Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner
41 - 60 of 121 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,123 Posts
Back when typical winter losses in Wisconsin were 1% or less, even in completely uninsulated hives.
and you had to walk up hill both ways to school in the snow?
1% losses...SMH.
Do you have a date on that paper?
link says aug 19

the poppulation with the shortest gestation period changes the fastest.
yep, and there is the rub... the mites will adapt to the bees adaption faster then the bees can adapt.
Apistan restiance shows us the problem... its a different mutation in the EU, UK, and the US... meaning in each case it started with 1 mite in one hive and then spread fast across vast areas.. and in each case the mites found a diffrent way to adapt......

the outher rub is mites are clonal, so they don't lose there adaption in out cross
COVD shows us the same pattern..... we get on it and start screening in mass and bang, here is delta that is conagus before symptoms start ... get 60% of the vorld vaxed and here comes Omicron and its 4X higher break threw rate

to swing back to the org question....

#1 what needs to happen is a way to take away the reproductive advantage of killing a hive, but how?

if you get one mutated mite that can over come the defences (cemical or bee baised) in a hive and soon the hive is full of them... then the hive gets weak and robbed and those mites and now in 30+ hives, next year its 900 hives, then 27,000 hives...

if you have one hive with a queen with genetics that can fight the mites and she swams maybe 2x... to make it worse what if the hive level restance was form the drone side of say 3 drones she mated with... that means her drones don't carry it, and any given daughter queens have a 90% chance on not inheriting... it this is an efect randy O feels he is fighting in his program

#2 given the above its easy to see the need for grafting off breeders and requeening with there offspring, to fight the mites adaption, you have to beat them at propagation
 
  • Like
Reactions: crofter

·
Registered
Joined
·
378 Posts
Discussion Starter · #42 ·
I have heard that the bee population on Gotland is in very sorry shape. Pretty much at the point where the mites need to adopt a strategy of protecting the bees in order to survive.
I heard that at this post. It is pretty long, and it is just in there somewhere. - (7) Meghan Milbrath - beekeeping researcher gives a powerpoint on Swedish Beekeeping. | Beesource Beekeeping Forums
You would expect the mite population to undergo more rapid change than the bee population, because the mite population has an apparently simpler strategy, which is to find bees, feed, reproduce, repeat. Bees have a much more complex strategy, -> too complex to list.

Bees have a lot more at risk than the mites due to a mutation, since their behaviors and corresponding physiology are so much more complex.
Also, being able to adapt more rapidly than the bees is a key survival strategy for the mites, so they need to be designed to do that.
If the bees change faster than the mites, eventually the mites would be shut out.
Mites reproduce much faster than bees do, which gives them an advantage with regard to rapid mutation.

However, over short time periods both probably rely on reassortment, not mutation, as mutation is slow.

The bees probably have a more diverse gene pool than the mites, since mites (probably) arrived here due to one or more small populations being imported accidentally, while bees have been imported from all over Europe.
The bees would in that case have more tricks up their sleeve than the mites do, as long as we maintain the diversity of the gene pool by keeping our bees alive.

If this assessment is correct, then the bees' "best shot" within their existing variation potential is better than the mites' "best shot" within their existing variation potential.

If that is the case, we would expect the initial situation to be the mites becoming better at infesting hives and multiplying abundantly, followed by a gradual reduction in their apparent virulence as the bees, with greater potential for variation but much slower ability to manifest effective variations, slowly respond to the challenge of the mites.

the mites would first appear to become more virulent, and that has probably already happened, maybe within the first year or so that the mites were here. Then slowly, over many years, the mites should appear to become less virulent as the bees very slowly adapt to the pressure of the mites.

We have likely seen the worst the mites can do, at least in the short term.
The best the bees can do may not be apparent for years or decades or centuries, due to their much slower selection process.

There is of course the possibility that if we reach an equilibrium with treatment, we won't be able to reduce treatment without exiting equilibrium in a bad sort of way. We don't really know, which is why we can talk about it.

There is a lot we don't know, but there is reason for hope.

