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Thread: VSH Breeding?

  1. #81
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    yep, a standardized metric would be very helpful in sorting this all out.

    dean, what do you think should be measured? i wonder if we could come up with some sort of protocol so that you, i, and others on the forum who may be selecting for mite resistance would have a means of comparison.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  2. #82
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

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

  3. #83
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    absolutely! and without treatments is the goal.

    can all that be quantified in such way that comparsions could be made?

    or do all of the extraneous variables get in the way, i.e. location, feeding or not, ect.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #84
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    from what I understand you can graft 100 lavae from a High VSH queen open mate and end up with 10 queens having 80% rate of VSH 30 queens with 50% 40 with 30% and 20 with negligible VSH traits, or anything in between

    If the breeder is not holding and assessing these queens over a period of a couple of brood cycles how will the purchaser know what amount of the VSH trait is in the purchased queen?

    If you aren't testing the queens being sold then I would be annoyed if I was paying the same price for a queen that has 40% VSH expression while my neighbour got one with 80%.. bit of a crap shoot to my mind.

    At what % of VSH expression is it deemed to be no longer helpful in mite reduction? 60%? 40%?

    It seems to me that it's the increase in mite infertility thats the most important trait to consider rather than the uncapping and removal of mite infested pupae

    frazz
    Last edited by frazzledfozzle; 02-03-2013 at 05:09 PM.

  5. #85
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    ..to clarify my other post, testing for VSH appears to be difficult enough that few do it. Selecting for color is easy enough. Selecting for traits you are willing to measure works....good examples of selecting a population for high and low pollen hoarding are in the literature. But buying in a trait that you can't maintain without performing a test doesn't make any sense for a long term breeding program, unless testing for the trait is part of the protocol.

    Again, I think if the plan is to bring in selected stock constantly in order to produce a predictable colony level resistance, then VSH may well be a good tool. This is not what most beekeepers that want to start a localized breeding program are striving for.

    Perhaps some of the newer (or future) iterations of the program will prove to be persistent....that selection for survival and production are sufficient pressures to keep VSH traits prominent in a population and contributing to the survival and production. Thus far, we don't appear to have seen this. I'm undecided as to whether I think it is a productive direction to work in or not....obviously there are some that do (and the market to support them), but this is not where we have put any of our efforts.

    deknow
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  6. #86
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    yep. my plan is to plod along using careful documentation and a little common sense and see what happens. who knows, maybe i'll end up with some awesome bees, at least for my part of the world. maybe some academic will show up some day and want to analyze my bees....
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #87
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    "Perhaps some of the newer (or future) iterations of the program will prove to be persistent....that selection for survival and production are sufficient pressures to keep VSH traits prominent in a population and contributing to the survival and production. Thus far, we don't appear to have seen this. I'm undecided as to whether I think it is a productive direction to work in or not....obviously there are some that do (and the market to support them), but this is not where we have put any of our efforts." deknow

    How long qualifies as persistent? We have been at it quite a while. Don't knock'em until you try'em.


    Dr Lynn Royce form OSU is helping us with stock evaluation & assessment this year as well as II. work. Perhaps we can put some numbers together to quell the nay sayers.

    We see this trait regularly in our Survivor Stock and still maintain great brood patterns.
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  8. #88
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    I don't have much to offer here on this subject, I don't know genetics, or even where to begin when you want to breed for a certain trait or traits. It is common sense though to understand that when you buy a VSH queen and a daughter queen is raised from her and she open mates, the chances are good that the resulting offspring will not have as much resistance to varroa as the original queen you started out with. The way I see it, and I could be wrong, is that VSH breeding is an experiment in futility. Really, what good is it to develop VSH characteristics in a queen only to have it disappear in a couple generations of open matings? If the ultimate goal is to flood the entire country with VSH bees so that no matter what drones a queen mates with, the offspring will have some VSH in them, I think that too is an unrealistic goal. So really, what is the end game of VSH breeding, I know that in the short term it is making a market for queens that are supposed to help with varroa, but those buyers will soon realize that some treatments are also necessary at some point to keep the hives alive. John

  9. #89
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    Quote Originally Posted by JBJ View Post
    How long qualifies as persistent? We have been at it quite a while.
    To quote myself (in answer to your question):
    "....that selection for survival and production are sufficient pressures to keep VSH traits prominent in a population and contributing to the survival and production."

