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  1. #1
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    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
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    Lincolnton, NC
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    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
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    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
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    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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    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
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    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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    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
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
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    1,847

    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    I would add Full Bloom Apiaries to the list:
    http://www.fullbloomapiaries.com/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, MS, USA
    Posts
    632

    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    I am using VSH breeders from Glenn Apiaries, http://www.glenn-apiaries.com/.

    Also VSH breeders from Dr. John Harbo;
    Harbo Bee Company
    324 West Woodgate Ct.
    Baton Rouge, LA 70808
    225-766-5696


    Johnny
    "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." - Mark Twain

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
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    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    I've sent most of the information in the top post to Kim Flottum editor of Bee Culture. He is interested in doing an article.

    If anyone else wants to chime in with sources of survivor queens, I would request that you respect these criteria
    Survivor - no treatments for mites for at least 5 years
    Eco - only soft treatments for mites
    Tolerant - breeding from known tolerant genetics such as Russian breeders

    DarJones
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
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    4,163

    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    All Glen breeder queens have VSH in the mix, Many producers use their queens.
    Here's one in my area http://queenbeesforsale.com/
    I like using Noble because we can drive, & pick them up. Dixon, California
    Dan

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    Here is an update to the listing of suppliers for 2012. Please remember that I have not personally verified these suppliers nor do I know if they are good businesses to deal with. They just list queens for sale that are raised from colonies that are not treated for mites.

    DarJones


    http://carpentersapiaries.com/ - Italian stock selected for mite mauling
    http://www.arnoldhoneybeeservices.com - Italian survivor and Russian stock
    http://www.beeweaver.com/ - went treatment free about 10 years ago
    http://www.bjornapiaries.com - description is a bit weak but does say untreated
    http://www.coldcountryqueens.com - Russian stock untreated for several years
    http://www.honeybeegenetics.com/home.html - included because they did so much work on SMR
    http://www.johnstonshoneybeefarm.com - untreated since 2003
    http://www.mikesbeesandhoney.com/ - produces selected AI queens
    http://www.mountainvalleybees.com/ - Alabama producer, at least 12 years untreated
    http://www.oldsolenterprises.com - survivor queen stock program, survivor queens
    http://www.wildernessbees.com/ or http://www.owa.cc - 10 years no chems, Bee Culture published an article about them
    http://www.purvisbees.com/ - 10 years untreated, has highly varroa tolerant bees
    http://www.vpqueenbees.com/ - untreated since 1999

    http://www.dixiebeesupply.com - uses some soft treatments
    http://www.ziaqueenbees.com/ - uses some soft treatments

    http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm - don't know if Michael Bush will be offering queens for 2012!
    http://www.russianbreeder.com - this is the Russian queen breeder cooperators website.
    Last edited by Barry; 03-01-2013 at 01:27 PM. Reason: removal of one
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Winston Salem , NC
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    228

    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    Got some we use as breeders that have had no treatment since 2001. Tatesapiaries@yahoo.com
    larry

  13. #13
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    Jan 2006
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    Frederick County, Maryland, USA
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    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

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

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

  15. #15
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    Mar 2010
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    Santa Fe, NM
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    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

  16. #16
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    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

  17. #17
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    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

  18. #18
    Join Date
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by valleyman View Post
    I don't blame him for leaving Beesource as he was made unwelcome here by some.
    Who??
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Munfordville, Ky. U.S.A.
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    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    Who??
    I'm not going to name names or sling mud. You can do a search of his posts and will see where he and his business were attacked on more than one occasion. I think some were jealous of his following on here and resented the fact that he was gaining some scattered business. When in fact the business that he picked up on here was as more of an annoyance than it was profitable. His money is made from the commercial beekeepers not us sideliners. He was just trying to help us and the bees. I will say this the attack that involved the Ms. state inspector was as most sensible people thought it was. The inspector that put his business in a bad light just happens to be in the business of selling nucs and what have you in Ms. also.
    So much to learn, so little time!!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Suffolk, VA
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    2,664

    Default Re: Varroa tolerant queen breeders for 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    20 years of seeking and raising various types of varroa tolerant bees
    So which link above can we select to buy some these bees?

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