Why rear your own queens?
By raising queens, the beekeeper can improve his bees.
- Bad traits in the colony such as bad temper, running on the comb when manipulating the colony, swarming, robbing etc. can be bred out by avoiding rearing queens from colonies which show them, and replacing the queens in them with ones that have been selected for their ability to pass good traits on to their progeny.
- Raising queens is important because young queens are more prolific egg-layers and swarm less than older queens, which usually results in more honey.
- To replace failing queens, lost queens and for making nuclei for expanding the apiary, or for sale.
- Queen bees are delicate creatures and many things can happen to them, it is handy to have a few spare young queens raised in the season to be available for immediate use in an emergency.
- In raising queens in their apiary, the beekeeper saves money. Ordering queens from a queen breeder is expensive, some queens are injured or infected by disease, and some do not perform well in a particular region or climate. Acceptance by your bees is not guaranteed – you may spend £45 on a queen, only for your bees to kill her upon introduction.
- Bee breeders may not have queens available when you need them, particularly early in the season.
- By rearing your own queens, you can have a steady supply of queens as you need them, even early in the season, by overwintering them in a nuc. Over-wintering ensures that you have a queen ready in case one is needed early in the season, or to replace colonies lost over the winter.
- Rearing queens is easy and can be mastered by any beekeeper with knowledge in beekeeping and biology of honeybee. There is no mystery in raising queens.