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  1. #21
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    >I know that my hypothisis is very basic and these breeders have been working with hygienics for a long time, but they had to start somewhere and with this observation method it would not take long to have many hives apearing to be hygienic and only the workers are.<

    I guess I don't understand your point, Bluegrass. Not trying to disagree, only to understand. If we are selecting stock for increased honey production, we select those colonies that produce the most honey, while being fed the least amount of sugar. It is the worker bees that gather the honey, so it is the worker bees that have the trait. Queens and drones don't gather nectar. Likewise, the VSH trait is expressed by worker bees removing mite infested pupae. The queen and drones don't do the work. How would we select queens and drones with the VSH genes...other than to see what the progeny of their matings do?

  2. #22
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    Brother Adam and Friedrich Ruttner, fairly well-known bee breeders, basically state the same thing about selection in bee breeding:

    Breed from what does well and discard all others.

    You can cut and paste this concept into any
    number of characteristics your "ideal" bee colonies show.
    For example: health and diease tolerance. Using a gross level of selection,
    you breed from surviviour stock.
    Chef said luck was involved too: he is so right!
    Selection is a numbers game. SO the larger your selection pool,
    the more chance you'll have of using queens/drones
    that will breed good colonies.

    Before DNA was discovered, breeders were breeding. Using genetic tools at the molecular level is amazingly helpfull to the breeder, but selection from a diverse population and continued selection, using performance data, will produce favorable results.


    Adam Finkelstein
    adamf@gmail.com

  3. #23
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    Default Mite Non-Tolerance Characteristics

    From My personal experience I like bees which either leave the pupae in the comb long enough for the Mites to die and then remove them, or and in conjunction remove the young just-hatched bees with mites adhering to them before they have the opportunity to cross over to other bees or crawl off. If they uncap the brood too quickly then the odds of the Mites transferring over to other bees or crawling off are much greater and then all the bees are doing is getting rid of the young mites I believe. The reason I say this is that when my bees started showing the recognized forms of VHB (Varroa Hygenic Behavior) early on you could tear into the cells of brood and mites would crawl out and also when they were at this stage of VHB you were much more likely to see mites crawling around on the combs, and brother but could they move fast. So I guess I am saying that I believe that bees selected purely for Brood Uncapping Behavior, if this is done too quickly the bees are not neccessarily eliminating the mites in the best way. If they die in the cells then they are no longer a problem, and if the bees remove the young bees with the mites on them if they manage to hatch, then the bees are getting rid of them at the most critical points.

  4. #24
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    mountainvalleybee makes an excellent point that many others here (fill in a name) also practice in bee breeding: Observation. A million and one genetic rules and facts can guide your selection program, but seeing and experiencing colony behavior, really is important, coupled with performance (either yeild or build-up or whatever you want your bees to be good at doing).

    Adam Finkelstein
    adamf7@gmail.com

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    >I know that my hypothisis is very basic and these breeders have been working with hygienics for a long time, but they had to start somewhere and with this observation method it would not take long to have many hives apearing to be hygienic and only the workers are.

    I guess I don't understand your point, Bluegrass. Not trying to disagree, only to understand.
    My point is that the workers get the trait from the queen or drones....the workers have nothing if the queen of the colony or the drones she mated with do not have the trait.

    So a queen can be selected as a breeder based on an observation of the workers. But the queen may not have the trait and her drones will not because they are a genetic copy of her. The trait is showing in the hive because the queen was mated to a drone that had it.

    So the colony is now selected as a breeder and queens reared from it and sold. And the buyer just spent 100.00 on a 20.00 dollar queen because the daughter did not get the DNA from the right drone or she did and the recurrance of that gene just dropped by 50%.

    My point is without the gene(s) Identified and a dna panel done on all the breeder queens and drones the breeding program is a game of chance and the odds are against the buyer.

    The absolute best that it can get is that the queens sold have 63% chance of having the gene because she got a copy from her mother and her father,(a double pair results in death of the offspring which is why the chance is better than 50/50, but less than 100%) But because the breeders think the gene is dominant they don't care about making sure that the gene is present in both parents so the chance of the gene being present in the queen bought is only 50%.

