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Locally raised queens

So I’ve made a few swarm prevention splits recently and went to my local bee shop to buy some equipment. Was talking to the owner & asked on behalf of a friend when/if he will be selling queens? His usual breeders are not supplying this year due to dought. Somehow we got onto my splits and I explained I’m letting them raise their own queens and he was horrified. He told me I’m going to have a lot of trouble with interbreeding affecting genetics and I MUST introduce a purchased queen approx every 2 years. He nearly had a complete meltdown when I told him I only have 1 colour of queen marking pen and I keep track of them via a diary. He threw his hands up at me and stormed off. Hilarious.
He’s always been a total know it all, but can anyone advise regarding letting the bees raise their own queen? Will there be future issues I’m not foreseeing? Thanks guys!

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He is an opinionated idiot, and you will be fine. @JeffH is not far from you, and he does splits without re-queening on dozens of hives every year. Yes, you can always get a mean hive, but I have purchased commercial “gentle” queens which had very mean offspring for months, until I re-queened again.

Commercial queens are no guarantee of gentle behaviour, and in your part of the world, naturally-raised and mated queens are no reason to be anxious.

Now, here in California, that would be a totally different story. With 70% africanized drones in the area, you have to be brave and on a big piece of land (no neighbours nearby) to risk a naturally mated queen. :open_mouth:


Hey Natalie, let me guess the guy you spoke to that sells equipment has his business at Yandina? He is really not interested in you unless you are going to spend money with him. He even get annoyed when you want something he hasn’t got, and gets even more annoyed when he has it but is so expensive you decide not to buy from him.
His shop is about 12 klms away from me but like Jeff I drive 60 klms each way to Morayfield and still save money at Burnett Beekeeping Supplies.
As for buying queens I don’t. There is a lot of opinions about introducing new genetics to a hive but a virgin queen will do her mating flight further from the hive than your drones can fly usually, so your virgin queen will be laying new genetics in the hive.


How did you guess I went to Yandina Pete :joy:
I only go there if I’m out if time or need something urgently. I usually go to Morayfield or there is a great shop at Rothwell too. Very well priced & great staff.
I’ve watched pretty much every video Jeff has on YouTube and never heard him say anything about the importance of requeening with a purchased queen. This guy kept going on about commercial beekeepers & I kept saying “I’m not a commercial beekeeper”. Anyway, you know what he’s like…
Thanks for the advice :blush:


Thanks Dawn. Yes, I’ve watched pretty much all of Jeff’s YouTube videos and never heard him mention having to have purchased queens. We’re lucky we don’t have the Africanized issue here.
My friend had an unworkable hot hive & we managed to find the queen and send her to the great beehive in the sky. Within the month she had a beautiful new queen and about a month after that, they were gorgeously gentle bees. I’ve just done similar with my hot hive. So we will see how we go.
Thanks for your advice, you hit the nail on the head with this guy! :joy:


It was no guess in knowing who you were talking about, I have had a few bouts with him too. Caught short and needing some wooden frames fast and as he is only 20 minutes drive from me I went there and got an earful of ‘advice’ that I shouldn’t be making up my own frames but buying frames made of plastic which he just happens to sell.
It ended up with him being rather hot under the collar and him wanting to lecture me about bee keeping to the point I walked out without the frames and drove the extra hour to Morayfield. It is amazing he still has customers with his attitude. I guess most of his customers are new to bee keeping.
Jeff produces his own queens by natural selection and it speaks for itself that his bees are calm and produce well, what more could a bee keeper want.

Hi Natalie, thanks for watching my videos. I should go over to meet that bloke. But then again, it would just be a time waster, unless I was in the area. He told someone he hasn’t heard of me. He said “lots of people know me, but I don’t know them”. Lots of people are getting to know his reputation, from what I hear.

We ARE lucky that we don’t have Africanized bees. I just keep letting my bees make new queens. The beauty of that is, the process is natural selection, whereas bought queens are randomly selected. I think that makes a difference. Plus we can drop in a frame of brood any time we like if something doesn’t work out right.

I have one Super Queen that I keep taking brood from. It’s been sometimes 2 frames per week. I have never put a honey super on that colony. I just keep using it for brood. I replace the brood with fully drawn stickies. That gets her laying as soon as the bees clean the honey out.

