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Author Topic: VSH Queens, hygenic bees and varroa  (Read 1638 times)

Offline Poppi

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VSH Queens, hygenic bees and varroa
« on: November 21, 2011, 06:33:53 PM »
Would like some input/feedback on thoughts to requeen hives struggling with varroa using VSH queens.  The varroa count was slightly affected for a very short time period using powdered sugar.  I tried ApiLife Var and still the mite levels were too high.  I would go with Oxalic Acid next but it's too soon having done the other treatments and too late this year.  I don't want to use chemicals but I don't want to lose colonies to varroa.

I know several folks agree the best thing would be bees that tolerate mites and fight them off naturally.  I have read some recent articles on VSH queens and hives showing some promising results.  It appears this area of apiculture is still under scrutiny and I wanted to see if anyone here has experience or knowledge working with VSH hives before I requeen.

Thanks,  John
« Last Edit: November 23, 2011, 04:42:10 PM by Poppi »

Offline rdy-b

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Re: VSH Queens, hygenic bees and varroa
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2011, 01:04:21 AM »
 where are you going to get the queens--whos supplying them--RDY-B

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: VSH Queens, hygenic bees and varroa
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2011, 04:29:17 AM »
It certainly won't help this winter... and in my experience makes little difference.
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen

Offline Poppi

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Re: VSH Queens, hygenic bees and varroa
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2011, 04:38:04 PM »
rdy-b    not sure yet...  there are breeder's in California but that is a little far for me...  I believe Long lane honey farms has been rearing hygienic queens or is at least working on them.  They are in south central Illinois.  It's just a thought and I'm trying to get some input from anyone who has had hygienic bees...  I read Russians have some of this trait or are more able to tolerate varroa...  and of course African's...   ain't going there  :)

John


Offline Poppi

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Re: VSH Queens, hygenic bees and varroa
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2011, 04:50:27 PM »
Michael,  yep...  I know it's too late but it is still warm here so I am going to powder sugar their little butts to knock down the varroa count.  There is very little brood now so I will powder 'em every 4 days for 16 days and do a 24 hour count in between to see if there is a lower count after each...  it may be too late anyway for this hive...  I'm seeing some DWV as well...

John

Offline FRAMEshift

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Re: VSH Queens, hygenic bees and varroa
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2011, 10:06:37 PM »
The VSH trait may help but remember that it is recessive and will be quickly diluted out if you open mate your queens.  To get a real benefit, you would have to continually import new VSH queens (or have enough VSH hives to saturate the drone congregation areas.)
"You never can tell with bees."  --  Winnie-the-Pooh

Offline Poppi

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Re: VSH Queens, hygenic bees and varroa
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2011, 06:34:30 PM »
Good point FRAMEshift,  right now I only want to compare a hive with VSH and one without...  if there is a difference I may go with that and breed my own...  if not, I haven't lost anything...  I read a good article on this and I'm just curious...

John

Offline ScituateMA

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Re: VSH Queens, hygenic bees and varroa
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2015, 02:35:37 PM »
Good point FRAMEshift,  right now I only want to compare a hive with VSH and one without...  if there is a difference I may go with that and breed my own...  if not, I haven't lost anything...  I read a good article on this and I'm just curious...

John


did you compare them ?

Offline OldMech

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Re: VSH Queens, hygenic bees and varroa
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2015, 11:33:16 AM »
A couple of points to make here..

   #1  You can treat with OAV ANY time of the year, even during other treatments, and supposedly (from what I have read) WITH supers on the hives, though I dont recommend treating with supers on. I always make sure all supers are removed when I treat.. by treating early spring and shortly after all supers are removed I dont have to worry about that.
   
    #2   VSH    Yes, you would have to buy queens every three years or so..  I buy resistant queens every year, and create new hives to test them.. YES, the genetics will become diluted as you raise new daughter queens... but consider, that you are also putting DRONES out there from these VSH/Survivor queens. Those drones are competing for the chance to mate any virgin queen, including those from neighbors and feral hives.   Every VSH/Survivor Drone from that queen you bought that successfully mates  "IS"  helping raise the resistance of the bees in the neighborhood..  If YOU do this, if your neighbors do this, over time, you WILL add/build the resistance of all hives..
   As far as I am concerned, it is the ultimate in irresponsibility to buy and keep generic queens, without trying to improve their resistance. You hurt your bees, your neighbors bees, and the feral bees. YOU TRASH any attempt your neighbors are making to have resistant bees.
   When beekeepers begin demanding resistant queens, the breeders will either respond, or go out of business.


