Re: Help!!! I want to start breeding for vsh in jamaica to save my country
To breed for genuine VSH is an incredibly time consuming process. You are correct that general hygeine, is different to varroa sensitive hygeine. General hygeine is pretty easy to find and select for, just freeze some brood and see how fast they clean it.
But varroa sensitive hygeine is more complex. In my country the method used is to uncap 400 brood cells and examine the contents. If the mite has been allowed to breeed undisturbed, there will be a normal mite family in the cell. But if the bees uncapped the cell, letting the mite out which interupted her breeding cycle, and then re- capped the cell, the cell will contain mite feaces and a male egg or larva. But no adult mite. So if 80% of the infested cells have a normal mite family, and 20% have an interupted family where breeding has been interupted, the bees are classed as 20% VSH.
By selected the best and crossing them using II, our researchers have been able to get as high as 80% VSH, and at this level a hive can go for a long time without treatment. However they have not been able to fix the trait. So for example, a queen from an 80% VSH mother could be crossed with an 80% VSH drone, but the progeny will not all be 80% VSH they can be quite variable. So it is thought that there is not one single gene responsable for VSH, but a combination.
VSH is not the only way bees resist mites, at the start of the program several others were identified. However it was considered too complex to try to shoot for all of them at once, they decided VSH would be the easiest to measure and achieve, so they went for that first.
Hope that is helpful but as you can see, achieving genuine VSH is far from easy. It is not being done by some guys with 1/2 dozen hives in the back yard. The ones of those who are successful have actually been lucky to get bees that have already had work done by competent bee breeders, even though they will often attribute their success to themselves but they are mistaken.
44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).