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Introduction to Queen Rearing





Pros and Cons, Comments, Information from other websites.


This is an introduction to queen rearing. Information that will be presented through this series will come from different websites, VLOGS by beekeepers that are necessarily from the US. All information is subject to interpretation by the reader or viewer. One thing is for sure, it will give you plenty of insight into the world of queen rearing. So sit back and be prepared to be educated by many different beekeepers. It will be up to the reader/viewer to pick the best information that will work for them and their apiary. This will be a 3-4 week series.


Rearing of queens is not for the beginning beekeeper. This aspect of beekeeping is for the seasoned beekeeper that has the time to dedicate to this. There are very strict time tables that will need to be followed. Regardless of the weather, rain or shine.


Over the time of my research and following videos of beekeepers that are experienced in queen rearing and have been doing it for some time, I have found by their own admission that they are not perfect nor do they know everything there is to know about queen rearing.


Also the one common thread that I have found is a breeder queen. The breeder queens can be bought from many different sources. A breeder queen is a special queen for use in raising more daughter queens. She is especially suited for this purpose because she has been bred to express certain beneficial traits such as disease resistance, productivity and gentleness. In most cases she is a pure bred to the type of bee that you are raising. Such as Italians, or Carniolan, or Russian bees. I have put a link to Science Direct <https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/queen-rearing>


Various breeders discuss aspects of the breeding for genetics and other important factors that you will need to know when it comes to queen rearing. Near the bottom they even go into the Bumble Bee apiaries and raising.


This is an excerpt from a web page (https://wildflowermeadows.com/2020/03/raising-queens-vs-breeding-queens/) Being a provider of queen honeybees carries with it several responsibilities. First, and always foremost, is to raise quality queens. Anyone who is raising queens has an obligation to focus on quality in all facets of the queen raising process. This means paying attention to details and not cutting corners. From selecting a breeder queen, to grafting larvae, to raising queen cells, to optimizing mating conditions, and all the way to caging and shipping queens, any failure to maintain a high standard of quality can, and likely will, result in the raising of sub-standard queens.


Raising queens, however, is only half of the formula for developing a quality queen. What is equally important is the breeding of queens. The queen producer wants queens, but the queen breeder wants more. The queen breeder wants an improvement in the queen stock. Therefore, breeding cannot be overlooked as a key component of the queen rearing process. Most every queen producer, large or small, will start with a good breeder queen. But this is a long way from selecting heritable properties in the bees from generation to generation.

Breeding queens involves reproducing genetic lines of bees from generation to generation by selecting for specific traits that the beekeeper desires. It requires both promoting positive traits and removing undesirable traits. It also requires generational focus on combining the very best of genetic material. While some queen producers may overlook this part of the formula, fortunately, many conscientious queen producers throughout the years – and continuing through today – have understood the entire breadth and responsibility of raising queens. These individuals are much more than producers of queens; they are true breeders of quality honeybees.


This is good information about the breeder queen, genetics, and how they are bred and what traits they are bred for. There is a lot of equipment that is required to have before you begin and it is somewhat of an expense. It has been my experience that once you begin rearing of queens you will appreciate the knowledge and the feeling of creating something that will help not only yourself but others. Raising of queens will pay for the layout of monies in the beginning if you are proficient and adhere to the time tables that you will need to follow.



References:

  1. Science Direct Web Site. <https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/queen-rearing>

  2. Wild Flower Meadows <https://wildflowermeadows.com/2020/03/raising-queens-vs-breeding-queens/>

  3. Black Mountain Honey <https://youtu.be/BiIb0hv6z5M>


The next in the series choosing a good donor hive, the set up for queen rearing, and the tools and equipment needed. This will include videos, and opinions of the tools which may be better for beginners, and pros alike.



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