To produce queens resistant to Varroa and Tracheal mites that are hardy and robust; to select for high build-up potential, superior honey production, over-Wintering ability, and gentleness. To provide mite resistant and productive breeding stock to our customers; to help them to produce mite resistant bees. We are committed to managing all our colonies without any mite treatments.
Breeding Principles | Methodology | Rationale
We strive through careful selection, to continue to meet our honey bee breeding goals creating breeder queens that may be used to produce production queens that will head strong colonies that can be managed without the use of chemicals or in an IPM program if the client is currently treating. We've been working toward this end for the last 15 years.
Evaluating new bee stock for potentially desirable breeding material to use in our program is a "numbers game". The larger a block of stock that can be evaluated and tested, the greater the chance of finding queens that show desirable traits, to test further. We've chosen to leverage an evaluation/testing strategy where we use Instrumental Insemination/Artificial Insemination to control matings, making carefully calculated crosses with proven lines, while testing the outcome of experimental crosses. This results in the maintenance of our breeding population and assures new genetic potential.
We collaborate with queen producers and bee breeders throughout the U.S.A. and Canada. By testing their stocks and then using the most suitable in carefully planned crosses, we continue to have positive results for Varroa resistance, honey production and overall hardiness.
Our breeding program incorporates many of the fundamentals of the classic closed population breeding design for honey bees (Page-Laidlaw). Instrumental Insemination/ Artificial Insemination is used to cross our breeder queens: the closed population model depends on controlled matings to function properly. Closed population bee breeding allows for steady improvement toward the ideal, without risking the perils that inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity pose to honey bees.
We're continually testing others' survivor bees for potential too. Basically, we test queens from many different sources. If they are productive, survive two Winters, build up well during our short, intense Spring and still manage to remain thrifty for the rest of our season, we consider them as candidates. If they survive and are desirable, we incorporate them into our population. We run similar tests for all our strains, placing emphasis on the traits that are most desirable. Example: for Almond Pollination breeders, more emphasis is placed on brood production and feed efficiency; for honey producers who over-Winter colonies in the North, their breeders would be selected to have more efficient feed-to-stores conversion and tighter clustering.
VSH Behavior and Mite Resistance
We work with a unique breeding population we've developed over the years. We've concentrated on incorporating VSH expression and have selected for mite resistance and production by testing and remaining untreated with miticides. Learn more about VSH.
VSH Breeders are collaborating! Since we all know that breeding is a "numbers game" why not work with others and increase your chances for good combinations? Check out the VSHBreeders.org bee breeding forum.