Author Topic: Brood communication and hygienic behavior  (Read 579 times)

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Offline Chip Euliss

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Brood communication and hygienic behavior
« on: December 08, 2018, 08:08:12 pm »
Here's a link that may be of interest to those of you interested in the improving technology of testing for hygienic behavior in breeder stock.  I'm a strong advocate for genetic solutions to improve our bees.

https://academic.oup.com/jee/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jee/toy266/5095208
Chip
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Offline Jacobs

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Re: Brood communication and hygienic behavior
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2018, 06:21:28 pm »
We are lucky at Guilford Beekeepers to have Olav (UNC-G professor of biology and part of this study) as a member and as an instructor at our beginner beekeeping classes.  I was unable to supply varroa mites to his students early this season.  In past years, I have been able to supply quality mites in decent quantities.  I was able to provide about 3-3lb packages of drones from a problem hive I had in Brown Summit.  I thought the hive had gone hopelessly laying worker at the time, but found a queen laying worker brood when we were just about finished shaking drones.  So far, that hive is hanging in.  I hope my "problems" will help Olav and his group to find solutions for all of us in these challenging times for bees and beekeeping.

Offline neillsayers

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Re: Brood communication and hygienic behavior
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2018, 04:48:39 pm »
Thanks Chip,

Good read :)
Neill Sayers
Herbhome Bees
USDA Zone 7a

Offline Chip Euliss

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Re: Brood communication and hygienic behavior
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2018, 09:06:28 pm »
It's been interesting to follow the progression of science examining hygienic behavior and how it benefits our industry and hobby.  I find it interesting that hygienic behavior is a recessive trait given that it has such high survival value.  Wonders of biology
Chip

Offline Zweefer

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Re: Brood communication and hygienic behavior
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2018, 10:28:15 pm »
Thanks Chip! Please keep us posted as you hear more


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Offline Lburou

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Re: Brood communication and hygienic behavior
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2018, 09:59:11 pm »
Chip, were the researchers testing a "prediction" or, a "hypothesis"?  ;)

I believe the olfaction involved in sniffing mites out under the cappings and killing them is what will make the difference unless the bees find another way to cope.
Lee_Burough

Offline Chip Euliss

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Re: Brood communication and hygienic behavior
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2018, 02:02:05 pm »
Good question Lee.  I haven't followed much hard research since retirement but a quick glance at the paper suggests their initial hypothesis was whether sick or parasitized brood also are involved in the hygienic response by releasing olfactory cues that stimulate adults to perform hygienic duties.  Sounds a bit altruistic but it really isn't; those little bees aren't signaling worker bees to toss them out for the good of the hive but more likely a smell or some related cue that's unique to brood that are sick or parasitized.  It's important work because previous selection for hygienic behavior involved killing the brood (freezing or pin pricks) and measuring how quickly the workers removed dead brood.  A number of great queens were produced that way but selecting hives for breeding based on removal of dead brood but that may not be the best technique to test for hygienic behavior.  The cue coming from living larvae and larval removal are related but one is a more direct way to measure hygienic behavior.  If the signal that triggers hygienic behavior is actually initiated by distressed brood, the technique would enhance the ability of breeders to produce queens that are highly hygienic.  Progress along the road to build better mouse traps I'd say....or a step towards producing more hygienic queens.  In science, we don't call it groundbreaking because it doesn't identify a new tool but it identifies a way to make a previously used tool more useful and relevant.

I understand that the lead author is looking for commercial breeders to partner with to test out methods that would get her findings working for the bee industry faster.
Chip
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Offline Lburou

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Re: Brood communication and hygienic behavior
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2018, 08:48:27 pm »
I agree, the 'hygienic' testing was a kind of dead-end in the battle with the mites.  A dead end because it was focused on how fast the bees removed frozen/dead brood.  The real dance on this issue seems not in how fast the bees will remove dead brood, but in the issue of dealing with/killing mites under the capped cells (Varroa Sensitive Hygiene, or, VSH).  Of course, you know all this Chip.  This is another example of how good our hindsight is.   ;)

I am curious how the Russian bees developed a VSH rate above 70%...?  As you know, VSH queens produce hives about half as efficient at VSH as the Russian bees.  If we could figure that out, it might be a big step in the right direction.

