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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Gore, VA, USA
    Posts
    10

    Default New bees - should I start with VSH queen?

    Hello. I'm just starting my first two hives- getting packages. The queens in the packages will not be VSH queens, and I'm wondering if I should just order VSH queens and not use the ones that come in the package. Will that give me a good start to mite-resistant colonies?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Redlands, CA USA
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: New bees - should I start with VSH queen?

    This is a good time of year for free bees--swarms, cut outs, trap outs. Those bees have already demonstrated mite tolerance--they are alive and thriving. Maybe nothing special, but "VSH" open mated is not all that either. Ask around, bet you'll find some among your friends, relatives.
    9 months, 12 colonies, TF (so far)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Gore, VA, USA
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: New bees - should I start with VSH queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by jfb58 View Post
    This is a good time of year for free bees--swarms, cut outs, trap outs. Those bees have already demonstrated mite tolerance--they are alive and thriving. Maybe nothing special, but "VSH" open mated is not all that either. Ask around, bet you'll find some among your friends, relatives.
    Except I already have packages coming (and paid for). So, your answer to my question would be that it wouldn't really be helpful?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Redlands, CA USA
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: New bees - should I start with VSH queen?

    Yes, might as well get started with what you purchased. Learn how to check for mites, next year you can try a comparison.
    9 months, 12 colonies, TF (so far)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    864

    Default Re: New bees - should I start with VSH queen?

    I added VSH queens to my hives for the first time last season. I did powdered sugar shakes every month to monitor mite levels. My plan was to treat with OA late in the year (which is how I have handled mites for awhile now). I didn't have to this time because my mite levels were that low.

    I think the key is making sure you are getting strong genetics. Both last year and again this year I ordered from breeders who bought their II queens from VP Queens or Harbobeeco.


    HTH
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Iona, Idaho, USA
    Posts
    89

    Default Re: New bees - should I start with VSH queen?

    I just started last year with 2 packages. I worked with them for a couple of months, I then purchased some queens. 3 where carnie/vsh and 2 were from Mike Palmer (mostly carnie mutts, I think). I was concerned about having winter survivors in my northern climate. I gave each queen minimal supplies to start and kept my 2 package queens and attempted a few more splits. The splits were too weak to really go. Mikes queens did well, the carnie/vsh struggled. Around August/September, I started thinking about what I thought was strong enough to go through winter. I gave all of the frames from the splits to the purchased queens. I didn't trust taking the package queens through winter, so I dispatched them and equalized the 5 remaining hives. I then poured sugar water down them. One of the carnie/vsh was still weak so I dispatched her as well and divided her frames among the remaining 4. My goal was 2 deeps and a medium full per hive to go through winter. Only 1 made that goal (one of Mikes). One of the 2 remaining carnie/vsh was robbed by yellow jackets and does not appear to have made through the winter. So I had 100% survival from Mikes queens and 33% or 50% survival on the carnie/vsh depending on your take of the matter.

    I have plans to purchase a few more queens this year from different sources (they will have some vsh in them) and do some more splits. I want to get some daughters from the queens that purchased last year, as they are now winter proven.

    The next couple of winters and honey crops will tell me who my best queens are. I will then work from that base. I will probably still buy the occasional queen after that to refresh with new blood. And I will probably continue to buy some from Mike and I do want some vsh in my line, but I don't think that I would base my whole apiary on vsh. They were made with one purpose in mind, while you do want that capability, but you will also want some others as well.
    Clay
    BlakelysBees.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,432

    Default Re: New bees - should I start with VSH queen?

    So_Many_Hats, a little early in Virginia for swarms. We had snow yesterday!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Redlands, CA USA
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: New bees - should I start with VSH queen?

    So true, beekeeping is like they say about politics--it's all local.
    9 months, 12 colonies, TF (so far)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Mt Juliet TN USA
    Posts
    131

    Default Re: New bees - should I start with VSH queen?

    I don't think I would requeen new packages just for the sake of getting VSH queens. If you get your packages early enough for them to build up enough to split then you could use VSH queens for the splits and you would have a bases for comparison.
    I would not base my decision about VSH queens totally on the performance of a couple queens put in splits not knowing everything that could have been involved in there failure.
    I bought 8 VSH queens for splits last July and all built up well last fall and made it through winter here in Tn and are doing well as spring is trying to get here. But the jury is still out on how they handle the mites. Time only will tell.

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