Instrumental Insemination as a Part of Our Operation.
I was taught instrumental insemination by Sue Cobey in the summer of 2014. Prior to learning "II" we'd purchased II'd breeding stock exclusively from outside sources to bring in high concentrations of resistant genes and lay the foundation for our bees. With superb instruction from Sue, we've had great success with our initial practice of II. Many of our II'd queens have outperformed their open mated sisters, likely because of drone selection and sound insemination procedures. We have inseminated some phenomenal queens within our own lines, as well as II'd some unrelated stock back to our drones. My most recent project is crossing Purdue universities' Mite Biter line with semen from our VSH Italian drones. I'm very interested to see what comes of it. The Purdue queen which was II'd in 2015 was very dark in color. Her offspring are uniformly colored like darker Italians. My thought process was that if VSH bees are highly resistant to mites, adding allogrooming to their genetic makeup, would result in even higher resistance to varroa. If my attempts are successful the mites would face peril not only reproducing in capped brood, but also when they are phoretic and most vulnerable to grooming. We look forward to expanding our breeding program. We are also excited about offering II'd breeding stock in the near future.