honey bees evolve rapidly -- genetics of wild bees in NY

Discussions of honeybee genetics, epigenetics, hygiene related genetics, breeding, etc.
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msscha
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honey bees evolve rapidly -- genetics of wild bees in NY

Postby msscha » Thu Aug 20, 2015 12:03 am

Interesting info about Tom Seely and fellow researchers regarding genetic changes in wild bee populations located in Ithaca, New York. I heard him speak last year, and he mentioned some early results, but had not yet gotten to the genetic analysis part stage. Basically, the Ithaca bee population created an accidental scenario for testing how wild honey bees dealt with varroa. As with many large scale beekeepers who decided to stop treating, much of the wild population died, but those that made it have flourished and are showing genetic changes -- http://phys.org/news/2015-08-honey-bees-rapidly-evolve-disease.html
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JasonBruns
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Re: honey bees evolve rapidly -- genetics of wild bees in NY

Postby JasonBruns » Sat Aug 29, 2015 8:28 pm

This is something that I have been talking about in my area for several years now. The idea that all of the feral stocks died was a false.

I cannot believe this news has not generated more discussion. This should be info enough for everyone to be out building swarm traps and looking for places to put them.

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Re: honey bees evolve rapidly -- genetics of wild bees in NY

Postby lharder » Tue Sep 01, 2015 12:41 am

That and raising local queens that mate with at least some feral stock. My urban apiary and my rural site both are on river bottom with lots of large trees about. I'm hoping the queens I've raised have a bit of feral exposure.

You have inspired me to put up some swarm traps for next year.

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JasonBruns
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Re: honey bees evolve rapidly -- genetics of wild bees in NY

Postby JasonBruns » Tue Sep 01, 2015 1:40 am

I wish you luck. If you have any questions send me an email or check out my site LetMBee.com

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Michael Bush
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Re: honey bees evolve rapidly -- genetics of wild bees in NY

Postby Michael Bush » Wed Sep 02, 2015 1:45 pm

I've been saying the feral bees didn't die every since people said they did... I published it online in 2004 after saying it for several years on the forums. I know many beekeepers all over the country who actually make a living removing feral colonies and stock their yards with them. No one takes it seriously though, until a scientist says it. I'm glad Seeley is getting the word out. But why did people pretend they were all dead with no evidence that they were?

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm#feralbees
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Re: honey bees evolve rapidly -- genetics of wild bees in NY

Postby lharder » Wed Sep 02, 2015 2:37 pm

I'm sure Seeley has been saying the same thing, he got tired of the denial so got some people together to nail it. I'm a bit surprised this work wasn't done a bit sooner. It looked to me an obvious PH.d. project. If people are out examining genetic variation of back swimmers as a function of spatial distribution, then it was just a matter of time before some serious work was done on this. Now it has to be done in other parts of the continent.

You can probably mathematically model the robustness of these wide spread bottom up natural selection processes vs the top down narrow approaches of agricultural breeders. Pests in an agricultural setting follow the former model, while breeders are painting themselves into a corner with the latter. Its bound to fail and cause a lot of genetic/environmental harm in the process.

Time for an heirloom tomato.

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Re: RE: Re: honey bees evolve rapidly -- genetics of wild bees in NY

Postby JasonBruns » Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:21 pm

lharder wrote:I'm sure Seeley has been saying the same thing, he got tired of the denial so got some people together to nail it. I'm a bit surprised this work wasn't done a bit sooner. It looked to me an obvious PH.d. project. If people are out examining genetic variation of back swimmers as a function of spatial distribution, then it was just a matter of time before some serious work was done on this. Now it has to be done in other parts of the continent.

You can probably mathematically model the robustness of these wide spread bottom up natural selection processes vs the top down narrow approaches of agricultural breeders. Pests in an agricultural setting follow the former model, while breeders are painting themselves into a corner with the latter. Its bound to fail and cause a lot of genetic/environmental harm in the process.

Time for an heirloom tomato.

It's why I have been telling people for years to STOP requeening swarms when they obtained them.

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Michael Bush
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Re: honey bees evolve rapidly -- genetics of wild bees in NY

Postby Michael Bush » Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:59 pm

>I'm sure Seeley has been saying the same thing, he got tired of the denial so got some people together to nail it.

I'm sure he has. He's been tracking them all this time.

>You can probably mathematically model the robustness of these wide spread bottom up natural selection processes vs the top down narrow approaches of agricultural breeders.

Probably. But the differences are so obvious. Wildness has vigor that domestication never has. I used to hatch a lot of chickens and if I did everything perfectly I would be very lucky to get 90% to hatch. Sometimes it was as low as 60% and if something went wrong, like the power went out for hours or the temperatures were in the 100s (my house was not then, nor ever has been air conditioned) then maybe none or only a few would hatch. A friend who was working for the irrigation ditch company clearing the brush on the banks and checking for gopher holes etc. was going to run over a pheasant nest. The hen was setting at the time and she ran off. He gathered up the eggs and put them in his shirt behind the seat of the bulldozer where they were for 8 hours or more and gave them to me that evening. i put them in the incubator without a lot of confidence that any would hatch. There were a pile of eggs, like 25 or so, and 100% hatched. The vigor amazed me.

