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Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:12 pm
by Solomon
I thought I'd report how my acclimatization is going since I moved to Oregon.

Last year was my first full year as I moved to Oregon in October of 2015. The bees pretty much didn't get to do anything that fall except go into winter. Last year I had few hives that were worth a hoot. When you move bees and don't treat or feed them stimulatively, they have a hard time because they are out of whack with the local conditions. Whatever they respond to to being brooding and do other yearly tasks will be timed wrong. Too soon and they will brood up too quickly, maybe starve, eat brood, or get chilled brood. Too late and they miss the big nectar flows and lose performance and don't store honey.

So last year, my bees were poor. Only one had a sign of disease, dysentery. The rest were just mediocre, lackluster, lacking power. The best one got boosted because it absorbed the foragers from the rest after I moved it off the trailer last to its permanent position. I made queens from that one and with that one, however, most of them didn't survive the summer. Bad summer, even the local commercial guy, feeding all his bees lost 60%.

This year is better. About a third of the hives, if not more, were able to brood up with decent timing, making me concerned about supering in time. Two or three could have been bred from and I made one batch of queens again.

I also seriously stepped up my swarm trapping game. I set out 25-30 traps and have caught at least six that I know of right now. All swarms are going in a new yard and I'm getting back to the point where I cannot remember which hive is which, so they will get numbered again.

Next year, I expect two thirds or better of the hives will be performing adequately rather than just surviving. It's a process, one which is slow working with natural genetics, or at least introducing foreign genetics. But my swarm collection (and subsequent death of treated hive swarms) will get me into the local climate and bring my population up to snuff with the feral bees, and compete with the commercial guy.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:10 pm
by SiWolKe
That´s really interesting, Sol, thanks for giving this information about your state.

Good luck to you!

I saw the same with my AMM coming from the canary island ( the mated queen), she was very out of time with all actions and made no brood brake in winter.
Now, after 2 seasons, the survivors, mixed with buckfast genes, do adapt step by step. First year some honey surplus and no feeding.

The bees coming from the north are just the opposite, they are desperately expanding and foraging because they are still adapted to a short season.
The elgon ( Erik Österlund`s special breed) descendants I got do much better after being in germany for 3 years.

Since we don´t have ferals only local treated mutts with weak genetics we have to try foreign more resistant stock and breed our own tf bees.
Nice to know that after some seasons they are likely to adapt.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:42 pm
by GregV
SiWolKe wrote:....Nice to know that after some seasons they are likely to adapt.


As long as the source and target destination are not radically different, they should adapt.
Especially when there is much commonality in the source bees anyways (usual case in the USA).

If the target destination is too different from the source, adaption may fail.
For example, best of the best of Carnis will just die in most Siberian destinations.
They will have near zero chance to adapt and very first winter will just kill them.
This is in combination with extremely short (but extremely productive summer); you have 2 - 3 months to do it all (rapid build-up; one shot at the harvest (those massive); shut down).
Too radical of a change.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:48 pm
by Solomon
Not only are they likely to adapt, but they will. The question is to what? That's why I believe it is important to breed from your own bees, or local bees and not try to buy in stuff from elsewhere. It's of top importance not to treat, and pretty important not to feed, if you want bees that are well adapted to your area and able to survive on their own, becoming part of the feral population rather than being out competed by the feral population.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 4:24 am
by SiWolKe
Well Solomon, what would you do without a feral population?

As I said before, our local mutts are barely kept alive with treatments and never the colonies are evaluated for breeding except one or two scientifically tries like breeding VSH queens with the artificial insemination using only one drone, which to me is a bottleneck.
I don´t want to have weak bees to start with.

Sometimes I believe the really tf interested and tf practicing beekeepers give up on us because they have no solution without using ferals.
Law supports this.

When you all will have tf bees we still are middle age.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 12:57 pm
by Ferdi
SiWolKe wrote:
Sometimes I believe the really tf interested and tf practicing beekeepers give up on us because they have no solution without using ferals.
Law supports this.

When you all will have tf bees we still are middle age.


Sibylle, as you might know I'm in the same situation with you, no ferals at all.

I acknowledge that feral bees might have certain level of adoption and resistant. However, in one season from one queen you can produce offspring of couple generations, and since mechanisms like epigenetics will be in play; some adaptation will start to happen just in the first year. If you are lucky, you will probably lose half of your colonies in the first winter but starting from second TF year I believe things will start to get better and better.