While we don’t have Africanized bees, I’d suggest to keep on letting your bees make new queens. Especially from high performance queen’s progeny.


Hey Jeff, you definitely don’t want to meet this bloke. Then again, you’re a man so you’ll probably be treated slightly better than the “silly girls that need everything mansplained to them, even though they’re not asking”. But if you’re happy paying over $100 for a super, go for it :joy:
I almost feel like natural selection is the way to get strong queens. My hive swarmed last year, they created a new queen and she is a ripper. And as I mentioned to Dawn, my friends hot hive produced a new queen and are now sweet angels :laughing:. So much so it convinced me to dispatch my evil queen and coerce them to make a new one. They’re in the process right now.
The splits I made are from glorious hives I’m privileged to manage. Great producers with lovely bees and I KNOW I want more of these genetics in my bee yard.
Anyway, thank you Jeff, for putting those videos up. They’re all great and really informative.


You’re welcome Natalie, I’m the original Frugal Beekeeper, so I wont be spending any money with him. I’d go there & pretend I’m not a beekeeper yet & thinking of becoming one, then tell him I’m thinking of getting a flow hive, or I’ve been getting prices from Burnett’s. I’ll tell him I’m just comparing prices. Apparently he rubbishes Burnett’s products big time. I could certainly waste a lot of his time, but I’d be wasting my own time as well.

That’s interesting that your friend produced a quiet queen from the progeny of a hot queen. I’ve always been cautious not to do that. I probably shouldn’t worry so much. I’m sure, when we think about it a hot hive can come from a quiet queen.


I raise all my own queens and they are just fine. Better than fine as I only select the best in my area and have a strain of mountain mutts that thrive in my area. Forget buying queens from out if area in my opinion!



A very good point Rob, the best queen will at least be one that is in your climate rather than from a different area. I’m probably thinking like you, why buy a queen when your own bees will produce one naturally and odds are she will have similar traits to the queen being replaced - like mother, like daughter.
Cheers Rob.


That is very likely true for your bees, but in the UK, we had to be very careful with Buckfast strain bees. The original queen usually produces very calm and productive workers. Her daughter (the F1 hybrid) may produce slightly grumpier, but still productive workers. The F2 hybrid queen (granddaughter) would very often produce exceptionally mean workers!

Bee genetics are complicated, and different in various parts of the world. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Rob is in Australia too Dawn so we are both talking local conditions and ‘Mutt Italian’ strain.
I have little interest in bee genetics, I just tell the virgins my hives produce through natural selection to be a little fussy and remember where home is. Fairly basic I guess but it works for me here.
Ok, A.I. is a way of genetically selecting a drone but I am not about to go to that sort of expense, and really, buying a mated queen can be very dodgy.
If one of my hives become agro I look for the reason causing it. I enjoy working with calm bees as more often than not I’m working in shorts and a T shirt.

I understand, but this forum is read by an international audience, who may not realize that things differ in different lands. Just giving a broader perspective, so that people don’t get misled. :wink:

I’m not misleading anyone Dawn in how I manage my hives and maybe others elsewhere may like my approach by using natural selection. It has worked for me for over 45 years. If it didn’t I would try another way for requeening. But at least my way, and it seems very common practice here, at least we know the background of our queens.

Didn’t say you were, Peter. People can mislead themselves quite easily when they read something. Anyhow, no more wars. I am shutting up now, said my piece. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

There is no war between you and I Dawn. Did you see the bit tonight, your morning, about Approval in US of a previously banned insecticide that is known to kill bees, and that was the reason it had been banned? If that isn’t stupidity I don’t know what is.

If we’re going to raise our own queens, we must be prepared for the odd angy trait to come out. I killed 2 queens from angy hives in the last month. You could manage to rob the honey from them, however near impossible to work the brood without getting stung somewhere.

It’s best to get the drones from those colonies out of the equation, sooner rather than later. Seeing as there’s a long winded orgy taking place nearby.

Let’s face it, in the bee world, a colony that defends well is a better colony than a colony that doesn’t defend well. In our world, we want colonies that work hard, but don’t defend well.


love this quote Jeff!

There is a lot to be said in having bees that are adapted to your local environment. Bees have existed for 65 million years or so- and for 64.99 million of those years they did so with NO help from humans.


If my queens turn out to produce grumpy workers then she gets pinched and we try again.