them does it program the bees to require it. For example feral bees that have never been treated or protected from the cold, are they more Hardy than domesticated bees?Absolutely. Bees are much weaker than they should be because of lack of selection.
Is that strictly true ? Honey-bees migrated of their own accord into Asia, up into Russia, and across into Europe. Those bees were to survive the 'Little Ice Age' of the 14th to 19th centuries under somewhat primitive beekeeping conditions.We've taken a specie that evolved in a warm climate and forced them to live in a cold climate.
Tree size goes down as the winters get longer and colder. I'm sure this has a big impact on northern range limits. Must be an inverse relationship between cavity size and the amount of honey needed to survive a long winter.i wonder if the limiting factor for wild-type bees to make it in the far north is the availability of large cavities.
i say this because mike palmer reports overwintering in a double deep and one medium, and i am assuming at least the upper deep and medium are full of stores.
mike also reports that when he first gets into his hives after the spring thaw there typically isn't very much honey left.
i'm guessing there aren't many tree hollows having that much volume to go around.
all of the babying we do currently is because of hive deaths. if they were not dying out in huge numbers in winter i doubt anyone would do extra work.I wasn't really be thinking about the selection process. I was thinking about how people wrap the hives for cold weather. I am also not saying it's a bad thing. I guess what I am wondering is now that people do things like wrap them does it program the bees to require it. For example feral bees that have never been treated or protected from the cold, are they more Hardy than domesticated bees?
That's certainly true of managed forests. In really old unmanaged forests cavities are more plentiful due to moribund trees falling over and causing limb damage to their neighbours. In Sherwood Forest (of Robin Hood fame) there are hollow oak trees there a person can hide inside.i'm guessing there aren't many tree hollows having that much volume to go around.
You could if you wanted to, although I suspect there would be little point.Can't argue with that. Thanks MB
But the Arnot experience completely is at odds with this narrative. Hand waving vs fact. Varroa came, a major reduction of population, adaptation, carry on as before. So there is selective pressure. Some bees need a brood break every year. Swarming in feral bees accomplishes that. So the level of mite control is just enough to allow this to happen.You could if you wanted to, although I suspect there would be little point.
One of the core principles of Natural Selection is that if a genetic alteration should occur which confers an advantage, then this advantage must be expressed prior to that organism reproducing, in order that such alteration (and the advantage it bestows) is then passed on to the next generation.
Suppose you have a varroa-infested colony which is destined to collapse towards the end of the year. Providing that colony reproduces (say, by multiple swarms) earlier in that year, then the existing genotype - that is, one which does not possess any advantage with regard to that varroa infestation - will continue to persist within the prevailing gene pool. But these are not 'wimpy' bees - these are the same bees as existed before Varroa arrived.
In the above case, not-treating those mites will have absolutely zero positive effect upon the outcome (quite the reverse, as a 'mite-bomb' is highly likely to develop), whereas treating them will allow that colony and it's progeny to survive for a further year - during which time it's always possible that some miraculous event will occur to finally solve the Varroa problem. Although I very much doubt this will happen any time soon.