What to except.
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Thread: What to except.

  1. #1
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    Default What to except.

    I talked to the beekeeper I will be getting my nuc from in March and he said his queens are hybrid. They have VSH/Carolina/Italian queen. I am wondering what the except from a queen like that, I personally never heard of this type of hybrid.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: What to except.

    Most honey bees in the US are hybrids or mutts. What we call Carniolans or Italians are merely a line of bees with the general traits of those varieties, such as color, temperament or productivity, but are not pure bred. You can expect them to act about like any honey bee, I guess.

    What to specifically expect from that line of bees, only that beekeeper or others that own them from that line will be able to tell you.
    Never ask a barber it he thinks you need a haircut.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: What to except.

    I think it is mainly sales hype; certainly a misuse of the precise meaning of the word hybrid. I agree with Hops Brewster.

    VSH behavior (varroa sensing hygenic) is not a permanent trait or assignable to any one type of bee.
    Frank

  5. #4
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    I thought VSH was a permanent trait, that is why it is so good for breeding. So having a mixed queen isnt really going change any behavior things but will it increase or decrease and thing?

  6. #5
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    Default Re: What to except.

    My understanding is that VS behavior needs an ongoing balancing act to maintain a desirable level. If you are continually replacing all queens from a producer who is doing selection for desired levels of traits suitable to your conditions you can benefit from a mix of traits but if your bees are open breeding that will quickly fade to the background bee characteristics in your area.

    Your supplier could be such a person who has the expertise and is doing that degree of controlled breeding; if so his name will likely be well known and I owe him or her an apology for being skeptical.

    My original bees and some replacement queens met that criteria. That person has received some quite prestigious awards for contributions to bee research in Canada. He worked out of the University of Guelph. Do a search on Tibor Szabo Sr.
    Frank

  7. #6

    Default Re: What to except.

    Unless you are buying an instrumentally inseminated breeder, your queens will be open mated and their progeny hybrids. All of the genuine vsh production queen providers Iím aware of buy II breeders so when they graft queens from them those queens will be pure vsh but those pure vsh queens are then open mated so the workers they produce will contain a hybrid mix of the vsh maternal genetics and the genetics from the drones that queen mated with.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  8. #7

    Default Re: What to except.

    What can you expect? That first generation of hybrid progeny should still have some level of the vsh trait. Every time that original queen is replaced….supercedure or swarm….the trait will be diluted.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  9. #8
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    So as long as I do not let them make there own queen and keep a VSH queen the traits stays strong, which makes sense. I am close to some known spots that Africanized bees have been found in so I would not do what i did in Ma and let them make a queen naturally. He does artificial insemination for queens but his NUCs will not have them. Is it true artificial inseminated queens are expensive and are just as productive as naturally made queens?

  10. #9
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    Default Re: What to except.

    Quote Originally Posted by nhoyt View Post
    So Is it true artificial inseminated queens are expensive and are just as productive as naturally made queens?
    I did an insemination class from Joe Latshaw several years ago. If I remember the information from the class there isn't a difference in productivity as such that the i.i. are inferior in their egg laying ability. There's probably an argument that ii queens are potentially more productive given that her spermatheca is more likely to be full from the i.i. process vs the crap shoot that open mating is. Whether or not they're more expensive I guess that's dependent on where you purchase them from. If you inseminate your own queens then no, they're not expensive. If you buy from reputable breeders that are established in the industry you can expect to pay upwards of 2-500 dollars or more.

    *Edit*

    Just as an edit to this since I'm thinking about it after the fact. Instrumental Insemination is not difficult to do, really no more difficult than grafting; it is however a skill, and like any skill it requires time and effort to become proficient at it. If you have the money to purchase some i.i. equipment and watch some of Sue Cobey's youtube videos you could probably figure it out on your own. The class from Joe was one of the funnest/coolest experiences I've had in beekeeping. I don't know if he still puts on classes or not but if you were interested in instrumental insemination and could get into one I would highly recommend it. Joe and Leah are the salt of the earth
    We the willing have done so much with so little for so long we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: What to except.

    nhoyt
    I'll try to condense this. VSH genetics have been worked on for 20 years or so. USDA, Glenn apiaries, John Harbo, VP Queens, are some of the names you will find. VSH is a trait expressed by the workers that have a combination of several alleles, unfortunately the "genes" are not dominant so they get diluted in open mating unless some of the drones also carry the genes. As a rule, the open mated daughters from a true II VSH breeder queen will produce good results. They also produce drones that carry the genes. (A good thing in the open mating population.)The second generation, Grand daughters also express the traits. After that, unless some mating with VSH drones occurs the trait is too diluted to be expressed. I raise VSH daughters from Harbo and VP breeders and spread out drone colonies around the mating yards to help the drone input as well as supplying Queens to other folks in the area to help spread the genetics.

