Hope for honey bees
The year 2017 offers a glimmer of hope for honey bees.
In 2016 they were put on the endangered species list for the first time in the US, and in the UK, disease, parasites and pesticides weakened their colonies.
On the Greek island of Crete, researchers are investigating how an ancient cure for chicken mites might offer a remedy for Varroa, one of the most prevalent pests afflicting honey bees.
Martha Kearney spoke to researcher Dimosthenis Issaakidis and hive owner Mihalis Tsigenis.
Michael Cox wrote:........ And fundamentally, all treatments miss the major point which is that bees have the genetic tools needed to resist varroa on their own. For the species as a whole to develop resistance we need to stop treatments and allow natural selection to take its course..
Michael Cox wrote:And fundamentally, all treatments miss the major point which is that bees have the genetic tools needed to resist varroa on their own. For the species as a whole to develop resistance we need to stop treatments and allow natural selection to take its course. It is only in parts of the world where beekeepers can afford treatments that varroa continues to be a problem.
Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
In my community, there are a number of treatment free bee-keepers. They swap germplasm with each other. I hold them in the highest esteem.
Joseph Lofthouse wrote:Seems to me, like there is a tremendous incentive for the corporations to sell susceptible bees. It's the same old routine of "planned obsolescence", or "hybrids won't breed true". Just a way to keep people coming back year after year for fresh bees.
Joseph Lofthouse wrote:Survival of the fittest coupled with farmer directed selection is at the core of all of my breeding projects. I don't worry about throwing away genetic diversity within my crops, because I start with genetically diverse strains, and I can add new genetics whenever I feel like it. And with something like bees that mate on the wing, there are plenty of opportunities for ongoing out-crossing. It's easy enough to include Africanized traits in my breeding projects, plenty of those traits come back with bees that have traveled to the Almond orchards.