VSH – Varroa Sensitive Hygiene – is a very valuable trait and VSH-test is a very valuable way of finding out if a colony is an eventual breeder colony. You can read about that and my first VSH-test here: http://www.elgon.es/diary/?p=154

Of course I didn’t chose colonies to test randomly. For some reason I found them interesting to test. The first one behaved very well in different respects and seemed to be very little affected by mites. And its origin was a feral colony.

This second colony had never been treated against varroa and it never showed any signs of viruses. It was some years old now. But it was in no way perfect in traits that the beekeeper value highly. The temper wasn’t good. It didn’t give good crops. And this year it swarmed twice in July. Actually my only colony behaving like this. So many bad traits collected in one colony. But it seemed it was good against mites. And it drew 4.9 wax foundation very good. It was a third cross of Kefuss origin into my Elgon stock. Usually the most outstanding trait with such crosses were the big honey crops.

This colony turned out to have a VSH index of 40%, a little less than the first that had 50%. But still enough above the limit of 30% which was said to mark the limit for varroa resistance. After swarming the mother colony has a little better temper. But the two swarms, which I caught, are a little worse, or the same. None of them have shown any sign of virus influence. The colony was in no way empty of mites. As you can see on the photo there was VSH-trait showing on the comb tested. Quite some cells have uncapped pupae. Though the brood has not an especially marked shotgun pattern. A shotgun pattern may well indicate a high infestation with mites.

I’m not sure what to do with this colony and its daughter colonies next season. Use it for breeding or use other colonies that have nicer traits concerning temper, swarming and crop.

My VSH-test number 2
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