Best Varroa Resistant Breed for NH
Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 85
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Nashua, NH, USA
    Posts
    31

    Default Best Varroa Resistant Breed for NH

    The success of treatment free beekeeping seems to depend primarily on genetics. I am trying to decide which strain(s) to start with. What would you recommend? VSH? Russian? Biting breeds?

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
    Posts
    4,015

    Default Re: Best Varroa Resistant Breed

    The best bees so far are the ones I caught in swarm traps and the second best was bought from a local beek that doesn't treat. Then if they live, they are the best. I am only starting my third summer with bees but so far they live and I don't treat. Take it for what it is worth. I have no ideal if the swarms I caught came from somebodies bought hive or some tree. They are alive after thier second winter though. I only have 8 hives.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee
    Posts
    1,407

    Default Re: Best Varroa Resistant Breed

    I am a fan of russian stock. However, no honeybee is fully immune to the mites and viruses. Even if you don't practice "treatments" I would still make splits to break up the mite cycle and remove drone comb to give your bees a leg up.
    Splitting a first year hive successfully https://youtu.be/ZfRTreQ-S9c

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Red Bud, IL, USA
    Posts
    1,803

    Default Re: Best Varroa Resistant Breed

    The success of treatment free beekeeping seems to depend primarily on genetics
    I'm not TF but I do incorporate a couple queens with hygienic behaviors every year. My opinion of those that have been TF for 3+ years is they work at it. The bees genetics help but they're not there yet. TF isn't a fire and forget proposition, I would say the greater part of the success lies with the beekeeper.
    The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place. -George Bernard Shaw

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Nashua, NH, USA
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Best Varroa Resistant Breed

    Quote Originally Posted by Eikel View Post
    TF isn't a fire and forget proposition, I would say the greater part of the success lies with the beekeeper.
    Of course bees with good genetics still need to be managed, mainpulated and evaluated/requeened for mite resistance . Perhaps I am mistaken, but even the best treatment free beekeeper can't keep bees with little resistance to varroa alive.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,148

    Default Re: Best Varroa Resistant Breed

    Quote Originally Posted by NHbeek View Post
    The success of treatment free beekeeping seems to depend primarily on genetics.
    i'm not sure that 'primarily' has been established as of yet. there is still much we do not know about mite resistance. in addition to genetics and management techniques there are other considerations such as climate, having large expanses of wooded lands providing habitat for and the existence of surviving ferals, abundance and quality of forage, and exposure to monoculture and pesticides to name a few.

    generally speaking the folks reporting year after year success on this forum are working with locally adapted hybridized mutt survivors, tend to have an established feral population in the area, and tend to not have large treated apiaries in their immediate vicinity.

    in addition to thwarting the mites' ability to reproduce there are other traits which appear to be involved as well. these traits include the ability to modulate brood rearing in response to forage availability (i.e. natural brood breaks), the tendency to not allow drifting bees into the hive, and a decreased propensity for robbing.

    my usual suggestion is to (when possible) locate beekeepers in your general area already having success off treatments and obtain bees and advice from them. another approach might be to cut out and/or trap swarms of proven overwintered feral colonies.

    if that is not possible then search as you are doing for bees having desirable traits. be prepared to monitor closely and have a plan in place to deal with mite collapse in such a way that you don't spread mites to other hives in your apiary or in your neighborhood.

    most bees (there are some exceptions) available for purchase that are produced commercially are going to come with a history of being treated for mites. expecting them to be successful after stopping treatments 'cold turkey' may be asking too much.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Escambia County Florida
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: Best Varroa Resistant Breed

    I agree with SP, it has a lot to do with the area you are in. If there is a lot of agriculture then the bees are exposed to herbicides and pesticides that have to impact the colony. I am fortunate to live in an area without a lot of row crop agriculture close by and to the east about a mile or so away is a large river swamp. Not sure if the swarm I started with was from feral bees in the swamp or escapees from a local beek (there are a couple about 3 miles away but none that I know of closer). Things may crash on me tomorrow but so far, knock on wood, I have been happy with my mutts! Actually caught two swarms in the last week!��

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Lottsburg, Virginia USA
    Posts
    1,720

