I am looking for opinions from people who have had experience using queens that are varroa and/or tracheal mite resistant.
What queens are you using?
Where did you get them?
What have been the results?
Have you had to treat at all?
Do the bees keep the mite count down with out treatment?
Any other info would be appreciated, i.e., mean/gentle, good producers, fast build up, etc.
I think there may be a lot of Beekeepers who would be interested in this.
I like them a lot, in fact I would say I would be lost without them. We started with USDA Russian and SMR+ Minnesota Hygs and bread back from the Survivors. These mutts are still going strong. We have several "families" that have been acaricide free since 2000.
You really need to be careful with how much SMR/VSH traits that you introduce into the rearing operation as there is actually a negative effect with too much of these traits. I have read that people report that the bees remove too much brood that not nessasarily needs to be removed.
I have found this to be true with some queen that I tried last year.
You can easily avoid problems by strong performance based selection. Propagate from the ones that handle mites the best and that exhibit the most economically valuable traits, such as early buildup (great for early season pollination) and honey and pollen production. In other words pick the ones that survive well in your area and that actually make you $$$ and that are reasonable with temperament.