"The important point, however, is not that we should always rush off to a primitive place to get our breeding stock, though that may be helpful. The vital thing is to cultivate wildness at home where we live; to acknowledge, enjoy and utilize the mystery and unknowable power of Nature, as well as the few things we think we know about Her. We need to breed bees along these lines in order to create diverse regional populations that are stable, resilient, and easy to care for---as the basis for future pollination when energy is scarce, and crops and livestock (including bees) must all live in the same place year-round. The way to accomplish this is through Horizontal breeding schemes...to reestablish the intimate relationship between crops, livestock and people; within which the element of Wildness can be preserved and allowed to protect us all. In time the process becomes increasingly "self-organized", as more things are accomplished with biological energy and Nature's self-knowledge, instead of with steel, petroleum, and scientific neurosis. Much of the drudgery disappears and is replaced by a steady attention to many details, and when successful, farming can resume its rightful place as the most interesting and satisfying of all occupations. This is a transition we must make in order for people to have decent lives in a fossil-energy-poor future. Frankly, I'm optimistic that this transition will actually take place. Smoke and mirrors may keep things limping along the way they are for awhile longer, but when energy becomes a really serious problem, that crisis will force us to change in a fundamental way. Or consider Winston Churchill's very astute observation: 'You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing----after they've exhausted every other possibility...' "--Kirk Webster, What's Missing From The Current Discussion And Work Related To Bees That's Preventing Us From Making Good Progress?

>It's why I have been telling people for years to STOP requeening swarms when they obtained them.

Me too. But the old books seem to drill that as did the Bee magazines for years.
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
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Michael Bush
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Re: honey bees evolve rapidly -- genetics of wild bees in NY

Postby Michael Bush » Wed Sep 02, 2015 6:01 pm

Another Webster quote:

"We're making the same mistake with our honeybees. We're trying to ensure the failure of modern beekeeping by focusing too much on single traits; by ignoring the elements of Wildness; and by constantly treating the bees. The biggest mistake of all is to continue viewing mites and other "pests" as enemies that must be destroyed, instead of allies and teachers that are trying to show us a path to a better future. The more virulent a parasite is, the more powerful a tool it can be for improving stocks and practice in the future. All the boring and soul-destroying work of counting mites on sticky boards, killing brood with liquid nitrogen, watching bees groom each other, and measuring brood hormone levels---all done in thousands of replications---will someday be seen as a colossal waste of time when we finally learn to let the varroa mites do these things for us. My own methods of propagating, selecting and breeding bees, worked out through many years of trial and error, are really just an attempt to establish and utilize Horizontal breeding with honeybees---to create a productive system that preserves and enhances the elements of Wildness. My results are not perfect, but they have enabled me to continue making a living from bees without much stress, and have a positive outlook for the future. I have no doubt that many other beekeepers could easily achieve these same results, and then surpass them."--Kirk Webster, What's Missing From The Current Discussion And Work Related To Bees That's Preventing Us From Making Good Progress?
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

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Re: honey bees evolve rapidly -- genetics of wild bees in NY

Postby lharder » Sun Sep 06, 2015 1:45 pm

I'm not so sure the difference in power between bottom up vs top down processes are obvious to most. You could illustrate it with a mathematical model, and I'm sure its been done, but it doesn't make any impact.

I have an ongoing debate with my uncle, a plant geneticist about GMO crops. Mine basically being that GMO is touted as a technological solution to the the natural outcome of ecological processes. Put to many critters in to small of a space and there will be degradation of the resources that support us. Until you apply basic ecological principals to how people live, technology is simply kicking the can down the road a bit while destroying the resource base. Most agricultural scientists simply cannot see it even though they should be able to understand it. But its no different while talking about the impacts of unfettered growth. You can talk about the exponential function and illustrate it, but for some reason, basic math doesn't apply to people. It is too terrible to contemplate, and the unfolding too slow to appreciate.

At the same time natural systems point us to how an efficient system operates. Nutrients are ruthlessly recycled and the systems are productive with minimal inputs. There is almost no such thing as a crop "failure". Something almost always takes up the slack and the system remains as productive as ever. Redundancy, genetic diversity, spatial and temporal heterogeneity are key that allows critters with one scale of adaptive change, to live with others working at a different scale. These are scientific concepts which are simply best models of explanation, subject to change. Technology is entirely different and used without regard to a broad scientific world view. You can explain its misuse based on social structures, economics, and evolutionary maladaption and our perceptual limitations, but technology is not science.

Gotta go.

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JasonBruns
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Re: honey bees evolve rapidly -- genetics of wild bees in NY

Postby JasonBruns » Fri Oct 23, 2015 1:03 pm

lharder: you ever read much on Permaculture? If not you're already in the same vein.

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Re: honey bees evolve rapidly -- genetics of wild bees in NY

Postby lharder » Sat Oct 24, 2015 1:29 pm

Hi Jason:

My undergrad degree was mostly insect and plant ecology and I have a masters in forest entomology/pest management just to give you an idea of where I am coming from. I have done my fair share of reading about agroforestry, mixed agricultural systems and some in permaculture along with an interest in evolution and natural history to put it in perspective. I'm ok with math and have/had some interests in mathematically modelling and complexity theory.

I'm pretty interested in human ecology/economics and I'm trying to learn some sustainable habits. TF beekeeping seems to be a good way I can contribute considering my background. I hope for some sort of post materialistic world with greater emphasis of engaging the mind and body, instead of buying stuff as a means of fulfillment. Obviously the current economic model needs change.

In short I'm a bit of a wacko. Maybe we are fellow wackos:)

Your bees all ready for winter?

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JasonBruns
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Re: honey bees evolve rapidly -- genetics of wild bees in NY

Postby JasonBruns » Sat Oct 24, 2015 7:24 pm

Not a wacky at all. I try to tell people to drop the Walmart mentality all the time in beekeeping.

Most hives are ready. There are some laggards that are gonna die but for the st part everything looks good.

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