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Thread: All fur coat and no knickers ...

  1. #21
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    All colony records and tax returns to be posted for scrutiny forthwith.

    The Galtee bee breeding group keeps careful records of Amm and maintains lines of bees through instrumental insemination.
    So does Eoghan Mac Giolla Coda who works 150 colonies.
    Peter Edwards is a meticulous record keeper and he has a similar number of colonies.

    The Native Irish Honeybee Society is collecting data on percentage mite infestation from colonies all over Ireland with a view to developing a line of bees which has some mite tolerance. The samples are being processed at NUIG and the work there will include SNP work to try and identify genes associated with varroa tolerance (subject to funding which is the ongoing problem)

    Do I detect a whiff of an anti native bee agenda?
    If you are a Buckfast breeder put your cards on the table!

    I agree with you that wing morphometry and mitochondrial DNA tell next to nothing about whether your stock is native or not.

  2. #22
    Senior Member prakel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    If you are a Buckfast breeder put your cards on the table!
    Not alone in my initial thoughts then!

  3. #23

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    And not even an introduction in your first post - just straight into the have a go at "the AMM brigade" from the off! Also not sure why breeders' records should be publicly available. It's not like we have anything as organised as an AMM "herdbook" although maybe in the future that might be a good idea.

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    Not wishing to step into main discussion, can I ask on this thread what is meant by varroa tolerant, are they never treated or does it mean they can tolerate multiple treatments.
    Mine are local dark, with the odd dark queen thrown in every few years to add to the mix when I can get one

  5. #25
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    Varroa tolerance is a continuum. Some bees deal with the mites up to a point and others not at all.
    Some of the factors associated with mite tolerance are biting, grooming and varroa sensitive hygiene.
    Treatment is optional, depending upon the judgement of the beekeeper.
    Some beekeepers never treat, others treat as they see necessary and other treat as a preventative measure.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by prakel View Post
    Not quite sure where I'm trying to go with this (and don't want to derail Little John's thread too far).
    Good morning, Prakel - your comment made me chuckle !! "Derail" ? LOL ...

    This thread was intended to be about what I see as being 'deficiencies' in the BIBBA/SICAMM approach towards the preservation of (what are believed to be) native stocks of AMM.

    I guess I'd hoped that this thread might generate a few ideas, such as the above august bodies being encouraged to make it their business to also be involved in the physical supply of AMM queens in some way - such as the raising of EU sponsorship towards the creation of breeding stations, providing sales outlets, active marketing - that sort of thing.

    But instead, this thread has become deflected towards other issues - no doubt important in their own right - but nowt to do with the OP.

    'Top Bee' is of course quite right to say that being black is no guarantee of a high level of AMM genes, which is one reason why I'm in the process of converting to Welsh Blacks (Cows yes, Sheep yes, so why not 'Welsh Black' Bees as well ?) from a reliable source. These are not being described by the vendor as 'Welsh AMM' for precisely that reason. But - they are known to be good stock, and right now that's as much as I can wish for.

    I sourced one excellent Welsh Black queen from Ricky Wilson last year, which I'm currently using to provide a supply of drones for my 'closed' mating system. When my other queens arrive, I'll then have genes from two different sources, which I think is the best approach to be starting-off with.

    'Top Bee' is also right to highlight the deficiencies inherent in open mating systems, to which I would also add my own criticism of Artificial Insemination, for using AI may well be good 'science', but it's pi$$-poor 'bee-breeding', as drone selection is performed by humans, and not by the bees themselves.

    Oh - did I mention a 'closed' mating system ? This of course has to be the answer to our prayers (perhaps I should add 'IMHO' here ?) - but are either BIBBA or SICAMM involved in such developments - of course not ...

    All I'll say at this point is that I'm currently using a highly modified version of US Patent 5158497 (http://www.google.com/patents/US5158497), with the addition of an ante-chamber in which selection by competition takes place, with only the strongest drones being able to proceed into the actual mating chamber itself. The virgin queen is also 'tethered' in such a way that - rather than being held flat and statically - she 'flies' through the air with wings unrestrained (thus providing the best possible realism for the approaching drone), and has near full three-dimensional movement so that the queen can be 'bent double' in order that the drone may enter her from below - as this is now known from high-speed film footage to be the physical attitude adopted during copulation.


