Queen Breeding Project for 2021
By Jeff Steenbergen
For the last few years a handful of beekeepers have been working to improve the genetics of our local honey bee population by bringing genetics into the area that can thrive with minimal disease and mite controlling measures. As backyard beekeepers, breeding queens can be more resource intensive than many of us want to take on alone. However working together we can eliminate some of the heavy lifting! Through this project we will be supplying ready to emerge queen cells to beekeepers that are willing to raise and evaluate them over the next year.
There are several objectives of the project, and these are the top two:
- To determine which disease and mite controlling traits pass from mother to daughter after mating into drone populations heavily dominated by CA package genetic lines.
- To raise strong healthy hives that survive into the next year that will then create drones that can spread the queens genetics.
Beekeepers that are interested in participating should be able to meet the following criteria:
- Can find a queen, or be confident she does not get moved when making a queenless nuc (or single box hive).
- Have equipment to setup a nuc.
- Have strong hive(s) that you can steal bees and resources from to initially populate a nuc.
- Can monitor and treat for mites.
- Should live in a high hive density area (most of King County).
- Comfortable using a shared Google sheet to provide status updates.
- Comfortable taking risks (sometimes things don’t work out and the nuc fails to thrive).
Excited to help? Sign-up at the link below:
We are trying to get cells out now during the blackberry flow to give the new queens the best opportunity to build up before the summer dearth starts.