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August 2022 BIBBA Monthly

[…]a population of honeybees, and that the modern phenomenon of using imported queens or British bred queens produced from imported breeder queens, which are neither locally adapted to our climate, varroa tolerant or guaranteed to be disease free. It is therefore reasonable to propose that the development of natural resistance to the varroa mite is hindered by the continued dilution […]

A Simple Method of Simultaneously Raising Queens and Producing Nuclei

[…]queen rather than having to move the breeding queen or larvae to the cell raiser. Provides young queens in nuclei in one step Queens do not have to be raised in a mating nucleus first and then transferred to a second nucleus, which is advantageous if the final aim is to produce nuclei rather than queens. Uncomplicated timetable In essence, […]
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Improving bees by raising your own queens

[…]smokers or hive tools are to be used, other than those supplied. To identify stocks to raise queens from or to replace (we don't expect to kill queens!) we may place them in order of preference. This is for instructional purposes only and not to be seen as criticism of the bees kept by our hosts. Some apiaries may be […]

BOBBI Spring 2022 Newsletter

[…]queens into full lay and to assess their performance.  It allows us to sell 5 frame nucs or mated queens.  We can also supply spare virgin queens to BBOBI members to get mated in their own apiaries. Education & TrainingLast year we ran a series of workshops which proved to be very successful.  We were joined by 6 BBOBI members […]

NatBIP News No8

[…]on selectively breeding native honeybees. Traits such as appearance, habit and longevity, with queens frequently achieving productivity for over four years, are amongst our key breeding objectives. Breeder queens are selected only after two productive years of heading a colony in a single national brood chamber. This reduces the need for frequently replacing queens. We assess colonies for docility (often […]

March 2022 BIBBA Monthly

[…]as well as local bees, the best bees for you are in your yard or in your neighbour’s yard, raise queens from them”. If it works for him why do we need imports? Is it because those importing aren’t capable of raising their own queens? Watching this is an hour well spent. YouTube […]


[…]Opposes the Importation of Honey Bees and Queens for these 15 reasons Education and Training eLearning Course Beekeeping is fun! And with our online courses, you can develop a love for this incredible hobby. Our approach to most things is “Keep it simple”. Live @ the Hive Live outside broadcasts of hive inspections and apiary activities. Recordings available on youtube, […]

Why do the bees rear so many drones?

[…]genes, being few in number, could not compete in probability terms in the chase after queens; such ‘few-drones’ genes would therefore tend not to be passed on and would sink into oblivion over time. Hence we see that the ‘many-drones’ genes are bound to dominate over evolutionary time, and the bees are ‘compelled’ by those genes to produce lots of […]


[…]Opposes the Importation of Honey Bees and Queens for these 15 reasons Education and Training eLearning Course Beekeeping is fun! And with our online courses, you can develop a love for this incredible hobby. Our approach to most things is “Keep it simple”. Live @ the Hive Live outside broadcasts of hive inspections and apiary activities. Recordings available on youtube, […]


[…]Opposes the Importation of Honey Bees and Queens for these 15 […]

Sandringham Report 2021

[…]routine of grafting, moving cells to finishing colonies, making up mating nucs, introducing virgin queens for mating, moving the mated queens on to bigger nucleus colonies has developed our skills and confidence. We think that we have learnt a lot about bees and about queen rearing that should equip us for progress next season. One thing is very clear. These […]


[…]Cell method has been in use for over a century. Richard Smailes published “Raise Your Own Queens by the Punched Cell Method” about half a century ago. Little has been published since. Few have continued to practice the method. It’s time to learn something old to help keep the craft of beekeeping alive. Small-scale queen rearing is needed more than ever to […]

Lune Valley New Breeding Apiary

[…]our local conditions. Earlier this year (2021) spurred on by the ban on the importation of all but queens, we set about building a breeding apiary. With most of our members being new or relatively new to beekeeping, our initial intention is to focus on producing splits. We may move on to queen rearing at a later stage. As the […]

Bee Improvement Strategies

[…]or group should consider is what method should I/we follow to Improve our bees and to produce queens. There are a few key choices depending on your aims, capacity (time and equipment) and capabilities. I’m assuming the reader is looking for a bee that is native and/or locally adapted. Kevin […]

NatBIP News No 7

[…]we can influence our local population and gradually get more consistent results. Without imported queens, and by producing offspring from our selected breeder queens (which will produce good drones, regardless of their matings) we can influence the local drone population. I have seen this achieve results in my area and we know others have done the same. Local mating stations […]

NatBIP News No6

[…]queens are doing. Yvonne and the little beekies of Ashbrow More FAQs Are queens reared from eggs/larva selected by bees better than queens reared from eggs/larva selected by beekeepers? This may be one for the scientists! Perhaps we would expect the bees to know better, as they are likely to detect subtle differences that the beekeeper cannot hope to be […]

BIBBA Monthly – June 2021

[…]to supply new beekeepers and for providing an income stream for commercial beekeepers. Several queens can also be mated in the nucs during the summer, so adding value. Producing bees and queens locally avoids the use of imports that are a concern to many beekeepers, owing to disease risks and genetic disruption of the local bee population. The author, Roger […]

Bee Improvement Days 2021

[…]group or are considering starting one. It will suit those who want to raise good quality queens by using "artificial" methods in batches of 6 or more in controlled conditions. The information gained should prepare attendees for producing many more queens on a regular basis if required. Attendees should know the "basics" of beekeeping, i.e. the life cycles, swarming procedure […]