The status quo isn't really that bad, and there is a good chance if we can keep the genetic diversity we have in the bee population, that the way we keep bees will lead to an easier future.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,123 Posts
I have heard that the bee population on Gotland is in very sorry shape. Pretty much at the point where the mites need to adopt a strategy of protecting the bees in order to survive
nope, to the point they haven't been TF for 5 years



QUOTE]
The Gotland population comprised 20 to 30 colonies in 2015 (Locke, 2016). It is still monitored for research purposes, although it is not used commercially. Due to the increasing density of nonresistant colonies in the surrounding environment, the experimental population recently experienced increasing infestation levels and, from 2017 on wards, it was treated as a precautionary measure in order to decrease the risk of losing a stock of such scientific
importance
[/QUOTE]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
378 Posts
Discussion Starter · #44 ·
and you had to walk up hill both ways to school in the snow?
1% losses...SMH.

Apistan restiance shows us the problem... its a different mutation in the EU, UK, and the US... meaning in each case it started with 1 mite in one hive and then spread fast across vast areas.. and in each case the mites found a diffrent way to adapt......

COVD shows us the same pattern..... we get on it and start screening in mass and bang, here is delta that is conagus before symptoms start ... get 60% of the vorld vaxed and here comes Omicron and its 4X higher break threw rate
Actually, I went to school in a 2 room school house. 1 room for grades 1-4, the next for grades 5-8. I never walked to school, but my dad did. He went to that same school for three years. He learned quickly, and earned an 8th grade diploma after three years of study. At age 10, he left school and went to work on a neighboring farm. He was 10. It was 1929.
He kept bees. Winter losses were not a problem.
U of Wisconsin estimates winter losses were 1% or lower in the state before varroa for commercial beekeepers. They don't actually know, because it wasn't worth keeping track of.
...
The question is, were these single mutations latent in the populations? I can see an argument that they arose later, but I don't think it is clear. It is also quite possible mites with those three mutations already existed in those populations. GIven the rapidity with which resistance was achieved, that i somewhat likely.

Covid is a virus that infects mammals. Mammals have a very well-developed system for defending themselves against viruses. For viruses to survive, they need to be designed to mutate rapidly.
As a result, viruses mutate and swap genetic material with other viruses with reckless abandon, compared to "higher" life forms. That, combined with their astronomically high populations and short effective lives make them the kings of rapid genetic change.

Mites aren't viruses.

Virtually all candidate modes of mite resistance that are proposed are behavioral, (I.E, biting, cleaning out infected larvae, grooming, etc). Behavioral adaptations are genetically complex, and effective responses to them are also genetically complex. If for example biting behavior became prevalent in bees, it is difficult to see a simple adaptation of mites that would counter it. They would need to get tougher, faster, harder for bees to find, smaller, or something like that. These are significant changes, not a simple mutation. So the concern that the mite can mutate faster is not so great. The mite is, after all a mite. It will remain a mite.

#2 given the above its easy to see the need for grafting off breeders and requeening with there offspring, to fight the mites adaption, you have to beat them at propagation
I understand you see that, but I don't quite.

What I see in that, if I understand it correctly, is the same destruction of genetic variation as we get from the Bond Method. Maybe I don't quite understand your proposal, but it looks to me like you would be selecting a few queens, probably artificially inseminating them to get pure bloodlines, and using only their offspring requeen large numbers of colonies with whatever level of resistance to mites they may have.

The ultimate result would be a bee population with dramatically reduced genetic variation, which is completely ill suited to make any further adaptions in response to further variation in the mites. It is bee monoculture. Highly susceptible to anything that comes along.

Once genetic diversity is lost, it can take millennia to regain it.

Jon
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,123 Posts
What I see in that, if I understand it correctly, is the same destruction of genetic variation as we get from the Bond Method. Maybe I don't quite understand your proposal,
almost exactly what John Kefeus did with his bond program... select, graft, requeen yearly with last years best, only difference I have is there is no point in lettings a hive die if your going to kill off the gentnis any way


Once genetic diversity is lost, it can take millennia to regain it.
and that is the failing of the let them die movement, the loss important stocks that will beable to survive when the pandemic (mite pandemic) slows... ie the mite presure of an area lowers


