This proposal plans to address the problem of the lack of available, local, survivor honey bee queens for beekeepers. We plan to address this problem by raising queen stock from local survivor colonies for sale to beekeepers and also to teach sustainable honeybee queen rearing practices to beekeepers. In 2017 we shared hive resources from our own apiaries at the newly formed SSA Queen Rearing Apiary and began practicing sustainable queen rearing under the direction of Jane Sueme, Certified Master Beekeeper. We tested our hives for diseases and used the pathogen-free colonies as starter stock for our queen rearing project. We had success in raising a few queens, however we need to explore methods of queen rearing that produce a higher quantity of quality queen bees and methods of “banking” those queens for availability to beekeepers throughout the beekeeping season. Providing queens from stock that successfully overwinters in our zone to local beekeepers greatly increases their springtime hive strength and honey production, while decreasing cost of stock replacement and apiary operation. The location for the apiary was selected because very few managed bee hives are in the area and it allows for easy access for field days and teaching workshops.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Produce 100 locally-raised and adapted honey bee queens that successfully overwinter each season
- Provide access to this local queen stock by making the queens available for sale to local beekeepers
- Document over-wintering success of queen honey bees produced, which will include two cycles during the 23- month period of the grant
- Share methods, outcomes and education with local beekeepers through field day workshops, beekeeping association email communication and meetings, a quarterly electronic newsletter to a database of the St. Louis region’s beekeeping community, social media and regional club presentations.