Beekeeping Journal: October 2020

Backyard Queen Rearing Cory Stevens presented a three part presentation on queen rearing which was so popular they had to change rooms with a competing presentation. Cory gave all the reasons beekeepers should work to produce local queens and more-or-less convinced us how easy it is although he concentrated on grafting while ignoring other means (he doesn’t bad mouth the other ways, just is comfortable with grafting because he has ambitions to go commercial with it someday). He says his main interest is producing high quality, locally adapted queens but, with some 70 hives, some honey does come out of his operation. I accept his techniques without question or comment but was mostly interested in his strategies and applications. He sells only cells ($10-15 each?) but does maintain a reserve of laying queens in nucs throughout the summer for re-queening in his apiary as necessary. He just pinches bad queens and combines a handy nuc (which he has been able to evaluate for queen performance). He tries to maintain one nuc for each production hive (70 or so). He carries his nucs (5-frame deeps) through the winter with no supers or other preparation (checking for weight in the fall and feeding sugar if needed). He is always willing to sell a nuc to someone who needs it but says he stores no boxes. If he has a spare box, he puts bees into it. The other key is he only makes queens when the bees are wanting to do it anyway which means when there is a strong nectar flow on. He often is able to make queens and splits in August and if he has a laying queen by September 1, he says he can overwinter them with no problem.

Beekeeping Journal: October 2020