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Thread: VSH Breeding?

  1. #61
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    I've utilized both VSH and Hygienic Italian breeders from Glenn for the past three years. (The last two years the hygienics were specifically Pol Line Hygienic Italians) I keep bees with no treatments. I've had great luck with both. I do share most peoples fondness of the Pol Lines. Top notch bee. I've had a lot of VSH F1's do very well also. Last I checked the II'd breeders for the past two years are still heading colonies with no treatments. I do not have issues with shotgun brood patterns. It was my understanding that was selected out of the breeding population. I keep seeing more and more pronounced VSH expression in my bees. I toy with a great deal of feral stock as well. I've caught feral swarms that express uncapping behavior to a great degree and keep low mite levels. Natural selection from varroa pressure? There are no other Beekeepers around using this stock unless they obtained it from me. I'm not touting these traits as the "silver bullet" but I feel they have improved my stock overall in regards to survivability.(absence of brood diseases, and overall lowering of mite levels) I look forward to adding other traits for varroa resistance to these I've already implemented as well.
    Last edited by Whitetail; 02-01-2013 at 10:06 PM. Reason: Clarification

  2. #62
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    Quote Originally Posted by JSL View Post
    Adam,

    I agree there is demand for inseminated breeder queens. However, I do not
    agree that VSH is a productive part of that demand. Deknow's original point
    was that a lot of people use the term VSH, but how many are actually
    selecting for it. My contention is there are a lot of queens sold as "VSH"
    that do not express the behavioral characteristic at a beneficial level. If
    the stock was expressing VSH at a beneficial level, beekeepers would see
    just how energetically expensive and detrimental the trait is to colony
    survival. This is why I suggested the "VSH breeder queens" and the
    performance of their daughters are confounded by heterosis expressed in
    subsequent generations, with no apparent benefit or expression of VSH.
    Please correct me if you disagree, but I believe you as well as Tom and
    Suki were constantly making outcrosses to maintain the vitality of the
    lines.
    Hi Joe,
    There's enough of a demand for VSH and VSH type inseminated breeder queens
    to keep people busy during the season... Scepticism is healthy, certainly.
    And yes, as we all know from reading the material here on beesource,
    there's a very good reason to be sceptical when claims are made without
    real-world proof. However, what's been done with the VSH program has been working for many
    and with the Pol-line research and offerings to the public, VSH seems to be
    helping in commercially tested scenarios. Here's a quote from Dr. Bob Danka
    from the USDA Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics and Physiology Laboratory:

    "An offshoot of the main VSH research is the development of the "Pol-line"
    population. This effort began in 2008 when we selected some outcrossed VSH
    colonies at the end of a test we ran in cooperation with a large beekeeping
    operation whose focus is on crop pollination. The Pol-line population has
    been augmented with more colonies each subsequent year, and all colonies
    have been combined in annual propagations. Last year we propagated 32 queen
    lines. The colonies that get added generally are chosen because they
    survived with large bee populations and low varroa populations after being
    used for migratory pollination and/or honey production. We have been
    fortunate to be able to increase the level of selection during the past two
    years by testing more bees that are managed in three, large-scale,
    commercial migratory beekeeping operations. We are trying to create bees
    that function well in such operations while retaining significant
    expression of VSH. We distributed some of this breeding material through
    Glenn Apiaries while we continue to work on developing the population
    ."

    (full thread on USDA stock strains is here:
    http://vshbreeders.org/forum/showthread.php?tid=153)

    As with this program's breeding design, we're selecting for hardiness and
    productivity with the ability to perform without any chemical treatments.
    We use some foundation stock from the USDA, stock from other beekeepers that
    manage their bees without treatment, stock from successful commercial
    beekeepers who watch their treatments...you know the drill. We are not
    solely crossing high VSH strains with other strains, but keeping a more
    heterogeneous population with our suite of good economic traits as our base selector and
    survivability as the main selection criterion over that. Some make it, some do not.
    We'll be measuring VSH levels using the tests mentioned earlier in the
    thread, this season and I am extremely interested to see how the VSH levels
    correlate with the overall population's success.