    But - why should such (dare I say 'important' ?) work be left to one individual working with precious few resources - surely this is the kind of project which BIBBA and/or SICAMM really ought to be involved with ?

    So - this is the sort of topic I had hoped this thread might raise for discussion, rather than generating the usual bun-fight over AMM fundamentals.

    LJ

  7. #27
    Senior Member prakel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little_John View Post

    This thread was intended to be about what I see as being 'deficiencies' in the BIBBA/SICAMM approach towards the preservation of (what are believed to be) native stocks of AMM.

    I guess I'd hoped that this thread might generate a few ideas, such as the above august bodies being encouraged to make it their business to also be involved in the physical supply of AMM queens in some way - such as the raising of EU sponsorship towards the creation of breeding stations, providing sales outlets, active marketing - that sort of thing.
    Little John,

    On another thread there's the mention that they haven't even decided on the daily programme of their conference later this year even though they're already selling the tickets. Might be the way things are done but it seems a back-to-front approach to a simple person like me. This sort of sums up the way I see BIBBA quite nicely; great ideas (even if I don't totally agree with them) but insufficient drive to get on top of the game. Others will disagree with me, but this IS the impression that they give me as an outsider looking in so that's what needs to be addressed.

    Another example is the new, better website which they set up early last year. What happened to that? Is it really that difficult to set up an inviting regularly updated website about bees?


    Regarding your comments re Top Bee's first post, if it's who I hope it is rather than who I think it is he could probably offer a lot of interesting experience and knowledge to this forum but instead of that it appears that he has some other agenda for being here.

  8. #28
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    LJ
    In most places on GB mainland the bee genetics are going to be completely mixed up.
    Morphometry is totally useless with populations like this and will not separate out Amm from the background population.
    It will produce a lookalike which probably has a lot of Amm genetics if you are happy with that.

    I think a better approach is to source good stock from various places in the British isles and start working with that.
    There is certainly pure stock in some parts of Ireland especially in the far west.
    Scotland and Wales will have similar pockets.

    There are plenty of Bibba people posting here so Steve or someone else can explain current thinking.
    In recent years infighting in Bibba has been a barrier to progress but by all accounts things are moving forward now.

    I am more involved with NIHBS than with Bibba and we have certainly discussed the idea of setting up remote mating stations.
    NIHBS also places a lot of importance on formal research such as the sampling and genetic work to be carried out at NUIG Galway.

    There is a huge demand for Amm queens which is not being met and I think you are right to raise that issue.
    Queen rearing is not that complicated yet few in the British Isles are doing it in any quantity.
    I ordered 9 cases of 18 apideas from Swienty yesterday - destined for established and new queen rearing groups in NI
    NIHBS has a regional structure based on the 4 provinces of Ireland and we are coordinating this as the Ulster reps for the organisation.

  9. #29
    Senior Member prakel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    There is a huge demand for Amm queens which is not being met and I think you are right to raise that issue.
    At least one well known UK Buckfast breeder is said to be planning to start breeding amm bees.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by prakel View Post
    [...] great ideas (even if I don't totally agree with them) but insufficient drive to get on top of the game. Others will disagree with me, but this IS the impression that they give me as an outsider looking in so that's what needs to be addressed.
    Yes - that pretty-much sums-up my thinking too: well-intentioned folk with bags of good qualities, but there's something lacking there. The sort of drive perhaps which 'Dragon's Den'-type entrepreneurs have ... ? and I don't

    Jon - There is certainly pure stock in some parts of Ireland especially in the far west.
    Sure - but has anyone in Britain been able to buy any ? I've only found one Irish breeder so far who is willing to sell, but his queens are 'collection only'. If you could help me source a couple of AMM queens at fair money, I'm all ears ...

    I think a better approach is to source good stock from various places in the British isles and start working with that.
    I'm sure you're right Jon, but I'm retired now and on a State Pension - so there's no way I could afford queens at 75 a pop. So I'll use the best I can find at my kind of money, and who knows - if my mating system proves itself 'a winner', then I'll invest in some of those gold-plated queens and corner the market ! LOL

    'best
    LJ

    Forgot to ask - has anyone ever thought of using offshore oil-rigs or these infernal offshore wind turbines which are now littering our coastline as mating stations ? Wacky idea maybe, but the companies involved would gain some serious brownie points for being eco-supportive.
    Last edited by Little_John; 17-04-2014 at 12:42 PM. Reason: 'cause my memory's getting worse ...

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