The ultimate result would be a bee population with dramatically reduced genetic variation, which is completely ill suited to make any further adaptions in response to further variation in the mites. It is bee monoculture. Highly susceptible to anything that comes along.
HI's feral pop was founded by 3 imported hives, American AHB had only 20 or so mother queens escape...
at the rate bees recombine DNA they can regain many things

all that said... genetic diversity is the problem, not the cure
you have to remove the genetics you don't want
if you want gentle bees you have to remove the aggressive ones, if you want bees that fight mites, you have to remove the ones that don't... in either case, allowing the ones you don't want to breed for the sake of "diversity" shoots you self in the foot, as dose allowing the average to breed...

ie say we are breeding for "over winter survival" as a trait and your starting at 50% survival

So the worst ½ die and the best ½ live to be split the next spring and your stock gets better as your breeding from what lives right?

Sadly, that’s not how it works, the TF folks have been trying it for decades… here is why it fails

As 68% of the hives are “average” at the start, meaning 68% of what lived isn’t any better then 68% of what died. So to improve local stocks.. Yes, we need to stop importing a whole bunch of queens, but we also need to be making queens from at a minimum the top 32% that overwintered, and realy it should be closer to the top 2-5%. Then with those queens make your increase/replacements AND re queen the bottom 68% of what lived so those hives throw improved drones..
looking at the bell curve lets say
average performance is 50% losses the “same as others” lose 50%
below average performance is 75% loss
well below average Performance is 90% loss
above average performance is 25% loss
and well above average performance is 10% losses

@50% loses 68% of what lived is no better then 68% of what died…
if you make queens form that 68% (or mate with those drones) you get
68% of average bees (50% will die the 1st winter)
16% below advage
16% that are above average

so if you make 100 splits you have 34 + 4 + 12= 50 out of 100 survive the 1st winter

but if you propagate form the above average overwintered
you get
14% extremely above average
68% above average
14% average
2% below average.
with 100 splits you get 12+ 51+7 = 70 surive the 1st winter, you have shifted the bell curve

yes its "not that easy" but it illustrates the point that splitting what lives is unlikely to improve your stock



No photo description available.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gino45

·
Premium Member
Overwintering 6-frame Nucs
Joined
·
711 Posts
I'm sort of a kid speaking when adults are talking here, but I don't see this mentioned. It seems like there are two separate issues (likely more, but I'll keep it simple for my simple brain.)
  1. Mites that feed upon the fat bodies of their hosts. The implications are still not 100% known, but we do know the impacts include the reduced ability to rear young, especially coming out of the winter, as well as reduced lifespan.
  2. A brand new way of horizontally vectoring pathogens, the most well-known at this time is DWV.
What I see you discussing above with adaptation vs mutation is the ability to persevere with #1 above. What is not being directly addressed is #2. Yes, there will be some secondary selection pressure to breed bees that resist DWV, but I don't think it addresses it directly.

It "seems like" some work needs to be done to treat new virulent strains and types of insect pathogens. If we achieve some form of stasis with #1, we're just a mutation away from another virus being the next horrible thing. Reaching a balanced state with #1 is still like walking barefoot over used hypodermic needles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,143 Posts
If we achieve some form of stasis with #1, we're just a mutation away from another virus being the next horrible thing.
At the risk of oversimplifying things, I believe that this question is the crux of the study recently posted below:


Specifically, variants and recombinations of DWV appear to abound but are of little concern when the mite feeding which augments their viability is absent.

So while a level of viral tolerance appears to be a trait that some populations exhibit, the only 'sure fire' way of minimizing DWV disease progression is to minimize mite population growth.
 

·
Premium Member
Overwintering 6-frame Nucs
Joined
·
711 Posts
So while a level of viral tolerance appears to be a trait that some populations exhibit, the only 'sure fire' way of minimizing DWV disease progression is to minimize mite population growth.
I agree - the point I am not making very well is that "success" is dictated by the current environment. Let's say success right now means < 2% mite load. If a new virus vectored by mites comes along, we might need to re-adjust "success" to < 0.5% mite load.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,143 Posts
I agree - the point I am not making very well is that "success" is dictated by the current environment.
Point well-taken and I agree. If a <0.5% mite load becomes the maximum threshold for sustainable beekeeping, it will certainly change the paradigm of how we all manage our apiaries. Let's hope it doesn't come to that. :eek:
 

