This is being developed. It is like the liquid nitrogen test, but easier because it is a spray. It could make hygienic breeding much easier. It seems like they uncap then recap the brood without killing it.
Another thing that works really well is waxing strips. They have the built in advantage of being consistently sized so you pull off approximately the same number of caps every time:A method to see if your bees are active uncapper/recappers.
Regarding this assay I was recently in an e-mail exchange with Dr. Büchler and I asked him about the specific product they employ for uncapping/recapping assays. He indicated that after trying several options, they settled on the Isana brand depilatory strips as the best solution.
It does not appear that we have the Isana brand strips available domestically, but it looks like Rossmann also makes the Veet brand.
A search for 'Veet Cold Wax Strips' produces a lot of results.
Hi CiCi,Mike, have you or someone else tried taking colonies with excellent uncapping percentage from the UBO spray and performing Harbo assays to see how they rank? ( I'll email Kaira Wagoner on this, too...)
It seems that there are two ways to determine Varroa Sensitive Hygiene behavior, and if that is the case, your top UBO-performing queens should rank as 4's on the Harbo scale.
Concerning recapping behavior:
I find myself wondering if hygienic colonies that rank high on freeze assays but low on Harbo or USO assays would show any recapping behavior. If NOT, then this might show that recapping is a good indicator of VSH traits. If they DO, then recapping may be an indicator for a wide variety of traits, which might not be as useful as we hope. (I understand that hygenic stock typically do well spotting disease, while VSH do better spotting mites. Although disease-detection is great, I'd rather focus on getting the elephant out of the hive before the mice.)
It would be wonderful if checking for uncapping/recapping behavior would give insight on VSH status of colony. What a great quick tool that would be for queen breeders to have out in the field, with minimal time and cost. Not to replace the Harbo or UBO assays, but to supplement them.
Thank you for joining the discussion! I've seen a few of your presentations to local bee clubs. Do you have a Youtube channel or another avenue for people to watch your presentations?Hi CiCi,
Great question about recapping. We have clear evidence that UBO is correlated with pin-killed and FKB, and growing evidence that it is correlated with mite non-reproduction. We are already making plans to look next into the relationship between UBO and recapping, and should know more after the 2023 field season. Despite being correlated with other hygienic parameters, though, the UBO assay is measuring something different, as mentioned by Michael Palmer above. From my experiments, including a few new ones focused on antennae that I have not published or talked about publicly yet, it looks like colony UBO response is a reliable measure of nurse bee sensitivity to and memory of specific odors associated with mite-parasitized or otherwise unhealthy (but living) brood. Our data suggests UBO high colonies can detect a range of sublethal issues such as Varroa and high virus loads (including viruses NOT transmitted by Varroa). Folks above are correct that we are working to bring it to market, with launch in the US projected for spring of 2024. To help get a sense of where interest in UBO lies and how many tests we will need to produce, we are accepting pre-orders now, with priority given at launch to those who placed a pre-order. If you're interested, you can check out our new website opterabees.com (still under construction so please forgive updates and pages still in progress!) Thanks for your interest, we are eager to get UBOs out into the hands of breeders and beekeepers so they can try it out themselves!
Hi Ruth,Thank you for joining the discussion! I've seen a few of your presentations to local bee clubs. Do you have a Youtube channel or another avenue for people to watch your presentations?
Here is a search link to a number of mentions by @Litsinger of uncapping recapping. What you are looking for might be in there.Thank you for your response, Kaira... looking forward to this summer's research results!
Crofter or Litsinger, could you share the discussion link you refer to in the third & forth response of this discussion?
I've been digging on the web, and I want to personally thank Litsinger for mentioning Dr. Büchler's recapping studies... however, what I could find out there was incomplete. The most current item of interest in the recapping (SMR) phenomenon is this link that provides recapping assay details in Sept 2017: NEW SMR Protocol – RNSBB Unless I misread, it looked like that assay protocol was for a study being launched, but I could not find results of that study.
If anyone could point me to more recent (after 2017) discussions or studies done specifically with recapping and Dr. Buchler, I would appreciate it. I have found only general studies, like the 2022 Jan ABJ article about study of commercial beeks using mite-resistant stock in Europe, but not specific studies on recapping.
For folks needing an explanation on the Harbo assay, he kindly provides details here: harbobeeco - Measure VSH The amount of detail says a lot to this gentleman's dedication to sharing with colleagues, instead of keeping 'trade secrets' that helps only the insiders. Thank you, Dr. Harbo.
Thanks for the assist, @crofter. I sincerely appreciate it!Here is a search link to a number of mentions by @Litsinger of uncapping recapping. What you are looking for might be in there.