I lost my original two queens and some others in the first winter, I raised new queens from survivors and there are really nice ones among them that I will breed from. I believe that being a TF beekeeper in areas surrounded by treating guys and without feral bees requires continuous monitoring and reacting.

On the other hand; having feral bees is not a silver bullet because there are many other aspects (e.g. cell size,hive type, feeding etc.) which can affect survivability of bees.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 3:54 pm
by lharder
I've noticed a substantial shift in the 3 years I have been bee keeping and raising mostly my own queens. On the productive robust side of things I've seen a real upside. Just the energy of some of the bees has gone up substantially.

On the other side, I have one hive on the edge of mean. They don't harass me if undisturbed, but they do not like being opened and don't settle. I put a snelgrove board on them a while back and harvested some queen cells to make some nucs. They did not like that. They didn't like being shaken. I was going to make a cell builder out of them to raise another set of cells, but the idea of shaking all the frames to make sure there wasn't a stray queen cell made me back off of that idea. They probably would have done a really good job.

We'll see if making some daughters from her was a bad idea.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 7:21 pm
by SiWolKe
@ ferdi
yes, my crash was last winter, 4 out of 14 made it but some deadouts were my mistake, too much space given in winter and wrong kind of split, I believe.
Breeding the mites instead of bees.
And there was a big problem with matings because of the weather.

But I don´t want to be a lonely tf beekeeper I would like to see people change their minds and try this too. More courage as with my co-workers, we are 5 persons now seriously working together to become and stay tf. 3 are tf for 3 years now, me included. 2 left and are treating again.

@ Iharder
The situation now is slightly different and I see the bees change their attitude, becoming more feral.
They are not exactly defensiv but they are a lot worse than my LC treated honey production colony I regress.
It´s nice to compare both strains and see what happens. The LC are foraging...foraging...foraging....and building comb.

The others are maybe biting mites, as I now will see checking with the same scope Nordak uses. They are more ferocious, watching for threats.
But they adapt to the season`s circumstances meaning brood amount and stores are more balanced.
Let´s see what happens next winter.

But we have good flow this year and nice weather so every hive has stores. No need to feed and a small harvest. :)

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:59 am
by GregV
Solomon wrote:Not only are they likely to adapt, but they will....


I would think this statement needs to be qualified.
What if you moved from Arkansas to Alaska.
Would your bees still adapt then?
I think chances would be very high that all of them would just perish during the the very first winter.
So, some qualifications are needed.
Adaptions have limitations.

Of the current US bees only the Russians (if not diluted) have built-in ability to survive year-around in Alaska and be successful at it.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 1:07 am
by Solomon
Obviously if they can't survive, they can't adapt. I feel like that doesn't need saying.

On the issue of ferals, I'm not sure if I quite believe the no ferals idea. In China where there are no bees at all, perhaps, but if there are bees around, I don't think I buy it. If I were in the situation where bees would not survive without treatment, I wouldn't keep bees. In Europe, you've had mites longer than we have, but you've also had treatments longer. I believe the same methods would apply. John Kefuss has been keeping bees in France treatment free for nearly two decades.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 1:32 am
by GregV
Solomon wrote:Obviously if they can't survive, they can't adapt. I feel like that doesn't need saying..

Then agreed.
However, Alaska and Siberia are just most obvious cases (cold long winters are very radical selection factor)....[/quote]

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:39 am
by Nordak
Regarding Sibylle's case, I see it like this: if everyone thinks ferals don't exist, who's looking for them? ;)

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:52 am
by GregV
BTW, I googled and found a good blog of some Alaskan beek:
http://alaskahoneybee.com/dev/alaska-wi ... /about-me/

For sure they do keep bees in both Alaska and Siberia and doing well at that.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 6:03 am
by SiWolKe
John Kefuss has been keeping bees in France treatment free for nearly two decades.


He is isolated and only his survivor drones around.

It´s the same with Alois Wallner. His breeders are tf and isolated, his area flooded with his drones.
Still, he treats the production hives because after 30 years they are not able to survive the infestation.
http://www.voralpenhonig.at/

if everyone thinks ferals don't exist, who's looking for them?