·
Premium Member
Overwintering 6-frame Nucs
Joined
·
711 Posts
To that end, perhaps mites are not the answer. Or maybe they are just one. I think I'm suggesting that treating for/against DWV should be an additional focus. Mite loads are the "wash your hands and wear a mask" part of the effort. What we need is "the vaccine." I realize that metaphor may trigger some folks - please just take it as a metaphor and not as an opportunity to wax philosophical on the world news. :)
 

·
Registered
5 ,8 ,10 frame, and long Lang
Joined
·
3,980 Posts
so just an idea here
we know mites vector several virus
we know these are BAD for the bees

Is there a virus that is bad for the mites that can be vectored by the honey bees?
Thinking of covid where a virus is rapidly vectored in humans.

Is there a virus the Mites can get that is harmless to bees?
what if we fed that to bees? As in suck my pre treated hemoglobin
Maybe even a "mite birth control" added to pollen patties.
If the mite has a faster reproduction rate then the focus on the bees is always one step behind.

then 3 hive to 900 hive spread would be a good thing.

I realize every action Has a reaction and once this cat is out of the bag it could recombine and affect other bugs but just thinking out loud.

GG
 

·
Registered
35
Joined
·
2,218 Posts
I've figured it out-develop mites that make honey.
No need to do that, there is a different approach. We all try to keep bees and for many, they end up keeping mites until everything dies. Stop focussing on the bees, start down the road of keeping mites alive and healthy. A side effect of that, you will have a bee colony as it is required to support your mites.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,678 Posts
I remember in about 1958 there being an experiment to release flies that would lay eggs in some kind of tree killing caterpillar. The big stupid flies would land on any bare skin. They didnt bite but sure were off putting. I remember them being called friendly flies!

Something like that may be discovered for mites but that is dangerous territory. Remember the africanized bee experiment. Some other mite eating pseudo scorpians have been considered but some of them are pestilent in their own right when they run out of varroa to feed on they turn to bees. Tropilaelaps, anyone?

Back to the drawing board boys!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,144 Posts
This conversation gets repeated every few years. One thing we know today is that there is no single gene in honeybees that can magically make any bee with that gene resistant to varroa. However, there are several "small effect" genes that when combined result in a bee with significant mite resistance. Here is an old thread with some thoughts to review.


Also important, commercial queen breeders have very little incentive to select for varroa resistance. Beekeepers keep buying their non-resistant queens ad-infinitum. This has changed just a little in the last 10 years with a few breeders offering queens with resistance.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gray Goose

·
Registered
Joined
·
906 Posts
Also important, commercial queen breeders have very little incentive to select for varroa resistance. Beekeepers keep buying their non-resistant queens ad-infinitum. This has changed just a little in the last 10 years with a few breeders offering queens with resistance.
I have to respectfully disagree with this-there is a very significant effort to breed resistant bees by commercial breeders, large and small as there is for many "domesticated animals, plants, fish and fowl." Many commercial guys buy VSH stock, do their own breeding and support research. Ever look at a wholesale catalog and wonder who's buying the pallet level purchase of medications? Resistant bees will always be cheaper for those operations than pallet loads of Apivar. The mindset that all commercial operations are bad is totally false-if anything, it's the small-scale flash in the pan charlatans selling snake oil. Commerical breeders have incentives to breed much better resistant stock both for their reputation and cash flow. They are the best hope this industry has-yes, there are guys slamming together packages for unsuspecting beginners and cheap hobbyist annual bee killer types - you pay peanuts, you get monkeys! There are plenty of monkey sellers out there working to give you what you pay for so you can whine that your bees have SHB, mites, moths or worse. You'll buy a mutt queen for $20 rather than spend a few more bucks for a proven resistant strain. I just can't get past how some people here want to blame the guys who are doing the work supporting the industry because they know better. I can assure you that the people with their lives wrapped in bees and thousands of hives have a stronger interest in them than any hobbyist or sideliner. What have you (collective) done to help breed resistance?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
378 Posts
Discussion Starter · #59 ·
almost exactly what John Kefeus did with his bond program... select, graft, requeen yearly with last years best, only difference I have is there is no point in lettings a hive die if your going to kill off the gentnis any way



and that is the failing of the let them die movement, the loss important stocks that will beable to survive when the pandemic (mite pandemic) slows... ie the mite presure of an area lowers




