breeding out Varroa?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Bcrazy, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. Bcrazy

    Bcrazy New Member

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    Members next season I am going to cut my number of hives down to six as I wish to concentrate on breeding the best bees I have to fight against the mite Varroa.
    I understand some of you guy's might have done this already so please can I have some advice from you?
    I do realize this there is no short term for obtaining this but in the long run it can only be beneficial.
    I am quite knowledgeable about queen rearing and such habits as grooming. I am not overly concerned with the production of honey as this will come later.
    Iddee I believe you have done this within your operation of bees, is this correct?

    Thank you all in advance for your help in achieving this goal.

    Mo
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I have, but not the way you are thinking. I found a hive that could be traced back to before the mite arrived. It nor its predecessors had ever been treated for mites. I raised queens from that hive and luckily the resistance trait was passed on by the queens.
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    my good neighbors to the south are quite into what you seem to be suggesting... only at a much larger scale. I converse with the proprietors on occasions and they have always been extremely open with what they know. I started off (this time) with a small bit of their stock at about the time they decided to go 'treatmentless'. Accidently (and due more to laziness than anything else) I have kind of gone down the same path.

    I think the basic are pretty much covered in a fairly recent ABJ article in regards to the American/French beekeeper who coined the phrase 'the live and let die strategy of beekeeping'. I can likely dig out book and page if you can access that source?

    measuring varroa level and coming to understanding of resistance would seem to me to be essential tools. casually I have though grooming and propolizing tendencies are good indicators.

    I suspect stock (like that identified by Iddee) should logically make for shortcuts since nature has kind of done part of the hard lifting (time) for ya'. The American/French beekeeper kind of suggested something along the same lines in the article... only of European origin. The Russian Bee is pretty much the same kind of thinking. my good neighbor to the south tells me they are now looking at resistance at the genetic flag marker level*. it was his bee (buckfast I think) that was use for the b-genome project.

    *my understanding of genetics is not that great, so forgive me here if I don't get the jargon just quite correct.
     
  4. Fuzzystuff

    Fuzzystuff New Member

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    I would first state that I am no expert.

    I have a hive with a buckfast queen from south TX and I have not seen any sign of mites, although they are probably there the bees do a good job of control on their part. I would add that they are very moody, I've only been stung 3 times but they go after the hive tool and camera like crazy (counted 25+ stings on equipment in a 15 mins inspection). They are always head butting my vail.

    Side note I use KTBH.
     
  5. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    I'm no expert either.

    I think that like fleas, tapeworms, or ticks on wild animals, varroa mites will always be found in honeybee hives in the future. However, the question is can bees be strong enough to keep the mites in check so they don't go beyond a mere annoyance to the bees? Bees can apparently tolerate low populations of mites.
    How can the bees be strong enough then to deal with varroa?- I see only one way- bees must be healthy and hygienic to aggressively toss or groom away enough varroa to keep them in check.

    I can imagine how pesticides (either agricultural or miticides) might not be in levels lethal enough to kill a colony, yet still accumulate in the hive and mix together in toxic combinations enough to effect the bee's natural strength, immunity, and behavior in various subtle ways we may not understand. These chemicals are poisons meant to kill insects, after all. Bees are insects. Wouldn't pesticides also work against the goal of having bees vigorous and healthy enough to groom and reduce mites in the hive on their own? We know that stray dogs and cats that have malnutrition and disease wind up weakened, they become targets overrun with with fleas, worms, ticks, and mange.
    Just random thoughts.
     
  6. Bcrazy

    Bcrazy New Member

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    Hi members,
    Thank you all for your comments I have made notations where applicable, you guy's are lucky to have the Russian breed of queens available to you, something we do not have in the UK. You are very lucky Iddee I couldn't just pop over and come back with one of your queens could I? Only joking.
    tecumseh you mentioned a paper by a French beekeeper regarding Varroa resistant bees is it possible to pm me with a copy please?
    I have planned my work schedule for early spring, Collect all debris and check mites for damage, breed from the colony that has hygienic tendencies. I am going to reduce to six hives to work with and any swarms I collect will be at another location.

    Once again members thank you all for your replies its been a great help.
     
  7. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    I wonder if there may be other UK breeders already working to produce varroa resistant/hygienic bees already? You might do some online searching to find them or to find beekeeping associations there who might know of such breeders.
     
  8. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    You are much to busy for that. Just send me a round trip ticket and I'll bring you a couple. I've always wanted to visit England. I've only seen it from the air. :thumbsup:
     
  9. Bcrazy

    Bcrazy New Member

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    If i had the moneyI would do so.

    Mo
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Bcrazy writes:
    tecumseh you mentioned a paper by a French beekeeper regarding Varroa resistant bees is it possible to pm me with a copy please?

    tecumseh:
    I am looking thru my older copies of The American Bee Journal to try and locate one or so of the 'breed a better bee' articles. I guess my prior question was, can you directly access the ABJ or do you need hard copies? If the latter arrange to send my an e mail address, so I can xerox and then send you a copy directly.

    I am not certain??? space is available in the pm function here to send an article? <I guess this is a question for this web sites administrator.

    ps.. I guess you know that hygienic behavior is now commonly though to be of two variation which are not closely genetically related.... the older brood hygienic and the much newer vsh (varroa sensitive hygienic). a test for one will tell you nothing about the other.
     
  11. Bcrazy

    Bcrazy New Member

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    Hi tecumseh

    Firstly my other email is Mo--V@line.co.uk if you could send copies over that would be great. THANK YOU.

    Your final point re hygeinic bees yes I do understand that this varies with age and it may not be associated with the genetic makeup of bees. But if others have succeded then i am willing to try to ease the burden on the bees.

    Mo
     
  12. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I am going thru my most recent stack of ABJ and there are several articles there that I think might interest you. I will send them along as I can to your email address. The american french fellow I previously mention name is John Kefuss... I think you can get some detail there. His results should be enough to motivate you quite a bit. He casually mentions my commercial beekeeping neighbors who have gone down the same path (same time line). Several others by various authors... most especially I think you may find Kirk Webster's article fruitful.

    Previously I was trying to make the point that there are two forms of hygienic behavior one for brood (uncapping and removing diseased brood) and one for varroa. Ideally you would want a bit of both. main point... a tool for testing for brood hygienic will not tell you a thing about varroa hygienics. second but only somewhat related point.. as far as I can tell most methods of testing for varroa is highly subject to error... it makes quantifying the level of infestation at the hive level difficult. I have gone to seasonally plucking drone brood as a field type test for varroa.

    Perhaps a silly question, but are you familiar with Brother Adam's Buckfast Abbey?
     
  13. Bcrazy

    Bcrazy New Member

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    Thank you ,
    A very informative post.

    Yes but I have not read any publications by Brother Adam, and according to a friend in Devon the set up that Br Adam had has been taken over by someone else who has apparently let things slip a bit.

    Thank you

    Mo
     
  14. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I thought I had lost this thread.

    I have been busy Mo and my attorney (also a beekeeper) warned me against sharing possible copy writed material. not certain how to get around that obstacle???

    perhaps the following site is a good place to begin. http://www.nuc@survivorstockqueens.org/

    ps.... the american beekeeper who keeps bees in France and coined the 'Live and Let Die' strategy name and email address is on the bottom of the linked page.
     
  15. Bcrazy

    Bcrazy New Member

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    Once again thank you all for your suggestions and advice, I will look up the names of Kefuss and Webster in a few days to find any extra information. will keep you posted when I begin.
    HERE'S WISHING YOU ALL IN THE U.S.A. A MERRY XMAS AND A PROSPERIOUS NEW YEAR. :thumbsup: