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Queen rearing with African Honeybee

Colony Preparation

Queen rearing should be done at the onset of the rain season
Queens are reared for queen less colonies using the following steps

  • Select a large healthy colony containing at least 7 brood combs
  • Identify the queen and place her on a comb with adhering bees in the center of brood box between a full comb of stored honey and pollen and an empty brood comb
  • Fill the lest of the box with empty combs
  • Place a queen excluder over the lower box and add a second box containing the remaining brood , bees and sufficient stores of honey and pollen
  • Four days latter the queen will have laid eggs and these larvae (less than 2a hrs old ) can be grafted


  • This is the transfer of larvae from the worker cells to the artificial cell for raising the queen. 
  • It’s easier to graft using a relatively new comb. 
  • The comb should contain a large number of larvae which are 12 to 18hrs old. The larvae should be fed royal jelly by the workers. 
  • Artificial queen cups should be placed in the starter colony for at least 40 minutes for cleaning.
  • Grafting should be done in a well lit room with temperature range of 18oC to 21 degrees C and a relative humidity of 60-70%.

Starter Colony 

  • After grafting the cell bar (cells with the grafted larvae) are placed in a strong colony in the middle of a brood box between two open brood combs. 
  • The cells are left overnight and checked the following day for acceptance by young worker bees.
  • Accepted queen cells will be soon filled with royal jelly secreted from workers less than 15 days old.
  • On the 5th day after grafting the cells will be sealed.
  • On the 9th or 10th day after grafting, the cells are separated and placed in nucleus colonies for hatching and mating.

Nucleus colony Preparation 

  • A Nucleus colony (NUC) is a mini hive consisting of three to 5 frames.
  • A three frame NUC contains two partly sealed frames and one frame of stored honey and pollen, as well as adhering bees (approximately 1000) which nurse the broods.
  • When collecting the bees for the NUC, Take care to exclude the queen from the parent colony.
  • The bees should be left to experience queenlessness for 24 -48hrs
  • The bees should be collected from an apiary placed 3- 4 km away from the apiary
  • When the queen cell is introduced its placed between two frames facing down.