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BBOBI Group – March April 2019 Newsletter

[…]many members adding drone comb foundation to their hives in March during those few warm days A cell punch kit has be made from the following instructions Polymath and Cushman – this kit is ready to be deployed. The first modest batch of AMM grafts have been taken to standardise the method and educate the core team. Queen cages are being prepared, […]

Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn -part two

[…]from – Selection Criteria? 2) What method of transferring larvae will you use, Grafting, Nicot, Cell Punch, Miller, Natural (Swarm cell or emergency cell)? To name a few. 3) What set up of starter colony will you have? Queenless, Queen Right or temporarily queenless then queen right e.g a Cloake board (there are several variations of each of these). 4) […]
Read more » Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn -part two

Find, Mark & Clip the Queen

[…]whether a fertile female egg or an unfertilised male egg is laid, depending on whether the cell is a worker or a drone cell. The early part of the year is the best time to clip queens, but one should always be sure that the queen being clipped is a laying one. If there is any doubt as to her […]

John Harding Queen Rearing

[…]are often made up by beekeepers themselves and can hold different types of grafted cups or punched cells. There will need to be a space created in the central base unit to make room for it. Temperature is critical for any Queen rearing so it is better to use the frame method when temperatures drop below 18° C at night. […]

A Native Dark Bee Project

[…]satisfactory mating success by drone flooding using drone comb in selected hives. Grafted queen cell A.m.m. queen produced by grafting. Year 3. 2012 A suitably remote site for mating of grafted A.m.m. virgins was needed, and Eoghain MacLean; Director of the Scottish Natural Heritage Reserve at Kinlochewe gave permission to site a mating apiary on the mountain nature reserve at […]

Queen Rearing Timetable

[…]Albert Knight and provides an interactive way to prepare timetables for using the Jenter or Cupkit Cellplug Box. With a bit of tweaking it can be used for other methods of cell raising. Download Excel spreadsheet of Tom’s Table: […]

Steve Rose Queen Rearing

This is a queen rearing method to persuade non-prolific and non-swarmy bees to raise queen cells on a regular basis through the season. (updated July 2015) Summary: Put queen excluder(s) and 2 half-width brood boxes over a standard colony when the first supers would normally be fitted. Wait for bees to start putting nectar in the half boxes and mature […]

Leek and Moorlands – ST9

[…]and welcome beekeepers of all levels of experience. Plans In 2018 we used the Miller method for cell raising, and grafed larvae and also used the Jenter  system..  We used Apidea mini-nucs for mating.  We also trained 4 members in instrumental insemination. Further Info You can see full details and register for information on our meetup site […]

Some history of the East Midlands group

[…]two weeks after the queens have been on site. So a mated queen is removed and a ripe queen cell due to hatch within 24 hours is put in the nuc. Transporting ripe queen cells 75 miles from our apiary to the mating site poses problems regarding keeping them at hive temperature. This has been solved by the use of […]

BIBBA Queen Rearing Table (Tom’s Table)

[…]other methods of producing queen cells and to correct one error. This version covers grafting, cell punching, cell plugs, Miller/Alley and Morris Board methods. BIBBA Queen Rearing […]

BIM 43 – Spring 2014

[…]meeting in Sussex – James Norfolk We all become bee breeders when we first select which queen cell to keep. Book Review – Philip Denwood Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture, by Ross Conrad. Patron Saints – Brian Dennis Question: Who is the patron saint of beekeepers? Answer: The usual answer is St Ambrose, However, he is not the […]

BIM 49 – Spring 2017

[…]colony assessment, colony handling techniques, selection criteria, producing queen cells, cell building colonies, mating nucs, etc. These courses are very popular, with lots of information and tips on improving your own and your local bees. Past experience suggests they are likely to fill up quickly. Numbers will be limited to give attendees individual attention where needed. See the BIBBA website […]

BIBBA Open Day – Improve Your Bees

[…]recording Methods of raising queen cells Making up and managing standard frame nuclei, queen and cell introduction Cell raising methods – queenless colony – queenright colony – cell starter, […]

2 Day Bee Improvement: Preston

[…]natural queen cells the bees build. Producing “Artificial” queen cell using grafting, cell punching, cell plugs and the Miller method Clipping and marking queens Changing queens in colonies and queen introduction techniques. Drone production Making up queen mating colonies and nuclei. Getting queens mated and mating control. Equipment required – buying, making, improvising or modifying. Dispelling some of the myths […]

2 Day Bee Improvement: Preston

[…]natural queen cells the bees build. Producing “Artificial” queen cell using grafting, cell punching, cell plugs and the Miller method Clipping and marking queens Changing queens in colonies and queen introduction techniques. Drone production Making up queen mating colonies and nuclei. Getting queens mated and mating control. Equipment required – buying, making, improvising or modifying. Dispelling some of the myths […]

Course Feedback

[…]his smallholding, Cilgwri, Near Corwen, Denbighshire. Cilgwri is Steve’s home apiary and has excellent teaching facilities so it was an ideal venue for the course. The variable June weather dictated that the first day (of two) was largely spent in the lecture room but it lifted sufficiently to enable us to spend the second day in the apiary. Roger and […]

Wisborough Green BKA – RH14

Wisborough Green BKA teaches beekeepers in West Sussex. Near native bees and queens are produced in our extensive teaching apiary as part of the tuition. contact Roger Patterson 01403 790 […]

Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn -part one

[…]or foundation, feed next day.) The bees in the now queenless colony will create emergency queen cells on the comb. Each frame which has a queen cell can potentially now be a nucleus colony for the queen cell to emerge and mate. Even if you can’t find the queen you can simply split a colony into two, the one without […]
Read more » Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn -part one

Conserving black bees

[…]supersedure cells. Normally all supersedure cells are harvested. A second and third crop of cells can then follow. These cells invariably produce the strongest queens. Virgins from these sources and also from grafting and dedicated cell raisers are mated from some 100 Apidea mini mat­ing nucs. Careful record keeping of mated queens ensures queen lines are maintained. Colonsay offers the […]

Cupkit, Fakes and Annoyance

[…]Annoyance "Cupkit” is a name that is used in the U.K. and Ireland for a cell plug queen rearing system that is designed and manufactured by Nicot in France.  Elsewhere in the world it is called “Cupularve”.  As a system I like it, but I think you need to be raising a reasonable number of queens to justify it being […]

Queens: Collaboration and how to make it easy on yourself and your bees – by Karl Colyer

[…]organised. Figure out how to create another 1-6 colonies for when a suitable larvae, queen cell, virgin queen or mated queen becomes available. Have a few things prepared so that when you get the call or email, it’s not a mad dash. As soon as the above equipment is used, figure out where the next frames, box etc. is coming […]
Read more » Queens: Collaboration and how to make it easy on yourself and your bees – by Karl Colyer

BIBBA Monthly – December 2020

[…]colony, which is called a “test comb”. If the colony is queenless, they should build emergency cells, if queenright, they won’t. This is also no longer 100% reliable, though is still recommended and I wouldn’t disagree with it. Obviously if emergency cells are built, then you know the colony is queenless, but if none are built it’s no guarantee they […]

Webinars – Summary

Recordings of the majority of webinars are also available on our YouTube Channel Don’t forget to sign up here, for free, to learn more about our future […]

Section 5.1 – Queen Rearing Methods

[…]to supply frames of sealed brood and stores, make up additional nucs. Alternatively, offer spare cells to nearby beekeepers. Replace cell raiser nuc with another nuc box containing a frame of eggs, two frames of stores and a frame of sealed brood and repeat the process. It should be possible to repeat the process every 10 days whilst there is […]

Section 7.1 – The Mating of Queens

[…]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 mating flights from about the age of 5 days […]

NatBIP News No1

[…]Card The card can be printed out on A4 paper, one for each colony. It is convenient to punch holes and store in a ring binder for use in the apiary, at each inspection. Some use it as a management record as well as for recording the qualities and performance of each colony, whilst others may prefer to also use […]

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

[…]rear emergency queen cells on this frame. This can be checked in 7 days’ time when sealed queen cells will be seen. If there are several cells and the colony is a reasonable size, it could be split into 2 or more nucs and queen cells cut out and added to nucs, as necessary. Improving the temperament in one’s bees […]

East Midlands 1998

[…]were listed and found to number 55. Use of an incubator for hatching queen cells. This year we had more queen cells that failed to hatch than in previous years. As we take our nucs 70 miles to our mating site, it is a lot of wasted time and effort if the queens fail to emerge. We did use an […]

NatBIP News No5

[…]Egg laid Day 4              1-day old larva grafted and transferred to cell-raising colony Day 8/9           Cells are sealed Day 14            Distribute sealed cells (that is 1 week + 3 days after grafting) to incubator, or queenless nucs/mininucs. NB: Sealed cells can be removed to incubator, earlier but young pupae in queen cells are quite delicate and should be handled […]

NatBIP News No6

[…]would be mated successfully....and so the wait began. Oh! And we didn’t forget to leave a queen cell in the cell raiser colony for them. It was really useful to keep a detailed record of our queen lifecycle. We used the record card from BIBBA. If our predictions were accurate, we were looking to see a new queen emerging in […]


[…]craft of beekeeping. Queen Rearing Made Easy: The Punched Cell Method Raising queens using the Punched 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 […]

Sandringham Report 2021

[…]somewhat better than the JH unit for a while. We also split a colony to provide a queenless queen cell starter unit; this worked well initially but like the other two units failed to start a single graft cell when we introduced grafts on 16th August. It is not clear why this should have been so, but the bees were […]

Why do the bees rear so many drones?

[…]or unknowingly, limit their numbers by the use of full sheets of the standard worker-size-cell foundation, which limits the areas where drone cells can be built to the margins of the frames. Although drone foundation is available, it is rarely used by most. Since the advent of wired foundation, only the exceptional practitioner wires his or her own frames and […]

Let’s Go Beekeeping!

[…]combs; Making up a two frame nuc; Roger’s inspection kit; cold or warm way?; Protecting a queen cell; Assembling national frames and boxes; and, most recently, the Toggle hive strap. For three days, except for a change of clothes, this is how we were dressed. The bees were a delight. Like all of Roger’s presentations, what you see is what you […]

March 2022 BIBBA Monthly

[…]you consider them seriously, as I think they will be much better than the plastic ones. Just punch in “beehive rotating entrance closure” in the usual place. Roger Patterson BIBBA and Commercial Beekeepers From its foundation in 1964, BIBBA has always had a membership of both commercial and non-commercial beekeepers and has been committed to reducing the introgression of non-native […]

NatBIP News No8

[…]The hardest part of queen rearing can be deciding which method to try. utilising natural queen cells is another method... Working in Groups Beekeeping is often a solitary occupation but, with bee improvement, small-scale beekeepers stand more chance of making an impact if they can work together. Improvement Groups can be a challenge in themselves, but much pleasure and satisfaction […]