Help From V's Bees With This Years Mite Resistance Data
At the end of every season here at Lloyd St. Bees, we like to give a recap of how things are looking in the field for us. Instead of reporting our mite counts for the 2023 season like we normally do, we wanted to share with you feedback from a customer of ours who took the time to record their colony performance during the 2023 season. Buzz and Marcia Vahradian from V’s Bees in Wautoma WI compiled this data comparing the performance of five different stocks they ran in their bee yard this season, one of those being nucs from Lloyd St. Bees. To our surprise, they shared their data at the Wisconsin Honey Bee Breeders’ Association quarterly meeting in the fall of 2023. Seeing this data really impressed us and we wanted to give them the opportunity to share it with all our supporters.
Buzz and Marcia used a total of 29 colonies for their data set and focused specifically on varroa levels and honey production. For their varroa sampling, they used an alcohol wash containing a 300 bee sample. The samples were averaged together to report all the colonies in the group. Honey production was recorded in the average count of honey supers produced by the colonies in each group. Each honey super weighed approximately 30lbs.
Here are a few specifics on each group of colonies outlined in the data:
Mite Biter, Overwintered – These are colonies headed by Mite Biter queens that have overwintered here in Wisconsin since 2019 and 2021 (yes, one queen was in her fourth season).
V’s Bees, Overwintered – These are colonies with queens that overwintered in WI since 2021. These queens are raised locally from survivor colonies/overwintered stock with good honey production. For lack of better terms, consider them mutts.
Out of State, Overwintered – These are store-bought/off the shelf colonies that are ordered from an out of state producer (southern state) and have overwintered here in Wisconsin 1 or 2 winters (2021 and 2022 queens).
Out of State, Not Overwintered - These are also store-bought/off the shelf colonies that are ordered from an out of state producer (southern state) and have NOT overwintered here in Wisconsin yet. They are all 2023 queens.
Lloyd St. Bees, Overwintered Nucs – These are local WI VSH stock (nucs), bought from Lloyd St. Bees in the spring of 2023 with 2022 queens.
Lloyd St. Bees colonies had fewer mites and produced more honey than any other group of colonies sampled in this field study
Looking at this graph, we can see that the Lloyd St. Bees colonies had fewer mites and produced more honey than any other group of colonies sampled in this field study. Specifically, almost four times the amount (about 90 additional lbs) of honey was produced by Lloyd St. Bee’s colonies compared to the Mite Biter colonies. When we compare varroa mite levels between the groups, we can see that the Out of State, Not Overwintered group had four times the number of mites than the Lloyd St. Bee group. Overall, we couldn’t be more pleased and prouder of the results. If this has inspired you to try our stock, feel free to browse our nucs and queens in our shop.
V’s Bees, LLC - Buzz and his wife, Marcia, have been keeping bees in central Wisconsin for 30 years. As sideline beekeepers managing 40-50 colonies, they bottle and sell pure raw honey from the nectar of local wildflowers. Their bees are kept in Wisconsin year-round and queens are raised from local survivor stock. Buzz has been teaching beekeeping classes for 10 years and has a passion for mentoring beginning beekeepers and encouraging them to use local stocks of bees. Email Buzz@VsTrees.com
Thanks for supporting local beekeeping,
Lloyd St. Bees