queen bees

How to Raise Your Own Queen Bees

Dan Pollinators, This Land of Ours

queen bees
Beekeeper is holding plate with queen cells.
Beekeeping queen cell for larvae of queen bees. Beekeeper in apiary with frame with sealed queen bees, ready to go out for breeding bee queens.

If you are a serious gardener, you should also consider having your own bee hives for pollination. Cathy Isom has some great information about how to raise your own queen bees. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.

It can be easy to purchase your queen bees online, or from local breeders, but there are also some valid reasons you should consider rearing queen bees yourself.

queen bees

If you raise your own queens, your starting cost will be minimal, anywhere from $15 to $25, and you can continue to raise queens for minimal cost over and over again. If you plan to buy locally and you know there is a keeper nearby that has a constant flow of new queen bees, then supply and demand may not be an issue.

When you decide to begin rearing a new queen will depend on what you need her for and how soon you will need her. However, if you aren’t in a hurry, the summer months are usually the best time of year to rear queens due to the high activity of the hives and the warmer temperatures.

queen bees
Beekeeper is holding plate with queen cells.

Make sure you have all of the necessary tools to get started:  extra nucs, grafting tool, magnifying glass, smoker, and protective gear. It’s also important to research the best methods that beekeepers use to rear their own queens, such as grafting, the Jenter Kit Method, splitting the hive, and using queen castles.  Depending upon the method you have used there will be a few loose ends to tie up once your queen has hatched.

It is important to reiterate the importance of keeping queens cells that are ready to hatch, separated. Remember, Queen bees hatch in only 16 days time, so be sure to documenting everything.

I’m Cathy Isom…

Simple queen rearing (cell-punch method)

Video by: Jason Chrisman

This is a very simple way to raise your own queen honey bees. Some people have trouble seeing the eggs to do grafting this is an alternative. Read Jason’s blog article about cell punch and grafting here.

Cell punch kit available here.