I was uncomfortable with the authors' use of the term "predictions" in the paper you cited.  I left my experimental design class 40+ years ago thinking a researcher should avoid predictions and let the data lead to a conclusion. It was stressed to me that a good experimental design asked a question and tried use empirical data to come to a conclusion, one way or the other. Then again, maybe I didn't read it carefully enough. That said, I think the authors are on a good track.  :)

It sure is good to have you back to posting here Chip.  :)
Lee_Burough

Offline Chip Euliss

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Re: Brood communication and hygienic behavior
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2018, 08:46:54 pm »
I understand how you feel and the jargon is confusing.  I guess I saw and used the progression (evolution?) of terms and techniques so much in my profession that I didn't notice the transition; sort of like water rolling off a duck :laugh: :laugh:  Scientists have their share of jargon too!  All said, predictions, predictive models and many other techniques have secured a solid place in our scientific toolbox.  Although the old guys (like me) see questions mostly in the form of hypotheses, traditional hypothesis testing isn't really used as much as it once was ; mostly because (I believe) we were trying to appear overly and unrealistically unbiased (e.g., testing a relation of no difference) and being totally objective to a fault perhaps.  I took a research perspectives class while working on my PhD many years ago that I reflect on fairly often.  The professor (Charlie Warren from UC Berkeley) had us write out the definition of a scientist and what we came up with was a totally unbiased (i.e., no real hard views on anything) person who didn't really have any personal views or opinions on anything related to an outcome; that way, testing of hypotheses led down a nice clean path that generated knowledge without human opinion.  Anyway, something like that.  Charlie then asked how we ever chose our specialty fields since we had no personal views or opinions!  Of course, we all loved and had great passion for our fields and had so from the very beginning.  Quite an eye opener for me and the others in the class.  The trick of course is to be able to toss out your most closely held views when data demonstrate them to be false.  It's hard for some scientists to do but it is what separates the good ones from those really great ones in any given field.  I digress as my point is that newer methods are being used today by scientists that may look like a fishing expedition relative to the methods used just a few decades ago.  Many methods used today would have been scorned by statisticians when I was a student.  Today, we're seeing and deriving really new and useful knowledge from data mining and other techniques that have "evolved" into our scientific toolboxes.  I'd put the methods used in this pub somewhere in the middle as they've been in use for quite a while.  I'll even go one step further and say that traditional hypothesis testing has led us down some dead end streets, has constrained our views of a specific problem(s) and has yielded erroneous results.  I have a colleague who published a paper sometime ago about the problem.  I believe the title was the insignificance of significance testing or some such.  It was published by DH Johnson and it's a good objective look into traditional hypothesis testing and the like.  It's highly technical but a great paper.  I'm sure I can find a pdf or link if you're interested.

I too have been interested in the Russian bees and their remarkable ability to handle mites.  I've heard folks say great things about their VSH traits, grooming and even chewing off mite legs but I haven't run across a really hard evaluation of the breed.  It may be out there but I haven't seen anything in my gleanings but I'm not a bee scientist.  I've participated in some bee studies but my contributions have mostly come from the habitat side.  I'd love to read anything about them if someone could point me in the right direction.  I remember Riverbee talking about the breed but we didn't get to the specifics.  Maybe a good topic for a new thread.  I used a 100 or so Russian hybrids and liked them ok but they weren't anything special.  I'd like to try some pure stock sometime but getting them is difficult.

I do enjoy this site and all the great members but I've been trying to do more retirement activities so it's cut into my time on the computer.  I sold a semi-load of bees this summer so now only have a half load to play with--just enough to keep me out of trouble!!  Been doing more fishing and spending more time with the family.
Chip

Offline Lburou

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Re: Brood communication and hygienic behavior
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2018, 12:54:31 pm »
So, I surmise the 'predictions' were 'data predictions' and not observer-expectancy.  I'm still in the last century on many counts...this discussion is shedding light on another gap in my education.  Thanks for filling it in Chip.  :)
Lee_Burough

Offline Chip Euliss

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Re: Brood communication and hygienic behavior
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2019, 08:10:40 pm »
Yes, and sorry for the delay responding.  I left home early on the 28th and we worked up the bees starting on New Years.  I'm currently  "holed" up in Sonoma with plans to visit vineyards tomorrow and then to Humboldt to visit one of my major professors who turned 90 last September.  Afterwards, we'll head south to feed a final round of syrup and then head home.  A beekeepers work is never done.  Don't worry about spending time in the last century, I visit there often on many fronts!  Happy New Year!
Chip