    To answer your question, Joe, we do make outcrosses sometimes, but we're
    more often following a more gradual mating design where we try to cross the
    whole desirable population to candidates, some of which are certainly
    different and would exhibit localized hybrid-vigor, but mainly to desirable
    members within the group. We test/vet new stock first and determine if it
    is desirable before we make any crosses that would be considered
    "outcrosses".

    Quote Originally Posted by JSL View Post
    My understanding of the development of the "Pol-line" was that daughter
    queens from a single VSH queen were free flight mated in a larger
    commercial operation that I have worked with and supplied stock to for many
    years. The free flight mated queens were then tracked through the operation
    and the best later became the foundation for semen supplied to Tom and
    Suki. Again, I think this was an outcross attempting to increase vigor and
    mask the detrimental effects observed when a high frequency of VSH is
    observed in a population.
    This was the initial description--there have been several years of selection
    within the three cooperators' operations and at the USDA Lab at Baton Rouge.
    The offering of the initial germplasm was made, and the results were
    varied. As the program has grown, the results have become more uniform and
    positive.

    What I found interesting about the Pol-line data I saw at Baton Rouge was
    that although the Pol-line strains were less high in VSH expression compared to pure
    VSH expressing stock, they performed well over-Winter and showed very good mite resistance,
    while being more productive then the pure VSH colonies. There is enough of something there
    to impart resistance.

    Quote Originally Posted by JSL View Post
    I think it is important that beekeepers know what they are actually buying.
    It takes many years to establish and test lines. Simply making a cross and
    putting a label on it does not constitute a breeding program. Again, I
    think this is Deknow's actual point.
    Sure, I agree. I don't think anyone involved with VSH breeding is doing
    what Deknow's actual point was addressing. Scepticism is healthy! Results
    obtained through empirical application support and verify concepts and
    ideas. VSH in bee breeding will be tested in the years to come and
    hopefully, it will pass the test!

    Adam Finkelstein
    www.vpqueenbees.com
    Last edited by adamf; 02-02-2013 at 06:36 AM. Reason: sprelling

  3. #63
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    Adam,

    Thank you for the eloquent response. I think I stated earlier that I do not have an outright objection to the concept of VSH.

    Part of my background is in behavioral genetics and I have been involved in the development and maintenance of experimental research lines. Challenges associated with developing behavioral or other traits can be perplexing to say the least. Perhaps my concerns may be more theoretical in nature… VSH has been in the “works” for some time and yet from my perspective, the research comes back to the same inherent issue of developing a line with the “proper” level/expression of VSH and maintaining good brood viability. It seems to be a revolving cycle. Again, this is where my perhaps theoretical view comes into play. Are good brood viability and high expression of VSH diametrically opposed objectives? I do not believe the brood viability issue is a product of inbreeding, but rather a “cost” of the behavior itself. Honey bees only have so much acuity with regard to their ability to sense stimuli, process it and then initiate a response. This is speculative on my part, but I think there may be some stimulus that is initiating the pathway that leads to the measurable expression of VSH behavior. In other words, honey bees can only be so accurate. It is then the heightened sensitivity and expression of the behavior that leads to the increased visibility of “mistakes” with uncapping and or brood removal. At lower levels of VSH in a population, this negative effect is less evident. At higher levels it is evident. Can a lower frequency of the trait be maintained in a population that expresses an economically viable level of tolerance be developed? I do not know… From a long term perspective, if for the sake of argument VSH provides a selective advantage, what will prevent beekeepers from battling the tendency for populations to be selected for high levels of VSH, and in turn poor brood patterns? Will this be another challenge for beekeepers?

    It appears to me that when VSH is actually measured and is present at higher frequencies, there is a cost to colony fitness.

    The pre-Varroa days were certainly enjoyable. Since we as beekeepers do not have much choice but to deal with Varroa, I think it is safe to say it is certainly an interesting challenge for breeders.

