Do you keep bees the "Darwinian" way?

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madasafish 

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. You could compare a bloke at the kitchen sink knocking up a COVID vaccine in comparison to big pharma😂 not impossible but very unlikely. I wonder how the local bee brigade will cope when big breeders offer vsh queens as a norm or at least those bred from decent vsh queens. Ian

They will complain about imports and clamour for them to be banned..

(It's the beekeeping equivalent where, if you are losing an argument, you claim your opponent is racist)
 

domino 

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....but at least the emphasis of the "work" is directed towards beekeeping rather than varroa "un-keeping", which a superficial look at this forum and at most Facebook pages and You Tube videos might make one think this hobby has become. ;) (That doesn't necessarily mean I'm swayed by the "Darwinian" argument).
I spend about an hour per hive, per year managing varroa. I've never had a problem with it, it has never been a major concern for me.
 

hemo 

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VSH bees phhhh, I was against the LA buying the LASI so called VSH queens. A total waste of LA members money as none lasted very long.
 

Ian123 

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VSH bees phhhh, I was against the LA buying the LASI so called VSH queens. A total waste of LA members money as none lasted very long.
But is that more to do with that particular supplier or vsh in general? Are you denying there’s breeders who can provide vsh queens? Do you agree that these breeders are more likely to have success with multiple groups hundreds or thousands of hives, than say a beek or local group down the road. Or even that elusive colony in someone’s roof that open mated every year. Ian
 

Boston Bees 

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But is that more to do with that particular supplier or vsh in general? Are you denying there’s breeders who can provide vsh queens?
I think this is one of the main problems. No-one knows for sure. VSH traits exist, of course. But there are effectively no advertising restrictions on claiming your queens exhibit VSH. As a result, if you were a queen breeder, why wouldn't you claim it? All we have is anecdotes (some positive, some negative) from people who have bought these queens. You can understand the average beekeeper viewing the whole thing with some scepticism.

In other fields of stock-rearing (cows, sheep etc) there would be some externally-verified evidence presented for the merits of a certain genetic line, but in beekeeping we just have to rely on a breeder saying "I have had great results, but it's a long term project of course"
 

Ian123 

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I think this is one of the main problems. No-one knows for sure. VSH traits exist, of course. But there are effectively no advertising restrictions on claiming your queens exhibit VSH. As a result, if you were a queen breeder, why wouldn't you claim it? All we have is anecdotes (some positive, some negative) from people who have bought these queens. You can understand the average beekeeper viewing the whole thing with some scepticism.
Well not really you just have to research or investigate the research and find a reputable!!! Supplier. If you think you brought a Ferrari from a bloke in the pub rather than go to the main dealer that’s up to the individual.
 

Boston Bees 

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Well not really you just have to research or investigate the research and find a reputable!!! Supplier.
Bees aren't cars, and VSH traits are a lot more ephemeral than miles per gallon and What Car breakdown stats. Also, no bee breeder offers a VSH warranty, unlike a main car dealer. So, bad analogy
 

Ian123 

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Bees aren't cars, and VSH traits are a lot more ephemeral than miles per gallon and What Car breakdown stats. Also, no bee breeder offers a VSH warranty, unlike a main car dealer. So, bad analogy
The analogy was more to do with buying something from a reputable and researchable source rather than the dodgy geezer! As for what car stats/what bee😉 go mail B+ on this site he can provide all the stats you like ref his queens and other breeders, they also swap stock and assess each other’s and very much like cars and life if your parting with money it’s buyer beware for those with an ounce of common sense.
 

Boston Bees 

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The analogy was more to do with buying something from a reputable and researchable source rather than the dodgy geezer! As for what car stats/what bee😉 go mail B+ on this site he can provide all the stats you like ref his queens and other breeders, they also swap stock and assess each other’s and very much like cars and life if your parting with money it’s buyer beware for those with an ounce of common sense.
Why would I need to email anyone? If a breeder has data to show that their queens reliably exhibit VSH then my common sense tells me that this would undoubtedly be published somewhere for all to see, and someone could just provide me with a link?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking bee breeders in general. I have no doubt that many of them produce very high quality queens in terms of fertility, lifespan, behaviour etc. VSH specifically is what I'm talking about.
 
