Join the Backyard Beekeepers in the club’s queen rearing efforts this year!

The club has had a queen rearing yard established for 2 years at Randall’s Farm Preserve, an Aspetuck Land Trust property,  located in Easton, about 5 minutes away from the BYBA Bee Yard at Trout Brook Valley.

32 mating units have been established to accept queen cells on a 3-week basis.

For those who want hands-on, in-depth experience for the whole cycle of queen rearing, the club is offering two 3-week cycles for a cost of $60 for each cycle.  This will take you from a novice beekeeper to someone who has a full grounding in bee development and queen rearing.



Included in the cost of the cycle is taking home a queen that you raised!  You’ll gain a comprehensive knowledge of what’s involved in rearing queens and gain an appreciation of the labor involved to produce high-quality queens.  All in-person workshops will be limited to 8. Sign-up is on a first-come basis!

Each cycle will include the following:

  • Recommendations on solid queen rearing literature
  • Learn the Miller method: small-scale queen rearing for the backyard beekeeper
  • Grafting tools to take home for practice for the Doolittle method of rearing queens
  • Practice grafting larvae (Doolittle method), to anchor this skill in your toolkit.
  • How to set up a colony to accept your cells for starting/finishing
  • Weekly visits to the queen yard: 
    • Day 1: grafting day – we will re-organize the colony to accept the grafted larvae and graft the larvae into cells on cell bars
    • Day 8: 1 week later  – we will review the take rate of grafted larvae, and put cell protectors on for queen cells; review mating nucleus colonies for indications of being queen right         
    • Day 12:  pull mated queens from the mating nucleus colonies and place the queen cells you grafted.

Mated queens will be available from the queen yard beginning mid-June and thereafter every 3 weeks, for a cost of $35. Queen cells, for advanced beekeepers, will be available for $15. This is a great opportunity to establish a split or a nucleus colony during the summer from your existing colony(ies), to hedge your bets against winter losses! Details will follow for purchasing mated queens and queen cells

Thursday, May 19:  Online presentation of queen rearing approach for both classes, with description of equipment and tools used at the queen yard, with a description of the biological basis used in grafting larva.

Location of queen rearing yard:

Class Dates for Session 1:

Please note that we encourage you to attend all sessions, though not required, to get the most out of this experience. Most sessions will last 1.5 -2 hours and all will allow for questions and lots of hands-on experience.

  • Wednesday, May 18, 5:30-7:30 pm: Review of basic principles and practice grafting larvae for insertion into cell builder
  • Saturday May 21, 10-12 am: Check on acceptance of grafted cells and potential follow-up graft to fill in any gaps. If needed, another chance to practice grafting. 
  • Wednesday, May 25, 5:30-7:30 pm: Put cell protectors on queen cells; practice hive reading skills.  Check units for mated queens from initial introduction of virgins
  • Saturday, May 28, 10-12:00 pm:  Cage and pull mated queens from mating units, place queen cells from this graft; bank any unused virgins to use for later introduction in mating units
  • Wednesday, June 1, 5:30-7:30 pm:  Check mating units for successful introduction of queen cells.
  • Saturday, June 4, 10-12 am:  Check for queenless mating units; place banked virgins
  • Tuesday, June 7, 5:30-7:30 pm:  Check for mated queens from this graft; mark when found

Queens from this graft will be available on June 18; queens from the mating units established in the spring will be available on May 28.