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Document Varroa resistant bees coming soon!?

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28 minutes ago, ReneeJones said:

Thanks Marky 

Yes they will be for sale in spring aslong as we can get either a govt grant or funding from somewhere to build up in time for spring.. 

People have already tried them out and we have nothing but good reviews. My grandad Gary Jeffery is better at explaining than I am about the genetics and biology of it as he has a BSc and way more experience than I do.. that is the reason I put semi commercial. . Because we currently don't have the hive numbers to be calling it commercial. . But before Varroa he sold his queens all over NZ and the world.. so if able to produce the numbers we already have a good market ready.. 

In terms of the strips we have not needed them at all except when they start to cluster and we are using only one strip per hive cut in half.. I feel this is a huge improvement if people usually treat year round. The main issues are in the hives that bred with outside drones.. the ones that breed with our other drone stock are the ones that get stronger.. 

For enquiries and more information please email mountainbeech@slingshot.co.nz 

Thanks

I would suggest that the reason you are only using half a strip per season per hive is because you have no funds.
Half a strip in nuc over winter then split after a build up in spring, run the gauntlet through summer and another half strip in the newly split Autumn nucs and so on
The overall numbers would give the illusion that the population is stable 

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2 hours ago, ReneeJones said:

That's fine if you don't want to believe that there is resistance that's up to you..

Is this statement a subtle shift from the Varroa tolerance claim?

Initially we were asked to believe that these True breeding Varroa tolerant Queens actually exist right now

However the Quoted sentence appears to be a shift to the topic of resistance.

How is "belief" in resistance  linked to "Belief" in the existence of True breeding Varroa Tolerant Queens

Edited by Philbee

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Ok I admit I'm not explaining it the best I could.. previous years we have not treated at all.. we have only put the one bayvoral sliced in half during this winter.. previous years we have not used them at all.. currently the only hives to have strips in are the ones that bred outside of our drone stock.. the ones that did breed with our drone stock are still stronger and with less to no Mites showing  in sugar shakes.  We cannot do all of nz by ourselves.. the main point is that each season the Mites are less effective on our bees while Mitacides are getting less effective in treating the mites.. 

in terms of us not having the cash flow yeah that's right we didn't have it when needed.. but in usual circumstances I'm sure if you didn't treat your bees you might have none left.. where as we are proving we need less treatment with better outcomes from what I've heard all over NZ. . 

I do understand people being skeptical specially those who have tried to produce it by importing bees.. we stumbled on this due to the collapse as explained on the give a little page. . From about 6 hives we found resistance we then bred that stronger so most of our Stock is the resistant kind.. after 5 or more years of getting it stronger we didn't treat any that were test hives for the following seasons breeding.. we never have so those that carry it never require any treatment for Varroa unless they bred out of our Stock. . In which it gets weaker and pms and mites start to effect the brood again.. it's certainly alot better than having to treat all year round.. and with good queen selection can naturally spread through the bees of nz

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Basically some of you will always be skeptical. . And that's fine.. I'm sure if I didn't see it for myself I might react the same way.. there are a few people who can see the benefits and understand biologically things don't happen overnight specially for something like this.. I'm sure immunization dosent work perfectly when it's first produced.. we are actually trying to create a solution to the issue and the Varroa problem is alot bigger than just one company... I appreciate the genuine responses from some people but don't want to debate this forever. . Likely some of you won't believe it till you see it anyway.. if you have genuine enquiries or want more information please email at

mountainbeech@slingshot.co.nz 

Thanks you all for taking the time to discuss it anyway :)

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14 minutes ago, ReneeJones said:

we have only put the one bayvoral sliced in half during this winter

what are you going to breed first. resistant bees or resistant varroa. 

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How long has the west coast had varroa?  It must be less than 10 years.   I know that most of the hives in NZ are in the North Island.  So wondering how difficult it would be to flood the islands with the drones that would be needed to help carry these recessive genes?   I know it took a while for varroa to ‘bed in’ throughout Canterbury.

