© Xavier Girard Lachaine

Selective breeding is done with the utmost respect for the bee, for nature and for the environment in order to deal head on with the challenges facing modern beekeeping.

Natural selection

Confronted by the actual mortality crisis within bee colonies, the beekeeper has lost many of his landmarks in the execution of the tasks related to his job. To build colonies with bees well adapted to their environment and naturally resistant to the environmental pressures is therefore essential. Api Culture Hautes Laurentides’s (ACHL) queen breeding center is devoted daily to the achievement of this goal, to provide the beekeeping industry with high quality queens.

Selection program

ACHL apiary is made up of 1,000 colonies dedicated to the production of organic-certified honey, of nucs, and to the breeding of 8,000 to 10,000 queens annually. ACHL has two mating stations totalizing 2,000 mating nucs. Nestled in the Mont-Laurier region, 250 km from the nearest commercial apiary, our Ferme-Neuve site benefits from a  complete geographic isolation thus maintaining genetic stock authenticity and avoiding the risk of genetic contamination.

© Xavier Girard Lachaine

Genetics

Plague by Varroa destructor, viruses and pathogens of many kinds, the bee is in a fight for its survival. Api Culture Hautes Laurentides has developed stocks bred for the trait of resistance for over ten years through the introduction of multiple genetic material: Russian Primorsky stock, Canadian Carniolian stock, Italian Minnesota Hygienic stock and VSH stock. By focusing on an IPM strategy, the ACHL selection program develops the bee’s natural resistance against varroosis. ACHL trusts Nature, an ancestral guide in the bee’s instinctual fight for survival. Reproductive queens have been treatment-free since 2001. Complete geographic isolation allows ACHL to maintain genetic stock authenticity and avoid the risk of genetic contamination.
The work for our genetic selection essentially rests on the hardiness featured in a productive, disease tolerant bee also adapted to our environmental conditions. We were fortunate in the last years with our VSH research base because we strongly think that it now represents the most powerful resistance mechanism against varroa infestation.

 

Objectively, we have noticed that this behaviour has greatly intensified throughout our colonies in the last years. This behaviour represents, for us, the best integrated tool available to us, beekeepers, right now. The ACHL stocks with a strong VSH behaviour do not require any acaricides, representing for the beekeeper a saving in both time and money. By avoiding the introduction of chemical agents into the environment and by promoting robust and productive colonies, ACHL queens represent a hope of survival for bees confronted by pathogenic agents infesting the beekeeping industry.

This selection work is supported by a research project with Dr. Pierre Giovenazzo of the Deschambault Animal Health Research Center (CRSAD) in partnership with Laval University. Resistance to diseases, adaptability, productive pollination and production of quality honey, these are the breeding choices of Api Culture Hautes Laurentides.

© Mathieu Dupuis
© Xavier Girard Lachaine

QUEENS AVAILABLE  SEASON 2018

The improved genetic stock available for 2018 is the following:
VSH Italian queens (Hybrid)
VSH carniolan queens (Hybrid):
For more details, contact Suzie Poudrier, directly at the farm or by email suzie@api-culture.com

 

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