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Find, Mark & Clip the Queen

[…]and look carefully to ensure that one of her legs is not being cut off as well. If this occurs the queen will be superseded. The queen uses her forelegs as a caliper to measure the diameter of each cell before she lays in it. This determines whether a fertile female egg or an unfertilised male egg is laid, depending […]

John Harding Queen Rearing

[…]to the two main bodies is limited to normal inspections The nuclei can be split, and given a queen cell when queen rearing is finished It is a small enough system to possibly have in your own garden It is never queenless so never angry, unless you are doing something wrong Frames with bees can be interchanged between towers Queen […]

Steve Rose Queen Rearing

[…]to the bees below. Day 3 or 4 – One Day after grafting. Remove the plastic film (leaving the queen excluder in place) so that the queen pheromones have normal access to the box again. Download pdf of full article:Queen Rearing Method – Steve Rose July […]

Jeroen Vorstman “Queen Rearing Simplified”

[…]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 mating hives, mini frames and specialized equipment. Therefore it’s […]
Read more » Jeroen Vorstman “Queen Rearing Simplified”

Margaret Murdin “Bee Genetics Explained” – “Understanding the Queen

[…]They know she is important, but how much do they actually know about her? In simple terms the queen is the mother of  the colony, but there is much more to it than that. Although the egg of a queen and worker are identical, they become very different creatures depending on their diet in the larval stage, that only lasts […]
Read more » Margaret Murdin “Bee Genetics Explained” – “Understanding the Queen

Huw Evans “Electronic monitoring as a tool for better beekeeping and queen breeding”

[…]humidity, hive weight and apiary weather conditions. The data collected offers a beekeeper/queen breeder a powerful tool to examine the colony and queen conditions without disturbing the bees. Weight data can be used to calculate the “adjusted production figure” (average harvested by each apiary minus the harvest of each hive) for each individual hive in order to avoid mistakes in […]
Read more » Huw Evans “Electronic monitoring as a tool for better beekeeping and queen breeding”

BIBBA Queen Rearing Table (Tom’s Table)

[…]Table” that has been rewritten by Roger Patterson in 2015, to include 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 […]

Section 1.1- Introduction

Introduction The National Bee Improvement Programme is available for all beekeepers, from the geographical area of England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, to participate in. The Programme is designed to promote the improvement of local bees and the development of local ecotypes and to avoid further input from imported bees. It is recognised that […]

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 […]

Honey bee origins, evolution & diversity – Ashleigh Milner

[…]days which, for a period, is able to lay predominantly diploid worker eggs. From these eggs true queens capable of being mated can be raised, re-establishing queenrightness in the colony. The present situation Apiculture has been practiced in Europe and Asia throughout recorded history. For most of the time the honey bees kept in any country would be indigenous to […]
Read more » Honey bee origins, evolution & diversity – Ashleigh Milner

East Midlands Bee Improvement Group-NG11

[…]the new site. The out-apiary is there for the future if we need it.   Key to our bee breeding and queen rearing plan is mapping the linage of each queen, assessing quality according to our own standards, then selecting drone colonies from specific lines and breeding from our best queens each year. We are able to steadily increase the […]

Improving bees by raising your own queens

[…]required - buying, making, improvising or modifying. Drone production. Q/C 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 […]


[…]choice of subject: Conservation and Improvement of native bees including all aspects of queen rearing. Practical Demonstrations: Considerable experience in giving practical demonstrations on colony evaluation, selection for breeding and methods of queen rearing. Also morphometry and preparation of honey for show. Geoff Critchley Geoff lives in Flintshire and is prepared to travel. Tel No… 01352 740 991 Mobile… 07885 […]

Caging Virgin Queens

[…]plastic), attendant workers (present or absent) and food type (sugar candy, honey, or both). Ten queens were tested in each of the 12 combinations. Queens were reared using standard beekeeping methods (Doolittle/grafting) and emerged from their cells into vials held in an incubator at 34C. All 12 combinations gave high survival (90 or 100%) for three days but only one […]

Some history of the East Midlands group

[…]larger numbers in future years. The one aspect that has disappointed us has been the losses on introduction of queens we have given to beekeepers nearest to our mating site, losses being about 40%. Of the 20 queens we used to re-queen stocks in the group apiary, we lost 3 on introduction. The work involved has been considerable, for us […]

BIM 49 – Spring 2017

[…]depends who you talk to, but the list would include: u Hive inspections. u Marking & clipping the queen. u Re-queening. Instrumental insemination. u Swarm control. u Harvesting honey, pollen, propolis & wax. u Using foundation. Removing old comb. u Feeding sugar or pollen substitutes. u Drone management. u Plastic hive parts. u Using smoke to subdue bees. It is […]

BIBBA Open Day – Improve Your Bees

[…]and 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

[…]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 Delegates will leave the course with the confidence and skills to start rearing queens […]

2 Day Bee Improvement: Preston

[…]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 Delegates will leave the course with the confidence and skills to start rearing queens […]

Course Feedback

[…]valuable time in the seminar room to reinforce the practical demonstrations of colony preparation, queen introduction, the selection and grafting of larvae and queen cell raising and queen mating using mini-nucs. The presentation of the course gave attendees plenty of opportunity for discussion and practice and, without exception, everyone benefitted from the course both in terms of a deeper understanding […]

