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John Harding Queen Rearing

[…]On that evening I feed with a jar of syrup, replacing when necessary. Feeding does stimulate the virgin queens to go and get mated. Watch the weather and 2/3 weeks later a laying queen should be observed. Still to this day it is never a better feeling than seeing your rewards in this way. Frame method These are often made […]

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 […]

Find, Mark & Clip the Queen

[…]the beekeeper a few days grace to get to the swarming colony before the emergence of the first virgin queen, so as to take the necessary preventative measures. Since I have become interested in the improvement of my bees through selective breeding, I find that one of the greatest advantages of marking my queens and recording their ages is that […]

Caging Virgin Queens

[…]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 an experiment that simultaneously investigated three factors: queen cage type (wooden three-hole or plastic), attendant workers (present or absent) and food type (sugar candy, honey, or both). Ten queens were tested in each of the […]

Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn -part two

[…]capacity – not needed except to produce a lot of queens. 5) Will you produce queen cells or virgin queens? There are pros and cons of both. Virgins may not be accepted 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 […]
Read more » Bee Improvement Strategies – Kevin Thorn -part two

Bucks Berks & Oxon Bee Improvement (BBOBI ) – RG9

[…]BKA while teaching at BCA, so it makes sense to continue his work in the local area. Free Virgin Queens Due to a lack of resources, attempting to distribute mated queens, would significantly slow the progress of spreading local genetics and being able to modify temperament. It was therefore proposed to give away marked virgin queens during 2019 to anyone […]
Read more » Bucks Berks & Oxon Bee Improvement (BBOBI ) – RG9

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 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 […]

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 […]

Jutland Visit

[…]to heat the boiler for his house. Poul raises over 2000 queens annually although he sells many virgin queens. He has many lines of queens and raises them for gentleness, quietness on the comb and he also tests for hygienic behaviour by the freeze brood method. He says he will raise 30 sister queens but after selection only retains about […]

Terry Hitchman

[…]been a member of BIBBA for approximately 20 years. He purchased his first Apis mellifera mellifera virgin queen at the East Midlands bee breeding group’s Locko Park open day in 1992 and now has 25 colonies of native or near native bees. He has been a member of the Stratford-upon-Avon Beekeepers’ Association committee for 19 years, Chairman for 10 years […]

A Native Dark Bee Project

[…]stocks of dark bees kept on the mainland of Northern Scotland. The successful raising of the virgin queens from these stocks was reported in Bee Improvement and Conservation 38 Late Spring 2012 pp15 -16 (see SBA website Year 1. July 2010 – Timing of harvesting and hive selection was donor dependant. Where available, one piece of comb containing eggs […]

East Midlands Bee Improvement Group-NG11

[…]we rediscovered our out-apiary 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.   […]

Jim Vivian-Griffiths “Mating Biology of Honey Bees”

[…]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 […]
Read more » Jim Vivian-Griffiths “Mating Biology of Honey Bees”

BIM 49 – Spring 2017

[…]the demand for bees. Consequently, most known British bees are now hybridised, to some extent, as virgin queens mate with up to twenty drones from different colonies. The Italian bee, for example, evolved in very different conditions i.e. hot dry summers and warm wet winters. This has caused problems for our national bee stock in that hybridised bees do not […]

BBOBI Group – April 2020 Newsletter

[…]and offering mated queens or even nucs to you in late June. We have been researching and making queen banks in the hope we can hold our best queens a little longer this year. Another success from last year was the social gatherings at a local pub, this started in April and unless we can meet via a Zoom session, […]

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

[…]Karl. I realised that Karl would need to prepare recipient colonies or nucs, with those receiving virgin queens needing to be queenless several days longer. I knew little of how Karl operated, apart from a brief description and a few photographs, but he seemed to cope very well. I live in a rural area. My village sub-Post Office has closed […]
Read more » Queens – an example of collaboration between beekeepers, by Roger Patterson

Conserving black bees

[…]A second and third crop of cells can then follow. These cells invariably produce the strongest queens. Virgins from these sources and also from grafting and dedicated cell raisers are mated from some 100 Apidea mini mat­ing nucs. Careful record keeping of mated queens ensures queen lines are maintained. Colonsay offers the ideal isolation for an island mating station. However, […]

Cupkit, Fakes and Annoyance

[…]reject any yellow queens.  It is rather annoying when a cage falls off the holder, releasing the virgin into a queen rearing colony.  It is difficult to keep all the compatible parts together – in use they get mixed up – so, as I don’t like wasting things, I nailed a bar in the frame so that if the cage […]

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

[…]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 out some learning points about getting yourself […]
Read more » Queens: Collaboration and how to make it easy on yourself and your bees – by Karl Colyer

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 […]

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

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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

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 […]

Honey bee conservation

[…]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 areas are considered panmictic structures […]

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 […]