Old Timer. YOu are saying some good and interesting things. I must tell you why I have such a fear of the varroa destructor, it has left me in a state where I have a hatred for these predators that suck the very life out of the bee and destroy the babies in their cells. There is nothing worse in this world than to look at babies that have tried to emerge, but died in the process, with their tiny little tongues sticking out, begging for some food. That is a horrible and nasty thought and something I cannot stand to witness, it makes my heart sorrowful.
This is my experience hands-on with the bees, I will attempt to keep it short (but that is probably a joke)
Maybe you will understand "me" a little better.
I began beekeeping in April of 2005. I began with 4 package colonies and I caught an enormous swarm. That made 5 colonies. I had to do a combine with one of the packages because of inferior queen that was having lots of chalkbrood problems. The following spring I got 4 more packages. I did not treat for mites last year. In the fall (now this was 2006), I did a mite count and the numbers were staggaring. Hundreds........I even think that if I went into my records one of the colonies was maybe up as far as 700 or something. I was astonished and by that time there was colony collapse, and I mean they collapsed. It was too late to treat and I lost all of them but 1, these were all Carniolan breed.
This took me into spring of this year. The overwintered colony (using a terrarium heater) was my pride and joy, it grew gangbusters and still is gangbusting!!!!
In early May of this year I got 4 more packages and 4 nucs. I practised hygiene with these bees. I have done the sugar shakes methods, I gave them all screened bottom boards and they did well with low mite levels. When I did the 3 day sticky board mite count in September, the numbers were all very very low, one had none, the others had between 3 to 11, one colony had 66, that was a bit of a high count, but so be it.
This is where I stand today. Yes, I bought the Oxalic Acid vapourizer, $80 CDN, shipping and handling included. I will be performing the vapourizing soon.
I will do as you say, I will perform the testing for hygienic behaviour next spring. If I could go without mite treatments, of course, I would love to be able to live this way. It would be indeed wonderful to have queens that exhibit hygienic behaviours in their progeny.
You must elaborate on what you would like me to take pictures of. I did not understand this point. I would be forever indebted to you if you ever should decide to raise some hygienic queens for me, that would be a lucky day in my life. That would be only necessary if my queens did not exhibit hygienic behaviour.
As an aside, I may want to one day take you up on this gracious offer regardless. This is why I say this.
The queens that came with my packages and nucs were Kona Italian. I remember when I got the nucs, in particular, I was told that the Kona queens love to raise brood, but are not huge on the honey gathering. I can honestly say that I think that he is 100% correct with this statement. This was a wonderful thing for me this year with the first year build up of the colonies. That was my intention, raising strong colonies to go into winter, to bring me the beautiful bounty of honey for next year. This is my plan, lots of honey (smiling). I give my family and my Husband's family (and my family is very very large, with 13 siblings on my Mother's side, there is many offspring from her Brothers and Sisters, and on my Husband's side only a few, but they are huge honey lovers of this golden substance that I give to them) as much of my honey as their hearts' desire. That is lots of honey, but I give it with a smile on my face, knowing the wonderful benefits of this gold from the hive. I have also given little tiny jars of my "healing" honey to them, little blobs of propolis that are suspended in this liquid for them to use for ailments of any sort. I feel like I am prolonging their quality of life and this brings me the greatest of joy. I digress.....where on earth was I? I don't know what happens to me when I set the keyboard in motion, it is like I can't stop. I can type with the speed of light, so I have this gift of swiftness and it only takes a few moments to set my thoughts on the screen, I am a lucky woman to have attained this skill, bragging? Nope, not meant to and hope it is not perceived this way, just grateful for the keyboard under my control
By the way, Thymol is not registered for use in Canada, the same as Oxalic Acid is not registered for use in the U.S.. Funny thing.
Now I have really lost my train of thought. Oh well, good to talk to you, Old Timer, and I love your name, by the way, it depicts wisdom and age. Our sun is going to shine today, a little rain now, but the skies are becoming more light by the moment. Have a wonderful and beautiful day on our great planet, Earth. Cindi