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.
- THESE CLASSES ARE FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT ALREADY TAKEN THE CLASS
- MEMBERS WHO SIGN UP SHOULD HAVE AT LEAST 2 YEARS OF BEEKEEPING EXPERIENCE.
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.