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I am going to ask a dumb Newbee question and hope I don't set off a fire storm. I am going to start a new bee yard on some property I have and after surviving a mite bomb in August (well, hopefully stay tuned for March) would like to buy some VSH stock (nuc's or Queens). Now as I understand it, the VSH lines will for the most part, clean out Varroa and other pest to a higher degree than say commercially available strains. When my mite bomb(s) hit in August, I fought back with Formic pads and then OAV'd the hive the following month with another shot last week due to heavy warm weather activity. With VSH bees and observation, will I need to do any treatment should observations show any serious levels of mite? I mean in an ideal world I'd like to be TF but on the other hand, I'm just not into killing stuff if theirs a way to save them. I think it was JW Palmer who used the term "Bond" regarding some hives he had which I was unfamiliar with and through some reading, the live and let die thing came out. Kinda cold-do you have to be "cruel to be kind"? I'd like to introduce VSH into the new yard and eventually into my original yard through queen rearing and splits. Are VSH "fire and forget" or is an IPM practice part of it?
 

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What massbee said.
They help slow the reproduction rate of the varroa but are not the silver bullet we wish for.
Still need to monitor and treat if appropriate.
I find roughly half as often.
Be very aware that robbing and crashing hives with drifting bees will result in very high mite loads that are outside the normal mite reproduction process.
If you don't monitor things can go downhill quickly.
 

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With Youtube, a person can advocate a particular idea and there really is no way to know if it has merit or not. Here on Beesource, if a bad idea is presented, there are an untold number of beekeepers that will call it out and beat it up. So, if it is accepted here, chances are it is not a bad idea. Whether it is good or not is left for the individual to decide.

Example would be mason jar hive top feeders. See them all the time. I use them in my nucs. But if you don't know that they can't be used in the winter, you might kill a bunch of bees (the syrup rains down on the cluster when the jar warms up).
 

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They are not a fine and forget. I have all VSH queens and still need to treat for varroa. It’s just one part of the IPM.
Even with hygenic and mite resistant lines, you still need to monitor for mites. You may not have to treat them as often, or as early, as other lines, but, in most cases, they will still require a mite control of some sort.
 

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Another consideration with vsh. I have been adding them to my mix for a few years and believe that it is a good trait to have in a limited amount. The underlying issue is that the trait presents itself very late in the bees’ development. The vsh responsive bees detect an infestation in an already capped brood cell. By the time they respond to it, the colony has already invested all of the resources and energy to produce an adult bee. When the infested pupae are removed that investment has been totally wasted.
From my experience having vsh queens may reduce the frequency of required treating. At the same time a colony exhibiting a high degree of the trait will not thrive. It is a catch 22.
 

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I am going to ask a dumb Newbee question and hope I don't set off a fire storm. I am going to start a new bee yard on some property I have and after surviving a mite bomb in August (well, hopefully stay tuned for March) would like to buy some VSH stock (nuc's or Queens). Now as I understand it, the VSH lines will for the most part, clean out Varroa and other pest to a higher degree than say commercially available strains. When my mite bomb(s) hit in August, I fought back with Formic pads and then OAV'd the hive the following month with another shot last week due to heavy warm weather activity. With VSH bees and observation, will I need to do any treatment should observations show any serious levels of mite? I mean in an ideal world I'd like to be TF but on the other hand, I'm just not into killing stuff if theirs a way to save them. I think it was JW Palmer who used the term "Bond" regarding some hives he had which I was unfamiliar with and through some reading, the live and let die thing came out. Kinda cold-do you have to be "cruel to be kind"? I'd like to introduce VSH into the new yard and eventually into my original yard through queen rearing and splits. Are VSH "fire and forget" or is an IPM practice part of it?
I am going to ask a dumb Newbee question and hope I don't set off a fire storm. I am going to start a new bee yard on some property I have and after surviving a mite bomb in August (well, hopefully stay tuned for March) would like to buy some VSH stock (nuc's or Queens). Now as I understand it, the VSH lines will for the most part, clean out Varroa and other pest to a higher degree than say commercially available strains. When my mite bomb(s) hit in August, I fought back with Formic pads and then OAV'd the hive the following month with another shot last week due to heavy warm weather activity. With VSH bees and observation, will I need to do any treatment should observations show any serious levels of mite? I mean in an ideal world I'd like to be TF but on the other hand, I'm just not into killing stuff if theirs a way to save them. I think it was JW Palmer who used the term "Bond" regarding some hives he had which I was unfamiliar with and through some reading, the live and let die thing came out. Kinda cold-do you have to be "cruel to be kind"? I'd like to introduce VSH into the new yard and eventually into my original yard through queen rearing and splits. Are VSH "fire and forget" or is an IPM practice part of it?
I over winter these 4 Frame 1/2 length Double and some times tripled stack mating Nuc, I raise VSH Queens started out with the SMR and the First Russian Breeder Queens offered in the USA then bought Russian Breeder Queens from Charlie Harper 5 years until he quit selling them I also bought VSH from Glenn's for a few years and now I am buying From Adam the VSH Pol-Line 2.2 the VSH Trait is a great program to work with. I have not Treated with any form or fashion for V-mites this was the 9th year. and I over winter these small mating Nuc. The only I treat 2018 was some packages out of Georgia and just that spring until i got some VSH into them.


