The secret of quality queen rearing is to pay attention to detail.
For me queen rearing is the most interesting and challenging part of beekeeping.
Healthy mated queen production, whether a commercial operator with the capability of producing ten of thousands of queens or a hobbyist rearing just a few at home, requires absolute attention to detail every step of the way, with constant care and perfection in every task executed.
Since 2010 we have been supplying Carnica Pannonica queen bees to beekeepers all over Europe from the middle of May to the end of August.
Our queen rearing method
- From early spring we begin rearing drones from selected colonies exhibiting good characteristics to create our “drone raiser father-colonies.”
- At he same time we start to stimulate our “nurse colonies” by feeding them every other day, this starts 3 weeks before our first graft.
- We graft larvae from our breeder queens into queen right colonies. To ensure good genetic diversity we regularly introducing new breeder queens into our stock.
- We graft into plastic queen cell cups, that have been primed in our nurse colonies 24 hours prior to aid a successful graft.
- Larvae selection is controlled by inserting a “washed” brood frame into breeder colonies 3.5 days before grafting to produce the correct aged larvae to graft.
- Cell acceptance selection is done the day after grafting. Once the selected cells are sealed we transfer them to our incubator. The day before hatching the cells are either sold or caged (each cage has a mini feeder full of honey) and left in the incubator until hatching.
- When the virgins hatch the best are selected and either sold or installed into mating nucs.
- We work with 3 types of mating nuc; I use a special type of two-ways nuc (inspired by the model we used in Hawaii), as well as Apidea and Kieler polystyrene nucs.
- Our “installed” mating nucs are kept in a cellar for 3 days before being moved to a “mating yard.”
- We then check for a successful mating at least 12 days after hatching.
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