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madasafish 

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Jo Widdicombe said:
It is quite clear that you do not understand what BIBBA stands for


BIBBA stands for " the conservation, restoration, study, selection and improvement of native honey bees (Apis mellifera mellifera) and near-native honey bees of the British Isles. "


It makes many claims - as indeed Mr Widdicombe does - about the superiority of the native honey bees.

Now ANYONE with any scientific training knows that " The process in the scientific method involves making conjectures (hypotheses), deriving predictions from them as logical consequences, and then carrying out experiments or empirical observations based on those predictions"

So where are the scientific experiments carried out by BIBBA (or other scientists) on British bees justifying BIBBA's claims?

eg yields, disease resistance, temperament?

After all, BIBBA is some 58 years old. I assume they have scientifically trained members. There must be studies carried out by them.

Every time anyone makes such claims, I ask to see the evidence. I am still waiting to see any.

I draw my own conclusions from a multitude of words defending their case and NO evidence of any UK based study.
Either no studies have been carried out - so they are unscientific or the results of studies carried out on UK bees. give the wrong answer.

So I reply: BIBBA stands for:; making claims they are unable or unwilling to substantiate.


(The BBKA are no better in this regard)
 

B+. 

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At least we agree on one thing, 'it is a pity we do not have a recording of the Q and A'.

You also state that '(BIBBA) now seem to advocate raising mongrels' which, of course, is not true, but many of us may be in the position of only having mongrel bees. If someone is in this position (and most of are, to a greater or lesser extent, due to repeated imports of exotic sub-species) we do not say hard luck, there is nothing that you can do to improve the situation. Instead we explain how bee improvement is relevant to all and through assessment and selection we can all improve our bees (and not by importing more foreign sub-species which only adds to the problem).
You may be interested to know that a purer strain of bees can be developed from a hybridised strain through selection. I have been told this by several bee scientists and have found it to be true. So you mock that we are advocating breeding from mongrels, but whilst we accept that that may be the starting position for many, we have always advocated development of a local strain and breeding within it, and that is our goal.
The 'anti-BIBBA crusade' that you and several other vociferous members of this forum seem to be waging, would draw a lot more support if you stuck to true facts and not just figments of your imagination. It is quite clear that you do not understand what BIBBA stands for and can only justify your position by continually stating mis-truths about it.
BIBBA are interested in moving beekeeping forward from the position we are in at present to a point where we have better quality bees. I do not hear many other organisations with a creditable plan, or any plan at all, for achieving that. Unfortunately, the dissenters do not seem to have strong arguments and rely on miss-quoting and imagined views that have very little truth in them - but they tend to shout the loudest on these forums, presumably in the belief that that will win the argument.
The COLOSS Group, SMARTBEES and EurBeST all seem to have a very similar message to BIBBA. I have also heard several world class bee scientists saying the same thing and at a recent talk by a large-scale Canadian bee farmer, who said he has given up importing bees and now selects the best from what he has got, which presumably you do not believe in, or you would be supporting BIBBA.
As I have said before, I respect the opinions of others, which I think is important, as we can all learn from each other. What I am not so keen on is when the views of others are misrepresented in an attempt to prove a point.
I think we might agree on other things if BIBBA was open and honest about their plans. Open mating does not equate to breeding (basic statistics: a sample must represent the population from which it is drawn) - lets not pretend it does. I often feel that BIBBA almost says something I can agree with, but then they go off into Neverland and it all gets lost in "pixie dust" mythology about the black bee being wonderful. The truth is BIBBA should be focussed on improving Amm before trying to convince people that it is perfect.
Never mind all that nonsense about "repeated imports". We are where we are and you can't go pretending we're not. People choose other bees because a) they're better and b) they're available. If you could address either of those points, you might stand a chance of convincing, at least, some people to adopt them. As it is, for the majority of the country, you're talking a foreign language.
Yes. Beekeepers absolutely can improve the performance of their bees but only by adopting improved performance in either the dam or sire (or both). The local mongrel is like the local mut though. However much you improve it, it will always be a mut. It isn't ideal breeding material. I refer you to a BIBBA publication, a translation of a Freidrich Ruttner book called "Breeding techniques and selection for breeding of the honeybee" (1988). Prof Ruttner says a number of things but I will limit myself to just two:
1. "Experience over many years has shown that lasting results can only be obtained by breeding within a pure race, certainly not from breeding with the repeatedly crossed "local bees". (Page 9)
2. "A performance which is not inherited is without significance for the breeder. The essence of breeding is to transmit a certified, above average performance of individual animals to the greatest number of descendants, undiminished and as far as possible enhanced". (Page 8)
This goes back to samples representing the population (for assessment) but also touches on heritability. If you were honest about this being only a stepping stone, I could respect the position more - but when people talk about the "local bee" as though it is in any way comparable to proper breeding stock, I have to laugh! It just isn't! No matter what you say, neither I nor others on this forum will accept it. We are not "Anti BIBBA" as such. We are against the garbage that some Amm enthusiasts on here try to push. Please: stop trying to treat us like idiots. Some of us happen to know more than you think. You are completely wrong about me. I was even a BIBBA member myself (a long time ago) - I know much more than you think so, when you say I should support BIBBA - been there, done that, never again.
 

