Re: VSH Breeding?
I'll try to write some more later (I've got some things to finish up first), but your post is important wrt my original questions.
You are (by your own words and description) not really "breeding", but mating this years imported stock to last years (essentially....I'm sure other genetics and other years stock creeps in there as well).
This has been my understanding of what buying VSH was good for...and it is encouraging to hear that it is working for you.
My interest is more towards breeding...both our own project, and encouraging as many other beekeepers to do the same...on any scale. The more we have going on, the more approaches, possibilities, and beekeepers thinking about breeding we have. I'm not trying to trash anyone's work, I'm trying to clarify what is actually happening....both for myself and for others. The way you are using VSH breeder stock is absolutely appropriate. You are relying on your suppliers to provide appropriate stock, and crossing to last years queens seems to give you the right active level of VSH for your needs. You either need to do what you are doing, or you need a way to measure VSH expression.
I know of more than two local (to me) breeding initiatives that started with VSH breeders to mate with whatever was local in an attempt to establish a mite resistant localized stock. This is a terrible use of VSH technology (for reasons I pointed out in the first post of this thread). There is little guidance out there to help a beekeeper figure this stuff out. There is a lot of "hype" around VSH and mite resistance....again, there are appropriate ways to apply this, and not so appropriate ones. My only goal is to try and clarify this stuff for us all.
The perils of benefactors; The blessings of parasites; Blindness blindness and sight -Joni Mitchell 'Shadows and Light'