If West Coast doesn’t have a high concentration of hives/beekeepers then this could affect results maybe?   I know beeks move hives over to the coast for the honey flows but then bring them back for winter.  Their hives would/should already be strong by  the time of the honey flow and so not in queen  raising mode and hopefully not laden with varroa...especially if there is little varroa on the West Coast?

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48 minutes ago, Bees said:

How long has the west coast had varroa?  It must be less than 10 years.   I know that most of the hives in NZ are in the North Island.  So wondering how difficult it would be to flood the islands with the drones that would be needed to help carry these recessive genes?   I know it took a while for varroa to ‘bed in’ throughout Canterbury.

If West Coast doesn’t have a high concentration of hives/beekeepers then this could affect results maybe?   I know beeks move hives over to the coast for the honey flows but then bring them back for winter.  Their hives would/should already be strong by  the time of the honey flow and so not in queen  raising mode and hopefully not laden with varroa...especially if there is little varroa on the West Coast?

 

Could you describe the beekeeping environment that these resistant hives are kept in?  For example, I see you are on the West Coast and so would presume some remoteness.  Are other beekeepers sites typically more than 3km away rom your bees?  Thanks

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7 minutes ago, CraBee said:

 

Could you describe the beekeeping environment that these resistant hives are kept in?  For example, I see you are on the West Coast and so would presume some remoteness.  Are other beekeepers sites typically more than 3km away rom your bees?  Thanks

You are confusing posters I think

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3 hours ago, yesbut said:

Given this knowledge of the genes does science currently have the capability  and ability under NZ legislation to manipulate the genome to bring out the recessiveness ?

I know the science to engineer pine trees that won't produce unwanted seeds exists but is prohibited here .

 

Not under NZ legislation. All GM work is prohibted here unless a special exemption is granted. I suspect getting a special exemption to do GM work on bees would be near impossible because one of the criterion for any such program is the ability to stop genetic "spill over" into other populations. With bees this would be near impossible as it would mean never allowing a drone to fly loose. How could the hives be worked.

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I understand about the law side. Does science have the ability to produce the goods at this point is my question.

It's probably time this whole GM business was looked at again in light of the passage of time/knowledge.

Edited by yesbut

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I dont think it would be unusual to breed Bees within a operation within a relatively remote location that are somewhat more Varroa tolerant than the national average

After all, its been stated numerous times in discussions on this forum that its possible to improve ones own bees but very difficult to take that improvement and replicate across the country

This is the basis for argument that Breeding program Queens are bound to give mixed results when sold out of their parent operations 

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3 minutes ago, yesbut said:

 

I understand about the law side. Does science have the ability to produce the goods at this point is my question.

It's probably time this whole GM business was looked at again in light of the passage of time/knowledge.

 

Last I heard, the science is not that advanced yet, it is still not known which genes or combination of genes do exactly what.

 

There was one of those viral facebook things a couple of years ago saying that Monsanto were going to give it a try, but it was from one of those greeny activist Monsanto bashing sources and the purpose of the post was to say how evil Monsanto are for messing with our bees. I suspected it was not reliable, likely completely made up.

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1 hour ago, Philbee said:

I dont think it would be unusual to breed Bees within a operation within a relatively remote location that are somewhat more Varroa tolerant than the national average

After all, its been stated numerous times in discussions on this forum that its possible to improve ones own bees but very difficult to take that improvement and replicate across the country

This is the basis for argument that Breeding program Queens are bound to give mixed results when sold out of their parent operations 

Our business is fairly secluded with most people only moving in for honey flow.. it's clear from what we have done that the bees we have if they breed with our drone stock they get stronger .. if they don't they get weaker... so essentially when queens are being mated there isn't all that much other peoples drones about .. it's a serious start in the right direction.. 

The westcoast had a quarantine area when Varroa hit all over NZ. . I believe we were about the last area to get it.. alot because of the quarantine but also because it was fairly less populated with hives aswell..