  12. #11
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    I wouldn't be hung up on genetics. You'll have bees may resmeble a purer gene line but probably arnt genetically the same unless they're artifically inseminating.

  13. #12
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    Got it.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: What to except.

    The one ancestor in said hybrids I worry about is the Carniolans. This race of bees tends to change colony strength in response to any minor change in conditions, which often boils down to less bees with plenty of nectar / pollen flow to come. This works out favorably for their survival in the Balkans and on up into Eastern Europe, but not so well in Florida. Go with Italians. You'll have more bees when you need them, and the queens will lay eggs if you feed them.

    The VSH traits are helpful for a generation or 2 or 3 if you are dealing with a heavy varroa mite load, but treatment is better until we get traits that really hurt the mite population. So far, Mite Mauling combined with a brood break is hard to beat. Mite mauling means the bees bite the mites in half.

  15. #14

    Default Re: What to except.

    From my experience vsh is a blessing and curse combined. The method of interrupting mite reproduction is the removal of infested pupae. By the time the brood has begun pupating the colony has already invested all of the energy and resources needed to produce an adult worker bee. Removing those pupae wastes a tremendous amount of colony investment. In a colony that has a high mite load the burden can be insurmountable.
    I’ve found that introducing a vsh queen into a colony with a high mite load is a recipe for failure. If I knock the mites down to a low level before introducing the vsh queen they seem to be much more successful.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  16. #15
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    Default Re: What to except.

    Beemandan
    I agree VSH is not a silver bullet, you still have to manage varroa loads. A comment about spotty brood patterns with VSH Queens often traces back to high mite loads. In mentoring folks I tell them to look at egg laying pattern, and larva pattern as well as capped brood. In the first two are uniform and the capped brood is spotty it is often high mite load and hygienic behavior. Treat and the patterns look good again.

  17. #16

    Default Re: What to except.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Davis View Post
    Treat and the patterns look good again.
    Agree. I've talked to beekeepers who complained about vsh queens. Often, it turns out that they put a vsh queen into a hive with a heavy mite infestation and expected it to fix the problem. The vsh queens I've gotten have been fine but, as you said not a silver bullet..

    Someday someone may isolate a trait in honey bees that interrupts mite reproduction earlier in the process and that would be wonderful. But....after decades of trying it hasn't happened and so I suspect that this is as good as it is going to get.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  18. #17
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    I am getting a nuc so I will assume the mite load is low-ish... I will give it time and see how it is.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: What to except.

    I would not assume that. Nucs can increase in size quickly by producing a lot of brood. Mites reproduce in brood.

    Tom

  20. #19
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    No I get that part but u an saying if the beekeeper kept the mite load down prior it will give me a week or so to see how to mite load it, or am I completely wrong? Which I am accustomed to lol.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: What to except.

    Quote Originally Posted by nhoyt View Post
    I talked to the beekeeper I will be getting my nuc from in March and he said his queens are hybrid. They have VSH/Carolina/Italian queen. I am wondering what the except from a queen like that, I personally never heard of this type of hybrid.
    I'm pretty rigid in what I refer to as VSH. So, unless this seller is buying VSH breeder queens and making daughters, or producing "real" VSH queens themselves (this takes a lot of effort!!), then it's highly likely that what you're buying is an average queen, and you should not expect any particular level of varroa resistance. This also suggests that you should not assume that the nuc you're getting will have low varroa. Don't get disturbed by this news, unless they are charging a premium for this queen. I'd be much more concerned about how well provisioned this nuc is (lots of bees and brood).
    Last edited by AstroBee; 10-04-2018 at 04:41 PM.
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