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Controlled Mating and Hygienic Behaviour

[…]Bigio*1,3, Hasan Al Toufailia1 , William O H Hughes2 , Francis L W Ratnieks1 Honey bee mating cannot be directly controlled in the same way as in many agriculturally important animals. Instrumental insemination is, however, possible and can be used as an aid in selective breeding. Hygienic behaviour, in which worker bees detect and remove dead or diseased brood from […]

Jim Vivian-Griffiths “Mating Biology of Honey Bees”

[…]and meeting at drone congregation areas. How do honey bees minimize the chance of virgin queens mating with their brothers, and how does the mating process work? My interest into this subject is strongly influenced by the papers and books of Gudrun & Nikolaus […]
Read more » Jim Vivian-Griffiths “Mating Biology of Honey Bees”

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 […]

John Harding Queen Rearing

[…]better that your queen cells are staggered by date, it makes it easier when making up queen mating nuclei over several days rather than all in one day. I make up these on the 10th day after grafting, so you see that writing it down or taking a photograph is a must and does make life so much easier. Four […]

Some history of the East Midlands group

[…]crossbar on which the mini-nuc rests. A thick band of rubber cut from a car inner tube straps the nuc to the stake. The mini-nucs are sited so as to give the bees something to help them orient on to the site, such as a bush or small tree. This reduces losses due to queens returning to the wrong nuc. […]

Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn -part two

[…]but queen cells may be duds. There are methods of minimising the downsides of both. 6) What mating nuc will you use? Three frame nuc needs more resources in terms of bees but is more successful. Mini nucs require fewer bees but are less successful and need more attention. 7) What method will you use to introduce your queens into […]
Read more » Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn -part two

BIM 49 – Spring 2017

[…]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 for details. […]

NatBIP News No13

[…]with drones from the surrounding area. This is in contrast to other agricultural livestock where matings can be controlled and specific crosses produced at will. The use of exotic queens does not just affect the colonies that they are introduced to; there is a knock-on effect on the local population. Drones produced by imported queens will mate with new queens […]

Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn

[…]season (not much honey though)! The best method for splitting is to find the queen and make up a nuc with her (Frame of brood, shake 2 frames of bees in if staying in same apiary, frame of food and make up with spare empty comb or foundation, feed next day.) The bees in the now queenless colony will create […]

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

[…]needs to be defendable and the foraging bees may end up going back to the parent hive. I left new nucs locked up in a cool shed for three days before moving them out and onto a stand, opening up the entrance. So, did it all work? Not entirely. I had some bees not mate/return, some absconded, one queen was […]
Read more » Queens: Collaboration and how to make it easy on yourself and your bees – by Karl Colyer

East Midlands 1998

[…]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 incubator some years ago, and we still have two in working condition. We plan to use […]

NatBIP News No 7

[…]to bring their drone-free nucs to a site to get their queens mated with reliable drones. Running a mating station will involve costs but a charge could be made for each nuc benefitting from the facility. Financial viability is part of long-term sustainability. End of the season As we draw to the end of another season, whatever the highs and […]

Sandringham Report 2021

[…]build up a supply of colonies to back up the queen cell rearing. Bees are essential for making up mating nucs, whether they be mini-nucs only requiring a cup-full of bees or a 2-frame nuc requiring a frame of stores, a frame of bees and largely sealed brood and three frames of empty comb for the queen to lay up […]


[…]where in its first 5 years had mono-strained a vast area with A. m. mellifera starting from one mating apiary belonging to Micheál Mac Giolla Coda. To see these bees being manipulated without veils or gloves, and to realise this has been done in such a short time, speaks volumes for the work of these beekeepers and the policies that […]

Male Fitness of Honeybee Colonies

[…]to estimate male reproductive success of 16 drone producing colonies. This allowed for estimating the male mating success on both the colony level and the level of individual […]

Honey bee conservation

[…]centre, a drone congregation area, and the surrounding populations. Honeybees have a very complex mating system in which drones and virgin queens meet mid-air to mate in areas that have been named drone congregation areas. Drones assembled in such a drone congregation area come from several surrounding colonies and thereby represent the diversity of the entire local population. These congregation […]

Find, Mark & Clip the Queen

[…]can be quite difficult to find the queen of a very small colony such as a weak nucleus or a mini mating-nucleus. This is probably due to the fact that in these tiny colonies the queen is more likely to run onto the floor or sidewalls and it may be necessary to remove all the frames before she is found […]

“Bee Improvement for All” (BIFA) Days

[…]queen cells for those who want more queens. Changing queens in colonies. Making up mating nuclei. Getting queens mated. Working with other beekeepers and the local BKA. [/column-half-1][column-half-2]There will be plenty of information on colony management, with emphasis on understanding what is happening inside colonies and keeping things simple. Many beekeepers believe some of the current bee problems have partly […]

Laesoe 2004

[…]has 180 members who make use of both 25 regional (non-isolated) and five isolated alpine mating stations, mating some 6,000 queens per annum. Breeding stock is selected on behavioural and morphometric criteria. One canton, Glarus in the east of the country, has granted A. m. mellifera protected status; the federal government has refused to extend this status nationwide but has […]

Native Honey Bees

[…]rather than soil the hive and possibly spread disease. Despite the odd report of Apiary Vicinity Mating (AVM) being observed in other races, it is thought that only Amm are capable of performing this useful function on a regular basis. If correct, it may suggest that some of the problems seen in U.K. and Irish conditions where poor mating in […]

What is Apis mellifera mellifera?

