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Author Topic: Breeding for (Varroa) Mite Resistance  (Read 1560 times)
Tucker1
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« on: April 04, 2008, 04:27:14 PM »


I have a question about Varroa Mite resistance.  Recently, I've seen in my reading so discussion about breeding bees that are more resistant to mites. Outwardly, that doesn't seem to make sense. I don't think you can breed dogs to be resistant to fleas and I don't think there is a mosquito resistant chromosome in humans.   huh  How can you breed a bee strain to be resistant to mites? (Bees that just taste bad to mites?)  I must be missing something in this discussion. Something pretty fundamental.  Can you enlighten me ?

Regards,
Tucker1
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Bennettoid
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« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2008, 04:36:52 PM »

It's more like breeding a bee that has the strength to survive all the stress that mites put on a hive.
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dlmarti
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« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2008, 05:05:37 PM »

Its also breeding bees to not tolerate the mites.  The will physically remove them.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2008, 11:27:51 PM »


I have a question about Varroa Mite resistance.  Recently, I've seen in my reading so discussion about breeding bees that are more resistant to mites. Outwardly, that doesn't seem to make sense.

Mite resistance has 2 components: Hygenic behavior--removing larvae that is hosting mites during reporduction, and tolerence--adapting so host and symbiot co-exist.  A 3rd component could be considered small cell, which is reducing brood cell size to inhibit mite reproduction (no room for bee larvae and mite).  Why doesn't that make sense?

Quote
I don't think you can breed dogs to be resistant to fleas and I don't think there is a mosquito resistant chromosome in humans.   huh  How can you breed a bee strain to be resistant to mites? (Bees that just taste bad to mites?)  I must be missing something in this discussion. Something pretty fundamental.  Can you enlighten me ?

Regards,
Tucker1

It is called breeding but is really survivor selection.  Opting for the bees that survive mite infestations will, over time, lead to a tolerence at a level that would be considered benign--the mite no longer has a terminal affect.
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reinbeau
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« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2008, 06:08:27 AM »

We just heard an interesting lecture from Tom Seely, a Cornell researcher, about the feral bees in the Arnot forest.  To sum it all up they found that instead of the bees developing a resistance to the mites, the mites had developed an 'avirulence' that kept them from overwhelming their hosts and killing them - in other words the mites had 'developed', not the bees.  Not exactly the best outcome, but I hadn't realized that this could be another way towards the bees surviving.  It doesn't do the mite any good to have dead hosts. 

I found this paper that sums up the research.  His other lecture was interesting, too - it's neat to hear how they actually do this research.
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taipantoo
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« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2008, 07:10:39 AM »

Here is more on the subject.
When I first read this I was speed reading and misunderstood a few statements.
My responses, although passionate, were on the misguided side of the coin.
After more careful reading and further study and discussion, I think I should not post as quickly in the future.
But, none the less, here is a link from a TBH forum that I read:

http://www.§¤«£¿æ.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=207&highlight=

Hope this helps.
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beeginner
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« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2008, 03:38:16 PM »

My Russians are Mite Resistance! Me and the inspecter breed are own queens, all that good stuff.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2008, 10:51:15 PM »

>I have a question about Varroa Mite resistance.  Recently, I've seen in my reading so discussion about breeding bees that are more resistant to mites. Outwardly, that doesn't seem to make sense. I don't think you can breed dogs to be resistant to fleas and I don't think there is a mosquito resistant chromosome in humans.

Actually though, most dogs have immunity to mites.  When a dog does NOT have immunity to mites, they get mange.

>  huh  How can you breed a bee strain to be resistant to mites?

Several behaviors and possibly some other genetic and physical things help with Varroa.

One would be grooming behavior which is getting the mites off.  One would be guarding the door and not letting bees in who have mites.  One would be uncapping brood that is infested with mites.  One would be building smaller cells.  One would be bees with shorter pre and post capping times.  One would be to attack and bite mites.  You see dogs attempt this with fleas, but the size of the dog's mouth and the fleas is not very compatible to this succeeding.  But the size difference between bees and Varroa is much closer and bees can and do bite and kill mites.  One would be a good immune system so they can survive the viruses that the mites spread.

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Tucker1
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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2008, 10:53:34 PM »

Thanks for the replies. If I understand what has be said, the emphasis is to selectively breed bees that are either able to overcome the infestation of mites, by being able to withstand the presence of mites or bees that produce comb that is too small for hosting mites on larvae or something along those lines. So, the emphasis is on surviability in whatever form that may take.  Thanks for making sense out of this topic. It seems complex, given the nature of the problem.

Has anything shown lots of promise ?  huh

Regards,
Tucker1
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2008, 08:57:44 AM »

>It seems complex, given the nature of the problem.

It IS complex.

>Has anything shown lots of promise ?

Varroa ceased being a problem for me a long time ago.  I have not treated in years.  That is a result, I believe, of natural cell size and survivor stock.  Why should I breed for survival when nature already has taken the losses to do that?

http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beespests.htm#varroa
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm
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Michael Bush
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My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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KONASDAD
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« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2008, 05:07:09 PM »

To speed up the process, you can purchase bees from retailers who promote survivor traits. MB is one. Purvis Brothers, Olympic apiaries, Del Sol, Glenn apairies are just a few. I have been using Purvis queens and so far all is well. Buy a few w/ some frinds and start your own breeeding program for acclimated stock that start out w/ the yraits mentioned by others here.
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adamf
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« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2008, 06:04:11 PM »

There are certainly populations of honey bees that show great tolerance to Varroa mites. However, perhaps the mite isn't the deadly problem? Perhaps the mites cause other pathogens to become more virulent or more numerous and in conjunction with close quarters cluster environment (over Wintering) more deadly?

Bottom line, if one can control matings (isolated areas or Instrumental Insemination) and one selects for colonies that survive with mites, one can breed mite tolerance into their population.  Smiley

Adam Finkelstein
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