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mbc 

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The last thread on the subject was closed before I managed to post so I thought I'd add something I found interesting.
One of the most earthy bee observers I've ever had the pleasure of chatting to, Willie Robson of chainbridge honey farm, had a very interesting theory on unsuited bees throwing lots of swarms when moved into an area in an effort to adopt enough local genes to start blending in with incumbent bees of the area. Difficult to prove one way or the other but rings true to me
 
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From the previous closed thread:
Hachi said:
I have a Q for you Phil et al, What the heck does "locally adapted" actually mean?? Is it just another buzz word (no pun intended) or have I missed something?
That's interesting about your queen husbandry.. I can see where you are coming from... the way you manage queens takes a lot of the risk and work out of beekeeping. Time is a precious commodity - a reliable queen will save you time and hopefully more than repay her cost in a single season. Good queens in the UK were never cheap ... thereagain ... is anything ever cheap in the UK ? We are the rip off capital of Europe ... and whether it will get better or worse come January - jurys out on that one !

Locally adapted ? Who knows ? These days with the variety of queens being bought in terms of strains, mongrels and flavours being bought and raised it's difficult to see how any bees can be 'locally adapted' in most parts of the UK. The exceptions may be the extremities - parts of Wales, Scotland and perhaps Cornwall ... but if you raise queens from open mated local stock who knows what you get ... In the immortal words of Forrest Gump ... Life is like a box of chocolates - your never know what you're gonna ? get !

I don't know whether my bees are locally adapted ... I have a mix of my mongrels and from bought in queens ... how long do they take to get 'locally adapted' ...? And what do they get adapted to ? Climate ? Foarage ? Varroa ? Disease ? Inept and incompetent beekeepers ?

Perm any few from 10 ?
 

mbc 

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From the previous closed thread:

That's interesting about your queen husbandry.. I can see where you are coming from... the way you manage queens takes a lot of the risk and work out of beekeeping. Time is a precious commodity - a reliable queen will save you time and hopefully more than repay her cost in a single season. Good queens in the UK were never cheap ... thereagain ... is anything ever cheap in the UK ? We are the rip off capital of Europe ... and whether it will get better or worse come January - jurys out on that one !

Locally adapted ? Who knows ? These days with the variety of queens being bought in terms of strains, mongrels and flavours being bought and raised it's difficult to see how any bees can be 'locally adapted' in most parts of the UK. The exceptions may be the extremities - parts of Wales, Scotland and perhaps Cornwall ... but if you raise queens from open mated local stock who knows what you get ... In the immortal words of Forrest Gump ... Life is like a box of chocolates - your never know what you're gonna ? get !

I don't know whether my bees are locally adapted ... I have a mix of my mongrels and from bought in queens ... how long do they take to get 'locally adapted' ...? And what do they get adapted to ? Climate ? Foarage ? Varroa ? Disease ? Inept and incompetent beekeepers ?

Perm any few from 10 ?
Imagine upping sticks and moving abroad, the most important adaption would be to get along with the locals, I imagine it's the same for bees ( this does presuppose there's a relatively stable population there already).
 

fiat500bee 

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Fortunately queen bees seem to have no problem "getting along with the locals" ;) Logically, to achieve any adaptation to a new locality means sexual reproduction and some losses must take place. That means that one way or the other you would have to breed from your own bees or ones which are already well acclimatised within the flying range of your colonies.
 

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Reflecting on MBC's conversation with Willie Robson, we have found that within our own queen rearing program that Italian type bees bought in from Greece to provide early surrogate brood became very swarmy... these were made up with BS queens introduced into hopelessly queen-less nucs made up from our existing Italian type stock.
These colonies were maintained in an area that was predominantly dominated with imported bees far away from our DNA confirmed Amm stock. Possibly down to constant brood breaks and seemingly susceptible to bald brood, these colonies did not provide as much honey surplus as the Amm colonies.

Another problem that was noticeable was that soon after a new mated Amm queen was introduced the surrogates started to produce superceedure cells, possibly once again in rejection of the different race of queen, Vigilantly removal of the unwanted cells over a period of up to six weeks ( ie the new brood settling in) seemed to settle the new queen in.

We have attempted to raise early Amm queens, perhaps trying to work against the Earths and the bees adaptation to seasonal cycles is not the way forward.

