These queens will be ready for pick up in mid-April.
The breeding stock for these bees has been worked on for 25 years. Here is a little bit about the stock we use at Tree City Bee Company and why we have decided to use instrumentally inseminated (II) breeder queens from Adam Finkelstein at VP Queen Bees.
We benefit from the BEST protocol, where queens are selected for great build-up, superior honey production, excellent over-Wintering ability, excellent all-around handling and gentleness; we provide hardy and productive honey bees to our customers.
VP Queen Bees specializes in maintaining hardy and productive varroa mite resistant stock; no mite treatments have ever been used in their operation. They use artificial insemination to control matings, enabling them to make breeding decisions by making calculated and planned crosses.
They use what is called the BEST protocol for selective breeding. The Best colonies from Each location, Selected for productive qualities and lastly, Tested for mite resistance. In his completely untreated operation, he is able to find and cross a few great breeder queens each season, making daughter breeders to sell and to maintain our population.
VP Queen Bees produces II breeding stock while maintaining their base breeding population. They have had a material transfer agreement for germplasm with the USDA Honey Bee Lab in Baton Rouge. Working with VSH and Pol-line stock from the bee lab's breeding program, adding the best ones to their population using our BEST protocol, has to this day, produced excellent honey bee breeder queens.
From this methodology we benefit from VP Queen Bees' use of extensive records, detailed observation and contemporary diagnostic technology to continue meeting our honey bee breeding goals, creating breeder queens that may be used to produce our open-mated production queens heading strong colonies that can be managed without the use of mite treatments or in an IPM program if you are currently treating.
If you would like queens shipped please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss rates.
Important Points in Understanding VSH
1. Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH) is not the same as freeze-kill or pin-kill hygiene and cannot be measured with those methods.
2. Bees with the VSH trait express mite resistance by disrupting mite reproduction in worker brood that is aged 4-6 days post-capping. Mites on adult bees and mites in younger and older stages of worker brood are not affected.
3. Very useful in measuring VSH is the fact that VSH bees do not disturb a varroa-infested cell if the mite is not producing progeny. In a typical varroa-susceptible colony non-reproducing mites commonly occupy about 5-15 percent of the varroa infested cells. When one finds a higher proportion of infested cells with non-reproducing mites, that colony has some VSH alleles. If the only varroa infested cells in a sample contain non-reproducing mites, the bees are 100% VSH.
4. The VSH trait is expressed only by adult worker bees that are at least one week old. Therefore, when a VSH queen is introduced to a varroa-susceptible colony of bees, the mite population will continue to grow for the next 35 days.
5. It takes about 20 days for all of the mites to pass through this three-day vulnerable period in their reproduction. Therefore, it will take at least 55 days following the introduction of a VSH queen for her progeny to fully control a mite population.
6. VSH does not result in poor brood pattern unless one introduces a VSH queen to a colony with a high rate of varroa infestation. In that case, one may notice 3 weeks of spotty brood that begins about 7 weeks after a VSH queen is introduced. After the 10thweek, VSH bees will have reduced the mite population and brood removal will move into maintenance mode with minimal removal. If a VSH queen produces a poor brood pattern in her first month, the issue is not caused by VSH.
7. The VSH trait does not seem to control mites in drone brood, but we do not recommend drone brood removal. It is not necessary with VSH.
8. VSH is not a pedigreed stock. The VSH trait represents only a tiny fraction of a bee’s genome, so bees with VSH can be as diverse as any existing bee population and the trait can be added to any stock.