Raising Queen Bees

The queen bee and worker bee are very identical during the birth and in the larval stage. The significant difference happens entirely by feeding. Queen bees take royal jelly as food which secreted in the mandibular glands of adult bees. The entire life cycle of the queen is given with royal jelly while the other bees take nectar and pollen as food. The Royal jelly helps in better development of the queen bee by enhanced secretion of the hormone. Regular bees take upto 21 days to reach the adult stage, but the queen bee reaches the adult stage in just 16 days of birth. The production of honey highly depends on the nature of the queen bee. If the yield of honey varies, the queen bee may be one of the reason. There are also several other factors for the reduction of honey. The absence of a queen bee or the queen become less brood rearing, then this state is known as queenlessness. It is a threat to the upcoming colonies. Some of the reason for queenlessness are queen killed by another queen or by other members of the colony and maybe died due to disease. When you find this condition in a beehive, “Requeen” is the only option. In requeening, you have to introduce a new queen bee to the colony. You can either raise the queen bee or buy from the commercial sellers.

Methods in Raising Queen Bees

Raising Queen Bees The bees colonies tend to produce the queen bees naturally during the spring season. Making a queen bee is not a complicated process, but proper care and handling are very much required. You can also sell the queens bees, the price range from 25$ to 55$.

Starter Hive

Bees starter hive - Brush Choose an active bee colony and temporarily remove the queen bee and comb to a nucleus hive. Then move the two-story hive 2-meter distance away from the queen bee. Now transfer the unsealed brood with worker bees to a new empty box(starter hive). Also, place the empty combs to fill the gap in the box. While transferring the beehive handle the bees carefully. You can also release young bees from two-story hive to the starter hive. For Feeding use the sugar syrup.

Cell Builder Hive

The cell builder hive helps in replacing the older queen by new potential queen. This step helps in better raising queen bees. Choose a great colony that can fit the two-story hive. Using the queen bee excluder, you can separate the queen to the bottom hive. The bottom brooder comb must have brood and empty comb for the queen to lay the eggs. Now place the two young larvae combs in middle of super with excess space filling with the combs and pollen. Do place the only the unsealed comb and pollen near the unsealed newborn larvae. Presence of excluder will prevent the queen from occupying the super. The nurse bees will start feeding the young larvae and stick to the particular comb alone. Soon, the nurse comes to know the absence of queen in their brood alone and supersedure impulse will happen naturally. Now leave the gap between two combs for inserting the cell bar which helps in raising queen bees. The perfect season for producing the queen bees is the time of low nectar flow and presence of mix pollen.


Grafting is the process of transferring the young larvae from the worker cell to the artificial queen cell. It is also an essential step in raising queen bees. You can prepare the queen cells by using plastic cell cups. Place the plastic cups at the bottom of the bar 24 hour before the grafting. You have to manually transfer the larvae floating in a worker cell without disturbing it. Also, move the grafting tool to the curve form for taking the larvae. Presence of optimal(cooling) temperature like early morning is the perfect time for grafting. Avoid during unfavorable weather conditions such as flashing of sunlight, hot day and windy circumstances. You do grafting indoors using the artificial lights. Perfect protective clothing and working fast is very much essential during grafting. Also, select the larvae that are under 24 hour for grafting.

Steps involved in Grafting

  1. Removing the frames from the breeder colony. 2. Place the frames in a correct position for avoiding the flash of direct sunlight. 3. Shave the cells using a razor(neutralize using hot water before utilizing). 4. Now you can use the grafting tool to take larvae from a worker cell. 5. Place the lifted larvae gently into the queen cell.
Implant the grafted cell bar in the starter bee colony as soon as completion of grafting. Four cells per colony are enough. Now the starter colony has all types of bees, honey, and pollen except the queen in the hive. The queenlessness in starter hive will trigger bees focusing on raising queen bees in the cell bar. Unfavorable conditions such as excessive heat, improper grafting, lousy weather may cause failure in the production of the queen bee.

Development of Queen

You have to know the exact day of queen emergence, so after grafting start recording the days. Raising Queen Bees Emergence of Queen

Time for Raising Queen Bees

Day of an egg laid – takes 16 days Newborn larvae- takes 13 days Day old larvae – takes 12 days Before the emergence of the queen bee, you can safely transfer the cell bar to the nuclei for further development and mating purpose. Handle carefully while transferring the queen cell. Avoid shaking, a flash of hot sunlight and cold winds. Place the cells in a nucleus colony with optimal no of bees. You have to make a nucleus colony the day before transferring the cell. Also, destroy the cells in the raised nucleus colony. Queen Bees transfer You have to place only one cell per nucleus colony. Make a mark on the date to know precisely the quality of queen bred. Mating of the queen is also a very much necessary step for raising queen bees. After six to seven days of emergence, the queen will become sexually mature. Queen bee can also be transferred to newly acquired bees. On successful mating, the queen will start laying eggs which will be ten days after the emergence from the cell. These are the essential steps involved in raising queen bees.  

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