61514
 

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Are VSH "fire and forget" or is an IPM practice part of it?
IPM
If there was a fire and forget bee, most of us would be running it
When my mite bomb(s) hit in August, I fought back with Formic pads
A warning..
As I am sure you know with normal hives the mite bombs cause them to crash as the brood dies or the bees are sickly
The incoming mites can be on a massive scale, Seeley (2019) saw an average increase of 14.5 mites/300 bees and some were in the 40/300 range.
VSH can cause mite bombed hives to remove too much brood and crash. Its great to keep levels down and stop a hive from bombing out, but there are few (if any) genetics that will turn the tide of a sold mite bomb so you will stilll need to keep an eye on your mites..
Its a good trait when you run a large majority of the hives in a given area..a few hives on the out side don't matter even if the bomb out the load is so distrubutied you yards are a mite black hole .. the mites come in a few at a time and don't come out.... Do to this Many of the VSH breeders don't treat, and in fact bring in "mite candy" packages to raize mites in to seed hives for testing so they can get enuff resolution..
the effect is much less dramatic if you just a have a few hives and are surrounded by outhers
 

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I over winter these 4 Frame 1/2 length Double and some times tripled stack mating Nuc, I raise VSH Queens started out with the SMR and the First Russian Breeder Queens offered in the USA then bought Russian Breeder Queens from Charlie Harper 5 years until he quit selling them I also bought VSH from Glenn's for a few years and now I am buying From Adam the VSH Pol-Line 2.2 the VSH Trait is a great program to work with. I have not Treated with any form or fashion for V-mites this was the 9th year. and I over winter these small mating Nuc. The only I treat 2018 was some packages out of Georgia and just that spring until i got some VSH into them.
Did you work with the ankle biter trait as well?

How is the robbing behavior and the ability to sense the seasons in the Pol-line bees now?
 

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Another thing to keep in mind for the smaller operators.
You get a bred VHS queen her bees are "fine" "100% VHS" She gets superseded, the new Queens offspring are 50% VHS and 50% Baby daddy, what ever is in your DCA. the next spring you raise some queens or we have a swarm or supersede. the 50% VHS is Now 25% so in a short < 2 years the traits can be watered down.

I ordered a couple Queens from Better Bee "northern Queen" They looked nice were accepted, had a good pattern.
As they were Marked, I noted in 2 months, both hives were now headed by unmarked queens. they were too small to swarm, so they likely got superseded. So keeping any line pure will take some effort.

GG
 

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I was listening to the UF honeybee podcast, and Jamie Ellis said if you want to keep a certain type of bee, you must re-queen every year with a queen of known genetics.

So... If you're raising survivor stock, this probably isn't going to work well for you. If you're ok with buying new queens every year from a known source, then this is ok.
 