What is Apis mellifera mellifera? Apis mellifera mellifera, Linnaeus 1758 is a subspecies and northern geographical race of Apis mellifera, the western honeybee. It may be subdivided into many local ecotypes. Its various vernacular names include: “Dark European Honeybee” (English), “L’abeille noire” (French), “Die dunkle Biene” (German) and “Det mörka Nordiska Biet” (Swedish). Apis mellifera mellifera is distinguished from other […]

Honey bee origins, evolution & diversity – Ashleigh Milner

[…]will fly in dull and drizzly weather which would keep Italian bees indoors. It may also be that mating can take place at lower temperatures than in the case of the southern races. Although less prolific than Italians, the workers live longer and there is a higher ratio of foraging bees to hive bees. The wintering capabilities of the Dark […]
Read more » Honey bee origins, evolution & diversity – Ashleigh Milner

A Native Dark Bee Project

[…]Eighe. No other beekeepers/feral colonies were known to be in the area at that time and drone-free mating hives housing virgins were set up as a test, as no successful mating was achieved a number of hives were established on the reserve. New queens were successfully grafted, mated and reared from more brood retrieved from the source apiary and these […]

East Midlands Bee Improvement Group-NG11

[…]site in a secluded valley and have taken breeder drone colonies and virgin queens there for mating, we are taking a break from the time-consuming use of the out-apiary, so we can concentrate on establishing the Group and the colonies on the new site. The out-apiary is there for the future if we need it.   Key to our bee […]

Improving bees by raising your own queens

[…]covering are:- Colony handling techniques. Making up and managing queen mating colonies and nuclei. Discussing and demonstrating Q/C building methods. Clipping and marking queens and drones. Q/C raising colonies. Assessing colonies and deciding which to raise queens from and which to replace. Selection criteria. Recording. Working with other beekeepers. Setting up and running a bee improvement facility. Equipment required - […]

Methods for Rearing and Selection of Queens

[…]technical equipment. As the success of breeding programmes strongly depends on the selective mating of queens, a subchapter is dedicated to the management and quality control of mating stations. Recommendations for the handling and quality control of queens complete the queen rearing section. The improvement of colony traits usually depends on a comparative testing of colonies. Standardized recommendations for the […]

Upper Dee Bee Improvement Group

[…]the apiaries there are owned by members of the group. This provides an excellent opportunity for mating our best virgins. All the known beekeepers in the rest of the area are supportive of our aims and are careful to keep local bees. This means that we are able to make good progress in bee improvement. We also like to encourage […]

Leek and Moorlands – ST9

[…]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 […]

Ardnamurchan Jan 2016

[…]difficult as the colonies were depleted of natural stores and the weather was mostly too cold for mating, even on rare fine days. We hope for better conditions in 2016 and the successful rearing and mating of a larger number of queens. Demand for Amm queens is strong in Scotland where there is growing interest in locally-bred, native and/or well-acclimatised […]

Clive de Bruyn “BIBBA in the Isle of Man 40+ years ago”

[…]papers. Currently he is running 100+ colonies for honey, pollination and the sale of queens and nuclei whilst undertaking overseas extension work in the winter. Lecture Title: “BIBBA in the Isle of Man 40+ years ago” In the 1970s I was the group’s secretary of the Village Bee Breeders Association (now BIBBA). In 1972 the committee met at Beo’s (Beowulf […]
Read more » Clive de Bruyn “BIBBA in the Isle of Man 40+ years ago”

BBOBI Group – March April 2019 Newsletter

[…]are being prepared, either plastic bought at the Tradex or Benton Cages constructed from timber. Mating preparations have started; making Queen Castles and attending lectures on Apidea management Activities we have planned: Swarm control !!! 🙂 More evening social meetings Apiary visits in BBOBI area to encourage others to have a go at rearing queens Mount Edgcumbe return visit to […]

Caging Virgin Queens

[…]Alternative Methods for Holding Virgin Honey Bee Queens for One Week in Mailing Cages before Mating Gianluigi Bigio , Christoph Grüter, Francis L. W. Ratnieks  Published: November 16, 2012 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0050150 Abstract In beekeeping, queen honey bees are often temporarily kept alive in cages. We determined the survival of newly-emerged virgin honey bee queens every day for seven days in […]

Michael Maunsell “The Drone – More to its life than we may think?”

[…]will outline the job description of drones and include some behavior particulars leading onto the mating event, the ultimate goal of all drones. I hope to demystify sex alleles and show very clearly how they work. We are well aware that our queens are polyandrous (promiscuous). I will demonstrate whether it is just the number of drones or the variety […]
Read more » Michael Maunsell “The Drone – More to its life than we may think?”

Jeroen Vorstman “Queen Rearing Simplified”

[…]apiary and sell products from the hive under the name La Reine (French for Queen), queens, nucs and provide pollination services. Lecture Title: “Queen Rearing Simplified” Queen rearing simplified is about rearing the best quality queens and is useful for small and medium sized apiaries. The method is based on standard equipment and standard frames, so no need for small […]
Read more » Jeroen Vorstman “Queen Rearing Simplified”

Mike Saunders “A current attempt to recover Apis mellifera mellifera from mongrelised stocks in the Welsh Borders”

[…]breeding programme and its arduous task of learning about queen and drone-rearing, natural mating and instrumental insemination, colony assessment and bee morphometry and breeder evaluation and selection. Lecture Title: “A current attempt to recover Apis mellifera mellifera from mongrelised stocks in the Welsh Borders” Achieving sustained and demonstrable bee improvement in only a few years requires the use of selective […]
Read more » Mike Saunders “A current attempt to recover Apis mellifera mellifera from mongrelised stocks in the Welsh Borders”