Apiarist 

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I wouldn't do either, but, who wouldn't want colonies like this?

View attachment 25472
That is VERY impressive, and I am very envious!
I react EXTREMELY badly to bee stings!!!
I recall seeing the results of a Survey here in Ireland amongst beeks, in what did they want their bees to have the most, Docileness came out on top by far! I think non-swarmyness was second?
 

B+. 

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That is VERY impressive, and I am very envious!
I react EXTREMELY badly to bee stings!!!
I recall seeing the results of a Survey here in Ireland amongst beeks, in what did they want their bees to have the most, Docileness came out on top by far! I think non-swarmyness was second?
I think most people know I have a family history of sensitivity to bee-stings so I prefer gentle bees.
The EurBest survey had the following results: Resistance highest, then productivity, gentleness and finally swarming.

1618693831389.png
 

Jo Widdicombe 

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Jo Widdicombe said:
It is quite clear that you do not understand what BIBBA stands for


BIBBA stands for " the conservation, restoration, study, selection and improvement of native honey bees (Apis mellifera mellifera) and near-native honey bees of the British Isles. "


It makes many claims - as indeed Mr Widdicombe does - about the superiority of the native honey bees.

Now ANYONE with any scientific training knows that " The process in the scientific method involves making conjectures (hypotheses), deriving predictions from them as logical consequences, and then carrying out experiments or empirical observations based on those predictions"

So where are the scientific experiments carried out by BIBBA (or other scientists) on British bees justifying BIBBA's claims?

eg yields, disease resistance, temperament?

After all, BIBBA is some 58 years old. I assume they have scientifically trained members. There must be studies carried out by them.

Every time anyone makes such claims, I ask to see the evidence. I am still waiting to see any.

I draw my own conclusions from a multitude of words defending their case and NO evidence of any UK based study.
Either no studies have been carried out - so they are unscientific or the results of studies carried out on UK bees. give the wrong answer.

So I reply: BIBBA stands for:; making claims they are unable or unwilling to substantiate.


(The BBKA are no better in this regard)
I am not aware that I claim native bees are superior, although they may be in some ways. I have seen many examples of good bees of several different types.
What I say is that the native strain is the easiest to select and improve in our conditions as it tends to dominate the population, given half a chance, probably due to its ability to mate in cooler conditions and possibly due to it not having to rely on warm settled weather for drone congregation areas to form.
Madasafish will say, where's the scientific evidence, and I will say I haven't got any, which is why I said probably and possibly. I am just suggesting theories for what we observe.
I suggest that you will have a hell of a job maintaining any other strain without repeatedly bringing in stock to maintain it.
The native strain is the easiest one to maintain and it is up to us to select and improve it to bring out the characteristics that we want in our bees.
 