There are some who are looking but the moment a swarm is located and this becomes public the scientists come, take it and treat it if it´s not the law that does it.
In our bee magazine there were 2 persons who wanted you to tell them if you found a "feral" swarm, they wanted to learn why those survive.
Some people contacted them. Guess what happened?

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 6:29 am
by Nordak
Why the fear of swarms? I don't understand the irrational thinking. Varroa is already well established in Germany. What are they trying to protect? Makes no sense.

Unless the authorities are actively patroling all of Germany for feral bees, I'm thinking they probably miss a colony or swarm here and there. It's not uncomon in the US for people to claim the feral bees died off as well.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 9:28 am
by SiWolKe
Jeff where I live it is too crowded to miss a swarm.

The people do not fear swarms. They are just not interested in taking them into husbandry. That´s because queens are shifted every season and the swarm has the old queen mostly.
Use the bees and catch them, introduce a queen, too much work for many.
Bait hives are allowed but without residues from bees.
Hard to catch a swarm with that.

What beekeepers fear is the mite bombs. It´s their interpretation of a swarm they can´t control. Control is important for germans ;)
The law says you are not allowed to let your bees die with varroa and so every swarm and hive must be under control and treated prophylactically.
People feel very important with that and bash you if you are of another mind. So we tf people have to hide our intentions.

That´s what I like about you americans and your forums. That joy about catching swarms! :D And keep them tf!
I catched my own swarm from my own bees, that was great! I hope people will call me if they see a swarm.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:23 pm
by GregV
SiWolKe wrote:Control is important for germans ;)


The Germans better drop this "control" thing. :)
You only can control a thing or a process that you understand really, really, really well.
No one should claim they understand Nature very well (and bees as a part of it).

PS: to be more correct - this "control" thing is not a monopoly of the Germans; many examples are around; just saying for fairness sake.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:39 pm
by GregV
GregV wrote:
Solomon wrote:Obviously if they can't survive, they can't adapt. I feel like that doesn't need saying..

Then agreed.
However, Alaska and Siberia are just most obvious cases (cold long winters are very radical selection factor)....


Actually, this kept bothering me and so I thought more on the subject.
I retract my agreement. :D
Like I said, qualifications are needed and still stand by this.
This is a blanket statement that mixes together too many contexts inappropriately - "if they can't survive, they can't adapt".

I have few points to show why I can not agree with the main premise that bee migration is bad and only the local bee has the right to live.
Bee migration is not bad. Bee migration is inevitable and can not be good or bad.
It is just either the migration is slow and gradual (natural way) or quick and abrupt (artificial way).

In many many places throughout the globe, one can not have local bees until the very initial population arrives somehow from somewhere. This directly related to the Russian bee case (my rants in the "Russian bee" topic).

More on this later....

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 3:40 pm
by SiWolKe
The adaption can be prevented by beekeeper`s managements to a high extent.

It´s probably good to start with more resistant stock, even if you have to migrate them.
But then they must become local.

Inexperience, wrong estimations of conditions, wrong time managements, letting them starve after harvesting, wrong time making splits...many many more actions are preventing adaption. Stress it is.

A beekeeper has to learn his whole life because many conditions change. Some ignore this and never change their methods, never listen to the bees only to their own voice.

Everyone of us has this moments of feeling small after making a mistake. Don´t you sometimes realize the bees would be better off without you?
Still you do your thing as you think is right.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 2:46 am
by Solomon
SiWolKe wrote:
John Kefuss has been keeping bees in France treatment free for nearly two decades.


He is isolated and only his survivor drones around.

[/quote]
No, that's not the case. I interviewed him on my podcast.

Also, I am not isolated. I am surrounded by the local commercial beekeeper and my bees get better every year. You do not need isolation. You need interaction with the feral population. You do that by not treating and moving to small or natural cells. The feral population affects the commercial population, but the commercial population has little effect on the feral population. I am interactive with the feral population. I catch their swarms, and I give them swarms. In my view, this is the best long term plan for TF. Line breeding and isolation has not given us TF bees in 25 years, and it never will. TF is not a trait one can breed and sell. TF is apis mellifera. It can't be separated from nature.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:49 am
by SiWolKe
Solomon wrote: I am interactive with the feral population. I catch their swarms, and I give them swarms. In my view, this is the best long term plan for TF. Line breeding and isolation has not given us TF bees in 25 years, and it never will. TF is not a trait one can breed and sell. TF is apis mellifera. It can't be separated from nature.