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Ian123 

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Why would I need to email anyone?
You’d email them because your researching what your spending your hard earned money on. You’d email a bloke you know or trust who’s in the group because he could point you in the right direction to find the info you require. And yes we are talking about vsh. Or you’d purchase off a breeder who you trust. It’s really not that complicated.
 

Boston Bees 

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You’d email them because your researching what your spending your hard earned money on. You’d email a bloke you know or trust who’s in the group because he could point you in the right direction to find the info you require. And yes we are talking about vsh. Or you’d purchase off a breeder who you trust. It’s really not that complicated.
Well, anyone is free to direct message me with their data, it wouldn't be disclosed to anyone else and I'm genuinely interested in buying a VSH queen.
 

Ian123 

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Well, anyone is free to direct message me with their data, it wouldn't be disclosed to anyone else and I'm genuinely interested in buying a VSH queen.
I wouldn’t then suggest sitting on your behind and waiting for them to come to you is the best approach. But I’ll try and help.https://www.buckfast-zucht.de/en/
 

Boston Bees 

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Presumably this could be simulated by treating (to ensure survival) + requeening from more resistant stock, rather than culling the entire colony.
Yes, although if the colony had drones in, I guess the weak genetics would potentially survive in the area
 

Beebe 

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Presumably this could be simulated by treating (to ensure survival) + requeening from more resistant stock, rather than culling the entire colony.
Yes; that's what Tom Seeley offers as an alternative to culling.....who wants to kill:eek: bees?
 

pargyle 

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Many breeders/groups are look at the work B+ is doing or the various buckfast breeders. Many are incorporating vsh tendencies into their bees. I’m always rather dubious when some claim resistant bees found in trees or some bloke with 6 hives in his back garden. Whenever theses get seriously looked at they are normally found wanting. You could compare a bloke at the kitchen sink knocking up a COVID vaccine in comparison to big pharma😂 not impossible but very unlikely. I wonder how the local bee brigade will cope when big breeders offer vsh queens as a norm or at least those bred from decent vsh queens. Ian
You see ... I'm a bloke with 7 hives in my garden with bees that are managing and thriving without being treated fo varroa ... I dont buy in VSH bees ... my colonies are headed by either home reared queens or are ones I've bought from UK Queen rearers or their descendants. I've never claimed any VSH qualities in my bees as I am convinced that at least some of the success I've had remaining treatment free has been about environmental and vocational influence... and the way they are kept. I've not lost many colonies over the years and the few I have lost have been otherwise explained. I would agree that people who make claims about VSH bees really need evidence to corroborate.. I know that B+ has masses of evidence to support VSH ... but I doubt these qualities could be maintained long term with open mated progeny in other areas where the drone pool is more varied and frankly suspect. So ... we need to look for factors that inhibit varroa and assist the bees in their endeavours to live with the pest...
 

Swarm 

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Richard Noel did a video checking his 'VSH' queen, alcohol wash with a cup of bees from each nuc, the results were terrible. IIRC the other two nucs had better results but still high numbers.
I've had less varroa drop from some of my full colonies during a round of OAV.
 

Michael Palmer 

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Some of his recommendations, like keeping hives 1km apart, are also somewhat impractical. I honed down the principles that most beekeepers could follow in reality as follows
Tom's a good friend, and a brilliant scientist. This Darwinian thing bothers me. The part I disagree with...Maintaining large distances between colonies. Does keeping the hives 300 m apart really aid in varroa control? Certainly would limit drifting within the apiary, thus reducing varroa entering this way. I believe that most of the varroa are entering the apiary by robbing. The colony crashes from varroa/viruses. As the process moves toward colony death, the dying colony is invaded by robbers from all over the neighborhood. The robbers take hitchhiking mites back to their colony. Surely more mites are transferred in this way than drifting within the apiary. We had a beekeeper here in Vermont, yes RC, who received a large grant to study this isolation theory. Most of the colonies crashed.
 

gmonag 

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Perhaps we should think differently. If we all encouraged our colonies to swarm, instead of preventing them, there would be lots more feral colonies who would be subject to natural selection. All we have to do is find the survivors in a few years.
 

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