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My VSH bees in action!


#1

So I purchased and installed a VSH queen (Varroah Sensitive Hygeine) the very beginning of June. I now have a lot of VSH bees hatched and running the nursery ops.

This is seeing them in action, they have opened up some drone cells to kill the fertile mites. They don’t open them all, just the ones containing fertile mites that will be laying eggs. Very cool!


#2

That’s really interesting. Can you explain any more about these bees?
How do you find/buy them?


#3

They are readily available in the US. Here is one supplier of VSH queens:

https://wildflowermeadows.com/wildflower-meadows/vsh-italian-queens/


#4

Wildflower is where my queen came from. They were great to work with. Had my queen 2 days after I ordered her.

Basically they have been selectively bred I believe in a USDA program originally. The nurse aged bees can “smell” the mites that can lay eggs within the capped pupa cell. They uncap it and remove the pupa, the mite then dies and is unable to hatch more mites. The bees will then either remove the pupa from the hive or eat it. All the information I have read says that how they know which cell has the fertile mite in it is unknown. They describe it as “smelling” possibly.


#5

Hello.

While the concept is good, results I’ve seen and heard from other beekeepers using these new “strain” of bees is giving mixed signals. For instance, one friend reported that the “Perdue Ankle Biters” tended to be a little more defensive in nature (read that as you’ll get stung more often) and cold weather survivability seems a bit less. He lost ALL of his beehives this past winter that had the new strain in place. Location was in Michigan…other strains located in the same beeyard survived. All had plenty of stored honey during the winter, same hive configurations too.

Have you noticed any behavior differences between these new bees and others you may have?

Thanks.

Gary


#6

Interesting :nose: :nose: :nose: :nose:


#7

I will be interested in following your results.

Are you planning to forego any mite treatment and rely on the bees to handle it?

I noticed my VSH hives didn’t thrive. I was wondering if they spend so much time policing brood and killing off the population of new bees because of mites.


#8

Gary,

I am not worried about wintering thebees. We are in Central Texas. We will have a couple cold days here and there but normally 40-50’s with a few overnights below freezing. We have had harder winters but are few and far between.

So far the VSH hive is the same as my other. Both very calm. I quit smoking the bees 3 inspections ago. To me smoking them riled them more. Now I just open and go about my business and they seem like they could care less.

RHC,

Yes I plan to forego mite treatments, even on my non-VSH hive. A very small control group but I want to compare the two. I am following Michael Bush’s
natural cell-small cell along with reduced space between frame centers at 1 1/4" vs 1 3/8". I trimmed all my frames a 1/16" off each side before I built them up.

We will see.


#9

I understand. Best of luck.

Gary


#10

I just requeened one of our hives in San Diego, CA with a Wildflower VSH queen. We collected our new queen last weekend, July 1st. According to the rep from Wildflower (Murray), the queen had been mated for 2-3 weeks and had been laying very well. She was pulled out of her hive just the day before we collected her.

We followed their recommended procedure. Remove the old queen. Wait 24 hours, so we removed the old queen on June 30th. Then check the hive carefully for queen cells, removing any that you find (on July 1st for us) and rubber band the new queen in her cage over some brood. They recommend banding over open brood, however, research has shown that emerging nurse bees will accept the closest queen without question and then help promote acceptance by passing her pheromones around the hive. So we rubber banded the cage over a frame of capped brood, honey and some empty cells. They recommend waiting a week before inspecting to avoid provoking a supersedure of the new queen.

I have to say, I had anxiety dreams for the intervening week. I dreamt that we inspected and dropped and lost the queen. I dreamt that she was dead in the cage. I have requeened before, I just haven’t cared this much before, because previously our neighbors were further away. This time, we needed it to work, or we would be looking at moving the hives.

So today we inspected. We have a double deep brood box. Sixteen frames to inspect for supercedure/queen cells and the new queen. We found 3 queen cups. Zero supercedure or emergency cells. The queen cage was wide open. About 4 frames of eggs, some eggs probably late day 2 or early day 3 (almost horizontal). No really young larvae, but lots of capped larvae from the old queen. So it looked like she was out and about. You can guess that it wasn’t until frame 16 that we finally found her. Beautiful yellow spot-marked Italian queen. Worth all of the anxiety. Plus, she looks to be quite the producer - I would guess 2,000 to 3,000 eggs per day from what we saw today.

:sunglasses: :heart_eyes:

Oh and the new sting and swelling on my hand through my gloves really doesn’t hurt that much. Honestly. (Reaching for Benadryl and toothpaste). :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


#11

Varroa sensitive is NOT varroa proof. The photo you’ve posted indicates that there’s a heavy infestation and deformed wing virus is rearing it’s ugly and (fatal) head. You still need to monitor your mite levels and treat your bees when levels are above threshold. Dead bees don’t help anything. Please take care of your bees!