Ah, thanks for correcting me on Keyfuss.

Nice to know this opinion. We, as a group, plan to do exactly that, set off swarms and breed our own ferals, since there are none around.

You give me some hope. Now we have to see how the thrown swarms can survive without nesting places. We are only able to provide them on our own properties which are very sparse.
So with my forum we try to find people to take them and keep them, distributing survivor genes.

And we started to take swarms from local treated hives if people let us and regress them.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:29 pm
by GregV
OK, let us do an exercise...

Someone gives me $1B and asks to introduce tiger species into wild areas of North America (NA) so that we "save tigers" before they go extinct.(I know - crazy and irresponsible idea, but this exactly what happened with humans bringing honey bees into North America. The intent was different at the introduction time, but the effect was pretty dramatic and yet largely unnoticed; though people never realized what they have done. So, the deed is done now, no way back exists, and let us move on...).

About 10,000-20,000 captive tigers exist in NA as we speak, so it should be easy enough to source some tigers (just like bees in NA as we speak - lots lines to choose from).

First: I know that NA has plenty of good enough habitat for the tiger species (unlike Antarctica, which is unsuitable for the tiger species as a whole). So the project seems feasible. As a species, the tigers should survive in certain areas of NA just fine.

Second: I, however, also know that tiger species (just like honey bees) natively come from several very distinct populations that have very much different adaptations. If I choose a wrong source genetic make-up to establish some population in NA somewhere, those tigers will not do well or just die (they will fail to adapt because they will be over-extended in their built-in capabilities). So - I must be very smart in selecting my source tigers to match them to the the specific destination areas.

Third: Let say I managed to acquire a very large, suitable area somewhere in Louisiana (someone sold me a million of acres of swamp they did not care to own). Question is now - how to source the tigers to populate the swamp. Well, I will go around the private tiger owners and will test their holdings for those specimens that mostly originate from India and South-East Asia. This is because those lines will be best adapted to survive in subtropical swamp ecosystems. Siberian tigers may or may not do well in subtropical swamps and are best avoided in this case.

Forth: Let say I, instead, managed to buy a large area on the South Coast of Alaska. In such a case, I will scout the tiger owners for the Siberian tiger lines as they will be the best possible fit to survive the temperate mountainous areas. Bengal tigers are not likely to do well in Alaska or even survive there altogether (they don't even have fur good enough to survive freezing winters; they are not adapted to shed and regrow appropriate fur coats per the season changes, just as one example).

Fifth: Let say, someone offered me a really good deal on a potential reserve in Northern Alaskan tundra. I will turn this down because this will be outside of the suitable areas for the tiger species survival as a whole. Not even Siberian tigers will do well in open frozen plains and will likely perish. Tiger species as a whole are not fit to live in open tundra - this now becomes a species-level limitation (not a specific line limitation).

Conclusion: I am trying to demonstrate here that there are 1)limits to the entire species' habitable places and 2)limits to habitable spaces for specific populations of the species. Survival and adaptions of a species or a specific population are different in scope and must always be considered as such.

This directly applies to the honey bee case as well. The bees and tigers (and wolves, what not) are very similar at that - they are very successful, dynamic and adaptable species and will spread widely (if allowed to do so). Large variety of distinct and different populations with different adaptions shows exactly that - wide adaptability and tendency to migrate and populate new suitable habitats and re-adapt along the way. However, inability of one specific population to adapt to some specific conditions does not mean that the conditions are not suitable for the species as a whole. A different, more fitting, population could be successful if placed into the same exact conditions.

So this Alaskan beek says:
I have used many, many different strains of honey bees and at present I have settled on using strictly the USDA Russian strain obtained in eastern Asia in the location of the Primorsky region.
http://alaskahoneybee.com/dev/alaska-winter-bees/about-me/

I am thinking here, is it not kind of obvious that you do not import Italian or Caucasian bees to Alaska? Those original populations were never fit to be in Alaska as they originate from very dissimilar regions. It is irresponsible of the bee sellers to sell unfit bees to Alaska (at least the source bees should come with some label of regional suitability). Coastal Alaska is a fine region to have bees and has everything they need. There is nothing wrong with importing properly fit bees into Alaska. Otherwise, how do you even get to keep bees up there? There is nothing wrong with bee importation to establish some initial local population IF there is no other way. It is just such importation should NOT be done indiscriminately. The source bee fitness should be the most important deciding factor.

