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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

[…]aware of the native honeybee Apis mellifera mellifera (Amm), and was able to purchase an Amm virgin queen from a Bibba event at Locko Park, Derbyshire.  This queen formed the foundation of my present-day colonies. The area I live in has overtime been populated mainly by this strain of locally adapted bee, by propagating the strain and my swarms setting […]

A Simple Method of Simultaneously Raising Queens and Producing Nuclei

[…]nothing to feed.  They are eager to nurse something, so the theory is that when young larvae in queen cups are introduced to them, they will copiously feed them, ensuring their development into well-nourished queens. Figure 3 Figure 4 Figure 5 Introduction of Larvae into Cell-Raising Colony After 7 days, remove any emergency cells (shake all brood frames and examine […]
Read more » A Simple Method of Simultaneously Raising Queens and Producing Nuclei

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

[…]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 every Saturday and they spent the day […]

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 […]


[…]have poured in from around the world, many expressing admiration and praise for the way the Queen skilfully managed some very difficult and turbulent situations during her long reign and the manner in which she did it. The National Bee Improvement Programme (NatBIP) has been launched in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. This […]

Why do the bees rear so many drones?

[…]queen? If we assume that a colony produces on average 2.5 swarms in a season**, and therefore 2.5 virgin queens to be mated - and if we, again for simplicity, take it that a queen will mate with say twelve drones on average, then it follows that, on average, only some 30 drones from a typical colony give up their […]


[…]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 […]

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

[…]of graft acceptance, loss of queens in sealed cells in the finishing colony, and some loss of virgin queens from mini-nucs used for mating. Our original unit for graft starting was a John Harding (JH) arrangement. Some problems arose here   because at different times the queens in each tower were superseded, resulting in some reduction in colony strengths and apparently […]


[…]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 overcome the increasing number of queen imports into the UK and their genetic impact on the locally adapted and native bees. For many, weak eyes and trembling hands make the idea of larval transfer via grafting […]

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

[…]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 […]

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

[…]having raised more queen cells.  I destroyed all of the Queen Cells bar one – I’m expecting a Virgin Queen any day now.” Good effort Phil and very rewarding. Next month we will hear more from Alison and her apiary. But for this month, it’s time to hear from the children of Ashbrow Primary School in Yorkshire. Yvonne Kilvington is […]

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 […]

Dover and Districts BKA Q rearing support group – CT4

[…]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 are raised, one must be given away to a local beekeeper, in need, at no cost. For further information please contact: […]
Read more » Dover and Districts BKA Q rearing support group – CT4

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 […]

NatBIP News No3

[…]newly raised queens. If you, or your group, have got as far as developing a mating area for the virgin queens, then any sub-standard colonies should be removed from that area in order to keep the genetic quality of drones up in that area. Dealing with bad-tempered colonies  Jo Widdicombe The spring is the ideal time to deal with bad-tempered […]

NatBIP News No2

[…]your colony up on two brood boxes to be split in two when the time is right. The bees will rear queen cells in the queenless brood box. More details on this simple method in Section 5.1 of the NatBIP GUIDE at Queen Rearing guidance If you didn’t catch this BIBBA webinar recently – “Understanding Queen Rearing Methods” by […]

Section 8.1 – Dominating an Area with the Selected Strain

[…]produce enough drones from our daughter queens eventually we increase the possibility of future virgin queens mating with drones of the same strain. This approach is called “Drone Flooding”. To gain a modicum of success with drone flooding there is a need to have a reasonably high number of colonies. If you only have a few hives then the desired […]
Read more » Section 8.1 – Dominating an Area with the Selected Strain

Section 5.1 – Queen Rearing Methods

[…]queen cells can be put straight into nucs or mini-nucs, or into an incubator for hatching and then virgin queens introduced. If introducing virgin queens into a nuc we like to introduce them, at least, one day after the previous queen has been removed. We use a piece of marshmallow to block the cage and slow down the release of […]

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 1.1- Introduction

[…]influx of new, untested genes into an area, which is what happens whenever we introduce imported queens, sets back the development of local adaptation in our bees and increases hybridisation of the sub-species, making selection and improvement more difficult. This process of hybridisation has been going on for over 150 years and resulted in our generally poor-quality bees. If we […]

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

[…]colony somewhere close. Fig 3. The two roller cages on the right contain recently emerged virgin queens. They are largly ignored. The cage on the left contains a fertile queen. This shows that a fertile queen is more attractive to a queenless colony than a virgin queen is. Fig. 4 Shows a new (empty) cage on the right that is […]