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Varroa resistant bees coming soon!?


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Lol Winstones love me. This OA thing has ignited their Paper Tape sales. To give an example, Enough Staples to treat 1000 hives is the equivalent to 17-20 new house lots. Im the countrie

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 challen

The bees we really may need are in Puerto Rico.   Around 30 years ago africanised "killer bees" arrived in the island of Puerto Rico, nobody knows how, maybe it was a swarm from a ship.

14 minutes ago, Philbee said:

Lol

Winstones love me.
This OA thing has ignited their Paper Tape sales.

To give an example, Enough Staples to treat 1000 hives is the equivalent to 17-20 new house lots.
Im the countries single largest consumer of Gib Tape, buying 30000m at a time.

Also I have to say that there is something interesting about Christchurch because you guys are the largest users of these Staples 

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18 minutes ago, Philbee said:

Also I have to say that there is something interesting about Christchurch because you guys are the largest users of these Staples 

It's because we Mainlanders are so gullible

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2 hours ago, tom sayn said:

info i was refering to was from around 2003/4.i'm in a hurry and i'll have to read this a few more times and then maybe find something to shoot it down with?

no, sorry. i have to let this one off. he's from a diffrent planet..

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1 hour ago, DavyK said:

 Dr Thomas Seeley (the Horace White Professor in Biology in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University. The recipient of many honors and awards. He is the author of several books on honeybee behavior, including Honeybee Democracy (2010) and The Wisdom of the Hive (1995) [1] He was the recipient of the Humboldt Prize in Biology in 2001. He primarily studies swarm intelligence by investigating how bees collectively make decisions. He has studied wold Bees in remote locations that have learned to live with Varroa mite.) Many of his talks and lectures are on You-tube

According to him if we had done absolutely nothing about Varroa mite the Bees themselves would have sorted it out in 2 to 3 years. The problem for commercial Beekeepers is that they would have no income for that period of time while the Bees were sorting it out.

Quote from Dr Seeley " we use chemicals which produce stronger mites and weaker bees",

Quote from Dr Seeley; "In countries where they could not afford to treat for Varroa mite this is what has already happened."

i don't know about the 2-3 years, but in principle he is probably right.

not sure if we would have liked the outcome. probably some pitch black stroppy beast. swarmy and little production.

i also believe that the viral load is somehow caused by synthetic treatments.

the problem about letting the bees die is not so much the income of commercial beekeepers but all others that depend on bee pollination.

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3 minutes ago, tom sayn said:

i don't know about the 2-3 years, but in principle he is probably right.

Probably wrong because Varroa is so devastating and indiscriminate  that  it will kill most hives in those initial few years and those that survive only have a very small chance of breeding resistant swarms themselves and so on.

If someone was to do the maths it could end up in the thousands to one chance of the bees surviving

 

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Tom also says

"If you pursue treatment-free beekeeping without close attention to your colonies, then you will create a situation in your apiary in which natural selection is favouring virulent varroa mites, not varroa-resistant bees."

and also that

"Failure to perform preemptive killings can also spread virulent mites to your neighbour's colonies and even to the wild colonies in your area that are slowly evolving resistance on their own"

 

But Darwinian Beekeeping is not the subject of this topic.

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5 hours ago, Philbee said:

Lol

Winstones love me.
This OA thing has ignited their Paper Tape sales.

To give an example, Enough Staples to treat 1000 hives is the equivalent to 17-20 new house lots.
Im the countries single largest consumer of Gib Tape, buying 30000m at a time.

World famous .... in Taupo ..... wherever the heck that is ?

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Dave Black

you say :- Tom also says

"If you pursue treatment-free beekeeping without close attention to your colonies, then you will create a situation in your apiary in which natural selection is favouring virulent varroa mites, not varroa-resistant bees." and also that "Failure to perform preemptive killings can also spread virulent mites to your neighbour's colonies and even to the wild colonies in your area that are slowly evolving resistance on their own"

 

Could you give the citation please as in 

Toms Lecture to the British National Honey show in 2017 Tom made the statements I quoted and he was asked about the mites evolving to cope with the new strategies of the Bees and Toms response was something like this. "As the Bees learn to recognize mites and attack them one of their strategies is to chew the legs off the mites, this is not something the mites are likely to out evolve."

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Alastair

I did not know Varroa mite had got to New Guinea. Asian Honey Bees were discovered in North Queensland about 3 years ago thought to have come off a ship and they had Varroa mites on them but as far as I know they have not jumped species yet but of coarse they will. I was in Western Australia bee keeping at the time and we were asked to go to Queensland to help try and eradicate the Asian Honey Bee.

It did work in South Africa by the way according to Dr Seeley but they got Varroa mite in the later half of the 1990's.

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10 hours ago, DavyK said:

Could you give the citation please

 

Darwinian beekeeping: An evolutionary approach to Apiculture. American Bee Journal 157(3):277-282 March 2017.


The article that started the whole thing.

 

 

 

 

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18 hours ago, tom sayn said:

i don't know about the 2-3 years, but in principle he is probably right.

not sure if we would have liked the outcome. probably some pitch black stroppy beast. swarmy and little production.

i also believe that the viral load is somehow caused by synthetic treatments.

the problem about letting the bees die is not so much the income of commercial beekeepers but all others that depend on bee pollination.

You are right Tom, when varroa came there was lots of talk about eradication, but some very load voices from other sectors whispering in govts ear made sure that never happened.

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12 hours ago, DavyK said:

It did work in South Africa by the way according to Dr Seeley but they got Varroa mite in the later half of the 1990's.

