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NatBIP News No9

[…]from aggression in that colony, but we should also consider that the drones produced by that queen could mate with new queens in that area resulting in further hybridisation of the local population. This hybridisation of our local bees makes bee improvement in our area more difficult, as hybrids do not breed true and, therefore, make selection and improvement a […]

August 2022 BIBBA Monthly

[…]seeing some in three out of the four apiaries I recently used for the BIBBA Bee Improvement and Queen Rearing courses. At one of them, the first two colonies I inspected had problems. I have recently found something that is connected but slightly different in one of my colonies called Violet. As a keen amateur naturalist, I name my colonies […]

A Simple Method of Simultaneously Raising Queens and Producing Nuclei

[…]Beachaire (The Irish Beekeeper) The reader may groan and sigh, “not another queen-rearing method,” and I agree that there seems to be an endless number of ways of rearing queens, including the Miller, Hopkins, Alley, Harden and Harding methods.  Although sometimes seen as a black art, queen-rearing is an important part of beekeeping, and every beekeeper should have access to […]
Read more » A Simple Method of Simultaneously Raising Queens and Producing Nuclei

Improving bees by raising your own queens

[…]distribution. Queen introduction. Mating control. Some of the myths of bee improvement and queen rearing. Experience shows that each course is different, being tailored to suit the location and the needs of attendees, but including much of the above. What equipment is needed? There will be time spent at the bees, so bring clean protective clothing. It is asked that […]

BOBBI Spring 2022 Newsletter

[…]members every Saturday and they spent the day with Brian Green and I, going through the entire queen rearing process.   We hope to do something similar this year, so watch this space for dates and times. Joining BBOBIIf anyone from Bucks, Berks or Oxfordshire would be interested in joining BBOBI, please feel free to contact Brian Green directly and we […]

NatBIP News No8

[…]to suit your own requirements and allow you to select for the qualities that are important to you. Queen rearing Some relish the challenge of queen rearing, whilst others find it a bit daunting. Techniques described in the Guide, can be as simple as building a colony up on two brood boxes and then dividing into two, to produce a […]

Let’s Go Beekeeping!

[…]brood 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 […]


[…]and of improving the quality of our honey bees. This Programme aims to provide a way forward to a stable and sustainable future for our beekeeping ...READ MORE BIBBA 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 […]

Why do the bees rear so many drones?

[…]drones? This piece aims to explain: why the production of a large number of drones is the inevitable consequence of the free mating of queens in drone congregations; and why this proliferation of drones is a key factor in ensuring the adaptability and resilience of the honey bee through the ages. “Drones in their season seem necessary to the working […]


[…]and of improving the quality of our honey bees. This Programme aims to provide a way forward to a stable and sustainable future for our beekeeping ...READ MORE BIBBA 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 […]


[…]and of improving the quality of our honey bees. This Programme aims to provide a way forward to a stable and sustainable future for our beekeeping ...READ MORE BIBBA Opposes the Importation of Honey Bees and Queens for these 15 […]

BIBBA YouTube Videos

[…]visit our YouTube Channel. Jump to: Just Started | The Early Years | Intermediate/Advanced | Queen rearing | General Interest | Live @ the Hive | NatBIP Just Started or about to For those who are considering starting beekeeping or who have just started, perhaps in their first full year. The Early Years – Sound Foundations in Beekeeping These titles […]

Sandringham Report 2021

[…]late. The bees at Sandringham were not particularly strong colonies which would be needed if any queen rearing was to take place. So queens were removed from two of my other colonies to allow them to be united with the two already at Sandringham. As a point of interest, as I was not keen to kill the queens, I put […]


[…]need for a physical teaching and resources apiary to spread and nurture the 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 […]

The Native Irish Honey Bee

[…]in the 2020s as our knowledge of honey bee genetics increases), conservation, bee improvement and queen rearing, and a review of the past, present, and future for the native honey bee in Ireland. This is not just an excellent read, it is one of those books that you will keep going back to time after time. reviewed by Selwyn Runnett […]