    So 50 % of the queens that breeders are selling as VSH or any other hygienic are not.
    Last edited by bluegrass; 11-13-2007 at 03:37 PM.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    So 50 % of the queens that breeders are selling as VSH or any other hygienic are not.
    Bluegrass: I respectfully disagree. It may be lost in some percentage of the second generation, but should be expressed in the first generation of Q's raised from an II Q, unless I am misunderstanding the genetics. I think you may be right with respect to the general hygenic trait, but not VSH>

  7. #27
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    Without an identified gene for the trait there is no way that they can guarantee that the queens they sell or breed have it. Its a 50/50 shot no matter how you look at it. I would contact them if I were you and ask how they identify the 50% of queens that do not have the trait, they are breeding them, there is no way around it.
    The way DNA copies is very consistant, like a train on rails.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  8. #28
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    Here is my understanding.
    You start with a Q with VSH trait. Assuming she is not a VSH x VSH cross, she will still give her offspring at least one VSH gene.

    So a Q in the next generation will have at least one VSH gene. Now she is open mated. Assume that none of the drones with whom she mates has the VSH trait.

    About 50% of her daughters should still have the VSH trait. And because it is dominant, you will have half of the workers with the VSH gene. You don't have to have 100% of the workers with the trait.

    So if you buy an open mated Q that is the daughter of a Q with the VSH trait, the hive headed by that Q should express the trait.

    Also, according to Harbo there is a difference between testing for pure hygenic behavior, which is the brood freeze test referred to in the link above, and VSH, although M. Spivak did find that the VSH bees were hygenic. I can find the links to the papers if you want.

  9. #29
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    bluegrass writes:
    Maybe I am thinking about breeder hive in the wrong light.
    If you want this trait you need to set up the hive and use it to produce drones, not queens. The drones are genetically identical to the hygienic queen so if you have them around to open mate with queens reared off of other hives you will be introducing a small percent of hygenic workers into every hive within a short period of time.

    tecumseh replies:
    not trying to put words into anyone's mouth but I think this is exactly what frank (WG Bee) has suggested in previous thread.... ie seclect your best hives for grafting and introduce the vsh trait from the drone side of the mating.

    then bluegrass writes:
    If the trait is naturally occuring in some bees and not genetically identified isn't it pointless to introduce stock?
    It occures naturally so the gene is going to be present anyway....in some bees. The only thing introduction will do is maybe increase the incidences of an already present mutation.

    tecumseh replies:
    your last sentence is where you should have begun...

    by selection (and the oftentime forgotten side of selection... culling) you are trying to influence the frequency of the gene in the overall population. the question of whether the trait is dominant or recessive (and there are other terms that describe how genes may work... cumulative-additive for one, plus other I would assume) only suggest how easy or difficult it may be to increase the frequency of a particular gene in a population.

    I don't think you would be factually correct in calling this trait a mutation since I don't think??? anyone has suggested this is a trait (gene, allele) that has been altered by agents (things) that mutate genetic material.

  10. #30
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    OK, I'm in!

    I just ordered a VSH Breeder Queen from Glenn to raise daughters from next Spring. Let's compare notes next summer and see how the bees are doing. Good luck to all! -Danno

  11. #31
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    I'm ordering a VSHxRussian for next spring which Suzie said appeared to give the best mite resistance. We'll see.

    I don't think I will be able to determine anything sufficient in 2008 with those daughter queens...for me to really make an evaluation on the quality or traits I see in the daughters I will need time to evaluate over the seasons. Just because I grafted in April and they are strong in August doesn't mean I have a great sustainable stock. It just means that the queen shows promise in being able to build up a strong colony over a few months.

    I ordered a Carni breeder from them this year and couldn't tell you yet what I feel about them. I haven't seen the daughters winter yet... produce honey yet in sufficient quantities, build up in spring etc..... it takes time....
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Also, I've been told by Suki Glenn among others, that by using a VSH virgin, mated to a Carniolan drone (VSH x Carni) for your breeder, you will enhanse the VSH trait....more than by having a Carniolan virgin mated to a VSH drone (Carni x VSH).
    I think that this information may be slightly out of date because I was recently told that Glenn has completely incorperated the VSH genes into both their cordovan and their carni lines. This year I purchased 3 breeders of russian descent and was told that all were mated to carnie drones carrying the VSH genes. I trust that this is true based on the appearance and behavior of these hives.

  13. #33
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    Keep in mind that it is usually a grouping of several characteristics, or a range of characteristics which define behaviors so finding a single gene responsible for the neccessary behaviors is difficult at best if not impossible, and also when you enhance anything you are usually doing something detrimental elsewhere. The best method is pushing or forcing natural selection down survival paths or the path you wish to take. The most of the animals existing today were selected by eyeballing and other quantified characteristics but not by extremely well defined genetic analysis. When these methods are used you are less likely to lose other desirables because you are less likely to select for a very narrow range of possibilities.

