How much do you know about the importance of subspecies?

Less is more“. What does this mean? “Less is better”, between the lines.

Have you ever thought that bees exist since millions of years and only today they seem to be particularly in danger? With our last article about Varroa, we encouraged you to ponder about how much man action has put nature balance up-side-down. Today we proceed along this way and we let you ponder about the importance of bees genetic inheritance and subspecies. Genetic inheritance and subspecies. Pretty tough article today? No, actually no. It’s only that this topic as well has been handled often during the beekeeping webinars that I have attended and it was something completely new to me. I would like to share with you this too to let you have an even more complete overview on the bees world. What do you think about it?

Bees are a wild or domesticated animal? Races or subspecies?

The bees belonging to a beekeeper do not really belong to a beekeeper, they can’t be considered as a domesticated animals. Even if they live in a beehive, bees are wild animals. Indeed, they get their food alone, they reproduce away from the hive without mankind help,…For this too, speaking of bees, we talk about subspecies. They are not divided into races with their pedigree, like pets for examples. We have subspecies that change, also just slightly according to the place where they are. Why this? Because the environment and climate influence subspecies, that according to this they have specific features to deal with possible surroundings difficulties. This all implicates a rich and solid genetic inheritance. It’s a real natural strategy in reply to the continuous environmental changes.

Hybrids: the buckfast bee

At this point you may wonder: but what is the problem? There are subspecies that are ok and something else that is not? Right, as explained by the beekeeper expert Mr Fontana, truly bee hybrids exist, they come from mixes created by Mankind. They spread ‘alien’ genetic inheritance, not natural. An example is the Buckfast bee. Brother Adam is the first person that should come to your mind when speaking of this kind of bee. He was a beekeeper and religious man at Buckfast abbey, in Great Bretain. At the beginning of 900 in his regions an acarus (Acarapis woodi) caused the death of many many honeybees. In order to sort out the issue, he imported from all over the world different species of bees that were particularly resistant to this acarus, so as to get a genetic mix from them. This way the Buckfast bee was created. This one has one advantage: they can bee very calm and friendly. However, there is an issue: in the following generations it often gets very aggressive. Moreover, generally it does not collect so many provisions and it needs much additional food from beekeeper to survive the winter. An issue regarding the hybrids is the fact that they are mixed created ad hoc (not naturally) and at each following hybridation that mixex genetic heritage, can bring to alterations and unpleasant consequences.

Biodiversity and subspecies protection

Protecting biodiversity is this too: protecting local subspecies and avoiding hybridization. And bear in mind: we are not speaking only of reasearchers in laboratories. Many beekeepers trade their beequeens far and wide, this too for example can cause several problems. There is nothing bad in purchasing a beequeen, but it should come at least from your area. It´s not a matter of local rivalry, of course. It’s not a matter of ‘the German bee is better than the Italian one` or ‘the Bee from Saxony is better than the one from Bavaria’. It’s just that the local bees are the best. The bee belonging to a specific area has the proper features to survive in that right area, with those specific environmental and climatic conditions. Protecting biodiversity is very important and everyone must take care of this, we must respect nature balance as well.

Biodiversity is both the engine and the product of evolution.

Nature is not a picture, it’s more like a movie.

World keeps on changing.

Have you understand the importance of the subspecies?

Nature does everything on her own. It changes and evolves on her own since ever. Maybe it´s simply better to let it take its course? Do you agree? Selecting genes or shipping far and wide subspecies without considering their natural habitat is too risky and delicate. This means pushing yourself beyond. As the expert Fontana told “The only selection to carry out with this animal is stopping making selection”. This is for sure an essential step for protecting beekeeping biodiversity. This is very important for protecting both bees and environment in general. Therefore, definitely yes, as we told at the beginning “Less is better”…don´t you believe so? If you would like to share your thoughts about what just read, you can leave a comment here below 😊 we would be happy to read you!

A hug,

The Gaeblini

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