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Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH)
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Minnesota Hygienic QueensMarla Spivak

Minnesota Hygienic Italians were developed by Dr. Marla Spivak at the University of Minnesota Bee Lab.

Dr. Spivak was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2010

These bees are bred to have a high degree of hygienic behavior known to be effective against diseases of the brood such as American foulbrood and chalkbrood. This trait is thought to be two behaviors acting inMinnesota hygienic italian queensynergy, the uncapping of diseased cells, then the removal of the pathogen along with the pupae,effectively disrupting the disease lifecycle. Another trait, Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH) is especially effective at targeting varroa mites. Dr. Spivak played a pivotal role in characterizing this behavior.

Dr. Spivak has been very active for many years in educating and promoting the use of hygienic bees to naturally combat some of the problems facing bees and beekeepers today. She has supplied seed stock to bee breeders around the country to help get a critical mass of resistant bees in the country's honeybee population. Read more about "New Direction for Minnesota Hygienic Line of Bees".

Sources of Naturally Mated MN Hygienic Queens

Darrel Rufer - only orders for 50+ queens: (612) 325-1203

Mark Sundberg - large and small orders: (218) 731-5942,

Jeff Hull – very limited availability, (218) 205-6426

Instrumentally inseminated MN Hygienic breeder queens are no longer available from Glenn Apiaries. See our for other queens available.


Read more about hygienic behavior:

"The Hygiene Queen" By Dr. Marla Spivak and Gary Reuter in Bee Culture, Jan 98

"The Bee Queen" - Minnesota Magazine

"The Life-giving Secret of Bees" - The Rake

Resistance to American foulbrood disease by honey bee colonies, Apis mellifera, bred for hygienic behavior- Apidologie

The Relationship of Between Suppression of Mite Reproduction (SMR) and Hygienic Behavior, Ibrahim, A. and Spivak, M., American Bee Journal, May 2004

More references:


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Instrumentally inseminated MN Hygienic breeder queens are no longer available from Glenn Apiaries. See our for other queens available.

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