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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
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    1,211

    Default Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    Hopefully Barry will make this a sticky at the top of the forum.

    These are not in any particular order. They should be considered as potential sources of varroa tolerant queens. Whether they are reliable businesses is up to you to investigate. Purvis and Carpenters in particular impress me. Both have developed businesses based on producing survivor queens that can produce a crop of honey.

    http://www.purvisbees.com/
    http://www.ziaqueenbees.com/
    http://carpentersapiaries.com/
    http://www.mikesbeesandhoney.com/
    http://www.wildernessbees.com/
    http://www.beeweaver.com/
    http://www.dixiebeesupply.com/ This is fatbeeman's website. He is more of an eco queen producer than a pure survivor queen breeder.
    http://www.vpqueenbees.com/
    http://www.oldsolenterprises.com/

    I am going to edit this post repeatedly as I find articles on breeding for varroa tolerance. Here are a couple to get started.
    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/choo...fighting-bees/
    http://www.apinews.com/en/news/item/...rroa-challenge
    http://www.survivorstockqueens.org/J...Themselves.pdf
    http://www.culturaapicola.com.ar/apu...ie/23-5/06.pdf
    http://www.culturaapicola.com.ar/apu...tolerantes.doc
    http://mysare.sare.org/2008conferenc...QUEENBEES.pptx
    http://www.meamcneil.com/Survivor%20...ocol%20USE.pdf

    The known mechanisms for varroa tolerance include:

    Varroa Selective Hygiene - disrupts the reproductive cycle of the varroa mite
    a. Detect infested larvae
    b. Uncap infested larvae
    c. Remove infested larvae
    d. selection involves testing for hygienic behavior and removal of infested larvae

    Allogrooming - bees grooming each other to remove mites
    a. Varroa mauling - chewing and biting the mites which kills them
    b. Selection involves monitoring for chewed mites on the bottom board

    Breaks in brood rearing - during brood breaks, varroa cannot reproduce.
    a. Heavy pollen collection - bees that collect pollen heavily are more sensitive to lack of pollen and shut down brood rearing earlier.
    b. Sensitive to nectar dearth - bees that react to nectar shortage by breaking the brood cycle.
    c. Selection involves monitoring for bees that reduce brood rearing when pollen is unavailable.

    Reduced days to worker maturity - fewer days gives mites less time to reproduce
    a. some worker bees mature in 19 days vs standard 21
    b. using small cell foundation and timing brood emergence
    c. Selection involves identifying the small percentage of colonies that mature workers in fewer days.

    The major hurdle is that varroa tolerance so far has come at the price of lost honey production. It is relatively easy to breed for bees that are highly varroa tolerant. It has not been simple to combine the various tolerance mechanisms with production of high average honey crops. In some cases, VSH queens are too aggressive at uncapping brood. Bees that reduce brood rearing tend to be unadapted to areas with both spring and fall nectar flows.

    DarJones
    Last edited by Fusion_power; 12-20-2011 at 01:49 AM.
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Lincolnton, NC
    Posts
    1,113

    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    Thanks for posting this. It's a great resource.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Huntington ,VT, USA
    Posts
    256

    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    Here in Vt, Kirk Webster has been breeding and selecting for treatment free/Varroa tolerant bees for a number of years (8-10?) He does now have a website (Kirk Webster.com), but it is info sharing only. Business is conducted by phone or traditional mail.

    He is the first to admit the stock (russian hybrids) "has a powerful urge to swarm" but believes this can be handled with proper manipulation.
    He didn't produce queens for sale last year as he relocated the apiary, but I believe he is this year (he does Nucs too).

    Extremely honest and reputable guy...and has the long wait lists to prove it!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,974

    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    Kirk is well known to a lot of people here, but it's good to point him out to people that haven't heard of him. He has done some great writing, which he was compelled to put on his website, as he felt that some publications were feeling industry pressure not to print so much of his writing. Treatment free is not profitable for everyone.

    Russian stock interests me, but I worry that they'd be too swarmy and too defensive for the close-quarter situation I have in the city.

    Adam

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Cullman Co., AL
    Posts
    196

    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    Thanks Dar for sharing. But as mentioned above, Kirk Webster, Michael Palmer, and Michael Bush all breed from survivor stock, trying their best to minipulate genitics and Drone hives to get the best results they can. (that's from two of their web sites) They are extremely hard to contact, to try and gleen some information.

    Adam, have you tried Ferguson Aparies up your way? The reason I ask, is they have a good Buckfast stock, that may work for your needs. I tested in one of my yards, using Two arms of their methods, with Buckfast stock. After the third year, the results were very good. I am trying to work on the third arm, which is breeding, but as I noted, no answer to calls, e-mail, or PM's. So I will try my own methods based on Brother Adam's ideas. The hope is to not have to purchase so many queens, and create my own.

    Kind regards
    Stonefly7

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,974

    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    Stonefly,

    I have contacted Ferguson, and he has been good about communicating. I have also found Mike Bush and Mike Palmer to be very good about communicating via email. I have never tried to contact Kirk Webster.

    My problem is Nova Scotia's restricted border. I can't bring bees in. I can only bring in eggs, sperm and ripe queen cells. Bill Ferguson does not normally ship queen cells or eggs, which means a pretty long road trip for me if I want his bees (somewhere around 1,000 miles).

    I think that I will likely work with local stock for the next season or two, before I go to great lengths to bring in bees from other areas.

    Adam

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Frederick County, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    415

    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    The major hurdle is that varroa tolerance so far has come at the price of lost honey production. It is relatively easy to breed for bees that are highly varroa tolerant. It has not been simple to combine the various tolerance mechanisms with production of high average honey crops. In some cases, VSH queens are too aggressive at uncapping brood. Bees that reduce brood rearing tend to be unadapted to areas with both spring and fall nectar flows.