    We see this trait regularly in our Survivor Stock and still maintain great brood patterns.
    ...and VSH traits are found in virtually all populations of honeybees to some extent or another. No one thus far has shown that selecting for anything other than VSH specifically will select for VSH traits with any consistency. I'm not doubting your observations (I assume it is brood uncapping/recapping you are saying you see regularly), but without some quantification I'm not sure that it means anything more than you are selecting for survivor stock.

    In the end this is interesting....VSH is used much like a "brand name" in the marketplace. Many beekeepers, breeders, and propagators appear to assign great weight to VSH characteristics...characteristics that we are told are present in all populations and only need be selected for. Yet, despite rather easy to follow procedures for assaying VSH behavior, virtually no one is doing it. It seems that more traditional evaluation criteria are still most important to beekeepers and breeders. Are those working with VSH at the cutting edge and doing work that will pay off in the future? I don't know, but thus far, I'm not convinced. The fact that VSH breeders generally don't select for VSH makes me less convinced.

    deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
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  10. #90
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post

    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.
    If you're referring to an earlier comment I made, the list of three commercial producers that I gave was: Harbo (not Harris - don't believe he's making commercially available queens), Glenn, and Adam. This list was not, in anyway, meant to be all inclusive, as I'm sure there are others. Also, Tom or Suki might disagree with your assessment, perhaps someone else can provide more on their program.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  11. #91
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    Sorry, my mistake....apologies to Jeff and John.

    The statement (not assessment) I made about the Glenn operation was based on what I think Jeff stated earlier in this thread. If this is incorrect (if Glenn does test and select for VSH), I would appreciate someone correcting me. I am trying hard to get the facts straight.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWH View Post
    In the past, Tom Glenn obtained breeding material from the USDA program in Baton Rouge, and he maintained crosses of VSH without having to select for the VSH behavior.
    deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  12. #92
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    " Yet, despite rather easy to follow procedures for assaying VSH behavior, virtually no one is doing it."- deknow

    After my conversation with Dr Harbo, this procedure sounds like hours time consuming of tedious microscopy work. He said it is very, very slow going. It comes down determining the ratio of reproductive mites to non reproductive mites. I think one could easily underestimate the value of good field observations and heavy selection pressure. This is how we came up with breeders that were able to test 100% hygienic the FIRST time we ever tested. I am expecting similar results when we start determining reproductive ratios here. I am also looking forward to trying another breeder from Dr Harbo. She gets here in April.
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  13. #93
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    ...I used the phrase, "easy to follow" rather than "easy" for a reason...it may be tedious and time consuming, but it is not hard to do....kind of like splitting a cord of wood (easy to do, but tedious) vs carving a statue (requires much more skill and talent than splitting logs).

    What were you starting with when you were able to produce breeders with 100% VSH expression?

    How did you determine that they were 100% VSH?

    What observations were you using to select VSH tratis?



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

  14. #94
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    Wow 100% VSH! Nice work!

    After an 8 year program, best we've done so far in my country is 80% VSH, and still have not been able to fix the trait.

    So question JBJ, does 100% VSH translate into zero mite reproduction in the hive?
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  15. #95
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    ""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""

    I agree with you that there are only a handful of people testing for VSH. This does not limit the gene pool that VSH draws from. Those doing the testing are working with large and very diverse commercial beekeepers giving them access to ten of thousands of economically viable hives used all over the country in different applications. Because of the intense testing needed, it does appear most people who produce queens and cells will have to outsource the testing or buy stock every year. It does require more effort and expense from those want to raise VSH queens. 3rd party testing of potential breeder queens might become a new business for someone if VSH does 'take off'.

