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  1. #1
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    Default VSH or Minnesota Hygienic

    I plan on requeening sometime late summer or early fall. I would like to buy queens that are supposedly bred to be somewhat mite resistant. Do any of you have experience with the VSH or Minnesota Hygienic queens? If so,how have those queens compared to say, an Italian queen from Wilbanks?

    If no experience with the ones mentioned above, what type of queen would you consider to be your favorite?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: VSH or Minnesota Hygienic

    Go to this site under breeder catalogs and it makes a comparison between the queens, maybe this will help you. http://www.glenn-apiaries.com/
    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

  3. #3
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    Default Re: VSH or Minnesota Hygienic

    Thank you Danny. That is what I've been looking for.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: VSH or Minnesota Hygienic

    I would shy away from pure VSH as they so nuerotic about brood removal that they sometimes take healthy brood. They were bred specifically for resistance to varroa mites - the was the #1, 2 and 3 goal. Whereas, the Minn Hygenics were also bred for gentleness and honey production.

    That is just a general analysis - I'm sure there are some very gentle and great honey producing VSH bees. I may add a few as drone mothers for open breeding. You only need half of the drones to be hygenic/VSH to get mite resistant bees.
    Change is inevitable, Growth is optional

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Minnesota Hygienic still readily available?

    According to the article referenced below, MH may no longer be readily available:

    http://www.agweek.com/articles/?id=4...property_id=41

    To quote a small piece:

    'But some of the breeders were failing to ensure that their new queens were actually pass-ing on the hygienic gene to their new colonies. The gene is recessive, so the hygienic queen must mate with a drone bee that also carries the gene. This is not always the case.

    “As a result, the colonies produced by those queens are not showing the hygienic traits,” she says. “If the queens mate with 20 males, at least half the males need to have the genes for hygienic behavior.”

    Spivak says some California breeders are not ensuring this, so the “Minnesota Hygienic” queens they sell may or may not lay hygienic eggs. The queens she’d been supplying were not able to do their job, that is, create colonies of hygienic bees for those who wanted to buy them.

    “Last year, I decided I’m not doing that anymore,” she says.

    She will focus her efforts on supporting three Minnesota breeders, Jeff Hull, Mike Rufer and Mark Sundberg, who have been carefully managing their hygienic queens for several years now. Spivak says the hygienic trait now is fixed in their populations.'


    I had two MH nucs overwinter with queens purchased from Olivarez in California last year and have done several walkaway splits to build them up to six hives. Now, I see they are calling them OHB Italians, and not MH on their website. Would hate to find that I can't get more down the road to boost my gene pool.

    Anyone have any additional info?

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  6. #6
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    Default Re: VSH or Minnesota Hygienic

    Spivak says the hygienic trait now is fixed in their populations.'

    Yes.
    And we can include the rest of the statement which is that it may take at least 3 years to incorporate the desiered traits into a gene pool. If you can located a somewhat isolated nuc breeding yard.

    Spring 2009:
    I bought 4 pound package bees frome O H B too.
    Italian, Minnesota Hygienic and Carniolans.
    They are very productive bees with a good temperament!
    Regards,
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  7. #7
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    Re: VSH or Minnesota Hygienic

    Anyone have any additional info?

    Yes,
    try buying a breeder queen from Glenn Apiaries!
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  8. #8
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    Greenbrier, Ar. USA
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    Default Re: VSH or Minnesota Hygienic

    Yes,
    try buying a breeder queen from Glenn Apiaries!
    Ernie[/QUOTE]

    Ernie, Have you bought Queens from Glenn Apiaries or know someone who has? Thanks!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: VSH or Minnesota Hygienic

    There is a third option, Russians. The Russian does everything the others do and uses less stores than the MNH.

    Check out Robert Brachmann, (716) 699-4145. He gives excellent service, his queens are readly excepted and are reasonably priced.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: VSH or Minnesota Hygienic

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    There is a third option, Russians. The Russian does everything the others do and uses less stores than the MNH.

