Jim Vivian-Griffiths “Mating Biology of Honey Bees”

: I qualified as a Master Beekeeper in 2014, winning the Wax Chandlers Award. I passed the Lectureship Examination at the Gormanston Summer School in 2015 becoming a Certified FIBKA Lecturer. I am a BBKA assessor for Basic and General Husbandry. I have been beekeeping with my wife Val, who is also a Master Beekeeper, for 17 years. We live in Monmouth and run some 30 colonies on three sites in Monmouthshire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire. I am now in my 10th year as trainer for Dean Forest BKA, which is a branch of Gloucestershire BKA. We run courses for the Basic Assessment, Microscopy and Module Examinations. Our aims are to improve our own and our members’ beekeeping practices, so that we have healthy bees and safe beekeepers in our area.

Lecture Title: “Mating Biology of Honey Bees”

I have no background in science but over the years, especially when studying for module examinations, I have become more interested in the scientific aspects of beekeeping. In this lecture I want to explore why honey bees have developed queen polyandry and drone monogamy as their preferred mating procedure, and in this aspect why are honey bees so different from other bees and eusocial insects? How do honey bees avoid inbreeding? Examine the rearing and sexual maturing of queens and drones. Illustrated with videos I demonstrate the mating process, and the timing 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 Koeniger.