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I am of the opinion that new beekeepers have enough things to worry about just keeping the hives alive. They shouldn't also throw in difficult and complex things like treatment-free. I did and regretted it. I eventually figured out that TF wasn't working and by the time I had treated it was too late and the hives all died.

I still am mostly TF, but it's a gamble. I used oxalic acid this year for the first time, and have used Apivar strips in the past a few times. I am going into my 5th year keeping bees and still have a lot to learn. I would not be at all surprised come spring to see all my hives dead. I had good survival last year, but one year can be a fluke, or luck.
 

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I am of the opinion that new beekeepers have enough things to worry about just keeping the hives alive. They shouldn't also throw in difficult and complex things like treatment-free. I did and regretted it. I eventually figured out that TF wasn't working and by the time I had treated it was too late and the hives all died.

I still am mostly TF, but it's a gamble. I used oxalic acid this year for the first time, and have used Apivar strips in the past a few times. I am going into my 5th year keeping bees and still have a lot to learn. I would not be at all surprised come spring to see all my hives dead. I had good survival last year, but one year can be a fluke, or luck.
Ar1

try to keep notes during the year.
spring Hive strength, Queen source, test and treatment dates, crop, weather etc.

If you have a really good year the notes will help to get a repeat. IF the year went in the dumpster, the review may show, hints, sooner treatment, more testing, or other things. Some keepers have a fairly strict schedule of things they do. The reason is it seems to work.
If I have a really strong looking spring Hive, it is nice to know the Queen source, Queen age, how it performed last year what I did for treatments, etc.

As well for me I tend to use bloom dates not numerical dates.
Like ,,, seen Dandelions, added first super. Apples just finished bloom, Applied first of 3 VAP.
First frost pulled liquid feed.
I find events carry more weight that actual dates. Sometimes dates are helpful, like 4th of July prep and fill last batch of NUCs, but in general for me the bloom/event timing is my trigger.

A repeat of a good year is easier if you have a map to follow. Or if you found you needed to feed a lot of hives the year before maybe pull honey sooner, let them keep the last 6 weeks instead of the last 4 weeks of flow.

GG
 

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I am going to add to what Velbert, Grey Goose and msl have said, all are spot on in their comments.
I raise VSH Queens from the same breeder source as Velbert and also John Harbo.
In my area I have good success overwintering in many configurations from large colonies for honey production to single medium five frames.

VSH is a recessive trait that is a combination of several gene locations and does fade out over several generations if not added to by the mating contributions from the drone side. It is not expressed exactly as the 100/50/25 example but is expressed in the f1 and f2 generations (daughters and granddaughters of the original breeder queen) well. A way to continue it further is to have drones that also carry the genes. The way bee biology works that means that the f1 generation drones are the same as the gene makeup from their mother (the results of the inseminated breeder queen). One strategy to improve the genetics would be to bring in enough f1 Queens to use both to graft from and for drone mothers trying to reduce drone contributions from other colonies as well. Grafting from the best f2 daughter would be a crapshoot even though she should show good VSH expression in her colony.

Some colonies do seem to suffer slow growth with VSH queens, looking like poor laying pattern. Remember that if the mite load is already up the bees are doing what they are bred to do, removing infected brood. Treat to reduce the mites and you will usually find it is not an issue with the queen.
 

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VSH is a recessive trait that is a combination of several gene locations
Its an additive trait, the more alleles you have the more its expressed, this why it doesn't get suppressed when you breed a VSH to a non VSH ( like it would be if it the traite was recessive) witch is one of the main reason it survives more outcrossing then most traits
(underlining is mine )
The significant responses to V. destructor by Pol-line bees are noteworthy because of the repeated outcrossing (up to four generations in a queen line) and the relatively low percentage of original VSH parentage (x¯¯¯=46%x¯=46%; range = 33–54 %) in the pedigrees of the 15 Pol-line colonies that we bioassayed. This suggests that the VSH trait, once infused into a population, subsequently can be maintained for at least several generations by relatively simple selection.

its important to note that those 4 generations wasn't a "split all hives" set up and the traits stayed... breeders queen(s) form each generation were selected by end of season mite counts to produce the next generation. So if you just a have a few hives and let them make their own queens you can't expect the traite to last, you will flood your self with average/below average bees by letting them reproduce.
 

