Effectiveness of VSH trait?

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Boarbuster
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Effectiveness of VSH trait?

Unread post by Boarbuster » September 30th, 2017, 2:58 pm

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?
Thanks.
J.

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BadBeeKeeper
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Re: Effectiveness of VSH trait?

Unread post by BadBeeKeeper » September 30th, 2017, 7:10 pm

It is my understanding that the VSH gene is recessive, and requires that both the male and female have the gene in order for it to be passed on.

However, I am lacking in specific education in this area so I cannot provide a definitive answer.

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Countryboy
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Re: Effectiveness of VSH trait?

Unread post by Countryboy » September 30th, 2017, 7:28 pm

You are trying to oversimplify things.
They tend to be quite costly.
What prices are you seeing? You can buy hygienic queens fairly comparable in price to non-VSH queens.
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
50% as good, which means the VSH trait is diluted extremely fast. Within a few generations, the VSH trait disappears.
whether colonies build from those commercially available VSH queens really do not need any mite treatment to survive?
Please forget the nonsense of hoping there is a magic bullet for commercial quality queens which do not need any mite treatment.

They ALL need mite treatments.

Some commercial beekeepers say that after they have flooded their locations with VSH queens and drones for over 10 years, what they are seeing is that their colonies now take longer before they need a mite treatment or crash and die. It helps the bees a little, but is not a magic bullet.
What is the rate of survival of VSH colonies vs. Non-VSH colonies?
That is a nonsense question. It makes about as much sense to ask if blondes or brunettes have higher survival rates. There are too many variables to make a comparison. Over how much time? Rate of survival due to what? Mites are not the only thing that kills bees.

Bees can also have a range of how well they exhibit the VSH trait. If a colony has too high of VSH expression, they simply remove too much brood (healthy and unhealthy both) and the colony collapses because it is too metabolically expensive. The only way to keep a hive with high VSH expression alive is to continually keep adding bees and brood from another hive to bolster the population.
B. Farmer Honey
Central Ohio

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BDT123
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Re: Effectiveness of VSH trait?

Unread post by BDT123 » October 21st, 2017, 9:43 pm

There is some (A lot) work being done by the Beenomics Project in Canada to create a 'gene line' for good Northern adapted bees. This goes beyond the Saskatraz project.
Alison McAfee from UBC has written a couple articles for ABJ lately that explain the mission quite well.
VSH was just one trait they were looking at, others were gentleness, honey production, cold hardiness, etc....
Stay tuned for more info, I think they're onto something...
Brian

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BadBeeKeeper
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Re: Effectiveness of VSH trait?

Unread post by BadBeeKeeper » October 22nd, 2017, 6:29 am

BDT123 wrote:
October 21st, 2017, 9:43 pm
There is some (A lot) work being done by the Beenomics Project in Canada to create a 'gene line' for good Northern adapted bees...Alison McAfee from UBC has written a couple articles for ABJ lately that explain the mission quite well. VSH was just one trait they were looking at, others were gentleness, honey production, cold hardiness, etc....
Stay tuned for more info, I think they're onto something...
I have been loosely guiding my own efforts in that general direction, Winter is fairly long here and temps can reach -25F. What I have now is a mix of Carniolan and Russian with some Italian in the mix. The Italians are gone now but traces of their presence remain. I expect that I may have to reintroduce them at some point in the future.

My observation was that the 'pure' Italians were much more susceptible to Nosema. The mix I have currently shows little sign of it and I have not fed Fum-B for a couple of years (I think).

I do take precautions of insulating the hives for Winter, solid bottom boards, 3/4 foam board with plastic jackets, insulated covers over moisture absorption board and both upper and lower entrances. Insulating seems to work better than not, with less feeding required and even split clusters surviving.

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BDT123
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Re: Effectiveness of VSH trait?

Unread post by BDT123 » October 22nd, 2017, 10:01 pm

BBK, I'm with you on the type of bee we need in our colder climates. I have 3 hives with Carniolan queens this year, and the 'old survivor' Italian from last year. Also a split from that Queen, so mostly Italian in that one.
The Italians build up hugely, 3 deeps this year, and packed with honey to the top.
It will be interesting to see if the 2-deep Carnis winter ok.They didn't want to build up past the second deep.
I am also insulating this year; last year was just solar wrap (building felt).
When doing mite counts this year, some of the mites on the sticky boards of the Carni hives appeared damaged, not symmetric, missing a part or two. I can only hope they were chewed! Probably wishful thinking, but what the heck, hope is good. I treat anyway.
Best regards,
Brian

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