The July 21, 2016 edition of the Apis Information Resource News has been posted. It contains information on biosecurity issues: Varroa in Australia; small hive beetle (SHB) in Brazil, Master Beekeeper programs, and winter losses in Canada.
Varroa tolerance study in France is also featured in the following excerpt from the full newsletter.
The latest Kelley newsletter is 46 pages long. It contains an original research article from the Journal of Apicultural Research, 2016 : “Selection for Resistance to Varroa destructor Under Commercial Beekeeping conditions,” by John Kefuss, et.al. , also found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00218839.2016.1160709
“A survival field test was initiated in 1999 to observe the effects of no treatment against Varroa destructor on European honey bee colony survival. After losses of over two-thirds of the 268 original colonies, new colonies were made from the survivors. In 2002, genetic material from these survivors was bred into an independent group of 60 colonies. In 2013, 519 non-treated colonies from both groups were being used for commercial beekeeping, and mite populations were very low. This indicates that under commercial beekeeping conditions, simple methods can be used to select for reduced mite populations. “
I met Dr. Kefuss in France at Apimondia 2009 when he trotted out his “Bond” test to find Varroa-tolerant stock, backing it up with what he called the “World Varroa Challenge.”. At that time he wrote:
“I also stand by my statement to you in Montpellier that within the next 50 years ( which is soon by biological standards ) we will probably not be talking much about varroa mites. It was Cedric Alaux et al. from Avignon who gave the talk just before mine that stated that there were 37 genes that “are potential candidates for the behavioral tolerance…. to destructive mites”. He compared VSH+ and VSH-(Varroa-sensitive hygiene) bees and found that 37 genes were differently expressed.
“I am also of the opinion that no genes have been proven to directly affect resistance to varroa. That requires controlled testing in the bee yard. You know that there is a very good positive correlation between the number of preachers and drunks. But that does not mean because you have more preachers this causes you to have more drunks.
“The World Varroa Challenge went very well. The winner Clive de Bruyn from England found 20 varroa in about 2 hours time. He had a neck to neck battle with Seith Rick from California who found 17 during the same period. They were under real stress. We had piles of dead bodies (pupae) laying on lids all over the bee yard. I had budgeted 100 cents for the Challenge but I ran over by 7 cents because the 50+ visitors found a total 107 varroa. However I am not going to cry over the 7 cents. Slave labor to do the testing would have been a lot more expensive and less efficient.”
This latest article appears to be Dr. Kefuss’ latest foray into the subject. See the full post published from Montpellier, France.