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John and MSl,

correct and true, I was trying to show some basic math for the new folks. toss in the recessive vrs dominate traits and the FI daughter and haploid/diploid staying true and many are clicking "next"

Add to what you have stated. "select from F!s/F2s" and "bunch of F1 for Drones" is a math game the "sideliner" and up can play with 20Ish hives. different reality for the guy with 4 hives.

Ok so what if I have 4 hives, order 2 VHF queens to requeen 2 of the hives, then in 21 days split the 2 with VSH, maybe pull a NUC or 2 from the Queen cells. I do not think the new Queen would have Any viable drone flying of their own. (40ish days) for thier own to be hatched and mature. So In this example no Drones from the new Queens will Mate the F1s. Yes their drones are true to the line on the off chance one of the daughters fail and get superseded there is a chance for the VHS drones to mate. But likely if one orders 2 queens they are sisters, likely then any of these in the same line would be brothers and cousins, not so sure that is a recipe for success. I get what,, can be done, with a few dozen hives, However many of the folks on BS are in the 10 and less bracket, short of getting together and creating a breeding yard, their efforts are very short lived. IMO < 2 years. Then the neighbor is buying 2 Russians and the next guy down the road is getting 2 or 3 Carnies, the almond truck drops off a load for the summer a couple miles away..

It is fun to talk Theory and such but the walk the walk 4 hive Backyard person is ordering their "special" queen almost every year to have the needed features. The typical Beek, who I talk to is "well they died out in 3 years " so that did not work I am getting them from this different place this year. Oddly some commercials would not even Hive a swarm "too swarmy" the Backyard Beek may as well ,,he ends up there in 4-6 years any way.

is a very interesting topic.
some think they impact the Genetics, some unknowingly impact it, often we are a bucket of water in a pond.....

GG
 

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is a math game the "sideliner" and up can play with 20Ish hives. different reality for the guy with 4 hives.
agreed.. hence my
if you just a have a few hives and let them make their own queens you can't expect the trait to last, you will flood your self with average/below average bees by letting them reproduce.

It is fun to talk Theory and such but the walk the walk 4 hive Backyard person is ordering their "special" queen almost every year to have the needed features
yep, been true for thousands of years, even at the sideliner scale !!!
We see at the Tel Rehov site beekeepers were importing queens in mass 3,000 years ago, the race they were importing had up to a8x higher honey yield and were far less defensive then the native bees.. so good reason to import, side bar modern day attempts at using the native stock have failed and beekeeping in the region survives on imported lines..
However, to keep a pure Anatolian line, the Tel Rehov beekeepers would have needed to requeen their colonies repeatedly or to import new swarms of bees. The honeybee queen mates while flying into congregation sites with drones from the surrounding area, and therefore virgin Anatolian queens would have been most likely to mate with local Syrian drones. Thus, keeping the Anatolian line requires not only sophisticated beekeeping skills but also reliable and easy supply lines.

So we see from about the start of recorded history on, regular requeening/importation of fresh genetics has been used to maintain traits.

in yeold management the honey production or gentleness of a hive starts to fade f-2/f-3 or whatever you requeen it with a queen from an outfit big enough to select for traits and control their mating.. "proven" queens back in the old bee journals were ones that had there brood emerging and hand proven to the breeder that they were not mismated ..ie an Italian queen with all yellow offspring..

So a beekeeper has 3 main options

#1 Requeen with purchased queens (or purchase a breeder queen) to to maintain the traits at an apiary level
#2 Become skilled or large enough to control matings
#3 Accept that your bees will become more and more like the bees around you

Some were in the middle is # 2.5, when you hit 10 or so production hives(more is better) you can select you own breeder queen and graft form her for all your replacements/increase/requeening.. the next year you select a new breeder (likely one of last years f-1s) and keep going. Still may need to bring in genetics form time to time, but you slowing the fading of the traits on the apiary level..
 
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