Raising queen bees can be a lucrative and rewarding experience. However, it can also be a confusing process, leaving many potential bee raisers lost. Although the initial time investment is great, once you've learned how to raise queen bees, the process will become much easier. After all, it's the bees themselves that do most of the work. Study the process, purchase your equipment and hives, and you'll be raising queen bees in no time at all.
Select a queen bee to breed that has excellent qualities. She should be disease resistant, make large amounts of honey and produce gentle bees. You can purchase a breeder queen bee from an established apiary such as Glenn Apiaries online.
Choose a hive for the breeder queen. The breeder hive should be disease free, have plenty of honey and pollen stored, and be filled with young bees. The hive must not have eggs or larva already in it. The hive should be queenless for at least 24 hours prior to introduction.
Confine the queen bee to one spot in the hive by using queen excluders or a Jenter cage. You do not want her flying away. The colony should be disturbed as little as possible for the next two weeks, while the queen establishes her brood nest. Look for eggs and young larvae.
Remove larva hatched from the breeder queen's eggs. Transfer the larva into artificial queen cell cups by using the grafting tools, and move the larva into a new hive that has no queen. This is a cell-building hive where bees will build special cells around the larva.
Wait about 10 days for the queen cells to be built and for the larva to grow into new virgin queen bees. Move the new queens to a mating nuc. Provide plenty of drones to mate these new queens.
Wait for the new queens to lay eggs. This should occur about two weeks after transferring them to the mating nuc. Repeat steps 4 through 6 as often as needed.
Choosing the best bees for breeding requires a good knowledge of genetics. Brush up on your knowledge of genes and bee selection techniques before starting to raise queen bees.
Queen bees will only mate successfully in outdoor temperatures of around 69 F. So time her mating for a warm season or she will lay unfertilized eggs.