    Default Re: Best Varroa Resistant Breed

    Generally speaking the folks reporting year after year success, you are not insinuating that only the TF guys are experiencing success are you as that is definitely not true. At this point I know of no resistant bees that are truly resistant in all areas. The USDA and many other organizations are working in this direction but there has been no major breakthrough despite what you may hear to the contrary, Some bees are just a little better than others but if brought into contact with virulent mites and viruses will succumb just like the rest. Sure there are areas that folks claim to keep bees for years without treatment but how this actually happens is pure speculation as no one knows the answer. These bees do not do well in other locations.
    Johno

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Escambia County Florida
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: Best Varroa Resistant Breed

    No, I am not insinuating that there are not others who are succesful with a different approach. All I am saying is that, so far, I have been able to consistently increase my hive count and have not treated with the exception of one hive two years ago. I agree with you that location and other factors play a large part in being able to keep bees treatment free. And I am not sure one way or the other if you could take my bees to another location and keep them without treatments. I have no data to say one way or the other so I would not make those claims.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
    Posts
    4,015

    Default Re: Best Varroa Resistant Breed

    notapro
    It is nice that it works that way where you are though, isn't it?
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  12. #11

    Default Re: Best Varroa Resistant Breed

    In any case, bees that have been selected for mite resistance and health are better to start tf, more importantly, if they have been bred to the north of their own location, as they will then have an easier time adjusting.
    It does not have to be a professional breed, these bees may also have come from local hobby farming, but they should have been selected.

    At tf attitude nature often selects, with treatment attitude the beekeeper should also have read out on hygienic behavior, grooming or other.
    Then you have to select your own adapted bees or let it be consistent with nature and accept higher losses until everything stabilizes.

    The mite drift has been explored by Dr Liebig.
    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerhard_Liebig
    A collapsing hive in your own apiary releases about 5% phoretic mites if it happens in the flying season, a number that John Kefuss would probably welcome to trigger the resistance.

    In general, our bees are in poor health, mainly due to the lack of microorganisms due to constant treatments, unfavorable interior hive climate, too many and too close standing hives and unnatural management, especially the breaking up of the broodnest.
    That is why the brood diseases have become so common. Brood disease like foul brood are a symptom of a declining immune system lacking the necessary microorganisms the bees need to heal themselves. IMO.

    By the way, my AMM survivor hive, being surrounded by + - 35 treated susceptible commercial stock distance 200m to 1km is still alive and strong. Why is that? The queen is still there or her daughter if she was superseded, I never fed them, they are not opened for 10 months now. Grandma was a resistant queen from 2014 bred survivor attitude. Descendants are mutts. Colony is 2 years old, 2 winters.
    They are exposed to spraying too. I now offered them to a scientific research program.

    Beekeepers give the bees no chance to heal themselves anymore like it was in former times.
    Last edited by 1102009; 04-10-2018 at 11:28 PM.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Lottsburg, Virginia USA
    Posts
    1,720

    Default Re: Best Varroa Resistant Breed

    In an article I read about John Kefuss's bees he paid beekeepers a penny a mite for mites found in his hives and very few were found, so the resistance would be from the lack of mites. However trials carried out with his bees and some resistant bees from Gothenburg with standard bees as control found that all the bees died from mite related causes. So what I am trying to get across is that a small minority of bees survive treatment free and it does not work for every one as the location seems to effect the success.
    Johno

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rosebud Missouri
    Posts
    4,015

    Default Re: Best Varroa Resistant Breed

    Johno
    it does not work for every one as the location seems to effect the success.
    You mean just like location can affect honey production? Location probly has an effect on lots of things.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  15. #14

    Default Re: Best Varroa Resistant Breed

    Johno,
    how much time did you spend talking to Kefuss himself?
    Well the guys who worked for him found the one or two mites but they did not get rich!

    I spend more than 4 hours talking privately about bees with him on the conference being part of a little group interested. He is most generous with all you want to know and how his bees fare in different locations.

    He gave me his e-mail.
    Bartek and I got his monitoring pc program to use for free. He was intrigued by the "Fort Knox" approach the polish beekeepers started.
    http://wolnepszczoly.org/about-us/

    So nobody must fear losses and may use only a small number of his hives for resistance breeding. Complaining is not a strategy. Standstill is not a good strategy.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Port Angeles, WA, USA
    Posts
    469

    Default Re: Best Varroa Resistant Breed

    Quote Originally Posted by NHbeek View Post
    The success of treatment free beekeeping seems to depend primarily on genetics. I am trying to decide which strain(s) to start with. What would you recommend? VSH? Russian? Biting breeds?
    I'm going to vote on VSH, with a caveat. The breeder has to actually be maintaining the trait, that goes with ankle biter, russian etc. It has to be maintained, and I don't think many are doing so.

