What part of the world will we find your Apiary at ?! This is Gerald n I live SE of Seattle in the foothills. The clock is ticking n page just about to flip into September.
VSH queens are a great goal to move into…but until your ready … As my mom use to say, “You’ve got bigger fish to fry !” Are your colonies ready for winter. Are your boxes near full of honey/nectar/pollen or close enough !? Have you checked for mites … If not ! I’d get caught up on doing a sugar roll mite count A.S.A.P. !! Then if high enough choose a workable treatment to get the mite count down…
Some on here don’t do treatment but they probably have less too loss than you n I. They may already have the semi-resistant VSH bees as well. As your bee population drops thus the mite count rapidly increase rationally ! A hive at 15% infection can quickly surcome n die-off. I’m am far from trying to SCARE you.
Just make sure you get your bees safely wintered over one season like I’m going for. Then work on securing new Queens n other tacks in more organic beekeeping.
Just my 2 cents worth here,
Sharing a few pix’s of helping a friend get his hives treated for mite n ready for winter. He has about 60 to 80 hives with 10 to 12 colonies in 5 or 6 locations…