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Author Topic: What is meant by "survivors"?  (Read 1006 times)
TheMasonicHive
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« on: July 27, 2010, 09:05:35 AM »

I'm probably going to have to replace at least one hive next year if not both.  I understand thats the rule of the road, but I'm getting interested in some "survivor" nucs that a local guy has.

He's extremely trustworthy and said he's been rearing queens and producing nucs from a hive that lived in a barn for some 12 or so years.

I can appreciate that genetically these bees are hearty and adapted to the climate but what exactly is meant by "survivor"? 

Obviously it pertains in some part to them being adapted to the climate.

I'm curious if these bees are also genetically able to handle varroa?  I would find it very hard to believe that a hive has existed that long and the mites didn't win AT LEAST once.

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Christopher Peace
Oakland County, MI

"It teaches us that, as we come into the world rational and intelligent beings, so we should ever be industrious ones; never sitting down contented while our fellow-creatures around us are in want, when it is in our power to relieve them without inconvenience to ourselves." - Freemasonry on the Beehive
gardeningfireman
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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2010, 09:25:18 AM »

I take it to mean that they have survived the previous winter, as well as mite infestations.
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TheMasonicHive
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« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2010, 09:31:53 AM »

Even one winter I wouldn't imagine is enough to classify them as "survivors".  I'd think you need to see a longer track record than that, but that's probably just my inexperience speaking.
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Christopher Peace
Oakland County, MI

"It teaches us that, as we come into the world rational and intelligent beings, so we should ever be industrious ones; never sitting down contented while our fellow-creatures around us are in want, when it is in our power to relieve them without inconvenience to ourselves." - Freemasonry on the Beehive
caticind
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« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2010, 09:38:31 AM »

Probably these bees can handle both winter temps in your area and some degree of mite infestation.

But I wouldn't assume that the 12-year estimate is accurate.  Just because there has been a colony there for 12 years doesn't mean it has been the same one.  Without a beekeeper around, a hive could deadout during winter, be cleaned out by moths during early spring, and dry out enough to attract a new swarm during the first swarm cycle of the year.  This abandonment/cleaning/reoccupation is the natural cycle for wild hives.  Someone who checked on it only periodically might never notice the downtime.

I recall an old study suggesting that the average continuous lifespan of a wild hive was 5-6 years...

Nevertheless, I think that "survivor" in the current context means a hive that has survived for several years without human interference. You can probably expect these bees to be somewhat more resilient.  But consider the possibility that the "12-year hive" may be a series of colonies that die from mites every two to three years and are replaced by a new swarm from kept stock.
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The bees would be no help; they would tumble over each other like golden babies and thrum wordlessly on the subjects of queens and sex and pollen-gluey feet. -Palimpsest
D Coates
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« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2010, 09:59:24 AM »

Because there is no industry accepted definition of "Survivor Stock" it means what you think it means.  I think it's used as a catchall phrase to insinuate that the bees do not require human intervention (ie, treatments).  To me it's a form of marketing where a catchy phrase has been issued that can be interpreted in multiple manners but actually promises nothing.  As three examples, look at Miller Lite with "triple brewed", Nike "Just do it", Obama, "Yes we can".  What does any of that really mean?  Nothing has been promised about the respective product and quality or performance has not been proven nor even discussed.

Unfortunately it's buyer beware as there's no way to prove they've never had treatments of any form, and past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance.  Remember, the queen is mated with unknown drones therefore 1/2 of what you're buying is not really tested.  I'm not saying the queens aren't good, but don't buy in to believing the "survivor stock" moniker.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2010, 01:00:39 PM by D Coates » Logged

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harvey
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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2010, 11:55:49 AM »

I have four swarms that I caught deep in the woods,  as deep as you could around here anyways,  They were over two miles from any known hives including mine.  The bees appear to be much smaller and darker.  They built up comb fast and I was excited, but what I have seen since is that these bees have only built what they or I think they need,  no surplus.  they are very hardy bees and seem to always be working however upon hive inspection even with a great brood pattern the hives are just now getting to be two deeps full.  I will keep an eye on them and super them during the golden rod just to see if they draw them out but I am wondering if they are true ferral bees will they produce a surplus or just what they think they need and no more?  Recon only time will tell. 
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indypartridge
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« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2010, 12:32:26 PM »

As others have said, there's no precise definition, but usually it refers to bees that have been raised/bred from year-to-year in a particular (usually northern) climate as opposed bees which are "imported" from elsewhere.
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TheMasonicHive
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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2010, 01:32:05 PM »

I had figured that 12 years wasn't completely accurate and couldn't be proven.

Just the same, to say a hive has survived up there for "a long time" is enough for me to consider. 

I'm wondering if the environment in which they lived, and the environment in which I want to place them can dramatically change their "survivability" or exposure to mites and so forth. 

I can't imagine it would very much, but thats been my concern.

Harvey, are these swarms you caught just this year?
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Christopher Peace
Oakland County, MI

"It teaches us that, as we come into the world rational and intelligent beings, so we should ever be industrious ones; never sitting down contented while our fellow-creatures around us are in want, when it is in our power to relieve them without inconvenience to ourselves." - Freemasonry on the Beehive
Scadsobees
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« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2010, 01:33:51 PM »

Any bee that can hold the little life ring when I throw it to them while they are stuck in the pool is a survivor in my book.    grin
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Rick
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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2010, 03:30:28 PM »

scadosbees, I want to thank you for clearing up my confusion. I have a pond in front of my hive and everytimes I see a bee in the water I'd throw it a rock. geez, no wonder they went to the bottom so fast. So thats what those round thingys are, life rings. I thought they were peppermints. No wonder they tasted lousy, the only good part was you can suck on them for hours.
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KD4MOJ
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« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2010, 09:24:43 AM »


I don't feed mine (even though the inspectors get on to me about that). I figured that if they store enough for the winter and make it through, they are survivors! So far never lost one yet (4 hives).

...DOUG
KD4MOJ

 
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