This course serves as both an introduction to rearing queen honeybees, and as a hands on support for those that have done extensive reading and research, but need a little handholding and guidance.
Our workshop differs from most in that students get onsite, hands on practice in all aspects of queen rearing, and each student raises their own queens (from “soup to nuts”) as part of the curriculum. Queens emerge in an incubator (rather than in a hive), and because they have no hive smell, they are easy to introduce to queenless or queenright colonies.
Included with your course fee is all the equipment you need to graft and raise queens on your own with your own resources.
2 Grafting Tools
1 Pair Reading Glasses
1 Frame Easel
2 Cell Bar Frames
6 Cell Bars
100 Cell Cups
1 LED Flashlight
Printed and Online Reference Material
Week 1 10am-5pm
(Lunch Included): We will spend a couple of hours of “Classroom Instructions” to cover the basics of honeybee genetics, an overview of queen rearing methods, and the specifics of the methods we will be using (essentially, the “Doolittle Method”).
Following the classroom time, we will have a hands on workshop for making up cell builder colonies and mating nucs. Finally, everyone will try their hands at grafting.
Week 2 Noon-4pm
: Review photos from the previous week’s grafts (by the time a week has elapsed, it can cause damage to move the cells, so we will not inspect them directly). We will perform another round of grafts, again with the option for students to bring their own stock to graft from.
Week 3 Noon-3pm
: The queens grafted in Week 1 have emerged. We will review the making up of mating nucs, queen introduction techniques, and the dynamics of mating. Remember that these are virgin queens at this point, and should not be confused with mated queens.
Week 4 Noon-2pm
: Week 2 grafts have emerged. We will also examine some mating nucs with queens of various ages for evaluation.
Students are welcome to bring their own stock to graft from, and may also bring grafts back from the workshop to put in their own cell builders. We will provide grafting stock and cell builders for at least10 grafts from each student at each of the first two sessions.
We will NOT provide mating nucs or bees to populate mating nucs. If you show up and participate in all sessions, you should end up with at least 10 good virgin queens between Week 3 and Week 4. If you dedicate some of your own resources (making up cell builders and mating nucs), you can produce many more. Ask around your beekeeping friends, and perhaps some will want to make up a mating nuc for a new queen, or want to requeen with on of your virgins.
We will be offering some optional equipment for making up double nucs for overwintering (as part of the management practice advocated by Michael Palmer and Kirk Webster)....more details TBA.