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Who says VSH queens can't make brood? Here's a picture of one of my many pure VSH colonies taken today. The colony overwintered in a single deep and is now busting at the seams. I added a second deep this past Monday. BTW, it was 51 F at the time of the picture and 25 F last night. The queen has a huge brood area already.

Enjoy.

 

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I do Astro. :) Are they inseminated or open mated? What level of VSH are we talking? Sorry, just couldn't resist...
These are F1 crosses from pure VSH stock. PM me for details. I've had some VSH in the past that were less than impressive, these are not even close. Get out of the cold North and come down as see for yourself. :)
 

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Don't know who says VSH queens can't make brood, I lost all 10 hives last year which was a mix of who knows what because I obtained 5 different cut outs and at least 1 confirmed Italian strain. I started over in the spring with all VSH stock from a local breeder (7 Stands Bee Farm) and I can say that all 9 made it through our coldest winter on record and are brooding up incredibly fast, so not sure what, when, where or why but I am having great success with mine
 

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Don't know who says VSH queens can't make brood, I lost all 10 hives last year which was a mix of who knows what because I obtained 5 different cut outs and at least 1 confirmed Italian strain. I started over in the spring with all VSH stock from a local breeder (7 Stands Bee Farm) and I can say that all 9 made it through our coldest winter on record and are brooding up incredibly fast, so not sure what, when, where or why but I am having great success with mine
Those are good queens that 7 Stands Bee Farm made for you!

The "brooding" issue with VSH is more of an older debate then a current reality.
Different bee strains respond differently. VSH behavior is a suite of traits, not a specific strain.

We test colonies here that brood like crazy and build-up intensely. These almost always crash and die in our untreated management program.
Colonies bred to express VSH behavior may not brood as much as the high-yield ones, but they're there the next season!

The bee breeding future is bright and there are many "works in progress" if you will. VSH will certainly be part of that future.

Adam
http://vpqueenbees.com
 

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Adam:

I've bookmarked your 7 stands page.

What is the average VSH % of your queens if you don't mind my asking?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The "brooding" issue with VSH is more of an older debate then a current reality.
Different bee strains respond differently. VSH behavior is a suite of traits, not a specific strain.

We test colonies here that brood like crazy and build-up intensely. These almost always crash and die in our untreated management program.
Colonies bred to express VSH behavior may not brood as much as the high-yield ones, but they're there the next season!

All true. I have some colonies from VSH stock derived from early Glenn stock which are going into their 5th year with zero treatments. One of these made 5 supers of honey last spring and three in the summer. Very low mite counts and bursting at the seams right now. They are currently in 2 deeps and 1 medium. I've also had some Glenn stock that simply couldn't maintain populations and ultimately died. Current VSH stock seems not to suffer from the same brood issues of days past. Of course this is a long-term program, but I agree that the future seems bright. However, as always, proceeding with caution...with eyes wide open.
 

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In the end, a commercial beekeeper must weigh in all of the important factors and calculate what is most profitable for his business. If one can choose between a super productive strain that needs to be treated and doesn't overwinter well and a super resistant strain that produces mediocre supplies but doesn't need to be treated and overwinters well, which is best? One needs to calculate the profit values of the honey production difference, the costs of treatment, and the costs of lost colony replacement (including lowered productivity of new colonies).

This is something I don't think anyone can give a pre-made answer for. Which bees are best depends on what kind of operation one is running. Are you selling a lot of honey retail, or is it almost all going to packers? This affects the value of your honey, and thus the value of high honey-producing strains. Do you pollinate much? Having better winter survival means it is easier to bring more colonies into the early pollination crops, while if you don't pollinate much and your honey flows aren't early, winter survival rate isn't quite as important. And so on.

Even if I favor resistant bees, I've always believed that there is no universally "best" bee, and that all beekeepers have different needs.
 

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Astro,

I too have inseminated queens heading full size colonies that are 3, 4, and in rare instances 5 years old. These are the same queens heading production colonies. Are the mite resistant?

Adam and Astro,

Are you actively measuring and selecting for a certain percentage of VSH expression in the colonies? If the brood issue is a thing of the past..., then what percentage VSH expression is ideal and viable to prevent brood issues?

