We are heading to the United States in a few weeks on an exciting adventure to learn how to breed Varroa tolerant bees from some of the most successful projects in the world. We will bring all our learning back to Australia and start creating the framework to tackle Varroa even before it arrives! This work is proudly supported by the International Specialised Skills Institute Agribusiness fellowship, the Victorian Honey Bee Compensation and Industry Development Fund and Bee Build.
We will first travel to Hawaii to learn about Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH) breeding in a commercial apiary supported by the Arista Bee Research Foundation and the United States Department of Agriculture. We will then visit Sue Cobey in Washington State to better understand the intricacies of incorporating imported stock into a breeding program.
From Washington we head to the Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Lab in Baton Rouge Louisiana to learn first hand by helping out with VSH trait identification and stock selection in the VSH and Pol-line lines of bees.
Our last two stops are Purdue University in Indiana to better understand selection for its mite biter bees, and then to visit the West Central Ohio Beekeepers Association to learn about collaborative breeding from “survivor stock”.
The project is titled “Development of Varroa tolerance selection methods tailored for the benefit of Victorian (and Australia wide) beekeepers and the honey bee industry”
We will be keeping our blog posts updated so keep in touch!!