Mercury Island Research – VSH
Important to note, the research was conducted with only New Zealand Bee stocks to avoid any risk of bringing in disease from imported Bee stocks.
Michelle Taylor introduced VSH being “Varroa Sensitive Hygiene” a Bee ‘activity’ or a genetic trait which has been identified through the study of Bees. This ‘activity’ which may be the key to helping fight varroa.
This activity was where the Bees were found to be opening capped cells where there were fertile varroa inside, studies showed that the Bees often left theses cells open and the larvae/pupae continued growing with no harm to their growth. The next step was to work on how this trait can be bred into all NZ Bees?
There were some issues which Michelle described as being that there was “…not enough industry input…” being that there were not enough Beekeepers making themselves available for the studies. 65 Queens over New Zealand were sourced and used to reproduce traits, this had to be conducted by using artificial insemination (AI).
Unfortunately, in my view, the team had to produce their own mites for the studies.
Further studies were to be conducted on Mercury Island which would provide a ‘closed’ genetic pool, so hives were put on the Island for further studies. Once there were Bees on the Island, they were given no treatments – the objective to see how long they survived, result? …48 had to be treated.
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