Also there was a difficulty in getting the early ( May~June ) Amm grafted virgins mated using Swibine type mini nucs... 18 out of 18 failures in one apiary, yet later in an apiary not half a mile away further down the valley had 100 % successful matings using Keilers in late July ~ August.

Offers invited for about 40, some only used once, Swibine type mini nucs.
 

Anthony Appleyard 

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From the previous closed thread:

... These days with the variety of queens being bought in terms of strains, mongrels and flavours being bought and raised it's difficult to see how any bees can be 'locally adapted' in most parts of the UK. ...
However many queens people bring in, a local strain will persist via the drones (from nearby hives and from feral bees' nests) that the imported queens' daughters mate with on their mating flights.
 

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The last thread on the subject was closed before I managed to post so I thought I'd add something I found interesting.
One of the most earthy bee observers I've ever had the pleasure of chatting to, Willie Robson of chainbridge honey farm, had a very interesting theory on unsuited bees throwing lots of swarms when moved into an area in an effort to adopt enough local genes to start blending in with incumbent bees of the area. Difficult to prove one way or the other but rings true to me
That would be one explanation for the number of ginger swarms with marked, blue queens this season.
 

Apple 

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I clip my queens

One swarm of yellow bees we did get into an empty hive left in readiness for a nuc had a blue marked queen... colony tested POSITIVE for EFB, and was immediately destroyed.
Fortunately the other colonies at this apiary were checked by SBI and apiary eventually given all clear and stand still notice removed.

Source of the swarm was never identified..... the fact that nucs of swarms in this area were being sold to novice beekeepers for £100 did not sit well with me!!

I know of one beefarmer up country who seals up any "wild" colony sites with builders foam.
 

fiat500bee 

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I would refer those who have an interest in this subject to this extract which has been slightly lost now as it was linked to in a previously closed thread by @elainemary: (nb. top of page)


At the end of this interesting document, Wally Shaw says:

In conclusion I would draw your attention to the summary from an article written by Leslie Bailey from the IBRA publication Bee World in 1999 entitled ‘The quest for a super-bee’.
‘Highly intensive selection of the honey bee for any quality (my
(Wally's) underlining) may decrease its resistance to its wide variety of enzootic pathogens by decreasing its genetic variability. Maintenance of naturally adapted regional strains by traditional means and management that least inhibits their essentially independent lifestyle may be more rewarding.’

Read that too quickly and it sounds like a load of gobbledegook, but I think it's saying that a low interference regime, working with what you have locally and allowing the bees to make their own choices might lead to healthier bees. That's a philosophy that I like the sound of. :)
 

madasafish 

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I would refer those who have an interest in this subject to this extract which has been slightly lost now as it was linked to in a previously closed thread by @elainemary: (nb. top of page)


At the end of this interesting document, Wally Shaw says:

In conclusion I would draw your attention to the summary from an article written by Leslie Bailey from the IBRA publication Bee World in 1999 entitled ‘The quest for a super-bee’.
‘Highly intensive selection of the honey bee for any quality (my
(Wally's) underlining) may decrease its resistance to its wide variety of enzootic pathogens by decreasing its genetic variability. Maintenance of naturally adapted regional strains by traditional means and management that least inhibits their essentially independent lifestyle may be more rewarding.’

Read that too quickly and it sounds like a load of gobbledegook, but I think it's saying that a low interference regime, working with what you have locally and allowing the bees to make their own choices might lead to healthier bees. That's a philosophy that I like the sound of. :)
No-one suggests we should do this to humans:
Stop all vaccinations.
Get rid of the NHS..
As for treating the water supply to kill germs, that will have to go.


But that is what is being proposed for bees.

(If you applied it to cows, or sheep or dogs or cats etc, the RSPCA will prosecute you for cruelty to animals..)