HI's feral pop was founded by 3 imported hives, American AHB had only 20 or so mother queens escape...
at the rate bees recombine DNA they can regain many things

all that said... genetic diversity is the problem, not the cure
you have to remove the genetics you don't want
if you want gentle bees you have to remove the aggressive ones, if you want bees that fight mites, you have to remove the ones that don't... in either case, allowing the ones you don't want to breed for the sake of "diversity" shoots you self in the foot, as dose allowing the average to breed...

ie say we are breeding for "over winter survival" as a trait and your starting at 50% survival

So the worst ½ die and the best ½ live to be split the next spring and your stock gets better as your breeding from what lives right?

Sadly, that’s not how it works, the TF folks have been trying it for decades… here is why it fails

As 68% of the hives are “average” at the start, meaning 68% of what lived isn’t any better then 68% of what died. So to improve local stocks.. Yes, we need to stop importing a whole bunch of queens, but we also need to be making queens from at a minimum the top 32% that overwintered, and realy it should be closer to the top 2-5%. Then with those queens make your increase/replacements AND re queen the bottom 68% of what lived so those hives throw improved drones..
looking at the bell curve lets say
average performance is 50% losses the “same as others” lose 50%
below average performance is 75% loss
well below average Performance is 90% loss
above average performance is 25% loss
and well above average performance is 10% losses

@50% loses 68% of what lived is no better then 68% of what died…
if you make queens form that 68% (or mate with those drones) you get
68% of average bees (50% will die the 1st winter)
16% below advage
16% that are above average

so if you make 100 splits you have 34 + 4 + 12= 50 out of 100 survive the 1st winter

but if you propagate form the above average overwintered
you get
14% extremely above average
68% above average
14% average
2% below average.
with 100 splits you get 12+ 51+7 = 70 surive the 1st winter, you have shifted the bell curve

yes its "not that easy" but it illustrates the point that splitting what lives is unlikely to improve your stock



No photo description available.
I'm not sure I follow all of your logic.

It seems to me, if we have 50% survival or 10% survival or 90% survival, we have no way of knowing if survival is correlated to resistance to mites, or if arises from other factors. We really don't know.
However, the abject failure of people who kill the majority of their bees year after year to succeed in finding bees that can reliably endure their continual neglect makes it pretty clear that survival by itself is not an indicator of effective resistance. Assuming survival, at any level, does not correlate meaningfully with resistance; using survival as a way of selecting appears to be genetically wasteful, expensive, and entirely ineffective.
It seems reasonable that hives that do especially well probably do so to some extent because they are less affected by mites. I agree that these should be breeding stock.
I hesitate to be too quick about suppressing the genetics of the other survivors, though.
A lot depends on apparently random factors. If a particular hive has scouts that are the first to find a mite bomb, they act to protect the hives adjacent to them by sucking up all of the mites. If they go into winter "strong", they and their mites will die. But the hives near them that survive aren't better, just luckier. There are a lot of scenarios like that. The flightless birds that survive longest may not be faster or smarter than the others, they just happened to be farther away from the cats.

I think we agree that we should minimize losses, as best we can, breed from the colonies that do best of our local stock, and not be critical of people who are doing the same.

One rabbit trail not well traveled is, if we were to find bees that were not prone to robbing and unfriendly to foreign drones, a lot of our mite problems would probably go away. But that is a separate topic. It seems odd that bees so like to rob out other colonies. This behavior hasn't been selected against even though it is harmful. A strong colony is unlikely to benefit much from the meagre stores of a colony being overcome by mites or AFB. I suspect that a dispropensity toward robbing, a hostility to foreign drones, and a tendency to bite or chew mites will be three characteristics that will be common in bees when mites are no longer a serious problem.

However, we should be critical of noble beekillers, who have deceived themselves that killing bees, at great expense to themselves and their neighbors, is good for bees. Those people should be strongly resisted.

I have to add, I am not a good beekeeper, nor a particularly experienced one.
So don't give too much weight to what I say.
I tend to word things somewhat forcefully at times, but that doesn't make them so.

Jon
 
41 - 60 of 121 Posts
Top