    Joe
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
    www.latshawapiaries.com

  4. #64
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    "It appears to me that when VSH is actually measured and is present at higher frequencies, there is a cost to colony fitness." JSL

    The same could be said of Varroa present at higher frequencies. Wouldn't long term higher mite loads pose a greater cost to colony fitness?
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  5. #65
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    Dear Whitetail,

    I am glad to hear of your apparent success of incorporating VSH into useful bees. Although Dr. John Harbo had initiated work to breed out poor brood quality in VSH lines, I did not sustain his efforts after he retired. So, I caution that some purebred VSH lines will undoubtedly produce poor brood patterns. I am sure that the Bee Lab in Baton Rouge tries to eliminate obvious problems when they see them, but it is also the nature of line breeding.

    Additionally, I hear a lot of people talk about not treating for Varroa mites after using this or that stock for an extended period. That's fine as long as the decision not to treat is based on solid sampling regimes and an IPM approach to the problem. Currently, no stock or line of bees is completely resistant to Varroa -- so relying on any resistance mechanism without proper sampling is folly. I hear it all of the time. I don't treat because I use resistant stock -- three years later the beekeeper could suffer huge losses. All treatment decisions, with or without a resistant stock, should be based on sampling for threshold pest levels. I hope this is the case for your situation.

    Sincerely,

    JWH

  6. #66
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    >"All treatment decisions, with or without a resistant stock, should be based on sampling for threshold pest levels."

    jwh, can you share what you would consider a treatment threshold for varroa?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #67
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    Good point JWH;

    Harbo is Still working, from his web site: "A top priority of Harbo Bee Company was to solve the problem of poor brood production. This was not a common inbreeding condition but probably the result of poor brood care by worker bees and/or a susceptibility to European foulbrood. Since not all VSH colonies expressed this problem, we had enough variability to correct this situation with selective breeding. We now have full expression of the VSH trait in colonies that are also good brood and honey producers. "
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  8. #68
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    Jeff,

    Your explanation is one of the most direct explanations I have seen in a while. While I do not treat my population, I am very hesitant to claim they offer resistance, for the very explanation you provided. Dealing with Varroa is like shooting at a moving target.

    Additionally, I hear a lot of people talk about not treating for Varroa mites after using this or that stock for an extended period. That's fine as long as the decision not to treat is based on solid sampling regimes and an IPM approach to the problem. Currently, no stock or line of bees is completely resistant to Varroa -- so relying on any resistance mechanism without proper sampling is folly. I hear it all of the time. I don't treat because I use resistant stock -- three years later the beekeeper could suffer huge losses. All treatment decisions, with or without a resistant stock, should be based on sampling for threshold pest levels. I hope this is the case for your situation.

    Joe
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
    www.latshawapiaries.com

  9. #69
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    One area that I feel should be highlighted in conjunction with mite count levels is what I call mite, “pressure”. If your hives are located near colonies that were just moved out of the almond pollination cycle your hives mite pressures will be very high. On the other hand if your hives find themselves in a very isolated area your external mite pressures are low. I’ve found this external pressure to explain why one person in an isolated area exclaims how mite resistant his bees are and when queens are used by others in a slightly higher mite pressure area they simply collapse.

    Can we fracture the resistance mechanism at play into percentages within a hive? For example:
    Grooming---30%, VSH trait 70%. I’ve got colonies with low mite counts that show no VSH brood depopulation. I conclude more grooming at play, but just how much. Just to throw one more challenge ahead in the data gathering area.

    Mark

  10. #70
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    Yes, I know that John is still breeding, and he is being very careful about brood quality. I will do the same as I breed here.

    I also wanted to comment on Joe Latshaw's point about too much hygiene being the source of poor brood quality. I tend to agree with Joe, but I too admit that the claim is fairly unsupported except from my experience. I think that John Harbo would argue that the brood quality is a separate issue from the resistance mechanism and that the two can be decoupled. He certainly has been able to produce strong VSH colonies that produce nice colonies. However, given the complex genetics of VSH, I still am not convinced that selection for maximal VSH behavior without any correction for poor brood production will always produce colonies that dwindle and develop spotty patterns. That experience suggests to me a strong connection between the mechanism of resistance and brood quality. However, John Harbo's experience also suggests that perhaps a balance between strong expression of VSH and always keeping good brood production can be reached -- which is something that Joe had questioned in an earlier approach. I am the hopeless optimist that it can be done.