Lune Valley New Breeding Apiary

[…]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 season comes to a close, we have a new, wheelchair accessible, all-weather base for our breeding apiary, six colonies of fairly pure Amm, all housed in Lune Valley Long Hives and six solid stands, each […]

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

[…]locally adapted bee. God Save the Queen! So, June is when we get into our queen rearing proper – excitement and disappointment abound, but our plucky NatBIP News volunteers are a persistent bunch! Phil – our beginner – has relied on the natural method of queen rearing, using the bees swarming instinct to produce new queens. By performing an artificial […]

NatBIP News No5

[…]beekeepers believe wet grafting is advantageous. Can you run through the ‘numbers’ regards Queen Rearing - from egg to sealed QC, to hatch to mating and laying? Day 1              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 […]

NatBIP News No4

[…]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 qualities of […]

Dover and Districts BKA Q rearing support group – CT4

[…]and husbandry techniques delivered as Zoom meetings. Individual members are guided to choose a queen rearing method appropriate for their circumstances and skill level; individual or small group support will be given as they undertake their queen rearing. There is no charge for this course, but participants must be a member of Dover & District BKA and, if excess queens […]
Read more » Dover and Districts BKA Q rearing support group – CT4

East Midlands 1998

[…]Over the years we have kept a record of the many tips that we have found to be of help in queen rearing. Recently these 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 […]

NatBIP News No3

[…]assessing 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

[…]area’. How long before I can select a ‘breeder queen’? Much has been written about queen rearing but surprisingly little about assessment of colonies and selecting which queen to breed from. What there is, can be off-putting as, often, such a long-winded process is recommended that few of us would ever reach an end-result. Particularly in the first season, one […]

Section 8.1 – Dominating an Area with the Selected Strain

[…]So, it is suggested that feeding is started three weeks prior to the start of your first round of queen rearing. Also, a frame of drone comb or foundation can be inserted in the breeder colonies. Once it has been laid up it can be removed and replaced with another frame of drone comb or foundation.  The laid up frame […]
Read more » Section 8.1 – Dominating an Area with the Selected Strain

Section 7.1 – 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 mating flights from about […]

Section 5.1 – Queen Rearing Methods

Photo by Roger Patterson Queen Rearing Methods There are so many techniques of queen rearing, and so much has been written about them, that it may seem unwise to add any more. Studying too many methods can be a source of much confusion and leave one overwhelmed and unsure of how to proceed. Like most things in beekeeping, the best […]

Section 4.14 – NatBIP 1 Record Card Instructions

[…]Association Queen or Colony Origin: Source or origin of Queen and/or Colony Name or No. of Strain: Queen Name or No.: Name/no. if breeder Queen Mark/Age: Letter for year colour. Circled if marked Queen description: Colour, stripes, clipped? Apiary Name: Name or location of apiary Hive No.: Number or ID of hive Hive Type: Type of hive + Brood box […]
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

[…]of our colonies. Producing 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 […]

Section 1.3 – Participation

[…]– Publication with articles from BIBBA Monthly Publications and guidance on bee improvement and queen rearing Support for local Bee Improvement Groups Lectures, demonstrations, workshops on all aspects of bee improvement Support us in developing a hardy, docile and productive bee. 2. Sign up as a Supporter of the National Bee Improvement Programme (NatBIP). (Free) Supporters of the scheme are […]

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 […]

BIBBA Monthly – December 2020

[…]– Playing your part" 23.       Roger Patterson          “Understanding queen rearing methods” March 2.         Roger Patterson          “Bee Improvement. How I did it” 9.         Keith Pierce                 "Breeding and improving our native bee. A pragmatic approach, even if you are surrounded by non-native bees" 16.       Kevin Thorn                 “Working Together to Improve Local Stock” 23.       Roger […]