Just saying o_Oo_O
 

Swarm 

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However many queens people bring in, a local strain will persist via the drones (from nearby hives and from feral bees' nests) that the imported queens' daughters mate with on their mating flights.
That is true Anthony, dominant genes form the majority of the make up, regardless of introductions. However, it's the constantly adjusted ingredients that makes the dish taste different every time.
In an area where beekeepers are happy to work with their bees and rear their own queens, the population is stabilised as the pot is no longer stirred. Open matings become reliable and bees reproduce true to type, DNA results show a very promising, positive trend.
There is an underlying population of bees who are adapted to their locality and there are bees being brought to this locality who try but are prevented from adapting by bringing in a fresh batch of queens.
Had this very situation for many years and had bees who bred true to type and were a pleasure to work with. Foreign queens brought into the area introduced a lot of unwanted issues, unpredictability, poor temperament. For the first time I had to kill queens!!
For the first time ever, I had to buy some native queens to help restore the balance and after a few years I'm glad to say things have settled again. This was helped by the foreign colonies being moved out as they were never much cop and were now a pain to inspect. Thankfully the beekeeper had visited my apiary and was very impressed with my
-"beautiful black bees"- (his words) and has some nice new queens of his own this year and plans to rear more from them next year.
My friend seems to be in a good situation, the only beekeeper near him is one who never buys queens. Needless to say his results, again by natural open mating, have been excellent and produce quality colonies of uniform black bees.
We swap our home reared queens when we find exceptional colonies, that way adding diversity but with no detriment towards type.
 

fiat500bee 

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No-one suggests we should do this to humans:
Stop all vaccinations.
Get rid of the NHS..
As for treating the water supply to kill germs, that will have to go.


But that is what is being proposed for bees.

(If you applied it to cows, or sheep or dogs or cats etc, the RSPCA will prosecute you for cruelty to animals..)

Just saying o_Oo_O
Is this not a false comparison? I'm sure you're having a laugh. ;)

For a starter, no-one here is suggesting that you have to stop treatments or feeding or any other type of management; but some people think that if we have bees which are less dependent on such they will by definition be healthier. Bees are able to achieve a lot more complex functions than many animals, including the preservation of food, disinfection of their accommodation and the removal of their dead.

...and Wally Shaw has pointed out that the natural breeding strategies of cattle, in particular, are widely different than the bees' and quite obviously, they are completely different organisms from mammals and presumably out of the jurisdiction of the RSPCA....a good job too given the amount of squishing I read about here. :)
 

Murox 

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Is this not a false comparison? I'm sure you're having a laugh. ;)

For a starter, no-one here is suggesting that you have to stop treatments or feeding or any other type of management; but some people think that if we have bees which are less dependent on such they will by definition be healthier. Bees are able to achieve a lot more complex functions than many animals, including the preservation of food, disinfection of their accommodation and the removal of their dead.

...and Wally Shaw has pointed out that the natural breeding strategies of cattle, in particular, are widely different than the bees' and quite obviously, they are completely different organisms from mammals and presumably out of the jurisdiction of the RSPCA....a good job too given the amount of squishing I read about here. :)
That ain't necessarily so ~
 

fiat500bee 

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That ain't necessarily so ~
It depends which way you look at it. I agree that bees in general, which get less management (I mean less treatment, feeding, re-queening etc.) aren't likely to be healthier. But bees which are healthier don't necessarily need as much a management. This relates to the local/localised/locally adapted/ mongrel......etc. debate in that such bees might have intrinsically better health when maintained in that vague region called their "locality".
 

madasafish 

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I have had bees which suffered from: AFB, chalkbrood, baldbrood, nosema and no doubt other diseases.. (Not all at the same time). Not to mention CBPV and DWV.

I no longer have bees which suffer from the above as they have either been killed or requeened or treated..

How does that stand with your "less management"?

Because you need to define quite precisely what you mean by it.. If it means letting the above diseases flourish in your hives, count me out.
 

Murox 

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It depends which way you look at it. I agree that bees in general, which get less management (I mean less treatment, feeding, re-queening etc.) aren't likely to be healthier. But bees which are healthier don't necessarily need as much a management. This relates to the local/localised/locally adapted/ mongrel......etc. debate in that such bees might have intrinsically better health when maintained in that vague region called their "locality".
Keeping healthy bees in the manner you seem to be suggesting goes beyond minimal intervention. It must also include the hive/frame type and availability/types of forage available.
 

fiat500bee 

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Keeping healthy bees in the manner you seem to be suggesting goes beyond minimal intervention. It must also include the hive/frame type and availability/types of forage available.

Oh...I'm not a non-interventionist. :) There's plenty of wild bees I am quite happy to leave to their own devices.
 

Murox 

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Oh...I'm not a non-interventionist. :) There's plenty of wild bees I am quite happy to leave to their own devices.
I didn't think you were. In an effort to tease out the logic behind the methodology of keeping bees you have read about I suspect you are looking for some kind of comparison that spells out the pluses and minuses of modern beekeeping. Maybe your question should be something like “despite scientific developments what is wrong with modern beekeeping”. There is always another way of doing things, and most books seem to ignore all of them.
 

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