Saturday, February 13, 2016

YouTube Video-Bees immunizing themselves

Here is a VERY interesting video.  One lesson is that it might just be better to not use miticides!  But there seems to be two conflicting ideas in the video.  The beekeeper thinks its the genetics of his bees and his not using miticides for 20 years.  The scientist is stating a second virus is out competing the DFW virus.  Take a look and let us know your thoughts.  I suggest you watch it several times to let the various ideas sink in.


Fred Ransome said...

That's good news, and it's great that there are scientific methods that can confirm what's happening with those bees. Once again nature adapted to conditions. I applaud people that set off on a path and stick with it, no matter what. Must have strong faith and a willingness to lose it all for the sake of the greater good.

The people at Olympic Wilderness Apiary don't treat with chemicals either. They almost lost everything over a two year period when nosema ceranae hit their apiary. But their philosophy was to not treat and hope that some of the bees would develop an immunization, and they did. Their story is similar to Ron's in that they lost all but a couple colonies the first year it infected their apiary, had a few more survivors the second year, and now have increased to full strength with bees immune to nosema ceranae. Their queens are Russian/VSH/wild survivor mutts.

I'm not convinced though that treating bees will of itself prevent the bees from developing immunizations and tolerances. And treating might just keep more bees alive while the adaptations are in process. Granted, we won't know which bees have developed those traits unless testing will indicate it, or we could stop treating for awhile and see what happens. And it's in the back of my mind that once the bees develop tolerances for Varroa and all that they bring with them, something new will come along and we'll be back at square 1.

In the meantime, I'll continue to treat and get diverse genetics in the area. And they're somewhat diverse right now. I started with Joe Latshaw Carniolans and introduced queens from Olympic and from you, and will continue to do so. When I get an early package that I know will be coming from the South, I will stick with Carniolan queens, and then replace them their second year. First year if they're not doing so well, and especially if their brood is hot. I like gentle, productive bees.

Beekeeper Gerard

Fred Ransome said...

The previous comment was from beekeeper Gerard. Thanks for the input.

This winter I have not miticide treated a portion of my hives. The untreated hives have been seeing a higher mortality rate than the treated hives. Those higher loses have me second guessing myself. There is the short term desire for higher survival this winter and more honey next summer versus the long term goal of the bees evolving to live with varroa naturally which means higher winter losses at least in the short term.

Beekeeper Fred