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Finman 

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So all II should stop and all queen rearing and breeding should also stop and just let the bees stabilise at some point ?
My Claim is that calm, non stinging and non swarming bees are based on gene errors. Those were not good to bees in nature. When gene errors are healed, the bee returns to its original nature.

When you give up from continuos breeding, soon you have quite wild bees.

Nyt everyone knows, what are hives, if you do not select them all the time.
 
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Nige.Coll 

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If you haven't seen John Chambers' fascinating talk on honeybee genetics, I can heartily recommend it. See

For me at least, it explains why you can't have a true breed of bee, whether Buckfast or any other. It also explains why the second generation of locally bred queens from a bought-in hybrid can be totally 'orrible! Genetic instability, that's the key concept.

To put my cards on the table: I used to buy Ged Marshall's excellent Buckfast queens for years, then I saw John Chambers and Jo Widdicombe present at a BIBBA conference. They and Roger Patterson all have a similar message - select and rear your own queens from your best colonies (whatever 'best' means for you). I'm now 5 generations removed from my last Ged Marshall queen and I've definitely achieved some genetic stability in terms of docility and local adaptation. Sure, they are all colours from yellow to stripey and nearly black, but that's not a factor in my selection.
I did exactly that and it all went out the window when someone moved into the area with new bees.
I no longer keep queens past 3 years old and don't go past f2. The goal is to replace queens every other season but I'm not there quite yet.
The queen rearing is quite enjoyable, a small amount each year suits my needs I raised 50 this season not counting failures and I'm aiming for about 80 next year.

It's impossible to keep the outcome stable when people move bees around and new beekeepers appear with whatever they have purchased, normally imported packages made into nucs.
I have 2 other bee farmers near me, one keeps carniolan and the other buckfast and there is some overlap in the areas we call our own.
My methods have followed ged marshalls. I get queens from the same source and do the same as he does just on a lot smaller scale.
I get what I want from this method.
There would be no food in my cupboards if I went back to keeping local mongrels or natives, they simply aren't productive enough or weren't when I had them.
 

Nige.Coll 

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Probably because he did not want to pay the £2 ferry / Bridge fee to get in and out of Cornwall!! :laughing-smiley-014

:cheers2:
Yeghes da
He was under the illusion they were all dead I believe.
 

Little_bees 

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I did exactly that and it all went out the window when someone moved into the area with new bees.
I no longer keep queens past 3 years old and don't go past f2. The goal is to replace queens every other season but I'm not there quite yet.
The queen rearing is quite enjoyable, a small amount each year suits my needs I raised 50 this season not counting failures and I'm aiming for about 80 next year.

It's impossible to keep the outcome stable when people move bees around and new beekeepers appear with whatever they have purchased, normally imported packages made into nucs.
I have 2 other bee farmers near me, one keeps carniolan and the other buckfast and there is some overlap in the areas we call our own.
My methods have followed ged marshalls. I get queens from the same source and do the same as he does just on a lot smaller scale.
I get what I want from this method.
There would be no food in my cupboards if I went back to keeping local mongrels or natives, they simply aren't productive enough or weren't when I had them.
So basically what you're saying is "everyone else is doing it, so I have to follow suit"?

And smaller beekeepers in the area will be forced to requeen every other season, whether they can afford/want to or not because the big boys rule the neighbourhood and they have no chance of trying to improve on their own locals.
 

bingevader 

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You mean bred them to suit our needs?

Try milking an aurochs rather than a cow...
Or taking a wolf for a walk..

Or - I don't know what you can do with a cat except feed it.

:whistle:
Oh come on.
I've no problem with domestication, it's the excess to which we have taken it.
Cows producing up to 60l of milk a day.
Sheep producing triplets.
Dogs with congenital diseases.
I don't know about the cat one either, I just couldn't be bothered to edit it out. ;)
 

Anthony Appleyard 

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Given the variations in local climate across the great size of the USA plus Canada, it is unlikely that there can be one nationwide best strain of bee, but rather a patchwork of local strains according to each area's local conditions.
 

Murox 

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I suspect that a more “natural approach” to beekeeping would be more successful in areas that have copious amounts of nectar plants, woodlands and meadows filled with wild flowers ~ an environment that not been damaged and laid bare by human activities. Then again anyone could develop a system that will work in their locale and climate as long as they are sincere about it.
 

Little_bees 

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I suspect that a more “natural approach” to beekeeping would be more successful in areas that have copious amounts of nectar plants, woodlands and meadows filled with wild flowers ~ an environment that not been damaged and laid bare by human activities. Then again anyone could develop a system that will work in their locale and climate as long as they are sincere about it.
If the landscapes of copious flowers favours the 'natural approach' then all well and good.

The imports of Italians and similar will need an even more copious landscape or will need increased nurturing through the dearths.
 

Murox 

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If the landscapes of copious flowers favours the 'natural approach' then all well and good.

The imports of Italians and similar will need an even more copious landscape or will need increased nurturing through the dearths.

Why?
 

Murox 

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Because these strains generally have bigger broods than local Amm.
More mouths to feed/a bigger adult population requires good forage.
:laughing-smiley-004 can't argue your logic. though I do wonder about your statement that "imports of Italians and similar" have bigger broods than local Amm .
 
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Well every other bee from natives, Helen Thomson did same great work mapping general bee population genetics and it clearly showed despite centuries of imports all areas had 50% plus, most 70% plus, Amm genetics in the background population, surely then this is the bee to move forwards with.
Murray McGregor admits even with his vast numbers that his bees revert to the locals within a generation or two of open mating.
If we could only better the background population of drones it would be to everyone's benefit, and the only way I can envisage success with that would be to work with the type of bee that naturally has most mating success.
I can remember being at a meeting looking at the maps for near native bees there seem to be a clear line from North to south of the country as to % are concerned.

The more and more I get into trying to up the % of near natives in my area the more I'm going to need to get my local beeks to follow, if this entails me having to give queen's away so be it.
Most have mongrels any way and are 60% Amms
But like nigel I plan to flood my area with my drones To benefit my queen rearing, I'm not part of any group but have the backing of my association and mentor in turn that is enough for me to know I'm doing the right thing.

I think for longevity of bee's as a whole the more we need to concentrate on our native bee.

Contradiction in terms : I would still like to play about with Carnica, but the more I think about it the more I need to concentrate on my black girls.
 

Nige.Coll 

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So basically what you're saying is "everyone else is doing it, so I have to follow suit"?

And smaller beekeepers in the area will be forced to requeen every other season, whether they can afford/want to or not because the big boys rule the neighbourhood and they have no chance of trying to improve on their own locals.
How will others be forced into requeening every other season ?
Their queens mate better and easier due to more drones and 90% of them have buckfast derived bees anyway.
There is no one trying to breed locally adapted bees anywhere near me.
These little guys don't complain when I give them bees to replace their lost colonies or queens/bias when they have queenless colonies.
 

fiat500bee 

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It's good to see this thread hasn't so far deteriorated to Trumpian levels of idiocy.

What seems fair is that each beekeeper is entitled to raise exactly the sort of bees they prefer to raise and that their preference may vary with time. It's impossible and wrong for anyone to try to change someone's preference by any form of aggression or compulsion and silly to see this as any kind of conflict. between us humans.

Ultimately, all the drones can fight it out as nature intended and the best of what we have will pass on their genes. If we allow our bees to produce lots of drones we are increasing the chances of the genes of our favoured "brand" of bee gaining dominance n a local population.

Beekeepers who like to choose their own queen "material", whether bought in or raised themselves, are able to have more control over the attributes of their local bees. The beekeepers who will really reap the benefits or otherwise of local adaptation in bees are those who take a less managerial approach. Beekeepers have obviously been doing this forever, but anecdotally it seems that maybe there is an increasing number of people who are actively favouring an approach which considers localised bees in a more positive way.
 

Little_bees 

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How will others be forced into requeening every other season ?
Their queens mate better and easier due to more drones and 90% of them have buckfast derived bees anyway.
There is no one trying to breed locally adapted bees anywhere near me.
These little guys don't complain when I give them bees to replace their lost colonies or queens/bias when they have queenless colonies.
It's very laudable if you're helping out the little guys with free queens/bees.

But the principle still stands that if the big guys in an area (any area) are flooding the area with 'their' strain, there is no option for the little guys to choose to maintain stocks of their own choice.

They will have to (a) accept the imported strain which is becoming artificially dominant, (b) requeen every other season with an F1 of their own choice or (c) put up with hybrid daughters of the various types, which will inevitably worsen each season.
 

Nige.Coll 

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It's very laudable if you're helping out the little guys with free queens/bees.

But the principle still stands that if the big guys in an area (any area) are flooding the area with 'their' strain, there is no option for the little guys to choose to maintain stocks of their own choice.

They will have to (a) accept the imported strain which is becoming artificially dominant, (b) requeen every other season with an F1 of their own choice or (c) put up with hybrid daughters of the various types, which will inevitably worsen each season.
Life is seldom fair.

If you keep bees anywhere in the country you are going to run into a big guy as you call them that have the bees that they want. Carniolan, buckfast, italians etc, very very few have Amm in the bee farming industry. I know of 2.
You cannot get away from it and if you add to that pollination contracts and moving bees to specific crops you can't predict where they will be.

Others in this thread that keep AMM have already said they also keep other bees like Italians or Buckfast but keep them away from their Amm mating areas, they won't be away from someone else's mating area though will they ?
 
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Apple 

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Life is seldom fair.

If you keep bees anywhere in the country you are going to run into a big guy as you call them that have the bees that they want. Carniolan, buckfast, italians etc, very very few have Amm in the bee farming industry. I know of 2.
You cannot get away from it and if you add to that pollination contracts and moving bees to specific crops you can't predict where they will be.

Others in this thread that keep AMM have already said they also keep other bees like Italians or Buckfast but keep them away from their Amm mating areas, they won't be away from someone else's mating area though will they ?
Perhaps we are very lucky in this little bit of "England" |South of Watford\ and a bit West of the Tamar..

That is the GreatgreygreasyslimeyTamarRiverallsetaboutwithemptyunaffordablesecondhomes......

I know of 6 Beefarmers' Association members who all keep Amm here abouts..... probably more than 60% of the peninsula'rs colonies... to the extent that many other local beekeepers are turning towards the locally adapted native Amm bees as they can see the advantage of a sustainable system that works with nature rather than constant importation that works against it!....

One local BUCKFAST type bee breeder now relys solely upon AI to breed his stock, and the stock he has is now up country in another county.
Gradually my own yellow stripey stock is getting darker and hopefully given time I will be able to eradicate the Italian and Carniolian C group genetics from them as well ( Now the ban on importing bees is more a probability than a longed for fantasy!)

Now must light the AGA for a nice big slice of Badger Ham for my tea!

Chons da
 

Mike T 

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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.
This seems to make the assumption that the imported queens produce no drones and therefore do not affect the male population, or am I missing something here?
 

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