  11. #71
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    JWH,

    My decision not to treat, is unfortunately not based on a solid sampling routine. I knowingly allow high mite levels to accumulate in some of my hives. My decision is based solely on the desire to see how queen lines perform without human assistance. (crutch) I don't readily accept "threshold" treatment suggestions, regardless of the credibility of the source. I have some stock that is shoddy at keeping low mite levels, yet produces a desireable crop, survives the winter, and displays no susceptibility to common mite vectored virus with no treatments. I do not graft from them, but don't prevent them from raising drones. I guess my drive for treatment free is strictly research/ curiosity based. I want to see how they perform with no intervention. I would find it hard to properly evaluate how the hive performs to mite pressure if I was alleviating it at a certain percentage. Bees are not my livelihood, only my passion. I'm hopelessly convinced our issues can be solved genetically. Thank you for your work on this project, and valued feedback on this forum. You've given us an effective tool for the toolbox.
    Last edited by Whitetail; 02-02-2013 at 09:20 PM.

  12. #72
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    If i may, I'd like to go back to my original post.

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    I've read the postings over on the VSH Breeders website/forum, and I can't tell if (outside the formal USDA program) anyone is actually testing for VSH.
    I ask this question again. I think what we've read here is that the USDA program does test for VSH.

    It doesn't seem that Glenn is testing for VSH, but that he is using USDA genetics in such a way that he is assuming that his stock is high in VSH expression.

    Adam appears to be saying that he will start testing for VSH this season. His stock is advertised on his website as "All Our Queens Are Bred From Untreated Survivors and Selected for VSH Behavior
    ".

    As far as I can tell, even the Pol Line queens are a few generations out of known VSH expression levels.

    It does seem that virtually no one is actually testing for VSH expression, even close to the source of known VSH expression (the USDA).....extrapolate that down to the folks selling offspring (or offspring of offspring of offspring) and advertising VSH stock.

    If any of this is innacurate or mistaken, please correct me...I'm not trying to accuse anyone of anything, just trying to figure out what is going on.

    We know that HYG and VSH will not persist in the population unless they are constantly selected for generation after generation.
    Is there any data out there that refutes this (either a study or multigenerational breeding records where VSH has been measured but not specifically selected for)? I understand this to be a characteristic of such "hypertraits", and outside of very controlled breeding and/or testing/selection for VSH, it will not persist at an artificially high level over time.

    ...so how are breeders (that are not just propagating USDA stock) qualifying their bees as VSH? How are they able to provide VSH behavior without testing? How many generations have these stocks gone since they have been properly evaluated for VSH?
    This question remains. I'm all in favor of selecting bees for survival, productivity, temperament, etc....but none of these selection criteria (nor does freeze testing) seem to also select for VSH behavior...do they?

    I'm all for selecting good stock. I'm all for selecting from untreated survivors. I'm not implying that anyone (named or not) is selling anything substandard.

    I think that if VSH does deter mites, that by focusing on it (and using it as a "hypertrait"), that we select against other mechanisms that bees use to fight the mite.

    I think that if VSH is introduced into an operation, that in order to maintain VSH expression, that it has to be constantly brought in, or constantly selected for. In other words, If VSH is working for you, it will stop working over some number of generations.....not because the mites have adapted, but because the high expression of VSH will dissipate. Thus, bringing in VSH genetics to start or boost a local breeding program is folly....it is a trait that will not persist.

    Using VSH properly is a commitment to either testing for VSH behavior, or buying stock from someone who does. This is a terrible tool for "local breeding"....it may well be a great tool for performance on a colony level, but it seems to fall flat when considered at a population level.

