I used to be in the cattle business and am going to venture into Beekeeping with the intent on queen rearing someday. I have been reading relentlessly and am stuck on what breed to start out with. I live in northern CA in the foothills about 400' elevation; grasslands and oak trees. We have mild winters....not much of a winter at all so far this year. (Yesterday my son and I were out building fence wearing shorts!) I know from being in the cattle business, it's pretty important to start out with good breeding stock. With that being said, the questions I have (nothing new to this site) are the following: Pros and cons of Italians, Pol-line Hygienic Italians, NWC ? What importance would you put on VSH and other Hygienic traits. Would you lean toward breeders that have lineage from say Susan Cobey, Tom Glenn and the USDA? What are the most common breeds used by CA almond pollenators? Any input especially from seasoned CA operations would be much appreciated.