Thanks

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2 hours ago, CraBee said:

 

Could you describe the beekeeping environment that these resistant hives are kept in?  For example, I see you are on the West Coast and so would presume some remoteness.  Are other beekeepers sites typically more than 3km away rom your bees?  Thanks

Yes that's a fair assumption there aren't many in our area except for honey season when people move into our area

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7 hours ago, ReneeJones said:

Hi Tommy Dave. . We haven't for a very long time.. certain people are saying there will be inbreeding issues.. but in this case we selected the first lots from all our hives.. we originally had about 6 breeder worthy strains which years later into the process there is more of.. there are rarely signs of deformed wing or even no pms until late autumn /winter.. I don't even know what chalk brood and some of those others are I've never seen them. My grandad is much better at explaining than I am .. he was just trying to explain too much in the letter. . Thanks for taking the time to ask proper questions  :)

 I've been corrected ... we have NEVER imported bees.. 

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Hmm. To post or not to post. I have this OP filed under ‘naïve’ rather than ‘ludicrous’ at the moment.

A colony-level trait like hygienic behaviour (which is what varroa resistance seems to come down to these days) is an emergent property, a function of particular sets of genes, and their relationship with any number of diversely related patrilines (families) within three castes of bees. For hygienic workers, it’s highly probable that, if we accept that something like a freeze-dried assay is useful, only a few of a large number of patrilines will exhibit the trait and so only some selected queen larvae (or drones) will carry it and the others will not. It ain’t necessarily so that drones (with half the chromosomes) would pass on the trait at all. A virgin queen will inherit a single contribution from one of the many drones that mated with her mother. I know drones are in the frame because they are supposed to display recessive traits, but it’s not at all clear to me how Mendelian ideas about recessive or dominant genes has any relevance to polygenic traits, as we know varroa resistance must be. We can’t even be sure what contributes to this resistance. How many of you remember the days of suppressed reproduction; can it only be ‘hygiene’. Bees that have never faced this parasite before may be coping by using an existing behaviour, but is that how truly resistant bees do it?

The Honey Bee Genome Project (2008) identified 15-20 different genes out of a possible 30 or so that could be linked to hygienic behaviour during a varroa infection, groups of genes that had an effect on the nervous system, response to stimuli, and olfaction. I don’t think it’s possible to say how these may be linked (or not) to other aspects of honey bee behaviour. If, as a commercial beekeeper, I had developed or maintained a line of bees with predictable qualities affecting, workability, fecundity, swarming, productivity, blah, blah, blah, hell would freeze over before I’d deliberately introduce a line of unknown drones. Adding water to whisky doesn’t always improve it. That’s why I think you need to a particularly well resourced outfit, and one with the technology to use things like Marker Assisted Selection, if the plan is to make the difference where 50 years of experience has failed.

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Dave

I note you use the term "Varroa resistance" and not "Varroa tolerance".

In your Scientific world are these two terms interchangeable or do you  differentiate between them?
 

 

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4 minutes ago, Philbee said:

I note you use the term "Varroa resistance" and not "Varroa tolerance"

True. Don't rely on it because sometimes I'm a bit lazy and you'll catch me out, but they are very different. An organism has two basic types of defence mechanisms to increase its fitness when challenged with a threat; tolerance and resistance. Tolerance is defined as the ability to withstand the health impact caused by a given pathogen burden or toxin. Resistance is defined as the ability to limit the burden itself. The distinction is important, not just for being precise. Tolerance is a quality the host organism has that does not drive defensive retaliation from the pest, it does not drive evolutionary change, adaption, or resistance, and may even have a positive effect from the pest's point of view. On the other hand resistance, whether naturally conferred or human-assisted, will cause an escalating co-evolutionary war as natural selection acts on successive limits or ascendancy imposed on the fitness of each party

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5 hours ago, Dave Black said:

True. Don't rely on it because sometimes I'm a bit lazy and you'll catch me out, but they are very different. An organism has two basic types of defence mechanisms to increase its fitness when challenged with a threat; tolerance and resistance. Tolerance is defined as the ability to withstand the health impact caused by a given pathogen burden or toxin. Resistance is defined as the ability to limit the burden itself. The distinction is important, not just for being precise. Tolerance is a quality the host organism has that does not drive defensive retaliation from the pest, it does not drive evolutionary change, adaption, or resistance, and may even have a positive effect from the pest's point of view. On the other hand resistance, whether naturally conferred or human-assisted, will cause an escalating co-evolutionary war as natural selection acts on successive limits or ascendancy imposed on the fitness of each party

