Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH) Queen Bees
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Burlington, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    13

    Question Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH) Queen Bees

    Hello everyone,

    I'm a new beekeeper. I started with beekeeping last year and I only had 2 hives. Everything went well and both colonies were growing and producing honey at perfect rate. They filled both boxes and had about 50,000 bees each. Then winter came, I used Oxalic acid (with vaporizer) middle of October. I have checked on them middle of February, and unfortunately all were dead

    I had sent the sample to the lab and it came back as a Varroa Mite infestation.

    I have been reading about the Varroa mites and how to defend the girls from them and I came across to Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH) Queen Bees. What is your opinion on VSH Queens and her babies? Also I noticed that there is a big difference in price while most of the apiaries sell VSH queens from $150-$200 each, RidgeTop Apiaries http://ridgetopapiaries.weebly.com/ sell them for $20 dollars per VSH queen. Does anyone have experience with RidgeTop Apiaries. How is the experience? Are their queens as resistant to Varroa mites as the ones that cost $150-$200 dollars?

    I reach out to RidgeTop Apiaries but unfortunately they are sold out for 2017 season. Does anyone know any other place that sells VSH bees at reasonable price such as RidgeTop Apiaries. I have bees as a hobby. And starting ever year with repopulating the hives due to Varroa mites is not fun, nor its financially possible. As well as buying a VSH queen bee that is two times more expensive then the whole package of bees.

    Thank you very much,
    Stefanely

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,660

    Default Re: Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH) Queen Bees

    I have no experience with VSH queens.

    Keep in mind that a huge percentage of beekeepers lose hives to mites every year. If preventing mite loss was as easy as buying a certain type of queen, everyone would do it and mites would no longer be a problem.

    A queen, right for your area can help, but rather than looking for a certain type of specially bred super-queen, I would suggest you learn how to deal directly with mites. Nothing is perfect and there is a learning curve involved, but lots of people are having good luck with oxalic acid. There are other methods, too. On your next day off, brew up a big pot of coffee, sit down in front of your computer, and put the Google search engine through its paces. You will quickly learn that there is no magic bullet for mites, and, instead, you must decided between multiple options, and combinations thereof, what fits best with your goals and hive management philosophy.

    JMHO


    .
    Last edited by shinbone; 03-22-2017 at 11:00 AM.
    --shinbone
    (1975-1980, and now since 2011; maintain about 10 hives; Zone 5b; 15" rain; 5500')

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Powhatan, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    352

    Default Re: Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH) Queen Bees

    The VSH queens are one tool in the beekeepers arsenal. The price difference is between an open mated queen (20-40) dollars and an II Breeder queen which is used to produce more VSH open mated queens. You don't need the breeder

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    5,453

    Default Re: Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH) Queen Bees

    Waiting to treat in October was an issue as well... from what I've seen and what's trending here, you need to start knocking mites back in July or the really susceptible hives will be dead when September rolls around. Broke-T sells VSH queens on Beesource. You can message Honey-4-All as well, he may have some available, but not sure if he's shipping queens anymore.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH) Queen Bees

    The $100+ ones are breeders...not really intended for your backyard hive. The $20+ are what you want.
    Beesource member adamf produces breeders...and lists on his site some of his customers who sell vsh production queens.
    http://vpqueenbees.com/buy/production-queens
    As has already been stated these are just one tool in the varroa mite arsenal.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
    Posts
    2,070

    Default Re: Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH) Queen Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by shinbone View Post
    I have no experience with VSH queens.

    Keep in mind that a huge percentage of beekeepers lose hives to mites every year. If preventing mite loss was as easy as buying a certain type of queen, everyone would do it and mites would no longer be a problem.

    A queen, right for your area can help, but rather than looking for a certain type of specially bred super-queen, I would suggest you learn how to deal directly with mites. Nothing is perfect and there is a learning curve involved, but lots of people are having good luck with oxalic acid. There are other methods, too. On your next day off, brew up a big pot of coffee, sit down in front of your computer, and put the Google search engine through its paces. You will quickly learn that there is no magic bullet for mites, and, instead, you must decided between multiple options, and combinations thereof, what fits best with your goals and hive management philosophy.

    JMHO


    .
    what he said

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Rib Lake WI
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Re: Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH) Queen Bees

    Many new beekeepers treat with Oxalic acid and do it wrong. If you do it right your bees will live to springtime and you will be smiling. I will advise you to learn why you treated. And why it was too late for you to treat in October. FYI I treat starting the first day in August I try to pull the honey off in July.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    7,861

    Default Re: Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH) Queen Bees

    My experience with vsh queen is a positive one so far. Other than vsh we also have the mite biting and mauling bees as well as the
    allogrooming bees available. Do a search to learn more about them. Oav is just another tool and cannot guarantee that your bees will survive the winter. In order for the bees to survive you have to manually removed the cap brood frames with the mites inside. This will enable your hives to survive until early Spring time again. Doing so on few colonies are feasible for a small hobby beekeeper. Also, to be sustainable in the long term you have to learn how to raise your own local queens. Michael Palmer has good vids on you tube on sustainable apiary. His hives are in the snow country which is very different than our mild winter environment here. My advice is to find the mite biting/mauling bees to buy. Then start growing your own local queens from there.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
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    3,080

    Default Re: Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH) Queen Bees

    We've had really good luck with queens from one local apiary that raises their own mix based on VSH. He has managed to work in some additional traits besides the varroa sensitive hygiene trait (the removal of pupae with mites). From the behavior I have seen, ours also have a varroa grooming trait. We just bought another queen from him last summer, I think for $25. He is trying to work in mite leg biting genetics. Mite mauling would be another good trait.

    Regarding treatment, at present, all of our bees carry this VSH + grooming trait. We also treated them all with OAV in December, and may treat if needed in summer with formic acid (probably MAQS). Of the four hives, we found no mites in the trays on our last inspection on three of them. One hive had some dead mites. VSH is not an excuse to not treat, but they may maintain nice low counts with much less frequent treatment.

    The oldest of our queens is now approaching her 4th summer, and at the moment, that is our strongest hive. She got a strong early start rearing brood.

    It is not necessary, and in fact may not be wise, for ordinary backyard beekeepers to try to mix in all these traits. It takes a lot of trial and error to be successful, so if you do get positive comments about a locally developed strain, with good mite control and hardy for your environment, give those bees a try.

    This is one of those "all beekeeping is local" issues.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    7,861

    Default Re: Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH) Queen Bees

    For the sake of experiment, mixing the different hygienic traits will allow you to develop better bees. And at the same time
    let you know which trait is the dominant one able to keep the mites under control. So far the mite mauling bees seem to be
    the dominant one. And the allogrooming will dislodge the varroa when you have an mesh old pan trap on the bottom board. They function
    as a unit doing different task to keep the mites under control. Using the I.I. process will let you find out which trait is the better one of all. With luck I will have some mite mauling bees to combine with the vsh trait this summer.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

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