North Devon Bee Improvement Group-EX32

[…]Association. Initially, we will be developing our skills to become self-sufficient in producing Queens and colonies for our teaching programme and as a source of local bees for beginners. In the long term we would be excited to part of the effort to improve the nation’s […]

NatBIP News No5

[…]from 5 days old onwards. Usually queens laying by 21 days old. Check sealed brood for drone-laying queens. Queens that take a long time coming into lay, often (but not always) turn out to be drone-layers   With the rubbish weather, what are my options if my queen/s fail to mate and when should I worry about laying workers? I […]

NatBIP News No4

[…]we desire and become part of the movement towards sustainable beekeeping. Jo Widdicombe Breeder queens and queen-rearing As the active season gets well under way, we can continue to monitor the qualities of our queens using our own system of record-keeping or download the record card from the NatBIP GUIDE on the BIBBA website (search As we assess the […]

East Midlands 1998

[…]days. The care of queens after emergence is important, failure to take simple steps can result in queens dying. Once the queens have emerged they must have immediate access to liquid honey or soft candy, and the cell case removed to give them more room in the cage, and to prevent them entering the cell and getting trapped. Conclusion One […]

Recommended YouTube Videos

There are a lot of beekeeping videos online. Some are excellent, with factual and sound information featuring good, knowledgeable and experienced beekeepers. Unfortunately there are many of dubious accuracy, giving poor advice that may be inappropriate for our conditions. As there is no vetting procedure to display educational material online, what is the inexperienced beekeeper to believe? BIBBA strongly believes […]

NatBIP News No3

[…]the qualities of our colonies, and therefore of our queens, so that we can select a queen, or queens, to use to produce the next generation of queens. Ideally, have a record card for each colony (i.e. one for each queen) and assess the colony on each inspection. The ‘NatBIP Record Card’ can be downloaded from the BIBBA website (, […]

NatBIP News No2

[…]what to breed from can be made much more quickly. The record card can sort out potential breeder queens very quickly meaning anyone can get young queens produced in their first season. Producing Queens When you have selected your ‘breeder queen(s)’, the excitement starts as you can then think about rearing offspring. If you have not done any queen rearing […]

Salisbury and District BKA

[…]encourage and support local beekeepers keep locally-adapted bees with locally raised, open-mated queens of local heritage.   Please Contact: Matthew […]

BIBBA Opposes the Importation of Honey Bees and Queens

[…]aimed to identify how to optimise sustainable productivity. The Study can be found (here) Imported queens are usually either pure sub-species, hybrids or man-made types. They are mainly from different evolutionary lineages that have evolved in very different ecogeographic conditions. It is well known that random mating with different types of bees creates arbitrary crosses that often result in aggressive […]
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NatBIP News No1

[…]nature to make accurate assessments at each inspection. The purpose of the card is to show which queens are the ones to produce offspring from and, perhaps just as important, which queens should be replaced when the opportunity arises. Assessment of colonies using a record card is the first step on the path to bee improvement. The NatBIP Logo The […]

Section 8.1 – Dominating an Area with the Selected Strain

[…]display the chosen traits and replace them with ones that do. We then have our colonies headed by queens we have selected. From these we can produce daughter queens through our queen breeding programme….…. this is an ongoing process which is repeated each season. The daughter queens play a key part in bee improvement and establishing our selected strain in […]
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Section 7.1 – The Mating of Queens

The Mating of Queens - Use of nucs, mini-nucs and mini+ nucs Whether you are using natural queen cells, emergency queen cells, grafted queen cells or cells produced from larval transfer kits (such as Jenter or Cupkit), the next step in the process is finding a home for the queen cell or virgin queen so that she can go on […]

Section 5.1 – Queen Rearing Methods

[…]adequately. Rearing from poor weak colonies without adequate feeding will result in inferior queens. Queens can possibly be reared from mid-April to mid-September in many areas, with probably May and June being the best times, as long as adequate food is provided. A queen rearing colony should be provided fed unless the weather is fine and an abundance of nectar […]

Section 4.14 – NatBIP 1 Record Card Instructions

[…]thorax. An Italian (Ligurian) influence would be lighter coloured, orangey bands on the abdomen. Carniolan (carnica) influence would give the impression of white or grey hairs. They can be dark bodied but often have a brown and very stripy abdomen, wide stripes, not narrow. Summary is average of last 3 assessments. Temperament 1-5 (Aggressive to docile) Assess at each visit. […]
Read more » Section 4.14 – NatBIP 1 Record Card Instructions

Section 3.1 – The Selection of Local Stock

[…]of ‘inbreeding’ and maintaining genetic diversity. To allow us to select the most desirable queens to rear a new generation of queens from, and to replace, or remove from the area, undesirable queens, we need to use a system of record-keeping that allows us, over time, to build up a picture of the qualities of each queen. Beekeepers are often […]

Section 2.1 – How NatBIP will work

[…]the next generation From our completed record cards, we can choose the queen or queens to rear further queens from. Some will want to rear numerous queens from a few selected queens, others may prefer just one or two offspring from numerous queens, perhaps up to half of available stocks. It is important not to narrow the gene pool too […]

National Bee Improvement Programme (NatBIP)

[…]to a stable and sustainable future for our beekeeping. Imports of bees and, in particular, queens have been rising rapidly in the past decade. The Healthy Bees Plan, 2009 (England and Wales), and the Honey Bee Health Strategy, 2010 (Scotland), identified imports as a possible biosecurity risk to our bees, as does the Healthy Bees Plan 2030 (published November 2020). […]