Tolerant stock, or Resistant stock- the answer lies in both.  If you believe that the answer only involves VSH, then resistance is maybe the more proper term, but if you believe the answer to be more complex than that, then  it swings towards Tolerance. I think Tolerance sounds better than Resistance, and Varroa is a pest, not a pathogen, but that is beside the point.  Resistant bees would not let varroa parasitise it(not going to happen!). Tolerant bees do not develop clinical symptoms when varroa parasitises it.  I believe  the answer is in Tolerant bees.  To see it as the obvious answer, we just have to look where Varroa destructor came from- Apis cerana.  Apis cerana is tolerant of Varroa jacobsoni.  Jacobsoni is a pest of cerana, but it doesn't cause acute clinical symptoms- or in other words, it can live with it, and that is where we have to get to with destructor.   Using a closed population breeding model to limit loss of variation while applying selection pressure will allow significant, ongoing increases in tolerance in the stock you are working with, while maintaining and improving other valuable commercial traits as well.  The criteria used to select for varroa tolerance would simply be monitoring mite growth over an evaluation period.  What ever mechanisms of resistance that are behind the increased tolerance do not matter, but they can still be selected for using that simple selection criteria.   Trying to find the  solution in a single trait like VSH, usually through inbreeding techniques to get useful expression, will fail. 

Edited by David Yanke
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since there  is varroa there has been claims about resistant strain, usually groundless, but you always find a few that will believe it and someone usually does well out of it.

hard enough to set up hives equal enough to do a meaningful evaluation for the common standards, when it comes to varroa that gets even harder and if you fail on that level, you compare apples with pears.

unless we know how a particular hive is achieving an advantage over varroa control, how can we claim this "trait" is genetic. (could be a fungus that established in this hive or some pathogen bad for varroa) .

even if we know it is a trait or a combination of traits, the strength may be in a very unique combination of genes that you may not be able to stabilize.

as we know, real resistance can be found in african bees and primosky. both unsuitable for nz. if you breed the undesired characteristics out of them you can be sure to loose their varroa qualities with it.

so stock improvement is the way to go in my opinion. how do we improve our stock on a broad base without loosing to much of our genetic diversity and compromising other important traits?

step one. decide if we want to go yellow or gray.

step tow. come up with simple effective selection techniques.

how do we get those? learn from the mistakes and success of others who have spend billions on it before us.

 

 

 

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22 hours ago, ReneeJones said:

we have only put the one bayvoral sliced in half during this winter.. previous years we have not used them at all..

 

Isn't that how you breed treatment-resistant mites...? 

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15 hours ago, Dave Black said:

Hmm. To post or not to post. I have this OP filed under ‘naïve’ rather than ‘ludicrous’ at the moment.

 

A colony-level trait like hygienic behaviour (which is what varroa resistance seems to come down to these days) is an emergent property, a function of particular sets of genes, and their relationship with any number of diversely related patrilines (families) within three castes of bees. For hygienic workers, it’s highly probable that, if we accept that something like a freeze-dried assay is useful, only a few of a large number of patrilines will exhibit the trait and so only some selected queen larvae (or drones) will carry it and the others will not. It ain’t necessarily so that drones (with half the chromosomes) would pass on the trait at all. A virgin queen will inherit a single contribution from one of the many drones that mated with her mother. I know drones are in the frame because they are supposed to display recessive traits, but it’s not at all clear to me how Mendelian ideas about recessive or dominant genes has any relevance to polygenic traits, as we know varroa resistance must be. We can’t even be sure what contributes to this resistance. How many of you remember the days of suppressed reproduction; can it only be ‘hygiene’. Bees that have never faced this parasite before may be coping by using an existing behaviour, but is that how truly resistant bees do it?

