Demonstrating Russian Queen Bees Resistance to Mites to Benefit Midwest Beekeepers

2013 Annual Report for FNC13-910

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2013: $22,490.50
Projected End Date: 12/31/2014
Region: North Central
State: Iowa
Project Coordinator:
Jason Foley
Foley's Russian Bees

Demonstrating Russian Queen Bees Resistance to Mites to Benefit Midwest Beekeepers


In 2013 we were able to complete the vast majority of the project. We started out early in the year by purchasing raw materials and building the necessary equipment outlined in the Grant. Jason Foley also attended educational courses on the artificial insemination of bees at the University of Florida, and acquired the necessary lab equipment needed to replicate the process here in Iowa for the benefit of the project. Come early spring we set up the 50 additional hives and nucleus hives at a satellite location and began requeening the new hives with our special Russian Stock as well as bringing in some new stock from certified Russian breeders. Through the months of May thru August Russian queens and nucleus hives were distributed to individuals and clubs across Iowa and in other states. By the Fall of 2013 all personal and materials costs outlined in the grant have been accomplished. We are to a point now where survey’s and analysis will be done in two parts. A survey in the fall of 2013 will be used to collect data over the summer performance and health of the Russian bees. A second survey will be used in the spring of 2014 to judge the survival success of the hives compared to national standards published by Project Apis. The overall health of the hives in early spring will be looked at, and frugalness of the Russian bees with their honey stores will be compared to non-Russian bees.

Objectives/Performance Targets

To grow the current operational size to have a larger impact and capacity to influence beekeeping in Iowa. To integrate high quality standards, artificial insemination practices for heightening genetic traits, and distribute quality mated queens to individuals and clubs. To provide education to individuals and clubs on the benefits of Russian Bees and the problems faced by our industry. And to survey the results of the Russian Queens distributed with a fall analysis and spring analysis judging overall health and honey stores going into winter and survivability/health into the 2014 spring.


Artificial Insemination Education

During the month of March, plan participant Jason Foley traveled to the University of Florida and attended artificial/instrumental insemination courses taught by Susan Cobey. Susan is considered one of the most highly regarded experts on insemination of honey bees. The hands-on training as well as the laboratory equipment acquired during this education course will be instrumental in the controlling of bee genetics and the fostering and heightening of desired traits in our bees.

Progress on Expansion of Operation

Through the months of March and April the plan partners built the needed materials for 50 bee hives. The plan partners set up the equipment and had it ready for bees the 3rd week of April. As of April 27th bees were introduced to the hives and the colonies were officially started.

The end of April also marked the first runs of Russian queen breeding. Queens were grafted and began their development. By the 3rd week of May our first queens were mated and either distributed to beekeepers to requeen their own hives, or they were utilized in nucleus hives that were then distributed to beekeepers to start new colonies of their own.

Health of produced colonies show great promise and no problems with mites or disease.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Planned Contributions and Additional Contributions

FRB and Myself elected to contribute an initial total of $7,150.00 to aquire additional equipment, bees, genetic material, laboratory tools for the benefit of the project. Through the course of the 2013 season we invested about another $5,000.00 in feed, equipment, raw materials, and hired labor.


Judy Spence
Assisting Beekeeper
Friendly Beekeepers of Iowa
12839 Carpenter Trail
Carlisle, IA 50047
Office Phone: 5159888397
Melissa Foley
Des Moines, IA 50320
Office Phone: 5155540528
Michael Wyatt
Assisting Beekeeper
5912 155th Ave
Indianola, IA 50125-8341
Office Phone: 5159610357
Kathy Foster
Des Moines, IA 50320
Office Phone: 5153317600
Dan Dixon
Assisting Beekeeper
Norwalk, IA 50211-1738
Office Phone: 5159791742
Matt Monserrate
Assisting Beekeeper
10965 Clark Street
Clive, IA 50325
Office Phone: 5152408264