Our Breeding Program is based on Ferrel bee that has somehow survived for many years with no intervention. Then we brought in Harbo VSH Breeder Queens.
VSH-BASED RESISTANCE TO VARROA
Varroa Sensitive Hygiene, identified and researched at the USDA Bee Lab in Baton Rouge, is neither a line nor a breed of bee. Rather, it is identified as a “trait.” Backcrossing suggests that the trait involves a small group of genes, perhaps only two.
While the VSH trait was first identified in honeybees in the U.S., current research supports the theory that the VSH alleles (alternate forms of genes) may occur in bee populations worldwide. Moreover, the VSH alleles can be bred into any honey bee population to produce VSH-based resistance.
In 1992, as varroa mites were becoming widespread in the United States, Dr. John Harbo at the USDA’s Honey Bee Laboratory in Baton Rouge was assigned the task of breeding bees for resistance to varroa. In 1995 he and Dr. Roger Hoopingarner at Michigan State University discovered the VSH trait. During the next ten years, Dr. Harbo led USDA research to understand how this trait works and to evaluate its effectiveness in field colonies. The VSH trait was released to the beekeeping industry in 2001.
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