    I don't really have an opinion on how well it works in specific circumstance (as I haven't used VSH queens), I'm just trying to untangle some of the marketing, hype, and facts....mostly wrt helping beekeepers start raising and breeding their own queens.

    It is worth noting that on the vshbreeders.org forum, that there is little to no discussion on evaluating VSH behavior. It is also worth noting that almost no one anywhere talks about actually performing VSH testing.

    I'm not sure there is a formula that can tell you the amount of VSH expression based upon starting with "pure" stock, and outbreeding and backcrossing....it seems that such a formula is assumed by those selling high vsh expression based upon the crossings...but has anyone ever tested it?

    deknow
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  13. #73
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    I think that if VSH does deter mites, that by focusing on it (and using it as a "hypertrait"), that we select against other mechanisms that bees use to fight the mite.
    I agree to a certain extent. I don't raise my own queens at this point, but I do only buy queens that are advertised as VSH. I find that grooming behavior might be as important. I notice that some hives excel at this behavior and always have lower mite counts. I do see some uncapping behavior in all my hives, but this fall my mite counts were quite high. I do treat all my production hives. I do not treat my nucs.

  14. #74
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    DeKnow, The loss of VSH traits over successive generations could be for at least a couple of factors. First it being a recessive trait prone to being lost if any non VSH gene is introduced due to successive matings. it is a black and white situation as I understand it. You either have VSH or you don't and it requires more than one set of genes to remain pure.

    Second would be the inbreeding situation of honey bees in a more closed breeding situation of a small apiary. Evidence not by the loss of VSH but the loss of the bees entirely.

    If testing such as freeze testing is not considered testing. Can you be more specific on what you consider is. mite counts. brood removal and many other "Tests" are done to measure VSH. Are they effective in determining VSH is still a question. I agree that freezing and killing brood is not the best of tests when you want to know if bees remove mite infested brood. mite infested brood is not dead or frozen. Are mite counts reliable. they vary from season to season dramatically. Colonies that would pass the test in June may fail miserably in October. What about the pin prick test. Again the brood is killed. a significant difference to me. As far as I know all bees remove dead brood... eventually. But do they remove it in 24 hours?

    It does seem to me that standard and effective methods need to be established for testing for VSH. I have sen some discussion on the issue but nothing that looks like unity.

    Marketing hype. there is no way around that money is in the issue. and that money maters have their effect. Beekeepers want a product they can trust but are leery about promises. I firmly believe that the resistant bee could be produced and beekeeping in general would not accept it for this factor alone. Yeah right another one with the better bee. Sceptacism. disappointment and distrust all combine to make an atmosphere that will have to be addressed as an issue to be overcome. Due to this I think that offering the VSH queen in it's incomplete form may be a mistake. To many will just see it as another false promise. Which to some degree it will be. In short VSh needs to be VSH not some degree of chance you have a queen that will produce a VSH colony. The problem is the development of VSH is expensive, so who is going to foot the bill? But that is trailing off the issue.

    Best case I see is that VSH traits become connected to a visible trait that can be verified. such as Sex links in poultry. When poultry producers needed to be able to tell a male from a female chicken at the time it hatched. they bred visible indicators of a chicks sex into them. and only a male or a female carries that mark. They not only have done this they have done it in multiple ways. one breed of chicken the chicks are all yellow except the males have a small dark spot on top of their heads. in another bred the primary flight feathers are slightly longer than the secondary for the first few hours after hatching on the males. In another gene linked short legs on another breed of chicken is an indication that chick possesses a lethal gene and will be dead within days to weeks. Not a link you are looking for but another case where the seen is proof of the unseen.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  15. #75
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    looking at mite infestation rates isn't exactly the same as quantifying vsh behavior, because there may be other factors at play, i.e. a sudden influx of mites brought in during a robbing spree.

    it does seem like it would be a good metric however to help ascertain whether or not the traits in question are leading to the desired outcome. i haven't been able to get an answer on how or if infestation rates are used in the process.