   Having said that...   What I have both seen, and read, is that you can develop perfectly resistant bees..  They survive in your locality with no help and no treatment..   
   Treatment = anything done to help reduce mite levels that is NOT initiated by the bees themselves.
   Billy Joe can have great bees thriving with no treatments in Louisiana, then Carl buys six queens, and has them shipped to Montanna...     Two years later all six hives are crashing from Varroa..   Difference in Climate? Difference in local mites?  I dont know..  but the solution seems to be selection..   Make your own queens from the one queen you have that is doing the best against those mites.
   Of those six hives, usually, one of them will seem nicer, healthier, and come through winter better..   Use her to make daughter queens...  And of course..  Order a few more VSH queens from a different source..  Watch them all, over winter them, and next year, make more queens and order more queens..
   If you dont want to be bothered making queens.. great, at least place a couple resistant queens each year. They are not that expensive, it keeps young queens in your hives, and helps prevent swarming.


   As always.. this is my personal opinion.


   
39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.

Offline ScituateMA

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Re: VSH Queens, hygenic bees and varroa
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2015, 08:29:38 PM »
Are you satisfied with the resistance of vsh queens against varroa ?
Do you see less mite in vsh hives comparing nonvsh hives ?

Offline OldMech

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Re: VSH Queens, hygenic bees and varroa
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2015, 08:40:33 PM »
Are you satisfied with the resistance of vsh queens against varroa ?
Do you see less mite in vsh hives comparing nonvsh hives ?


    Am I satisfied?   No!
   
    Do I see less mites in the VSH hives?   Yes.   

  Will those VSH hives survive without treatment?  For a while, but not over the long run.   I put them in an Outyard that I know is at least nine miles from any other hives, excluding feral hives..  and let them go...  When I open drone cells and find an average of three or more mites PER cell I usually give up.. move them to a treated yard and treat them..   
   I have had several hives that have remained in that yard for up to five years, but inevitably, they get pulled and treated..   If I keep adding resistance, One year.. I wont have to pull any of those hives when they supersede..
39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.

Offline ScituateMA

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Re: VSH Queens, hygenic bees and varroa
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2015, 11:46:01 PM »
Whats the reason that you are not satisfied?

How much less varroa do they have? If they have less vartoa comparing nonvsh queens, we can definitely say that vsh works at some level, right?


Offline OldMech

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Re: VSH Queens, hygenic bees and varroa
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2015, 10:45:57 AM »

   I let the "VSH" queens I order go to maximum stress.  They get placed in an outyard located away from any other hive.. there IS a feral hive in a Cottonwood about 4 miles away on the river bottom, afaik thats the closest hive to them. I treat the hive one week before the new queens arrive. I remove the original queen the night before the new queens arrive. The following afternoon I install the queen cage, and spray the hive lightly with 1/1 syrup with a bit of HBH in it.. I do not poke a hole through the candy, I let the bees deal with it. Five or six days later I come back and insure the new queen is accepted..   I have only lost one queen doing it this way.  I wait until I see the new brood emerging, and move the hive to my test outyard.   They do not get treated, they go through winter. I do check for mite loads, and pay attention to how well they are keeping up..   WHEN I see them beginning to stress, they start to get angry, I see three or four crawlers, and do a Mite count. When I see the stress level nearing the breaking point, the bees will no longer be "as" angry, they have become demoralized, there are a dozen or more crawlers, and I open drone cells to find 4 to 6 mites PER CELL.....   Then I know I have stressed the bees to the max. IF, they were going to deal with the mites, they would have decided to do so by now. At this point, they have reached the threshold. I treat them or they are going to Abscond, or die.  I Treat them with OAV and a couple days later move them to a production yard.  Typically, they suddenly EXPLODE with new bees and honey after a treatment. 
   SOME hives manage to deal with the mites longer. My hardest loss is usually the hives that DID survive to their second fall with no treatments, and they dont make the third winter. Treating them would have meant they did survive, but I am not that proficient at deciding which to treat in August and which to let alone when they are borderline surviving..     To date, I have only had three hives I thought MIGHT make it through their third winter without treatments..  they didnt.. and that hurts.


   Understand, I am not putting down the VSH breeders..  Those queens may be surviving perfectly where they were developed, but you can take those queens and move them a few hundred miles, and suddenly they cant survive anymore..  Different temps? Different humidity? Different mites?  I don't know, but I do know that some of the queens I have tried were doing WAY better before they were moved here.

     To answer your question.. Yes, the VSH queens do make a difference, but not enough of a difference to satisfy me.   YET, still trying. Still ordering queens, looking for.. "The One!"
39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.

Offline ScituateMA

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Re: VSH Queens, hygenic bees and varroa
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2015, 09:49:52 AM »
Are they AI pure vsh queens? Just wondering the difference between oure and open mated queens

Offline OldMech

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Re: VSH Queens, hygenic bees and varroa
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2015, 12:32:58 AM »
No, I have never decided to pay the 300 dollars for a bug...   I buy the open mated queens..   AI'd queens might make a world of difference if you have the money....
39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.