This is, pretty much, all I wanted to say.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:43 pm
by SiWolKe
The problem is, Greg, that honeybees are "livestock".

If a race brings more honey, beekeepers will try to import and migrate them. They will keep them in buildings, insulate the hives, feed like crazy...
Bet if some see the local strains can survive they propagate more honey production...

You can´t compare this with natural adaption of a species.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:44 pm
by GregV
SiWolKe wrote:The problem is, Greg, that honeybees are "livestock".

If a race brings more honey, beekeepers will try to import and migrate them. They will keep them in buildings, insulate the hives, feed like crazy...
Bet if some see the local strains can survive they propagate more honey production...

You can´t compare this with natural adaption of a species.


I respectfully disagree.
If you chase your common livestock (e.g. cows) out the door - most all of them will die initially because they are bread to the extreme. True.
If you chase your bees out the door - significant portion of them will live on and persist and multiply.
This is a very significant difference (as Solomon pointed out; repeatedly, in fact).

Here, Google says:
Feral cats live on all continents except for Antarctica. The worldwide feral cat population is estimated to be at least 100 million. The United States' feral cat population is estimated at 60 million, Australia's at 12 million, and Britain's at one million.

This is feral cats - way, way more domesticated than bees.
Bees can do better than cats.
There is only one (more or less) requirement - your bees by the make-up should be mostly fit for your surroundings.
If you let the Italians survive in Alaska - they will highly likely die off (as discussed).
But if you let the Italians survive in California - they will not only survive, they will do very well (Solomon has a very interesting podcast about feral bee remover from California, LA of all places - tons of feral bees in the middle LA; highly recommend!).

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:49 pm
by Dustymunky
Seems to be turning into a disagreement over semantics, but I'll chime in anyway. Livestock are animals that are kept for pleasure or profit. I dont like referring to bees as livestock but technically they are. Just because something is livestock doesnt mean it is incapable of surviving in the wild. Domesticated horses are livestock and have survived in north america in the wild. Non native and domesticated but still surviving wild.

On the spectrum of livestock animals, bees are the most wild and adaptable imo. 1-It is almost impossible to stop kept bees from mating with bees outside your apiary. 2-The large amount of drone fathers increases genetic diversity. 3-Swarming activity and the short life cycle of bees dramatically decrease the time it takes bees to adapt.

I believe Italian honey bees were kept successfully in fairly far northern latitudes before varroa and pesticide pressures bees deal with currently. Latitudes and climates much different than the areas they were originally from. To me this is a testament to the honey bees adaptability.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:20 am
by SiWolKe
Sorry I´m being misunderstood.

I`m of the same mind as you believing honeybees can still survive on their own.

What I mean is they adapt and will likely develop some traits the beekeeper does not want.

For example they ( this is no statement but a suspicion) the could become more ferocious which means you need a veil.

Or they could correlate their amount of brood with the stores, breed not if there is no flow.

They could become swarmy.

Talking with beekeepers all this adaption traits are feared by the beekeepers. Do you really belief they put up with this and will not introduce honey production gentle queens from other locations?
No, profit counts and they will change their resistant stock back to "livestock".
They even destroy the feral population with their drones, change the ferals to be more susceptible and introduce disease and pests.

I tried to convince people who are afraid of less honey production that the solution could be more hives for the same amount of honey.
In vain.
If they could have 100pounds from one hive they prefer the production queen not the resistant one.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:33 pm
by Nordak
There is a lot of truth to what Sibylle says in regard to traits commercial beekeepers find desirable vs. survivor traits. I am optimistic that their is perhaps a shifting tone in regard to how to handle the mite problem sans treatment, but most commercial interests appear to be fine with the treatment model because of the expressed opinion survivor bees don't produce well enough from a financial aspect. There are bees out there that are truly livestock and being treated as such. When reverted to feral status, in order to survive, bees have to adapt to a whole new subset of traits that don't involve making beekeepers money. You have to think, it probably requires a dedicated workforce to defensively keep at bay pests like mites and SHB. That's dipping into the field force. I think that's one reason why hobbyists should do what they can to promote and maintain local feral genetics. Commercial beekeepers are fine with the current model.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 6:20 am
by SiWolKe
Solomon wrote:No, that's not the case. I interviewed him on my podcast.


