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Effectiveness of VSH trait?

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Do all VSH colonies survive without mite treatment?
 33%  [ 1 ]
 66%  [ 2 ]
Total Votes : 3

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New Bee

Joined: 30 Sep 2017
Posts: 3
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:04 pm    Post subject: Effectiveness of VSH trait? Reply with quote

Hi all.
I am a beginner beekeeper and try understand the effectiveness of VSH better.
I find a lot on VSH queens offered for sale. They tend to be quite costly. On the other hand I don‘t find convincing information on i) how effective the VSH trait is passed on from the parent to the descendant and ii) whether colonies build from those commercially available VSH queens really do not need any mite treatment to survive?
What is the rate of survival of VSH colonies vs. Non-VSH colonies?
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Scout Bee

Joined: 04 Jul 2014
Posts: 304
Location: Uk/Horsham/RH13

PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think the question is very fair.

The measure is not survival.

I voted no, but then I don't let colonies die out without doing something about it, VSH queens or not.

For the average hobby beekeeper it is clearly an expensive investment compared to a swarm collected and hived up and with careful management both can survive.

With no intervention whatsoever, they both may well survive too, as do most wild bee colonies.

If I were you I would start with a swarm or two and learn the management techniques before spending oodles of money.
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Site Admin

Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I cannot vote as I have no experience of VHS queens and I think you will find the majority of us on this forum also do not have them but quite a few of us have bees that have been treatment free for several years.... I'm in my 7th year TF and have only ever used swarms to populate my hives and it is a long time since I had a severe varroa infestation.

I much prefer to think of a colony as a complete unit rather than a queen and some workers and even the local environment may be part of that unit or relationship. Chopping and changing those individual parts is not the best practise for bees to be able to learn to solve their own problems as it creates other problems that they also have to overcome.
To me the queen should be naturally mated and related to the workers in her colony and should hopefully have a generational history of survival in the locality.

Most of my colonies are descended from a swarm that arrived in my garden 19 years ago. Swarms from them almost always survive without feeding if I retain them, but since I do not have a use for most of them, I now supply them to new beekeepers to help get them started. I find that my swarms do not always do as well in new locations as has been my experience of them at home, so it suggests to me that they have adapted to the local climate and flora in my area.

Also queens and workers that are related and have grown up together will be better able to communicate and work as a unit in my opinion rather than an unrelated (foreign) queen that has been introduced to a group of workers that have been deliberately made queenless. And artificial insemination is mans clumsy attempt to show dominance over nature, because he/she thinks they know best.... Only the strongest and fastest drones get to mate with queens naturally and hopefully those drones also come from hives that are locally and generationally adapted to the area they live in.

Anyway, I'm short on time to type further this morning but as you can probably tell, I'm also suggesting you start up with a local swarm. And also don't get too hung up on being treatment free from the start. I treated my bees for several years with chemicals before they were able to cope with varroa without treatment. Those same bees are now 7 years TF.... I didn't know anything about TF or VSH then, I just stopped treating them because they didn't need treatment. Would I treat them again if they needed it?..... Possibly..... just like I take a paracetamol if I have a headache.


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