 

The Honey Bee Genome Project (2008) identified 15-20 different genes out of a possible 30 or so that could be linked to hygienic behaviour during a varroa infection, groups of genes that had an effect on the nervous system, response to stimuli, and olfaction. I don’t think it’s possible to say how these may be linked (or not) to other aspects of honey bee behaviour. If, as a commercial beekeeper, I had developed or maintained a line of bees with predictable qualities affecting, workability, fecundity, swarming, productivity, blah, blah, blah, hell would freeze over before I’d deliberately introduce a line of unknown drones. Adding water to whisky doesn’t always improve it. That’s why I think you need to a particularly well resourced outfit, and one with the technology to use things like Marker Assisted Selection, if the plan is to make the difference where 50 years of experience has failed.

 

We're not focused on hygienic behaviour that is just a side effect from our gene resistance program and selection.. 

(From Gary)

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29 minutes ago, tom sayn said:

since there  is varroa there has been claims about resistant strain, usually groundless, but you always find a few that will believe it and someone usually does well out of it.

hard enough to set up hives equal enough to do a meaningful evaluation for the common standards, when it comes to varroa that gets even harder and if you fail on that level, you compare apples with pears.

unless we know how a particular hive is achieving an advantage over varroa control, how can we claim this "trait" is genetic. (could be a fungus that established in this hive or some pathogen bad for varroa) .

even if we know it is a trait or a combination of traits, the strength may be in a very unique combination of genes that you may not be able to stabilize.

as we know, real resistance can be found in african bees and primosky. both unsuitable for nz. if you breed the undesired characteristics out of them you can be sure to loose their varroa qualities with it.

so stock improvement is the way to go in my opinion. how do we improve our stock on a broad base without loosing to much of our genetic diversity and compromising other important traits?

step one. decide if we want to go yellow or gray.

step tow. come up with simple effective selection techniques.

how do we get those? learn from the mistakes and success of others who have spend billions on it before us.

 

 

 

Step 1- Stop thinking yellow or grey

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Hi everyone. . I have showed my grandad this site.. thank you to those who have already emailed.. 

He has given me a letter to type out in reply.. 

Thanks

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From Gary 

Let us simplify the Mite resistance debate..

The drone larvae in the eastern honey bee are parasitised by the Varroa Mites

Western bee races like the Caucasians on the boarder of the eastern honey bee domain tend to also have some recessive eastern bee features included in Thier genetic make up.

When Varroa Mites changed Thier host to the western honey bee which is our main bee used for pollination and honey production, the Mites also infected the worker brood causing an explosion of mite numbers in the hives associated with various virus', colonies collapsed, often quite quickly.

 

With UK help we discovered we had a breeder that had some of the eastern bee featured some time ago and used it to requeen many of our hives although the Mites had at that time not reached either NZ or the UK.

 

In autumn of 2014 a beaurecratic blunder resulted in nearly all our 300 hives dying from the Varroa mites, except 6 that on checking had eastern honey bee features bred in, many years previously.

Instead of closing down, we instead decided to try to breed bees to help others cope with Thier mite problems and formed a company to cover the cost of research which has been quite labour intensive but it did result in our producing bees no longer requiring Mitacides to survive and actually flourish.

 

We found we needed to do a two season programme. The first was to requeen hives using a breeder fully resistant to the Mites. That then changed the drones for the next stage. However those hives did have a gradual mite buildup over the season, much slower than in untreated (non resistant) hives, and needed a miteaside treatment in late autumn.

 

The next season (spring) using another breeder from another line those virgins mated with previous drones, would give nearly complete resistance to the Mites.  However until the Mite resistance is spreadoing further among other beekeepers, there is a chance that some of those last virgins could have mated with foreign drones and will also need treatment in the autumn.

 

If we see any sign of either PMS or DWV in our hives or nuclei, we do give them a miteacide treatment to help them survive,but remove them from our selection process for looking for future breeders.

 

Apart from the Mite resistance aspect, we also have selected for good honey production, very quiet to handle,  good wintering, a solid brood pattern, and no diseases at all, particularly the viruses. Basically the PERFECT HONEY BEE.

 

We had intended to be producing many queens last season to start spreading the genes in our bees, but we believe someone targeted our hives particularly those used for queen rearing with FB and we had to burn about half of our 300 hives. We are now looking for funds to replace the lost equipment, to start rearing queens this coming spring and supply those who have been patiently waiting for them.. along with others who agree it's worth the current struggle..

Thanks

Gary Jeffery BSc

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