Queen rearing is an important skill that beekeepers need to learn in order to keep important bee traits among the colonies in their bee yards. For example, it may be of interest to keep bees that have a milder behavior, produce more honey, or that are capable of better dealing with mites. Rearing queens is not a trivial task, but it is an art and it requires a lot practice. It requires good eyes, a steady hand, and a delicate touch to handle the fragile larvae during grafting process. But the outcomes of this laborious process is very rewarding. Being able to use healthy queens with desired traits in your bee yard, is probably worth your time investment.
There are many classes state-wide that teach the basics of queen rearing and last Saturday the Lopez-Uribe Lab attended the Pennsylvania Queen Improvement Program at Meadow View Beekeeping, LLC in Bethel, PA. We took the beginners class, also known as ‘Queen Rearing 101’. We learned the basics about the process, and even got a chance to try grafting some bees!
This workshop was part of the Heartland Honey Bee Breeders Coop [HHBBC], a collaborative project between Jeff Berta, Mark Gingrich, and Dr. Greg Hunt from Purdue University. This group is trying to establish a sustainable breeding program for the leg mite chewer bee genetic stock.