Thanks,
Joe
 

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Adam:

I've bookmarked your 7 stands page.

What is the average VSH % of your queens if you don't mind my asking?
Hi WLC,

7 Stands is a producer in NC. They work with us off and on.

Looking at a pure VSH Breeder queen from us, the VSH expression is around 90% although this is a "rough" or "field" term.
We don't calculate "%VSH" on the USDA stock we select from.

Pol-line breeder queens have less "%VSH" then pure VSH Breeders. We receive great feed-back on them.
VSH Italian and VSH Carniolan should have around "75%VSH", but like I said, we don't quantify VSH%.

We do use stock that is known to express VSH highly, use a closed mating program through AI,
practice performance selection on breeding candidates and select from untreated survivors.
Adam

www.vpqueenbees.com
 

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Thanks Adam.

I've read a study showing that at 75% VSH, mite counts in late summer were below the 5% threshold.

So, those would be the type of VSH queens that I would want in a treatment free setting.
 

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Astro,

I too have inseminated queens heading full size colonies that are 3, 4, and in rare instances 5 years old. These are the same queens heading production colonies. Are the mite resistant?

Adam and Astro,

Are you actively measuring and selecting for a certain percentage of VSH expression in the colonies? If the brood issue is a thing of the past..., then what percentage VSH expression is ideal and viable to prevent brood issues?

Thanks,
Joe
Hi Joe, looks like we all have time to post on beesource... :) Once you have proper drones, I know where you'll be... ;)


Simple background scenario:

We try to produce for use, the highest yeilding, best performing breeder queen we can. In this process, we use AI to minimize the variance natural mating introduces into hereditary expression.

We use breeding stock that survives without mite treatment for two seasons in our operation, and who we deem has performed well enough to potentially
impart positive influence in our breeding population. Most of our candidates that survive are from the USDA breeding program.

We use gross testing (http://vpqueenbees.com/vp-breeding-program/vp-alcohol-wash-assay) and receive foundation
VSH stock from the USDA that we then use: we evaluate it and then select from it.

We don't use any mite control. We've avoided using any antibiotic but last season we used some (Tetracycline--what's in Terramycin) to clean up some stress related EFB-type symptoms. (We're interested to see if that re-appears).

To answer your question:

Are you actively measuring and selecting for a certain percentage of VSH expression in the colonies? If the brood issue is a thing of the past..., then what percentage VSH expression is ideal and viable to prevent brood issues?
Joe, We are not actively measuring for "VSH percentage" in our colonies. We are actively measuring and selecting for VSH behavior using a specific metric that has been discussed here before: Non-reproduction or infertility. This selection and survivability, coupled with our breeding program, is how we produce the stock we provide. If we see brood issues, we cull.

I think a high "%VSH" or a highly expressing VSH breeding unit would not make a good production queen, but is extremely suitable for a breeder queen used for virgins or drone mothers. If VSH expression rises in one's population overall, the population will become more resistant to mites and require less mite treatment to be productive. This is an ongoing process and is dynamic.

VSH for mite resistance is the "tip of the iceberg" in bee breeding but certainly has been a good place to start.

Adam
www.vpqueenbees.com
 

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Don't mean to sound like a smart a#%,But I've got several hives that I know without a doubt has not been treated with anything in over 7 years,
They are doing real good,Plenty of bees in the last 2 weeks that I've checked.
Does that rate them as VSH?
 

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Don't mean to sound like a smart a#%,But I've got several hives that I know without a doubt has not been treated with anything in over 7 years,
They are doing real good,Plenty of bees in the last 2 weeks that I've checked.
Does that rate them as VSH?
VSH helps survival, but survival does not imply VSH.
 

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My VSH breeder from Vpqueens is off the chain this spring. I overwintered her in a five frame nuc. I had to move them up into a ten frame box back in early Feb. by early March I split the hive and moved her back into a five frame box, well yesterday I had to add another five frame box on top. The nuc box was packed she had laid up three of the five frames solid. The F1 daughters I raised last year are doing the same thing.
 
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