    Check out Robert Brachmann, (716) 699-4145. He gives excellent service, his queens are readly excepted and are reasonably priced.
    Russians tend to be a bit more defensive and are harder to introduce to a new hive. It also depends on the breeder - how does the saying go - "A well bred queen of lesser stock is better than a poorly bred queen of superior stock."

    There is a difference between stocks - educate yourself to what those are and go from there.

    I would ask about breeders rather than the "brand" name of the stock. I would check if there are other beekeepers in your area that have had good success with a certain stock as well as a certain breeder.

    I tend to favor the middle-sized breeders - Tim at Honey Run Apiaries, Adam at VP Queens, Micheal Palmer, Bjorn Apiaries, etc.

    This website is a great resource to educate yourself and get a wide range of opinions.
    Change is inevitable, Growth is optional

  11. #11
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    Re: VSH or Minnesota Hygienic

    Have you bought Queens from Glenn Apiaries or know someone who has? Thanks!

    Yes I have and I have the records too.
    They have a very good web site.
    Where do you think a lot of the bee breeders are getting their breder queens?
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  12. #12
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    Default Re: VSH or Minnesota Hygienic

    Quote Originally Posted by BEES4U View Post
    Anyone have any additional info?

    Yes,
    try buying a breeder queen from Glenn Apiaries!
    Ernie
    Well, this is my first year trying my hand at raising my own queens. Not quite ready to invest that much in a single queen. But, I am considering it as an option for next year, depending on how things go.

    I did see that Glenn had MH listed, when I was doing my search. I did not mention it in my original post, because I did not want to muddy the waters anymore than I already had. Either the article is wrong, or the website is wrong. Since Glenn has such a good reputation, my guess is the article is wrong.


    Quote Originally Posted by AR Beekeeper View Post
    There is a third option, Russians. The Russian does everything the others do and uses less stores than the MNH.

    Check out Robert Brachmann, (716) 699-4145. He gives excellent service, his queens are readly excepted and are reasonably priced.
    Bought two Russian packages last year from Long Creek Apiaries, and they overwintered better than my other hives. They are putting up more honey so far this very wet year, too.

    They drove me crazy last year, making queen cells all over the place, which I stupidly destroyed (old habits die hard). This year I just decided to let them be and set up swarm traps around the property, in case they swarmed. So far, they have not (Watch, I just jinxed myself). So, I guess it's true that they make and tear down queen cells all the time 'just in case.'

    They are not particularly aggressive, not as gentle as Italians, but pretty easy to manage. I just ordered four more queens from LCA. So, I guess I like them.

    For now, I want the variety, so I can assess how different strains from different breeders work for me. I also have some Sooper Yooper queens coming from Zia. Variety is the spice of life. I PM'd Michael Palmer to see if he had any queens available, since I can drive there to pick them up, but did not hear back.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  13. #13
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    Default Re: VSH or Minnesota Hygienic

    BTW lots of incorrect speculation in this thread I want to try and clarify.

    VSH is so new there is no one really offering mated queens yet so unless you have a breeder and graft your own there is not much to talk about. . 2008 was the first year for AI breeder availability from Glenn.

    The comment about VSH being nuerotic and being too hygenic is very uninformed. that comment is true about BREEDER queen's offspring workers. The breeder is "designed" to be overly hygenic so that the average beek can graft from her and open mate with any bees to get the right VSH genetics in the workers from the resultant daughter. quite ingenious if you ask me. you need to understand and appreciate queen rearing and drone sources to understand this fully.

    the MN hygenic trait is not 100% when the breeder daughters are open mated with any old bees. for example Ray at Olivarez admits that while they have different breeder lines they open mate with the Olivarez family line of mutts. so any MH or carni etc mated in their northern CA yards are only half breeds. the exception is their carnis from Hawaii which are mated with carni drones. BTW the Olivarez family mutts are a darned good bee productivity wise but lack any mite or disease resistance. I'm not sure how much of that stock is left as they lost most of their colonies last winter from a massive Hivistan over dose in their northern CA operation.

