There was a spirited conversation on Bee Source a while ago on the best protocols for dealing with the Varroa Mite. I found myself getting almost angry at the calm voices who insisted that if you have bees of the correct genetic stock – so called “Survivor Bees” – that no chemical or cultural “treatments” for Varroa are needed – the bees survive/thrive on their own.
My next objection was the commercial availability of these bees – while I’m aware of small scale production of survivors, I wasn’t aware of any large scale producers. I was steered towards B Weaver Apiaries based in Navasota, Texas.
So packages were ordered, equipment assembled, thoughts prepared on what a test should look like. There are two questions that I to answer with the test. The first is an easy one: will the “survivor” bees survive without any chemical applications or cultural practices intended to treat Varroa and Trachael mites, as well as the two variations of Nosema. The second: will the “survivor” bees makes roughly the same amount of honey as my other traditionally kept bees?
Three years seems to be the general length of time needed to show survivability. I don’t expect to get any surplus honey this season. But the second and third…