EHC and the ”POL” ( Pollinator) Queen Line
The Varroa Sensitive Hygiene trait in honeybees was developed almost coincidently by John Harbo and Jeffrey Harris of the USDA-ARS lab in Baton Rouge, LA, and Dr. Marla Spivak at the University of Minnesota. As breeder queens became available, we obtained stock from Marla, Tom and Suki Glenn, and David Miksa of Groveland FL.
As part of an effort to develop “real world” strains or stock which exhibit VSH traits, the Baton Rouge lab now led by Robert Danka asked us to sort and provide queens from our highly stressed pollination group which exhibited these traits.
Evergreen Honey Company was a good fit for this project, because our proximity to Baton Rouge. We had our own lab to assess mite loads coupled with a breeding program which emphasized mite resistant traits.
Beginning in 2009, our manager Joe Sanroma, working closely with Robert Danka, following countless hours of sorting, began to select queens from pollination stressed hives with low mite counts and sent them to the lab at Baton Rouge for further testing. The resulting stocks currently maintained at Baton Rouge field station out yards are genetically traceable to the original Evergreen Honey stock submitted for trial, and are maintained treatment free to this day.
With the passage of time we are seeing a strengthening of resistant traits in our bees in general which allows for less treatment with careful monitoring. Since inception of the VSH POL LINE program, EHC has continued participation in a breeder exchange program coupled with honey production traits from Ohio Queen Breeders. These factors result in the level of success we enjoy today.