How to Raise Queen Bees

A queen bee is a female bee that produces eggs for the whole group of bees in a hive [source: Oxford]. The queen bee is a bit larger than a worker bee. On average, a queen bee can lay about 1,000 eggs a day, and can sometimes even lay as many as 2,000 eggs a day. After one or two years the beekeeper replaces the queen bee with a younger one. A beekeeper can increase productivity of an entire bee colony through the queen bee [source: Johnstone]. Here's one way to raise queen bees.

  1. First day Place an empty dark brood comb (a beeswax structure where the queen bee will lay her eggs [source: Webster's]) into a breeder hive, which is the hive where the queen bee will lay her eggs. A queen bee should be waiting in the breeder hive. Wait until the fourth day, by which time larvae will have been laid in the comb.
  2. Fourth day Transfer the larvae from the brood comb into a frame of artificial queen cell cups, placing one larva in each cup. Each larva will result in one queen bee. Put the frame into an established bee colony that has been without a queen for one day. Leave it there until the fourteenth day.
  3. Fourteenth day Take out the cells that will have been made around the larvae in the established colony, making sure to leave one cell behind to replace that colony's queen. Make sure the queen cells are kept a temperature of 80 to 94 degrees Fahrenheit (27 to 34 degrees Celsius) until you put them into the hives without queens. Leave them in the hives for eight days.
  4. Twenty-second day As soon as the outdoor temperature reaches 69 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius), the virgin queens are ready for mating. Make sure there are enough drones for the queens to mate with. Wait five days.
  5. Twenty-seventh day If all went according to plan, the queen bees should be laying eggs [source: Glenn Apiaries].

More to Explore