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More advanced beekeeping discussion forum.
 #5129  by Patrick
 02 Nov 2019, 01:15
Been reading about Prof Tom Seeley’s presentation at Apimondia and elsewhere on non-intervention beekeeping.

Some food for thought but not convinced the list of ways in which “conventional” beekeeping differs from “natural” populations really represents UK beekeeping very accurately. Nor does his personal circumstances beekeeping in heavily forested low population density areas.

Eschewing any medicinal approach and relying on unconstrained swarming to magically “evolve” a solution to varroa seems unfair to evolutionary theory, human neighbours and bees. If your went past a large field of dead and dying sheep suffering from Scab mite would you applaud the farmer for sagely trying to develop a strain of naturally resistant sheep? No, me neither.

I am not convinced that this theoretical approach represents UK beekeeping, Darwin or natural evolution very well to be honest. Other views are available...
 #5130  by NigelP
 02 Nov 2019, 05:05
Possibly trying to atone for his earlier work when he chopped down trees with bees nests in them to measure the nest size.
Theoretically he is right and this has been researched in several isolated areas with the result that you have bees that swarm frequently, produce virtually no honey and are aggressive as hell (in some cases).
Not the bees a beekeeper wouyld want to keep...but hey ho...keeps his name in lights.
 #5131  by AdamD
 02 Nov 2019, 12:03
As usual, you have a very cynical view of the world Nigel ;) I guess that over time bees would develop some ability to cope with the varroa. One big problem compared to the bees that varroa started out on, is the brood cycle of honeybees which is longer which makes it harder for apis melifera to deal with them.
 #5134  by Patrick
 02 Nov 2019, 14:59
If you ever need insight into how in the postwar UK landscape evolutionary processes with wild unmanaged species is able to cope with huge changes like habitat loss and degradation, have a read of the recent State of Nature report.

Forget survival of the fittest within species - many unmanaged species are simply heading for wholesale extinction in our lifetimes. Period.

In comparison honey bees are pretty lucky to be looked after if you ask me.