Making Queen Bees in Florida

Sharon Jones and Niki Popp making queen bees in Florida

Every year Sleeping Bear Farms send hives to Florida to take advantage of the early warm weather and the flowering plants that produce bee pollen. At the winter solstice the days get longer and the queen will start laying eggs. When the flowers and trees in Florida begin to flower, the pollen increases the queens egg laying and the hives begin to build up large populations of bees.

In February Sharon and the queen yard staff begin to search for hives that exhibit traits desirable for breeding new queens. We hand pick the best hives and use their queens as breeding stock. Very small newly hatched larvae about 18 hours old are selected and carefully placed in special cups with royal jelly.

Special hives are prepared to accept the “grafted`’ larvae and tricked into thinking they are queenless and the worker bees fill the special cups with copious amounts of royal jelly. It is the generous amounts of royal jelly that make the young female larvae magically develop into much larger queens with fully developed ovaries.

The queen yard staff provide our crew with up to 300 queen cells per day that we place into new hives made from existing stock. We wait about 18 days and then return to the beeyard to see if the queens have successfully mated.

The virgins generally begin mating flights on warm mornings when the wind is laying low and may make over a dozen matings with drones. The more matings the better, as the queen will have a large reserve of sperm.

2 thoughts on “Making Queen Bees in Florida

  1. James Thomas says:

    Good evening.
    Do you have any queens for sale at this time? Is so what is the price and do you offer shipping?
    Thank you.

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