Jo Widdicombe 

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I think we might agree on other things if BIBBA was open and honest about their plans. Open mating does not equate to breeding (basic statistics: a sample must represent the population from which it is drawn) - lets not pretend it does. I often feel that BIBBA almost says something I can agree with, but then they go off into Neverland and it all gets lost in "pixie dust" mythology about the black bee being wonderful. The truth is BIBBA should be focussed on improving Amm before trying to convince people that it is perfect.
Never mind all that nonsense about "repeated imports". We are where we are and you can't go pretending we're not. People choose other bees because a) they're better and b) they're available. If you could address either of those points, you might stand a chance of convincing, at least, some people to adopt them. As it is, for the majority of the country, you're talking a foreign language.
Yes. Beekeepers absolutely can improve the performance of their bees but only by adopting improved performance in either the dam or sire (or both). The local mongrel is like the local mut though. However much you improve it, it will always be a mut. It isn't ideal breeding material. I refer you to a BIBBA publication, a translation of a Freidrich Ruttner book called "Breeding techniques and selection for breeding of the honeybee" (1988). Prof Ruttner says a number of things but I will limit myself to just two:
1. "Experience over many years has shown that lasting results can only be obtained by breeding within a pure race, certainly not from breeding with the repeatedly crossed "local bees". (Page 9)
2. "A performance which is not inherited is without significance for the breeder. The essence of breeding is to transmit a certified, above average performance of individual animals to the greatest number of descendants, undiminished and as far as possible enhanced". (Page 8)
This goes back to samples representing the population (for assessment) but also touches on heritability. If you were honest about this being only a stepping stone, I could respect the position more - but when people talk about the "local bee" as though it is in any way comparable to proper breeding stock, I have to laugh! It just isn't! No matter what you say, neither I nor others on this forum will accept it. We are not "Anti BIBBA" as such. We are against the garbage that some Amm enthusiasts on here try to push. Please: stop trying to treat us like idiots. Some of us happen to know more than you think. You are completely wrong about me. I was even a BIBBA member myself (a long time ago) - I know much more than you think so, when you say I should support BIBBA - been there, done that, never again.
Like in any organisation, there are a wide variety of views in BIBBA and I can only really defend my own views. Please see my reply to Madasafish for my reasons for selecting the native strain (and it is not because I think it is superior to all others, it is because I believe it is the easiest to improve and maintain in our conditions).
You may be aware that I don't claim to do bee breeding. I am an average beekeeper and practice bee improvement which I believe is appropriate for average beekeepers. I don't believe bee breeding alone can give us sustainable answers, although it fits in well with bee improvement, if both are using the same strain. I agree with you bee breeding relies on instrumental insemination or isolated mating apiaries. As most of us do not have these skills/facilities we have to look to other ways to improve or maintain quality. I rely on the open mating of my queens where as much as possible there is one strain of bee in the area and the colonies in that area are of a certain standard. Not as controlled as bee breeding, of course, but fair results can be achieved and genetic diversity within the population maintained.
I have to say, as others have found, that this forum is dominated by some very narrow-minded beekeepers who cannot accept that there are other ways of doing things apart from there own way. I am very happy to bow out gracefully and make no more contributions but I keep being drawn in by remarks that I know are a long way wide of the mark.
 

Repwoc 

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I have to say, as others have found, that this forum is dominated by some very narrow-minded beekeepers who cannot accept that there are other ways of doing things apart from there own way
There are protagonists from both sides on here which has led to some fairly heated discussions.
 

B+. 

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Like in any organisation, there are a wide variety of views in BIBBA and I can only really defend my own views. Please see my reply to Madasafish for my reasons for selecting the native strain (and it is not because I think it is superior to all others, it is because I believe it is the easiest to improve and maintain in our conditions).
You may be aware that I don't claim to do bee breeding. I am an average beekeeper and practice bee improvement which I believe is appropriate for average beekeepers. I don't believe bee breeding alone can give us sustainable answers, although it fits in well with bee improvement, if both are using the same strain. I agree with you bee breeding relies on instrumental insemination or isolated mating apiaries. As most of us do not have these skills/facilities we have to look to other ways to improve or maintain quality. I rely on the open mating of my queens where as much as possible there is one strain of bee in the area and the colonies in that area are of a certain standard. Not as controlled as bee breeding, of course, but fair results can be achieved and genetic diversity within the population maintained.
I have to say, as others have found, that this forum is dominated by some very narrow-minded beekeepers who cannot accept that there are other ways of doing things apart from there own way. I am very happy to bow out gracefully and make no more contributions but I keep being drawn in by remarks that I know are a long way wide of the mark.
I can see that we're going to have to just agree to disagree. In my area, the "local bee" is aggressive, unproductive, swarmy and prone to chalkbrood. In short, it has nothing good to say for itself. I would sooner give up beekeeping altogether than adopt that. I've seen what good bees are like and there's no going back.
I am surprised to hear that you "don't claim to do bee breeding". I thought that's what BIBBA was about. Your whole argument falls apart if you don't control both sides of the pedigree. What do you put in your stockbook for sire? It will change from year to year as other beekeepers do whatever they want to do.
What you call "narrow minded" is, in my opinion, an insistence that your ways don't work because they've been tried and failed.
 
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