    Marla has handed off her line of MN hygenic to a number of commercial beeks who graft and sell stuff off line or between themselves. so her genetics are intact safely. if you look around and ask enough questions there are commercially available MN Hygenic that are pure for sale - sometimes not the big boys advertising in the bee mags. rufer in Texas is a verified source and a long time breeder who works closely with marla.

    russian traits that are so highly regarded are only true in 100% pure lines. unless you buy queens from a russian bee breeders association member that is mated with a drone source pool of their 18 lines you really have few if any gaurantees they are pure. hybrid Russians have little mite resistance.
    russians are no more hot then any other bee line - but like other crap on the internet that recycled over and over again the myth lives on.

    unless you have a isolated yard of 12 or more russian hives buying russians is a waste of time as they superscede much more often then other lines of bees. right now russians are hot and many queen PRODUCERS are eager to offer them but do not have the drones or even breeder stock to supply a real pure russian. its mostly snake oil russian queens from my view that are being sold.

    I beleive the VSH is the mite resistant bee of the next decade. I bought breeders in 2008 and also this season . the 2008 nucs that over wintered in my wiso/Mn yards are very very good honey producers. VSH is a characteristic that any line of bee can have and is not unique to a certain line. the glenn VSH breeders are italians strains. VSH is the culmination of 2 decades of work from Harbo and Spivak and others and is not some new cracker jack bee with little pedigree and research. its the real deal and USDA ARS study showed them far more resistant then the russians. recently a newly published paper discussed how they put capped brood from a highly infested hive into a VSH hive. the VSH bees cleaned up the mites and kept humming along unfazed by what was an imitated crashed hive nearby that the VSH bees robbed out.

    footnote:
    Long creek apiary was tossed out of the Russian bee breeders association prior to the 2009 season.

    also what you learn after 50 years in this business is many queens sold in the magazines etc are not always true to a line or strain. lines sell like carni or italian or russian etc so there is an incentive to give the queen a name that will sell. unless you ask detailed questions to the queen PRODUCER you have no idea what you are getting. this revolves around the issue of drone sources from the same line or the lack of any....

    some queen BREEDERS who are detailed and interested in a specific line offer some very good bees breed true to a line and have the drone source mothers to provide a saturation of drones.

    some places like northern CA have so many bees in the air in april and May its impossible anyhow to breed true.

    so buyer beware and if you can get the queen producer or breeder on the phone during the off season and start asking some questions. in the end for many queen PRODUCERS its $15 a queen if its laying and slap a name on it from the breeder source. caveat emptor and do your homework on queen mating and understand what you are seeking.....bee strain names and ads are meaningless in the end.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: VSH or Minnesota Hygienic

    Quote Originally Posted by Bud Dingler View Post
    footnote:
    Long creek apiary was tossed out of the Russian bee breeders association prior to the 2009 season.
    Live and learn. They still hype/advertise the association on their website.

    Well, the bees I got from them last year are doing great this year, whatever they are, without any treatments. And, as I wrote, they are not particularly aggressive. I'm just mixing up different strains now to get my own mutts that will survive up here and remain gentle. With only one yard, I'm not in a position to do any kind of serious breeding. But, as I also wrote, I would like to try one of the Glenn Apiary breeder queens. If she's surrounded by Russian and MH mutts, maybe I'll get some benefit. One of their queens costs about the same as five other queens (and I'm getting eight right now), so it could even save me some money in the long run. Planning for next year.

    Thanks for the info.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  15. #15
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    Default Re: VSH or Minnesota Hygienic

    Quote Originally Posted by Bud Dingler View Post
    BTW lots of incorrect speculation in this thread I want to try and clarify.



    The comment about VSH being nuerotic and being too hygenic is very uninformed. that comment is true about BREEDER queen's offspring workers. The breeder is "designed" to be overly hygenic so that the average beek can graft from her and open mate with any bees to get the right VSH genetics in the workers from the resultant daughter. quite ingenious if you ask me. you need to understand and appreciate queen rearing and drone sources to understand this fully.

    .....bee strain names and ads are meaningless in the end.

    I should state that I don't have any experience with VSH myself. Dr. Spivak told the queen rearing class in mid-July that the VSH bees were "nuerotic" and that "they sometimes take healthy brood". She never talked about how this was designed to be blended with your own native drones and the result wouldn't be overly sensitive.