    Good luck to all this spring
    ryan

  16. #96
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    Jbj said "100% hygenic" he didnt say 100 % vsh just to keep the terms straight. He posted his pics last summer of the freeze kill brood removal patterns.

  17. #97
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    Oh thanks for pointing that out I misread his post. Big difference.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  18. #98
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    ...I used the phrase, "easy to follow" rather than "easy" for a reason...it may be tedious and time consuming, but it is not hard to do....kind of like splitting a cord of wood (easy to do, but tedious) vs carving a statue (requires much more skill and talent than splitting logs).

    What were you starting with when you were able to produce breeders with 100% VSH expression?

    How did you determine that they were 100% VSH?

    What observations were you using to select VSH tratis?




    deknow
    As ptmerrill pointed out I was referring to HYG behavior, using the freeze killed brood assay. I found it interesting that we were able to obtain such results the first time. We reached this point by previously selecting productive hives year to year that were able to cope with mites without an acraricide. I suspect we will see similar results this spring when we start comparing ratios of fertile vs infertile mites.
    Last edited by JBJ; 02-05-2013 at 07:15 PM. Reason: typo
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  19. #99
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    john, if i wanted to compare fertile to infertile mites in my colonies, and wanted to compare that measure with yours and others, how would i do it?

    i assume it would mean uncapping about 100 worker brood larvae and comparing the ratio of brood with only one mite to brood with multiple mites, and/or turn that ratio into a percentage?

    does it take a microscope to see immature mites?

    are there certain times of year that this is done?

    is this done in addition to or to replace freeze killed brood assay?

    many thanks.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  20. #100
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    Default Re: VSH Breeding?

    squarepeg, I hope John gets back with answers to your questions.

    I only jump in because I've been playing around trying to see how practical a protocol of quantifying these fertile vs infertile mites might be...just for my curiosity. Got the bees...bees got mites...have the scopes...had some time, so I went to look for them.

    Tedious and slow is to put it mildly.

    As a protocol, I tried to follow the one described by Rinderer and Kulincevic. I have the PDF but I believe the USDA Bee lab also has the paper in its entirety on their site. Yes, uncapping 100 worker brood cells, but not any brood...16-17 days old(dark eyes and light brown abdomen). That right there, just trying to gauge and figure out the whole thing, it means you have to open more than 100 cells. As you do, trying to identify and classify the mites you do find, is also very slow.
    A 20x-40x stereo microscope would suffice for the purpose...You're looking for the female that initially got into the cell and her progeny (mature male, daughter(s) mature and imature, and eggs. Just learning to differentiate them is not hard, they clearly look very different.

    Gathering all of them, making sure you don't miss too many...tabulating...and then interpreting, especially if you try to compare your results with what the literature or other beeks willing to do this might have, would also take time.
    Personally I just tried 2 hives that were started as splits in the spring(March) and the same 2 hives in the fall...In the spring, I did see mites on the bees, but hardly any on worker pupae that I was looking to tabulate...there were some on drone brood, but I did not consider those. Coming fall...different story. One hive had 65 fertile females/100 cells the other 85/100 cells. I say fertile because they all had progeny...now, getting to a consistent way of pulling pupa out, looking for the mites, counting, differentiating the progeny, tabulating... went very slow and I just about gave up. Gets hard on your eyes.

    Now, getting to something you can do as a routine...and at the same time run a breeding/selection program that you adjust based on the results you gather, that is well above my capacity. I just wanted to learn to see these buggers in action...that was all. For now.

    As a side note, those two hives died going into the winter. Of course, loaded with mites.

    I am also curious how folks that say they test routinely for VSH do it...

    Good luck everybody

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