I listened to the Kefuss podcast to learn more.

God, seems like he introduced mites into his hives all the time to make them start resistant behaviors, if I understood him.

So with my robber screens and preventing drift I probably prevent the success.

But, first first. Evaluating each hive separately, then breed from the best and shift queens.
Then more and more reduce help and let the impacts and infestations come.
All without treatments.
Then be concerned about production and gentleness with the resistant strains.

Still, Solomon, there is that big difference between a small beekeeper and Kefuss` number of hives.
He talked about the 10 hives threshold. Most hobbyist here have less.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:08 pm
by GregV
Dustymunky wrote:..I believe Italian honey bees were kept successfully in fairly far northern latitudes before varroa and pesticide pressures bees deal with currently. Latitudes and climates much different than the areas they were originally from. To me this is a testament to the honey bees adaptability...


Over time and with help they might gradually improve up North.
But in USDA zones 2-3-4 and latitudes north of 45 degrees, I would just start initial stocks more attuned to those areas (Carnis, Russians, existing local mutts). Italians would not really make good initial stocks in those conditions (especially TF and "no feeding" regiment).

In our local group you routinely hear talks like - "winter did not start yet but all the honey is gone; the bees already ate their honey".
Typically, such talks are about strong Italians colonies that just keep pumping the brood later into the fall and burned through all their reserves by November (very inappropriately). Such bees do not belong here.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:14 pm
by Rurification
SiWolKe wrote: there is that big difference between a small beekeeper and Kefuss` number of hives.
He talked about the 10 hives threshold. Most hobbyist here have less.


I've been thinking about this. Does the 10 hive threshold include any feral hives close by?

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:02 am
by SiWolKe
Rurification wrote:
SiWolKe wrote: there is that big difference between a small beekeeper and Kefuss` number of hives.
He talked about the 10 hives threshold. Most hobbyist here have less.


I've been thinking about this. Does the 10 hive threshold include any feral hives close by?


Hi Robin,
they say that you need at least 10 hives to evaluate the best to breed from and to always have survivors if your bee yards crash ( I hope yours do not!)
So ferals are very good for drone genetics but you have to keep them to use them.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:01 pm
by Solomon
I wish I had gotten in on this earlier but Google seems to think my forum notifications are spam since I get so many of them.

Greg, to a certain extent you are correct in your tiger sourcing model. You'll want Siberian tigers in Alaska and Bengals in Louisiana. But tigers go where they want to and will adapt to their local conditions over time. Bees can do this in a handful of years, tigers probably more like a handful of decades. Eventually, if the project takes hold, you're gonna get tigers all over with interbreeding populations and regional variations, etc. You don't even really need to do tigers, you could just observe brown bears or cougars or raccoons, or any number of other endemic species. You may also be able to help bees where you'd have trouble helping tigers.

I'm absolutely of the mind that we ought not be mailing bees all over the country willy nilly. Just recently, I had someone contact me to try to get queens, and I asked "why do you think my bees would work where you are (Vancouver BC or somewhere)?" Every year, we have this problem, people go to their local bee box retailer and buy bees they know not where from, and take they home and they thrive through the summer and the first freeze comes along and they up and die. But old hat beekeepers can buy packages and feed them and insulate them treat and have no problem getting packages to survive. And then they flip me the bird when I tell people don't buy southern packages, don't buy packages, don't buy bees at all, because they don't experience what I'm talking about. A lot of people in this individualistic country have a serious lack of ability to see things through other people's eyes. But that's a topic for another day.

I will and will not use the term "livestock" for bees, it depends on the context. When dealing with my bees and ferals and TF, absolutely not. My bees are interactive with the feral population and any "livestock" that happens to get caught in the system and cant cut it, dies. On the other hand, when dealing with newbees (this includes experienced beekeepers new to TF) I do use the term livestock because we have to shake people out of the haze that is "OH NOES, MY BEES ARE GONNA DIE!!!!" Look, they're livestock. You got a cow with a broken leg, you call the mobile butcher. Get over it. They're not children, they're livestock. See what I mean?

