Every honey bee comb or beehive is dominated by a prime bee which is referred to as "Queen Bee". It is an adult female bee who is the mother of most of the worker bees in a beehive.
A beehive usually has only one queen bee in it. It lays thousands of eggs per day, but the worker bees select the larvae which are specifically fed and taken care of, so that they grow to become adult virgin queen bees capable of mating with the drones.
If you want to indulge in beekeeping, one of the essential requirements is good queen bees. A good queen is the one which lays good number of eggs, produces gentle and not aggressive bees, is mite and disease resistant, and produces a good amount of honey in the hive.
When beekeeping, good breeder queen bees can be bought from the apiaries, but rearing them will give you a chance to learn the techniques of queen rearing. This will also serve you as a secondary source of income.
Raising Queen Bees
You Will Require
- Tools for grafting
- Simulated queen cell cups
- Mating nuc hive
- Breeder hive
- Breeder queen
- Queen excluder
- The first step is getting a breeder queen bee which has extremely good traits. Traits discussed before must be kept in mind before selecting the breeder bee, as all your future queen bees will be born out of her. An excellent quality breeder bee can be bought from the nearest apiary or can be ordered through websites of well-known apiaries.
- Next step is to prepare a breeder hive for her. Make sure the hive has sufficient pollen grains and honey stored in it. It must not contain eggs or larvae of any other bee because their differentiation from the eggs laid by the breeder queen bee will be difficult. As we want only them to be laid in the hive, it must be completely free from eggs and larvae.
- Fill the breeder hive with enough young bees. Introduce the new queen in the hive after keeping it devoid of any company for one day.
- To prevent the queen from flying away, use a queen excluder to restrict it to a particular area of the hive.
- Leave the breeder hive undisturbed for next fourteen days. During this period, the queen bee will create her brood nest and lays eggs. Keep checking for eggs laid and larvae produced in the hive from time to time.
- After two weeks, shift the hatched larvae from the breeder hive to artificial simulated queen cups using tools for grafting. Place these queen cups with larvae in a new cell-building hive which does not have a queen bee. The worker bees of this hive will build cells around the larvae and take care of them. Let this remain undisturbed for ten days.
- The queen bee cells are built during this ten-day period and larvae turn into young virgin queen bees. These virgin bees are then transferred to a mating nuc hive with sufficient number of drones where they can mate and reproduce.
- This procedure can be repeated several times to produce more number of queen bees in the future.
These bees require a warm environment for laying eggs. So, these must be placed outdoors so that warm temperature condition can be easily maintained. A temperature of around 69ºF is suitable for them. Also, before selecting a breeder queen bee, gather some knowledge related to genetics because it is responsible for the traits a bee develops.
If you have the right knowledge, no one can fool you by selling not-so-good breeder queen bees to you. A beekeeping business can be rewarding if you have the time and effort to run it successfully. It also gives you the privilege to enjoy the delicious honey produced by your very own bees!