    DarJones
    This sounds logical, but is not entirely accurate.

    We select for mite tolerance AND honey production. We collaborate with producers who all make a living from selling their brood (through pollination) and their honey (honey production). They also find that mite tolerant bees are more resilient and need less treatment in a production scenario with IPM.

    If it is realativley easy to breed bees that are highly varroa tolerant, why aren't more varroa tolerant phenotypes available?


    HEADS UP
    Double check posts here, for accuracy. The internet is a well of information, but not the only source!

    Adam Finkelstein
    www.vpqueenebes.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    5,079

    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
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    672

    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    If i'm not mistaken Beeweaver's website indicates that they still do use fumidil-B on all their package bees for nosema. So I guess they aren't totally treatment free. I buy bees from them and will continue to do so.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  10. #10
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    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    5,079

    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    Aren't some states required to do that by law?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
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    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    Adamf, My statement was made based on 20 years of seeking and raising various types of varroa tolerant bees, not just from reading articles on the internet. In the early years from the roughly 1990 invasion of Varroa into the U.S., the major resistance mechanism was breaks in brood rearing. Any way you slice it, those breaks wound up cutting honey production.

    Along the way, a few colonies were found that were naturally tolerant to varroa without the brood breaks. In retrospect, these were either highly hygienic or else mite mauling bees. Most feral bees were wiped out. Selection within the pool of survivors is gradually increasing the mite tolerance traits in our feral population.

    When the Russian queens were brought in, researchers at first called the tolerant genetics "SMR" because they did not understand the mechanisms involved. These bees exhibit very high levels of mite tolerance, but if line bred too closely, they exhibit traits like uncapping and removing even healthy brood. This trait seems to be a case of a little bit is good, but too much is a problem. If you are not familiar with this aspect of VSH, I suggest you check with Glenn Apiaries, they deal with it on a regular basis.

    When the Africanized bees arrived, we got a look at another tolerance mechanism. They tend to maul mites with their mandibles. This trait is present in our feral bees, but at an extremely low level. It does not have a direct effect on honey production, but these bees tend to be more aggressive than most beekeepers would want to deal with.

    That gets us to the essence of my statement. When you consider all the queen breeders in the U.S., less than 10% are raising highly varroa tolerant queens. That number is increasing rapidly as breeder queens with high levels of mite tolerance become more common. The problem I see is that these tolerant queens are based almost entirely on the VSH trait. This trait has known problems when concentrated. As I stated, brood production is reduced and honey production is reduced too. That you actively select for both production and tolerance is the path we should be going forward, but I would bet a dollar that you either don't actually screen your breeder queens to see which trait they are exhibiting or else don't actively seek other traits like mite mauling in your breeding lines.

    My reason for starting this thread is because we are at the tipping point where bees in the U.S. are finally going to be mostly varroa tolerant. I would like to see more effort made to increase the mite mauling trait in our bees. That is the one trait you don't mention selecting for and arguably it is the trait most needed to finally get away from using chemicals.

    I have not treated my bees since 2005. They are healthy and productive. My only significant problem is that they are not genetically diverse enough for my liking. I would love to see an importation of Lamarckii, Saharensis, Cypria, Carnica, and Jemenitica that had been carefully screened for hygienic behavior. That would go a long way toward increasing genetic diversity in our bees.
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Frostproof Florida usa
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    carpentersapiaries is no longer a bare site I had to change host so it is now www.carpentersapiaries.com sorry for any problems this might have caused. if it still will not work email me at betterqueens@earthlink.net. thank you

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    St. Joseph County, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    Randy Oliver came to speak at one of the local bee meetings. While he was there, he did an inspection of one of our guys stock and pointed out the bees displaying VSH. Those queens caame from Wooten's http://wootensgoldenqueens.com/ I was lucky enough to bring one of those queens home with me Good brood pattern too - we'll see how they overwinter here

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
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    960

    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    Dar -
    could you describe your test for mite mauling? I am aware of liquid nitrogen test for VSH. Are there other Varroa tolerance tests you are aware of?

    And, big THANK YOU for this and other posts. You are an amazing student of bees, and a great resource here on beesource.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Farmington, NM
    Posts
    736

    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    Velbert has nice queens http://www.vlwbeequeens.com/
    Plant Hardiness Zone 6B, 5300 ft., Bee Zone A/B, Proverbs 24:13
    https://www.facebook.com/mobileprotection#!/2RBeeFarm

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    United States Chico CA
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    resistant bees.com has a talk at Lunz Institude that expains the relationship between VSH and small cell.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    United States Chico CA
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    5

    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    As far as Mitegrooming is concerned visit Bioimkerei Wallner in Randegg austria
    He came up with the VKF

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    3,641

    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by kilocharlie View Post
    I am aware of liquid nitrogen test for VSH. Are there other Varroa tolerance tests you are aware of?
    A liquid nitrogen test is for HYG behavior, not VSH.

    deknow
    The perils of benefactors; The blessings of parasites; Blindness blindness and sight -Joni Mitchell 'Shadows and Light'

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Molalla, Oregon, USA
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    19

    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    Am I correct that the only one on your list that is selecting for mite grooming is Carpenters? Are there any other breeders that are selecting for mite grooming?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
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    960

    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    Purebred Russians and many AHB hybrids express grooming traits, as well as even more desirable mite mauling (biting the mites). It is expressed in many colonies, and to varying degrees. So I would imagine that several queen providers have bloodlines with that trait present to some degree, if not highly selected for these traits.

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