BIM 32 – Autumn 2009

[…]friendships he made, we will miss him. Queens entombed in wax – Norman Walsh I found the queen to be dead in the introduction cage and every hole in the cage packed with darkish beeswax Reply to Robin Dean’s article on the Black Bee – Jo Widdicombe Perhaps a lot of Robin Dean’s article in the Bee Farmers’ Bulletin on […]

BIM27 – Spring 2007

[…]BKA Bee Improvement Group – Peter Edwards Project Discover – Mervyn Eddie Techniques for Queen rearing & Introduction – Albert Knight BIBBA members can download a pdf copy of the full magazine for personal […]

Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn -part one

[…]frame or in your best colonies two frames – one in from either end. Introducing Queens Simple queen introduction – rather than picking a queen off the frame and putting her in a cage, with or without attendants, it is far simpler to use the newspaper method to combine a queenless colony with a nucleus with a newly mated queen […]
Read more » Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn -part one

A Proposal for a National Honey Bee Improvement Programme

[…]committee concluded that some of the reasons that beekeepers have for imports were as follows:• Queens are readily available• Queens can be produced more cheaply than in UK• Queens are available earlier in the season• Queens are regarded as of better quality than those available in the UK It should be noted that not all imports are checked for biosecurity […]
Read more » A Proposal for a National Honey Bee Improvement Programme

NatBIP – May 2020

[…]gained. It will cover such things as the record card and record-keeping, selecting breeder queens, queen rearing techniques, working in groups/Group Handbook, dominating an area with the selected strain/establishing a strain, selection of local stock/refining the native strain, and availability and distribution of surplus queens from other beekeepers. In the meantime, the Programme is being piloted at various apiaries around […]

Queens – an example of collaboration between beekeepers, by Roger Patterson

[…]value. If successful, those colonies can be requeened next year with better locally produced queens. If the queens were introduced to small nucs, there would be very few drones produced. If requeened early in the spring, then there will also be few drones, especially if the colonies are kept small. The whole exercise should not greatly affect Karl’s local population […]
Read more » Queens – an example of collaboration between beekeepers, by Roger Patterson

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

[…]workers straight onto some sealed brood on a frame cleared of bees, all safely separated by a queen introduction cage. Obviously, introducing virgin queens brings extra risks with mating flights and when to check to see if it’s gone right or not. Again, I’m not going to go into detail about every step at this stage but I will list […]
Read more » Queens: Collaboration and how to make it easy on yourself and your bees – by Karl Colyer

BIBBA Monthly – December 2020

[…]check to see if a queen is present, but removes all the queen cells, so they are hopelessly queenless. A queen has emerged but not returned from her mating flight. Until a few years ago, a queenless colony gave a distinctive noise, known as the “queenless roar” and often behaved in an agitated manner, which were reliable signs for a […]

Section 1.3 – Participation

[…]in improving the quality of our bees; the selection process will not be continually diluted by the introduction of new, untested genes. The aim is for the Programme to run indefinitely and we hope beekeepers will, similarly, commit to supporting it for the long-term. Whilst the aims and principles of the Programme will remain constant, the running of the Programme […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

August 2022 BIBBA Monthly

[…]to stable genetics in 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 […]

A Simple Method of Simultaneously Raising Queens and Producing Nuclei

[…]starter and finisher colonies). Transfer larvae from the selected breeder queen. Distribute queen cells (or queens) to mating nuclei. Distribute mated queens. Most methods involve converting a full-sized colony into a cell raiser by either removing the queen or by physically separating the cell-raising portion of the colony from the queen.   In contrast, in the Vorstman method, the cell raiser […]
Read more » A Simple Method of Simultaneously Raising Queens and Producing Nuclei

Queen Rearing Timetable

This Microsoft XL file was written by Angus Stokes and 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: […]

Bee Breeding and Queen Rearing Courses UK

[…]Events There are three types of BIBBA event to help and encourage beekeepers to raise their own queens from locally adapted colonies, rather than to use imported queens that may not suit their environment, or run the risk of importing pests and diseases. BIBBA Open Days Bee Improvement For All (BIFA) days One and two day Bee Improvement Courses If […]

Surrey Hills Queen Rearing – GU1

[…]with BIBBA’s objectives we look towards breeding from local stock without importing any bees or queens. Promoting this approach we hope to encourage other beekers to do the same. contact Sarah Rowlands […]


[…]– Native Irish Honey Bee Society To promote the conservation, study, improvement and re-introduction of Apis mellifera mellifera (Native Irish Honey Bee), throughout the island of Ireland. SNHBS – Scottish Native Honey Bee Society Promoting the conservation, maintenance, breeding and study of the Scottish Native Honey Bee. National Honey Show Honey and beeswax showing as well as lectures, trade stands […]

Roger Patterson

[…]1963. This was directly after the harsh 1962/3 winter, after which, a large number of bees and queens were imported. He quickly realised these imports were not well suited to our climate and conditions. A chance meeting with Beowulf Cooper resulted in him joining VBBA (now BIBBA) in 1965. At one stage he ran 130 colonies, now reduced to around […]

“Bee Improvement for All” (BIFA) Days

[…]natural queen cells the bees build. Producing “Artificial” 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 […]

Bee Improvement and Bee Breeding Groups

BIBBA encourages the formation of local queen rearing groups to aid the improvement of local bees and to support the objectives of BIBBA to improve and propagate the native and near native honey bees. Benefits of Local GroupsMany beekeepers only have a small number of colonies, so they find it easier to work with others. A group will have beekeepers […]