Quantcast

Do beekeepers help undermine a bees defence?

Beekeeping Forum

Help Support Beekeeping Forum:

spikespearman 

New Bee
Joined
Sep 5, 2010
Messages
13
Reaction score
0
Location
Spain
Hive Type
tbh
Number of Hives
1-2
Hi everyone,

I was watching a couple of videos about Japanese bee keepers that were using the European honey bee because it was capable of producing twice the amount of honey as the native Japanese honey bee. The problem came when 30 Japanese giant hornets decided to take on a hive of 30,000 European honey bees, the bees tried to defend their entrance but the hornets killed all 30,000 and then ate all the lava.
The Native Japanese bee however had a trick up it's sleeve, on sighting a giant hornet scout it would do nothing, but wait until the scout had actually entered the hive, then in a flash, tens of bees would pile on top, shaking their bodies until the hornet was cooked to death. Then they got ride of him and cleaned up all traces of pheromone that he had spread to find the hive again.

The Japanese bees knew how to deal with a giant hornet, undoubtedly because they had been attacked many times in the past, it became part of their genetic makeup. So I'm wondering if by trying to stop, beetles, moths,
and varroa ...ect we are actually undermining a natural "arms race" and making bees more dependent on humans than relying on themselves? What do you think?
 

Finman 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 8, 2008
Messages
25,545
Reaction score
107
Location
Finland, Helsinki
Hive Type
langstroth
.
Things are not that simple.

.the pests have evolution too and they adapt on their host or victims.
 

JamesB 

House Bee
Joined
Jul 15, 2010
Messages
100
Reaction score
0
Location
Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
6
Hi everyone,

I was watching a couple of videos about Japanese bee keepers that were using the European honey bee because it was capable of producing twice the amount of honey as the native Japanese honey bee. The problem came when 30 Japanese giant hornets decided to take on a hive of 30,000 European honey bees, the bees tried to defend their entrance but the hornets killed all 30,000 and then ate all the lava.
The Native Japanese bee however had a trick up it's sleeve, on sighting a giant hornet scout it would do nothing, but wait until the scout had actually entered the hive, then in a flash, tens of bees would pile on top, shaking their bodies until the hornet was cooked to death. Then they got ride of him and cleaned up all traces of pheromone that he had spread to find the hive again.

The Japanese bees knew how to deal with a giant hornet, undoubtedly because they had been attacked many times in the past, it became part of their genetic makeup. So I'm wondering if by trying to stop, beetles, moths,
and varroa ...ect we are actually undermining a natural "arms race" and making bees more dependent on humans than relying on themselves? What do you think?
Tbh thats what the Bees do anyway, they attack a scout and cook it as the bees i believe have a higher temperature threshold than wasps/hornets, its only when the scout hornet successfully returns with friends the coloney is errr well screwed.
 

Der Alte Fritz 

House Bee
Joined
Aug 1, 2010
Messages
360
Reaction score
0
Location
Rye, East Sussex
Hive Type
wbc
Number of Hives
2
It is a horny old question but the basic answer is that in evolution you have winners and losers, make an evolutionary wrong turn and you wind up like the dinosaurs.

The Japanese bees have evolved a trick to deal with Asian hornets but really hornets may wipe out the odd colony but overall, it is rare for a top predator do wipe out its omnivore food source - the bee.

The problem comes when you have two ecosystems that join up - this might be due to geographic movements, continental drift joining Alaska to Russia or it might be due to man's interference, moving an alien species into an ecosystem like the rat into Australia. This usually leads to catastrophic collapse as the two ecosystems are very alien to one another and have probably developed at differing speeds or in differing directions. This is when you get large disparities in the capabilities of the species (eg rat versus small marsupial) and this leads to a rapid take over as the weaker species does not have time to develop a defence.

Indigenous species having evolved at similar rates as their competitors have had time to develop defences as fast as the attackers develop new weapons. Most of the time.

So man's interference is potentially more damaging than normal intra-ecosystem competition. Letting an arms race proceed naturally will often end up with species destroyed as they are simply not able to evolve fast enough to survive.

So for bees, having caused a problem by introducing varrora, the best thing we can do is to control it. We will lose the battle as the mite evolves against our attack, but it buys the bees time to evolves defences themselves. Let battle commence!

The most important factor is to keep population numbers stable so that you get enough genetic variation to evolve a defence.

Incidentally, this is the most likely reason why dinosaurs died out. Forget comets, asteroids, volcanoes - these have more to do with scientists getting funding. The regular series of collapse of the major land species seems more linked to periodic joining and severing of ecosystems due to continental drift, climate change and sea level coupled to unstable ecosystem populations. Otherwise why have crocodiles and tortoises survived, they are older than dinosaurs and lived through all the comets, etc that apparently killed off the dinosaurs, woolly mammoths, etc, etc.
 

Latest posts

Top