B&W Summary of Responses to varroa 9 Feb 2010

From: Dr Bob Danka@ARS.USDA.GOV

To: Dan Harvey Olympic Wilderness Apiary

Cc to: Dr JoseVilla@ARS.USDA.GOV; Dr JeffreyHarris@ARSUSDA.GOV

Sent: Tuesday, February 09, 2010 11:58 AM

Attach: B&W summary of responses to varroa 9feb10.ppt

Subject: VSH data

Hi Dan,

Jose jolted me with a dose of reality when he said that I owe you information from our tests of your queens last autumn. He’s right. I’m sorry. I guess I got distracted since November with bee meetings.

A summary of the story is attached. We tested three of your queens (the ones that were alive and of reasonable colony size) once each in October and November for their ability to remove varroa-infested brood. Earlier in the season (July and August), we had tested queens from three other folks who sell outcrossed VSH queens (called “Commercial   A, B and C” on the charts), and some pure VSH breeder queens from Tom Glenn. The early tests showed that the three commercial producers are putting out queens whose colonies express VSH at a bit more than half of what Tom’s breeders do.  About what we would expect I guess. The results from your queens (“Commercial D” for now) are trickier to interpret because they got tested so late in the season. Charts 1 and 2 show that your queens did relatively well in comparison to the other three commercial sources that we tested earlier. However, Chart 3 shows the responses of your queens when we adjust as best we can according to the responses of the VSH and susceptible control colonies we tested simultaneously with your three colonies (data shown in chart 4); your colonies with this adjustment actually did better than all the others tested earlier.

Confused enough? We can talk.

Best wishes,


Robert G. Danka

USDA, ARS Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics and Physiology Laboratory

Baton Rouge, LA70820