In this article, we’re going to explain how to raise your own queen bees and everything you should know about the process.
While worker bees tend to live for about one to two months, queen bees have an average lifespan of about two to three years. Once you have a queen, you won’t need to worry about finding another one for some time.
However, during her lifetime, your queen can produce one million bees–meaning that you’ll need a queen to keep ruling the hive after she passes.
So, what can you do when you need a new queen bee? Are there ways that you can raise your own queen bee to keep the hive from going into chaos selecting their own?
Read on as we discuss the ways that you can raise a new queen bee when the time comes.
Buying a Queen Bee
If you don’t yet have a hive but you want to start beekeeping, there’s a simple solution. No, you don’t have to go foraging for wild honeybees that you can bring back to your backyard. Instead, you can purchase queen bees for sale and begin your hive that way.
You can also buy queen bees if you know that you’ll need to replace your current queen soon. In order to introduce an outsider queen, remove the new queen and wait 24-48 hours. Then, bring in the new queen, keeping in mind that your hive may reject her and you’ll have to try again.
Overcrowding to Encourage Selection
If you want to give DIY queen raising a shot, one method you can consider is overcrowding. The idea is that overcrowding your bees will provoke swarming conditions, during which your bees will draw out multiple queen cells. Once the queen cells are drawn out, you can remove and cap them to add to new hives.
How do you create overcrowding? Reduce access to your current hive’s space. Block off or remove any drawn comb that is empty so that the bees begin to feel like it’s time to split into multiple colonies.
The Miller Method
The Miller method may be better for new beekeepers who don’t yet have a ton of special gear. To complete this method, you just need some empty drawn comb in a frame, a queenless hive, and a sharp knife or cutting tool.
Take your frame of drawn comb and cut the comb into triangles (imagine a zigzag pattern) with at least three peaks. Place your frame in a hive that does have a queen and wait as she lays eggs along the triangles. Once this is done and the eggs have hatched, move the frame into your queenless hive and allow other bees to start creating queen cells.
How Will You Raise Queen Bees?
There are many methods you can use when raising queen bees, including grafting bees and using the Hopkins method. However, we wanted to provide you with three simple approaches to raising queen bees that you can start right away. Good luck with your colonies, new and old!