Artificial Insemination of Queen Honeybees

1999 Annual Report for FNC99-262

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 1999: $5,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2004
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Coordinator:

Artificial Insemination of Queen Honeybees


Most beekeepers purchase new honeybee queens each year, costing $10 to $15 per queen, to decrease swarming rates, increase honey production and decrease varroa mite infestation.

Since the queen only mates during flight, beekeepers have little control of which of their seven to 21 drones mates with which queen.

Objectives: 1) To compare artificially inseminated, naturally mated and commercially produced queens, 2) to buy fewer queens per colony expansion, and 3) to create a closed-breeding population.

The producer constructed 15 hives for the test colonies with each third headed by a naturally mated, artificially inseminated or commercially produced queen. Performance data collected included brood pattern, mating rate or damaged-drone layer, superseded queen rate, honey production and colony temperament.

The producer also attended an advanced artificial insemination class.

Results: The project will be extended one year due to colony reduction from winter losses and early spring drought.