This proposal addresses the limited available local, survivor honey bee queen stock for access by beekeepers in the Missouri/Illinois region. We will raise queen stock from local survivor colonies, make them available for sale in our region, and provide training on sustainable queen rearing to beekeepers through various modes of outreach. In 2018 this group was awarded SARE grant FNC18-1145 to support the newly formed SSA Queen Rearing Apiary, to facilitate the development of locally-adapted queen stock by increasing the number of resource hives, supplies, testing and labor. We will continue this work and expand upon progress made with the previous grant including adding a second (resource) apiary, innovating to improve methods of queen rearing to produce greater quantity of queens and improve methods of “banking” queens for availability to beekeepers throughout the active season, all while maintaining the integrity of the feral drones stock for mating, in the original apiary area. Being able to provide both mated queens and nucleus colonies from this survivor population, that successfully overwinters in our zone, increases the purchasing beekeepers' springtime hive strength and honey production, while decreasing cost of stock replacement.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Produce 100 locally-bred and adapted honey bee queens plus 20-30 nucleus colonies with the same queen stock, each season
- Provide access to this local queen stock by making the queens and nucs available to beekeepers in our region for purchase
- Document over-wintering success of queen honey bees produced, over two cycles during the 21-month period of the grant
- Survey purchasing beekeepers progress, get feedback and report
- Share outcomes and information with local beekeepers through beekeeping association meetings, field days, social media, to database email of the Eastern Missouri / Southern Illinois region's active beekeepers, with a final video to NCR-SARE.