    (i am also interested in knowing what levels of infestation are being tolerated in treatment free operations that are getting good survivability and productivity)

    i agree with you dean. this kind of information (testing) would be helpful for those purchasing queens, as well as for those wanting to have an effective queen rearing program of their own. i wish someone had the time to write a good book on the abc's of breeding great queens.....
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  16. #76
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    DeKnow, The loss of VSH traits over successive generations could be for at least a couple of factors. First it being a recessive trait prone to being lost if any non VSH gene is introduced due to successive matings. it is a black and white situation as I understand it. You either have VSH or you don't and it requires more than one set of genes to remain pure.
    This is not accurate at all.
    All populations have _some_ expression of VSH. It is not a single trait. When VSH is described as a trait, it is the hyperexpression of an observable and measurable behavior that is being described. VSH is not binary....not "present" or "not present"....it is a continuum, not black and white. As to the level of expression required to be effective, it may be a brink type of effect (HYG behavior and AFB are of this type of effect).

    Second would be the inbreeding situation of honey bees in a more closed breeding situation of a small apiary. Evidence not by the loss of VSH but the loss of the bees entirely.
    There may be some inbreeding at work here...but there is inbreeding in all selected populations. I don't have any evidence that it is any worse in VSH populations than in others.

    If testing such as freeze testing is not considered testing. Can you be more specific on what you consider is. mite counts. brood removal and many other "Tests" are done to measure VSH.
    Freeze testing is a valid test...for HYG, not for VSH. http://www.extension.org/pages/30984...sitive-hygiene has been posted by Adam. What we don't appear to have is a really great (even if cumborsome) way to directly evaluate VSH behavior (this would give us something to compare these other methods to as a way to guage their accuracy). My reading of things is that VSH is supposed to cause the bees to uncap brood cells containing varroa. Giving the bees a frame of capped brood under somewhat controlled conditions (known mite levels in brood, similar hive strength, similar foraging conditions, etc) would be a direct measure I think.
    Are they effective in determining VSH is still a question. I agree that freezing and killing brood is not the best of tests when you want to know if bees remove mite infested brood. mite infested brood is not dead or frozen. Are mite counts reliable. they vary from season to season dramatically. Colonies that would pass the test in June may fail miserably in October. What about the pin prick test. Again the brood is killed. a significant difference to me. As far as I know all bees remove dead brood... eventually. But do they remove it in 24 hours?
    These are methods for determining HYG. The VSH folks claim that VSH is different, and therefore requires different tests.

    It does seem to me that standard and effective methods need to be established for testing for VSH. I have sen some discussion on the issue but nothing that looks like unity.
    Standards aren't always good. I'd settle for seeing that those selling VSH stock were doing something to measure VSH expression.

    Marketing hype. there is no way around that money is in the issue. and that money maters have their effect.
    I see nothing wrong with marketing hype, per se. I also see nothing wrong with VSH bees, Pol Line bees, survivor bees, VP bees, JSL bees....there is nothing wrong with any of them. What I object to is the use of VSH bees to start what are planned to be local breeding programs (by beekeepers that are not going to select based upon VSH or keep purchasing VSH stock). I also object to unverifiable claims of VSH expression....especially when more traditional selection criteria is really what is at work.

    deknow
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  17. #77
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    Deknow, As I understand it VSH is a combination of behaviors that are genetic. I have recently seen indication that there is possibly one or two more.

    1. capped cells of infested pupa are chewed open. this is one behavior and seperate from any others.

    2. the infested pupa is removed from the cell and taken out of the hive. this a second and separate behavior.

    It is only these two traits above that I understand to be traits of VSH, they are not the only behaviors that may effect mite resistance. Other traits are not indications of VSH. Both are genetic and both are recessive. lacking either of the two and colony fails to be VSH.

    The following I have seen comments that have cause me to suspect the following.

    3. that bees will open capped cells and search for mites and if found will destroy them or remove the pupa. If no mite is found will recap the cell.Other behaviors that may be beneficial to resistance or ridding of mites in a colony.

    1. Grooming. this is considered beneficial in that mites are captured and or killed when they have emerged from a cell while hitch hiking on an adult bee. From what I have read it is at best considered a minor benefit.

