How queen bees are raised

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The breeding of queen bees is a wonderful but delicate process. Beekeepers need to be very prepared.

Usually novice breeders prefer to buy queen bees directly for their breeding as own production is very often a process that requires patience, dedication and knowledge

To have quality queens you need efficient production. The most experienced beekeepers are in fact able to genetically select bees in order to obtain queens that have very specific characteristics and behaviors.

In this article we will analyze some important aspects relating to the breeding and life of queens.

How queen bees are born

Queen bees are generated from the fertilized eggs produced by a queen herself. Let's explain:

Each hive has only one queen bee inside. It is a single individual for a swarm that can be as many as 50,000 or more. The sovereign bee is the only one capable of producing eggs.

The eggs are laid continuously for months. Some eggs are placed in different cells than others. These are royal cells in which larvae destined to become queens will develop. The real cells are different from other cells because they do not have a hexagonal shape but are built by worker bees with an elongated dome shape and are much larger and more capacious. In addition, the hole from which the bee will be born is facing downwards.

We can therefore say that a new queen bee will be born from the eggs laid by its previous ruler. The larvae found in the royal cells are fed exclusively with royal jelly which will allow them to develop an efficient reproductive system and make them different from other bees.

When the worker bees build the cells in which the larvae develop, the beekeepers take only the real cells and take care of the continuation of their development in an optimal way, guaranteeing a stable temperature in professional incubators.

When a larva has matured its growth, it comes out of the dome: thus a new virgin queen bee is born. This leaking process is called "flickering". The development of a queen from egg to adult bee takes about two weeks. The larvae that will become queens grow much faster. The other larvae, on the other hand, will develop over a longer period.

Production of virgin and fertile bees

To allow the queen to lay fertile eggs, the nuptial flight must take place.

Beekeepers can take care of the production of virgin queen bees , when the queens have not yet mated, or of fertile queen bees when the latter have made the wedding flight with drones.

Mating for queens occurs only once, the only time the queen leaves the hive.

During the nuptial flight, the queen mates with all the drones in the hive. A single time is enough to store enough semen to be used for fertilization of tens of thousands of eggs.

The queen bee will therefore be able to produce fertilized eggs for years. When the semen stored in her body runs out, the queen will start producing only unfertilized eggs which will give rise to drones.

Usually when the bee runs out of semen and begins to lay only unfertilized eggs, it is replaced by the swarm with a new queen that will repeat the same production cycle.

Genetic selection

Beekeepers with considerable experience are able to produce queen bees of the highest genetic quality.

How? By observing bees for a long time and selecting those belonging to the most productive and efficient swarms . This creates a transfer of information to future generations of bees that will retain only the best features.

This selection is optimized by choosing the best behaviors for beekeeping such as good productivity or a low predisposition to swarm .

Recognizing the queen bees

To recognize the queen bee that is inside a swarm, it is necessary to take into account some characteristics that distinguish it from other bees:

  • Body size: usually a queen bee has a longer and more elongated body than other bees. The general size of its body is almost double that of a worker bee
  • Final part of the body: the queens, they have a different shape. The tip of their body is much more angular and tends to have a "V" shape. The body of the workers instead ends with a rounded tip.
  • Sting: that of the queens is smooth while the sting of the workers is serrated and rough.
  • Behaviors: To recognize a queen, it is undoubtedly important to evaluate her behavior as well. Usually a bee that stands still and does not work hard in the hive is a queen bee. In fact, in addition to laying eggs, the sovereign does not take care of anything else. Her workers feed her, keep her warm and take care of her health. 
  • Colors: if you are a beekeeper and have done the marking, you will be able to recognize the queen thanks to the color of the paint on her chest.

Order virgin or fertile queens

If you need quality queen bees, you can order your bees directly online.

Apicoltura Laterza deals with the production and sale of bees virgin and fertile queens of the Buckfast and Ligustica breed. Our bees are highly selected. We are beekeepers with considerable experience in the sector.

You will receive your bees with professional and fast shipping and together with your order you will also get a health certificate attesting to their excellent health conditions.

To buy on Apicoltura Laterza go immediately to the Queen Api section by clicking here .

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