    It seemed that she was leaning us towards finding hygenic breeders in our own stock and continuing to bring in hygenic queens from other areas. It didn's seem like an endorsement for VSH - unless your main concern is mite resistance.
    Change is inevitable, Growth is optional

  16. #16
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    Default Re: VSH or Minnesota Hygienic

    Quote Originally Posted by Bud Dingler View Post
    BTW lots of incorrect speculation in this thread I want to try and clarify.
    Bud, thanks for the informative clarifications.

    "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Nathan Hale, 1776

  17. #17
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    Default Re: VSH or Minnesota Hygienic

    I spoke to Long Creek this past winter.

    While I do not doubt he had (has) real genetic material from Baton Rouge, he does not have a real large number of colonies (and drone sources)and when I quizzed him on isolated mating yards it came out that he has some other beekeepers yards nearby.

    I would give him a fair rating on authentic russian genetics - certainly a step above others who have never been in the RBBA. Beeks in the RBBA get their initial stock from Baton Rouge Lab.

    For example if someone buys a Russian AI breeder from Glenn initially they have no russian drones. Going this route it would take 4-5 years to get the right purity and mix of drone sources to be close to 100% pure ands a lot of hard work marking and keeping records and managing drone source colonies. Members in the RBBA get drone sources from other members from different lines to keep genetic diversity high.

    Long Creek disagreed with the protocol set up by Tom Rinderer at USDA for how the Russian Program should be run among members. Long Creek thought he knew better.........

    Always call the queen breeder/producer and have a long chat before buying queens if having certain lines are important to you.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: VSH or Minnesota Hygienic (???)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bud Dingler View Post
    BTW lots of incorrect speculation in this thread I want to try and clarify.

    VSH is so new there is no one really offering mated queens yet so unless you have a breeder and graft your own there is not much to talk about. . 2008 was the first year for AI breeder availability from Glenn.
    VSH breeders (used to be called SMR) have been available from T.Glenn for quite a few years.

    Adam Finkelstein
    www.vpqueenbees.com

  19. #19
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    Default Gentle Russians

    As Bud pointed out, Russians have a reputation for being meaner then 'normal' (whatever 'normal' is). Since that has not been my experience, I've posted the pic below. I'm standing between my two Russian hives. To the far left in the pic (my right) is a Buckfast hive, and to the far right (my left) is a Minnesota Hygienic in new cypress wood. The Russian hive with three supers has been my best producer this year. Now, I don't work them like this, but I go out pretty much every day to check on them, take scale readings, weed, peek under the lid, etc. If I can't walk around the bee yard doing basic maintenance without being attacked, I don't want those bees. Keep in mind that, as I have learned from Bud, my Russians are probably not pure, but they are dark bees and they make queen cells like nobody's business, so I think they have a fair amount of those genetics in them.



    By the way, the two plastic tubs behind me are where I keep all my beekeeping tools and supplies. Very convenient, and I no longer get out there only to find I forgot my lighter.


    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  20. #20
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    Default Re: VSH or Minnesota Hygienic

    I don't claim to be more experienced than those who wrote above me, so take my words with a grain of salt. I only keep about 2-5 hives (depending on the season), but I have had Russians, MH, and "Survivor" Queens in the past.

    From my observations, the Russians were definitely more aggressive, overall. They were usually less leanant on letting me get away with going through the hive. In addition, their obsessive compulsive nature to make queen cups drove me mad. They also requeened themselves more quicker than I could keep up with.

    The MH queens were my favorite, so far. Very gentle, good honey production. For me my largest pest is Wax Moths, and MH bees get rid of those little buggers so quick. I love it. I havn't tried VSH genetics yet, although I'm open to them.

    My favorites are "survivor" queens. Usually sold by backwoods characters (no offense, I love those kinda people) who have had bees for years, and just happen to not have had a mite or CCD problem. Half the time it's from beekeepers who don't tend their bees, and now are cashing in on the 'survivor' opportunity, at least in my opinion.


    On a side note, and this might be taking this discussion away from the topic, but does anyone know if VSH or MH genetics are more or less susceptible to CCD? I think it would be interesting to know if anyone had any information on this.

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