    2. chewing of mites. Bees actually pursue catch and kill mites as they are seen. I have seen nothing on this one as to the degree of benefit it might be.

    So although there are multiple behaviors that could be considered beneficial in mite control in a colony. not all are VSH traits.

    I believe that if you are looking for the entire range of behaviors in colonies that are claimed to be VSH. you are looking for to much. You may be expecting more than was being offered. Yes bees with VSH and grooming and chewing and a more iron skin would be nice. I just don't see it anywhere yet. I am not seeing bees that are reliably VSH yet.

    So in a nut shell the average beekeeper paying for what they expect to be VSH queens can do. Is look for pupa being removed from the hive. or sign that cells have been uncapped and resealed. spotty but not excessively so brood where infested pupa where removed. Keep in mind the bees can go overboard on this brood removal stuff also. you want them to only be removing infested pupa not every brood that has a speck of dust on it. Such problems have and do happen.

    Low mite counts at typical high mite times of the year woudl be in indication of VSH or other mite reducing behaviors. bottom line I don't think the average beekeeper cares if it is VSH according to definition. as long as there bees are not being wiped out by mites.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  18. #78
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    So although there are multiple behaviors that could be considered beneficial in mite control in a colony. not all are VSH traits.
    More accurately, VSH traits are expressed at a wide range in all kinds of populations of honeybees...except for populations that are constantly selected specifically for VSH traits.

    Populations that deal with varroa effectively (including but not limited to AHB) have widely variable expression of HYG and VSH....just like any other population.

    Left to their own, when honeybees and varroa do achieve a manageable balance, it is not because of high VSH expression in the bees. There are other traits (and probably balances of traits) that are effective against mites long term....we know they exist because we can observe colonies surviving and swarming. VSH and HYG traits may be an important component...they may not. But given that VSH behavior is not how the bees demonstrate resistance, and given that unless is it specifically selected for it will dissipate to normal levels, it seems like a short term solution for a breeding program....one that serves to select against the more persistent mite fighting traits that we really want.

    With that said, I don't have enough experience with VSH stock to make a judgment as to whether or not it is helpful when constantly re-introduced or constantly selected for. To me, this seems like a smart way to use the technology. Personally, I'm more interested in persistent population based improvements.

    deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
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  19. #79
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    unless is it specifically selected for it will dissipate to normal levels

    deknow
    Everything will dissapate to normal levels, if it surrounded by and constantly mates with something else, which is considered to be the normal.

    If you put a hive of blacks in an area where the "normal" is italian, after enough generations that hive will have reverted to the normal. (italians).
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  20. #80
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    Yes....unless the trait in question offers significant survival/reproductive advantage at an acceptable cost....which is what VSH is commonly claimed to be.

    It seems from the discussions here and elsewhere, that VSH stock is commonly outmated, and selected for survival/production. This is all well and good, but without some quantification of the expression of the trait in the successful offspring, we don't even have an idea what the VSH contribution is to the success of something like the pol line....and worse, it is such a costly trait that it will dissipate rather quickly in the population.

    I would have not much to say about any of this if there were a real effort among breeders and producers to measure the trait they are selling....there is nothing ambiguous about claiming "high vsh expression"....it is a fact that everyone is looking for VSH bees (I think for the wrong reasons), and there is certainly demand in the market place....to me it seems that there is a vast disconnect between the claims of VSH expression, and the queens that beekeepers are actually getting that are supposed to be VSH.

    Jeff measures, Glenn appears to base his claims on what he is getting from the USDA, and Adam is planning to start measuring this coming season. Earlier in the thread it was claimed that these three are the most likely sources of "pure" VSH stock....only one of them measures VSH expression, and we haven't heard a single claim from a single other beekeeper that measures VSH expression.

    In the whole world of VSH bees available to the beekeeper, is there really only one person measuring? Are all the VSH bees ultimately coming from a few colonies at the USDA? Does this sound like something that will look smart in hindsight?

    deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

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