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.
Significant Minority vs Insignificant Majority, 20% of causes produce 80% of the effects.