 

In that instance Seeley may be correct, although I doubt the 2 or 3 year time window. African bee populations have quickly adapted to surviving with varroa due to their defensiveness, small mobile populations that swarm constantly, and propensity to abscond at any circumstance.

 

European bees, different story. The nearest equivalent would be the famous Primorsky bees, which descended from a nice, beekeeper friendly bee, but after 100 years in the wild adapting to varroa mites, have become an only partly resistant bee, that is aggressive, swarms constantly, and stores a meagre honey crop.

 

If you quoted Seeley accurately, I would have to dissagree with him. A typical European bee population in the absense of treatments, would have about as much chance of becomimg resistant to varroa in a 2, or 3 year period, as a snowflake in hell.

 

 

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2 hours ago, yesbut said:

Bees with African genes don't put up with varroa or anything else !

If I had to choose between bees with varroa or African bees .

Hard choice .

Think I will go with bees with varroa .

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Alastair

It may be the African bees tendency to swarm that gives them their best advantage over Varroa. Dr Seeley took wild Bees from remote Areas in the States who had learned to deal with Varroa and put them in Langstroth hives which are bigger than feral hives in a hollow tree. This meant that not all the bees in the Langstroth hives swarmed, the ones that did not swarm did not survive.

A US Beekeeper Mel Disselkoen observed this in his hives a number of years ago and he came up with a system of de-queening his hives on a flow about 3 weeks before they were due to have a derth seasonal in his area since any bees that would have been layed would just be consuming resources during the derth. He just notches a few cells to encourage the bees to make a new queen and lets them get on with it. He claims that by de-queening his hives at the right time he does not need to treat and the bees produce more honey since the nurse bees don't have brood to look after on the flow they become foragers. He has so many spare queens he ends up just killing them, the 30 day break in the brood cycle makes a huge difference in the hives ability to cope with varroa according to him.

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9 hours ago, Alastair said:

 

In that instance Seeley may be correct, although I doubt the 2 or 3 year time window. African bee populations have quickly adapted to surviving with varroa due to their defensiveness, small mobile populations that swarm constantly, and propensity to abscond at any circumstance.

 

European bees, different story. The nearest equivalent would be the famous Primorsky bees, which descended from a nice, beekeeper friendly bee, but after 100 years in the wild adapting to varroa mites, have become an only partly resistant bee, that is aggressive, swarms constantly, and stores a meagre honey crop.

 

If you quoted Seeley accurately, I would have to dissagree with him. A typical European bee population in the absense of treatments, would have about as much chance of becomimg resistant to varroa in a 2, or 3 year period, as a snowflake in hell.

 

 

First, all Honey Bees are wild, we haven't domesticated them. Seeley is right, and your example of the Primorsky bee proves that.  They were a typical European population, transported to the Primorsky region of Russia.  They dealt with a Mutant Mite(we now call Varroa destructor), and in the absence of treatments they became varroa tolerant all on there own- and you can't write them all off as swarmy, aggressive, and unproductive. There are lots examples of survivor stock. I was just told by someone doing varroa research in the U.S., that she had encountered tales of survivor stock, and the claims of varroa tolerance looked valid, but they don't seem to translocate well, which I think is testament to the complexity of the mechanism of tolerance that a particular beekeeper's bees, in a particular niche environment, have exploited.  To increase Varroa Tolerance, you have to work with a population(that is true with Honey Bee Stock Improvement in general, no matter what the trait you are trying to improve), and that population has to be put under Varroa pressure(no treatment).  They have to be evaluated over a considerable period with mite levels monitored over that period.  It doesn't have to be to destruction, colonies are pulled before they collapse, but obviously they fall out of contention as potential breeders.  It is survival of the fittest. 

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kaihoka

Queens raised on emergency impulse can sometimes be inferior. It depends on a number of factors. If the bees were on a nectar flow with plenty of resources and likely to swarm in a week or so anyway , had plenty of nurse bees, lava the right age  and have new comb they can pull down easily to create a queen cells  or old comb the beekeeper has pulled down for them then queens raised under these circumstances can be of high quality.

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On 15/07/2018 at 7:32 PM, David Yanke said:

This letter that came out today is at least version 3 of letters  received from this same source over the last year.  The claim in the earlier versions was that these tolerant bees were part of a long lost population of 'Eastern Honey Bee' .  I feel bad that they are in such a desperate situation that they would turn to this, but it is a con, pure and simple.

The 'Eastern Honey Bee' - would that be Apis cerana spp.? If so, most probably mite resistant, as they were the original host for varroa destructor, and co-existed well.  But as can be seen in the name: not a great producer of honey. Their species is cerana, unlike the European honeybee 'mellifera' - literally 'honey-producing'. Much smaller colonies, less workforce, less honey. Even if there was such a bloodline in NZ, I can't see how it would be any benefit to the commercial industry, it would take just as long to breed back in the honey-making abilities of the mellifera and carnica spp. 

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On 17/07/2018 at 10:32 AM, Sailabee said:
On 17/07/2018 at 10:16 AM, CraBee said:

 

The other point is that isolated sites are not as likely as densely populated areas to have varroa invasion from other hives , and perhaps this gives a false impression about the hives ability to with-stand varroa.

You hit the nail on the head there @CraBee, I think several claiming to have less varroa because of genetics or treatment method are in isolated areas - varstly different to the greater Auckland area for example where there are hives everywhere, all treated at different times (if at all).

Yes, I think a while back there was another chap on the West Coast who wrote on this site about his bees, which he thought were fairly pure AMM (North-Western European/British Black Bees). I don't think he was outright claiming the possession of varroa tolerant bees, but I think he said that he'd never had varroa. This could also have been because of the isolation of his hives. Roy Arbon, I think his name was. 

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