  14. #34
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    >I think that this information may be slightly out of date because I was recently told that Glenn has completely incorperated the VSH genes into both their cordovan and their carni lines.<

    I realize that. Suki told me that, too. Their Carni line has VSH in it. But, when I asked how I could enhanse the VSH trait, she said to have the VSH come from the queen side. TJ in Maine said the same thing. So, this year I bought a VSHxCarni breeder. Also, bought a VSHxVSH breeder. My plan is to put some of those daughters in each yard...for drone stock. When my bees supercede, or swarm, there will be VSH drones out there to mate with.

  15. #35
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    Default get it from the horses mouth

    I emailed themm with my questions and here is the reply.

    Dear Brad,

    You ask some good questions. Some of the traits we are dealing with, specifcally hygienic behavior, is recessive so it is actually easier to weed out the bees that don't carry it. A behavioral test of their ability to uncap and remove killed brood is used to sort the bees out.
    Another trait VSH or varroa specific hygiene is thought to be neither dominant or recessive. Since there are more than on gene is probably involved, the more of these genes present, the more the trait will be expressed. Once again the only way to sort them out is through looking at the results of their behavior.
    The trait for tracheal mite resistance is thought to be controlled by an unknown number of dominant genes. And your right, in this case it is not possible to tell if the bees contain only one copy or two copies, they will both behave the same. Maybe sometime in the not too distant future, we'll be able to read the DNA directly. This would be much more efficient, and avoid the long process of testing the behavior. It's possible now to analyze the DNA from wingtip clippings. It would be nice to know exactly which drones to mate with which queen before insemination. We look forward to that day.

    As far as our queens are concerned, we use breeding stock in which these beneficial traits are fixed in the population. They are purely mated, so they will carry the desired traits. The queens we sell for $100 are the equivilent of a pure bred puppy, too young to have proved themselves, but starting with the best genes.

    Hope this answers some of your questions,

    Tom Glenn

    As far as the multi-gene vsh trait claim goes it is yet unproven. Basically what they are claiming is that the trait is like blue eyes. If both parents have blue eyes the children are likely to have light colored eyes; most likely blue, but its not a gaurentee.

    I am not convinced that they know what they are breeding, but I am not buying any queens either
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    >
    I realize that. Suki told me that, too. Their Carni line has VSH in it. But, when I asked how I could enhanse the VSH trait, she said to have the VSH come from the queen side. TJ in Maine said the same thing. So, this year I bought a VSHxCarni breeder. Also, bought a VSHxVSH breeder. My plan is to put some of those daughters in each yard...for drone stock. When my bees supercede, or swarm, there will be VSH drones out there to mate with.
    My goal is to improve upon what I view as several faults to the Russians, while still maintaining there longevity and mite resistance. Of course its much easier for me to increase VSH in my apiary because I have so few hives. Next year, 90% of my queens will be F1s, home raised from one of 6 breeder out of glenn, and likely mated to russian drones.

  17. #37
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    >Next year, 90% of my queens will be F1s, home raised from one of 6 breeder out of glenn, and likely mated to russian drones.<

    Tom Glenn says his favorite cross in VSHxRussian

  18. #38
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    I use as breeders the VSH x Carnie, VSH x Minn. Hyg, and VSH x VSH from Tom & Suki.
    The VSH X VSH seems to be replaced after 2-3 months, while the others will last +/- 1 year. I am not sure why the dbl cross VSH is so short lived, unless the amount of inbreeding necessary to create VSH also reduces phermone generation and is doubled in the VSH x VSH. (speculation)
    I replace them each year and the VSH X VSH twice a year. Seems to work out best for me.
    My personal favorite is the VSH X Minn. Hyg., but they all work well.
    I have not used the Russians, yet. I might try that this year.
    Which are your favorites?
    Frank

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    >Next year, 90% of my queens will be F1s, home raised from one of 6 breeder out of glenn, and likely mated to russian drones.<

    Tom Glenn says his favorite cross in VSHxRussian
    That is exactly what they told me!
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  20. #40
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    >Which are your favorites?<

    I like the VSHxCarni. Large colonies at Dandelion, and good honey producers. But...one thing. Some daughters are rather defensive, and fly in your face. I can handle that, as all my yards are located away from people. I wonder about backyard beekeepers. Anybody else see this?

    I was told this spring by several beekeepers who bought my queens in 2006, that the Glenn VSHxCarnis xx my drones were their best bees. None complained about temper.

    I'm thinking about starting some Russians this summer. Had some in 1999...among the worst bees I ever had. I guess the breeders have improved the bee.

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