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Julie Leiby has published her 2014 master's thesis from LSU on the acceptance of VSH queens by queen breeders.
http://etd.lsu.edu/docs/available/etd-03262014-130020/unrestricted/Leiby_thesis.pdf

Her method was a paper survey sent to a 228 name queen breeder list. She got a significant return rate (about 50%). Among her respondents 46% were using VSH breeder stock in their lineage.

The central portion of her thesis is a predictive model for the uptake of VSH among the queen suppliers. VSH uptake was significnatly conditioned positively on risk adversion and education level, and negatively conditioned on income. No significance to years of experience, age, or colony number under management.

The thesis has some issues (the original list was supplied by Baton Rouge, so VSH was likely overstated). The modal years of breeding experience was 2-4, which likely means newly minted queen breeders were the most enthusiastic respondents.

Absent the issues, the thesis does document the spread of VSH genetics (10+ years after release by Baton Rouge). The adoption curve follows that of many ag technologies -- a slow, but broad diffusion with some evidence for a generational turnover to a younger more educated practitioner.

 

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It is definitely part of the mix in my bees that have had no or few treatments since 2006.
 

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My base stock, the 2003 batch of Italian and Carniolan queens from Koehnen and Sons was certainly not VSH. And at this point, I cannot trace directly any of my current collection from a VSH queen, though it is unlikely that no official VSH genetics exist in my collection, any VHS trait found in my bees would most likely be sourced from natural development.
 

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I believe your bees have been interbreeding with the drones from your commercial queen breeder neighbour?
 

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Based on observation of my bees VSH (from my friendly local VSH queen breeder) results in healthier bees and is worthwhile even though I do treat because mite loads are generally lower between treatments. My goal is to have productive bees - VSH and treatments are just tools, which can work independently or complimentary.
 

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The thesis does not list the queen breeders surveyed, but I know of one VSH breeder in Virginia ... I have a daughter of one of his queens, bred uncontrolled at a friend's apiary. Upon combining her nuc with a queenless Carniolan hive, mites started dropping like rain from the combination. VSH behavior? Nobody seems to know. The sugar roll drop rate was low (2) but anybody looking at the weekly drop would faint.

Here's hoping VSH actually does some good.
 

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Only anecdotal evidence but I introduced VSH genetics last year and added more queens this year. While I never hesitate to treat, I didn't need to last year and so far this year looks to be a repeat. :shhhh: I'm planning to do an OA dribble this fall just to see if anything actually drops, but all my checks (sugar shakes) have been clear so far.

VSH looks really good from here! Hopefully more beeks will give it a try.

JMO

Rusty
 

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A bit more anecdotal evidence but I received two packages this spring and split them once they built up. The donor hives retained the Italian queens while the splits received two locally bred VSH queens. Did a sugar roll this weekend, donor hives had 8 and 12 mites per 300 bees and the "splits" (now single deep hives) had 0 and 2 mites. While far from a conclusive field test or evidence, it's enough keep my interest.
 
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