The BEST protocol is what is used to select for breeding stock that produces the VSH Pol-line 2.2 BEST Protocol has been adopted and used successfully by other commercial beekeepers. Simply, queens are selected from the Best colonies from Each location, Selected for productive qualities and lastly, Tested for mite resistance. Full details
Photo Credit: Ryan Williamson
The Pol-line breeding program was used by the USDA with good results. Here at VP Queen Bees, we're running a similar selective breeding model, working with two of the three original Pol-line project commercial operations. The VSH Pol-line 2.2 is the first release from this project.
Colonies are selected based on favorable traits and mite resistance, and tracked. Each time selection takes place, culls are made. What remains at the season's end are some very good colonies with low mite populations. These are over-Wintered without mite treatments. A final selection is made the following early Spring; the best colonies are used as breeding stock for the upcoming year. By leveraging large, diverse populations of strong bees, this methodology has produced good stock that provides a foundation for us to breed from.
We are very grateful and fortunate to have been able to have had an agreement (2013-2018) with the USDA to receive VSH and Pol-line breeding stock from the USDA Bee Breeding Lab, to use in propagation and breeding of honey bee stock that expresses the mite resistant traits known collectivley as VSH (Varroa Sensitive Hygeine). The agreement permited us to make available to the beekeeping public, breeding stock from known VSH sources as AI breeder queens or through insemination-ready honey bee semen. We used pure USDA VSH breeding material to cross with other VSH stocks and select for desirable traits including: superior brood and colony build-up, honey production, workability and gentleness: all show mite resistance. Some of our strains are also selected to over-Winter well if the colonies are kept in colder areas. The VSH Pol-line 2.2 strain was developed based on the USDA's original Pol-line breeding program.
The 2017 class session was held on June 10-11 at our site. The class went very well and everyone enjoyed the experience and gained a wealth of information. Want more information on upcoming 2022 AI/II classes? Contact us (please include your phone number and we'll reach out to discuss the class and prerequisites).
We gave our first honey bee insemination class in June, 2016 at our site. 5 members of the Heartland Honey Bee Breeders Cooperative attended the two day class. The class went very well and we've decided to offer one in 2017. The class will be held in June, at our site. For more information, please contact us.
After almost 2 years searching, we've found a great location where we will relocate our breeder queen and bee breeding site. Our move will be completed early April, 2015. Our new location will be Anderson County in the South Carolina Upstate region. The VP Queen Bees 2015 breeder queen production schedule will not be affected by our relocation. *Update* The move went well. We are enjoying our new site very much! Adam & Kelly
My son, while in college, created his own web pages to comment on culture, music and to express his thoughts and emotions through his writing. His senior year he received a grant/scholarship. The grant stipulated he focus on agriculture and the environment. He chose to write about honey bees and apiculture in "The Bee Series". Below, find links to the essays and the video he made for the grant. I'm sure you will find them stimulating and enjoyable.
In the Spring of 2012, we received a call from reporter Rosanne Skirble at Voice of America. She wanted to interview us. We invited her out. She and her cameraman spent some time with us on a sunny day in April, 2012. She produced a short film and article on what we are doing. It was really interesting to see how this short film was made from her time visiting us.
After the Washington Post story came out, our local Newspaper, The Frederick News Post wanted to interview us-- very exciting! I'll talk about bees and bee breeding for hours if anyone is listening. Kelly is less gregarious, but we both agreed to an interview with Courtney Pomeroy from the Frederick paper. She asked very good questions about our background and our breeding program. Later, they photographed us in one of our yards. There, we were feeding a candy we make for drone buildup. (Note: our yearly production of naturally mated queens was ~ 1500. Now, we make breeder queens exclusively. We aim to meet our yearly goal of 300+ artificially inseminated breeder queens).
Columnist Adrian Higgins from The Washington Post, contacted me in September 2011. He explained that with all the difficulties beekeepers and bees were having he wanted to write something positive about honey bees and beekeeping. He had heard of us and hoped to interview us. He wanted to write a story about our breeding efforts. We spoke several times and he visited some bee yards with me. He was interested, thorough and very good to work with-- I felt that he really cared about honey bee issues.
We worked a bit with Charlie Brandts, the White House Beekeeper. He invited us down to the White House (roughly 30 minutes from Frederick, MD) to help pull honey supers from the his hive there, in May, 2010. We didn't know we'd get to be in the short movie: "the Bees". We helped Charlie pull supers, clear them and then check on the hive: Sam Kass from the White House was there too. We all had fun and the bees were really gentle and polite! I joined Charlie again a few weeks later to perfom an alcohol wash assay to determine the hive's mite load, and I marked the White House queen bee.