    A 100% expressing VSH hive will have ZERO reproducing mites. A 75% expressing hive will only allow around 50% of mites to be reproducing. A 50% expressing hive will allow around 67% of mites to be reproducing. This all excludes drone bees, which is generally pretty minimal and only for part of the year.

    Expressing : reproducing mites
    100% : 0%
    75% : 50%
    50% : 67%

    Russians: Hard to find pure russians that are still being selected for mite resistance, seems many have returned to treating them or letting them out cross.

    Ankle Biter: From what I'm hearing, they are not quite production ready yet. Hoping to get my hands on a breeder this year to see for myself. Perhaps this would be a very useful trait to cross into a high expressing VSH line.
    Instrumental Insemination & Northern VSH Queens

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Kamloops, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,407

    Default Re: Best Varroa Resistant Breed

    We still don't respect the impact local adaptation has on mite resistance. Move a queen into a new environment and watch mite resistance fail, regardless of the type. This is the factor that is muddying the waters for breeding programs.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Port Angeles, WA, USA
    Posts
    469

    Default Re: Best Varroa Resistant Breed

    Quote Originally Posted by lharder View Post
    We still don't respect the impact local adaptation has on mite resistance. Move a queen into a new environment and watch mite resistance fail, regardless of the type. This is the factor that is muddying the waters for breeding programs.
    I think we have two things here, resistance and tolerance. I believe localized bees are far more TOLERANT to mites while in their preferred environment. They do better there, and thus can handle the mites better.

    When you have an actual mite resistance trait, like VSH, it is going to function in any environment. I'm not saying the hive will overwinter better in any environment, or whatever. I'm saying those bees are still going to detect and remove reproducing mites.
    Instrumental Insemination & Northern VSH Queens

  19. #18

    Default Re: Best Varroa Resistant Breed

    Quote Originally Posted by lharder View Post
    We still don't respect the impact local adaptation has on mite resistance. Move a queen into a new environment and watch mite resistance fail, regardless of the type. This is the factor that is muddying the waters for breeding programs.
    Im not so sure anymore about that after listening to the presentations. The queen seems to be just a part of the unity, she spends all her time in the interior and lays eggs, the bees are the ones which are in confrontation with the environment and supply the hive.
    And Im more and more convinced all our bees are more or less mite resistant, yes and brood disease resistant too, no matter what queen, and its beekeeping managements, hive constellations and constant treatments and the killing of the microorganisms that is the problem, plus the impact of agriculture and climate.

    The genetics of survivor queens, no matter if imported ( hopefully from the north), seem to give a good start. The imported stock is the one in my yards which is still alive, not the local ones. But this could be different with local ferals or those not treated for years.
    Juhani said this about his queens too which are performing well in italy.

  20. #19

    Default Re: Best Varroa Resistant Breed

    Quote Originally Posted by SiWolKe View Post
    Juhani said this about his queens too which are performing well in italy.
    Yes. To be exact I meant (hopefully said too ) that our queens are not found to be totally varroa resistant in South Italy circumstances, but they perform better that any other breed Luca Consigli has tried. Seems that genetics have impact, and so does environment.

    I remember a comment of our bees from Roger White in Cyprys: our bees had the tendency of boiling out of hive. They just could not stand the heat. I could not blame them
    14.4.2018.jpg

    Yesterday it looked like this, and they brought first pollen loads of this spring, probably alder.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Kamloops, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,407

    Default Re: Best Varroa Resistant Breed

    I don't think anyone will be able to just import queens that do well under tf conditions, unless you have to import from across the street from an established tf operation. However, its a useful first step if you are starting from scratch. Its probably imperative to raise daughters asap from imported "resistant" queens then use the hybrids as a useful first step. Or how about just testing local stock that is doing well and see if some resistance is developing under our nose. I think that many of our local beekeepers have been prophylactically using mite away strips without doing mite counts. Some are starting to, finding 10 percent mite counts in fall, treat with acids, and expect the hive to die. But it doesn't.

    I think the downside of organic acids is beginning to show. The mites really don't develop resistance to it, can be used over and over, and essentially removes almost all selective pressure related to mites from the bees. Any resistance to viruses goes out the window and it eventually becomes a zero sum game. Same weird losses as soon as there is any failure in treatment.

Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •