Queen Breeding

Our queen mother selection process:

We infused the USDA POL line strain a few years ago into our stock and have been selecting our queen mothers to continue this VSH (Varroa Sensitive Hygiene) behavior. We work closely with VP Queen Bees to ensure we are keeping the highest VSH behavior in our lines, this is the VSH Pol-line 2.2 breeding program.

Our methodology for choosing our queen breeders is as follows:

  • In July & August identify our top 5% honey producing hives in each bee yard

  • In August & September, test those top 5% hives for mites and DO NOT TREAT them if they are <5 mites per sample (if more than 5 mites, remove from the selection process)

  • In January & February, test the hives again for mites and select breeders from those that continue to have <5 mites per sample (and meet other criteria such as gentleness, good brood pattern, overwinter strength, etc.)

  • We have no problem finding 30-50 queen mothers that show 0 or 1 mites per 300 bee sample with no mite treatments used for the preceeding 10 months. We also add a few queen mothers from outside VSH programs each year to maintain diversity

While the ultimate goal would be to produce a strain that is truly mite free, that may not be achievable. However, we feel our mite load in our general population is reduced and our mite treatments can be fewer and less intense in order to control mites.