What I talk about when operating a small number of hives TF in a bigger soup is becoming part of the feral population rather than the kept population. The feral bees out compete the big cell treated bees, genetic studies show that. But you gotta be harder on your bees and they have to be off of large cell foundation, however you want to do that. But too many people still want to coddle them, even in a TF context.

I know, I'm too harsh, but those are some of my thoughts on this conversation.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:18 pm
by GregV
Solomon wrote:.....Greg, to a certain extent you are correct in your tiger sourcing model. ......


Hey, Solomon!
A great fan here, btw!
Just during this AM commute I finished listening to yet another podcast.

I am here trying to develop (or rather restore?) the old, low-maintenance ways of homestead beekeeping that most every peasant/farmer used to run. Most all homesteads ran 5-50 bee hives/skeps/logs on a side. They harvested honey once per year - that was about the interaction of the bee and the human. The bees must be very, very low maintenance and hardy for this project to work (this means one thing - TFB). This, pretty much, also means that such bees are only as much "livestock" as the reindeer are. Basically - they do not need people whatsoever.

I used tigers as an example because they show great variability in adaptations and yet remain a single species at this point in time (very similar to bees). Obviously, evolution time scales of a large mammal and an insect are different by several factors.
This should be clear to most everyone.

Basically, my point was/is - there are some areas out there (Alaska is a great example) where if not for mailing bees, the bees will not make it on there own. Not in our short life times - to be exact.

So one must ship bees to Alaska for the beekeeping to take place (this is exactly how beekeeping started on the Russian Far East, btw - they shipped the very initial bees there).

And so - if the bee shipping is to take place because there is no other way, consideration of initial bee sourcing becomes significant.
Not all localities have local bees as we speak (no matter how bee-friendly they are).
You have to ship sometimes and, so, the best fitting bees for the destination area are best to ship.
This was/is my qualification to your statements above.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:41 pm
by GregV
........

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:48 pm
by Solomon
I feel like people are to anxious to get going often so they'll blow money on bees that won't survive. There are already bees in Alaska, but maybe they are impossible to purchase. I guess the other option is to buy a bajillion southern packages and hope some of them randomly survive. Naturally, I do not recommend that.

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:02 pm
by GregV
Solomon wrote:I feel like people are to anxious to get going often so they'll blow money on bees that won't survive. There are already bees in Alaska, but maybe they are impossible to purchase. I guess the other option is to buy a bajillion southern packages and hope some of them randomly survive. Naturally, I do not recommend that.


There are bees in Alaska - now.
Yes.
But how they got there initially?
They were shipped.

Are there thriving, feral, self-sustaining populations in Alaska? Not so sure just yet.
I think Alaska is going through a stage similar to the Russian Far East that took place somewhere around 100-150 year ago.
Otherwise, Alaska is a very bee-friendly place with lots of good habitat (fire weed alone makes up great bee pastures; very similar to Siberia).

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:06 pm
by Solomon
Are you certain they were shipped?

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:08 pm
by GregV
Solomon wrote:Are you certain they were shipped?

Absolutely.
Bees never existed in Alaska historically.
They physically were not able to make it there on their own (yet).

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:13 pm
by GregV
Google: "honey bees non-native species alaska" - lots of resources.

Or Google more directly to: "Introduction to Alaska Insect Pollinators - NRCS - USDA"
Look for non-native pollinator paragraph and find the "honey bees".

Re: Developing Local Climate Adaptation

Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:29 pm
by Rurification
Thanks, Sybille for the clarification on the 10 hives thing. That's a great goal for me!

Solomon wrote:... But too many people still want to coddle them, even in a TF context....


Michael Bush mentioned something like this over at Beemaster last year and it rocked my world. I'd been trying sooo hard to keep them alive through the winter that the bigger picture didn't dawn on me. I totally get this now. It's easier now that I have actually figured out some of the winter thing. [Russian x queen. Had to have one for our weird winters. Loved the tiger reference above. True, that. I was losing so many colonies because they were shipped here from Alabama and my hives were set up for Kentucky winters, not OUR winters. ]

I finally have 8 colonies today. I have a good handle on how to get them to make a new queen. I don't panic when that happens. I'm learning the rhythm of the bees, seasons, and flow. And I'm learning to let the weak ones die. That is big.

This has been a great thread. I'm learning so much.