Our beekeeping team recently completed a fascinating queen bee breeding course down at Tocal Agricultural College.
As professional beekeepers, access to great queens (with important traits such as good hygiene behaviours, temperament and productivity) is vitally important. We work with some fantastic queen bee breeders, but it's also good to have these skills in-house, not just for our own curiosity and knowledge, but so we can manage the process at different times of the year if there are delays and high demand for queens.
We need new queens when we are splitting hives and raising nucs (nucleus colonies) and to replace queens where the hive is struggling.
Queen bee breeding is an intricate and very exacting process, that's one of the things we love about beekeeping, there are just so many elements that go into the process, from geography and botany (knowing when, where and which trees are flowering & producing nectar and pollen) to weather watching, to the heavy lifting right through to food hygiene processes, bottling and selling...and now even blogging.
After 100+ years of beekeeping in our family, there's still no chance of getting bored. Bees and beekeeping are fascinating, and there's still so much to learn and apply.