Queen Rearing is Simple - Just Do It!

Prepare Queenright Cell Raiser Build up a double brood box or use "Ben Harden System".

  • Contact feed 1 to 1 syrup, and pollen frames from other hives.
  • Gradually add extra capped brood from other hives.
  • Super over QX as and when required.
  • Colony is "ripe" for cell raising when adult drones present.
  • Day before grafting confine queen in bottom box with QX.
  • Rearrange frames in top broodbox as follows
  • One frame of young brood and frame of pollen in centre.
  • Leave space between them for cell-bar frame.
  • One or two frames of unsealed honey on either side.
  • Two frames of sealed stores on outside of broodbox.
  • Fill in with sealed brood and stores of honey and pollen.
  • Place prepared cell-bar in space overnight for familiarisation.



  • Select frame of young larvae from chosen breeder colony.
  • Cover with damp towel to maintain humidity.
  • Use magnifier e.g. jeweller's visor or two pairs of glasses.
  • Use only very young larvae - less than one day old.
  • The youngest larvae are found nearest to unhatched eggs.
  • Cut back the side walls of cells with scalpel or sharp knife.
  • Jenter cups or other plastic queen cups with holders are ideal.
  • Some light source helps in identifying suitable larvae.
  • Chinese grafting tool or artist's fine brush are suitable tools.
  • Always lift the larva from the rear of curve with grafting tool.
  • Use 18 to 22 cell cups on two cell - bars in a frame.
  • Complete grafting and place cell bar in hive as quickly as possible.
  • Check "take" after 24 hours and reduce to 15 best cells or less.
  • Check brood combs in upper box after two more days for wild cells.
  • Shake bees from combs and cut out these emergency cells if found.
  • Cage cells or transfer to prepared nuclei on 10th day after grafting.


Mating Queens

  • Ensure the presence of sufficient mature drones in breeder colonies.
  • Drone comb or shallow frames are placed in the broodnest area.
  • This is done in selected colonies in Autumn or early Spring.
  • Make up nuclei with young bees on day before cell transfer.
  • Bees for nucs are selected from supers or combs of young brood.
  • Virgin queens can be introduced to bees in making up the nucs.
  • Where cells are being introduced keep bees in shed previous night.
  • After cell introduction keep in shed for further three days.
  • Spray water through ventilators morning and evening.
  • Baker's fondant in cut comb container is handy for first feeding.
  • Replace this with sugar syrup 2 to 1 when placed in permanent site.
  • Best to place in permanent position and open at dusk.
  • Examine for presence of eggs after 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Remove queen when laying and replace with another cell.
  • Established nucs will not readily accept a virgin queen.
  • Watch food reserve in nuclei and keep topped up always.


Queen Introduction

  • A new laying queen should be available one week after dequeening.
  • At that stage shake the bees off brood combs and kill emergency cells.
  • Introduce the queen in queencage between two brood frames.
  • A Butler or Worth cage is best but use travelling cage if necessary.
  • Cage entrance is best plugged with stiff candy (icing sugar/honey).
  • Check for eggs after six days, remove emergency cells if present.
  • Always make sure hive is queenless before introducing a queen.
  • Insert a "test frame" i.e. a frame of eggs and young larvae.
  • Inspect this frame after 2 to 3 days for presence of emergency cells.
  • If emergency cells are not raised a queen is probably present.

M. Mac Giolla Coda



What does FIBKA offer its members?

Here is a comprehensive list of what FIBKA offers its members

Letter from FIBKA Executive to all Member Associations

The letter can be read here in its entirety by clicking here. There will also be a downloadable PDF file that you can share with other members of your Association

International Meeting of Young Beekeepers

We are currently looking for young beekeepers (12 -16 age group) to represent Ireland at France 2018. Full details can be seen here

Looking for honey labels and FIBKA lids?

For anyone looking to get the FIBKA jar lids or tamper proof labels for your honey, we have put together the following guidelines in how to apply for them. The document can be downloaded here

Hedge cutting

If you wish to report hedge cutting out of season
Contact the people below
National Parks & Wildlife Service
7 Ely Place
Dublin 2
For General Queries:
Tel: +353-1-888 3242
LoCall 1890 383 000 (within Republic of Ireland only - rates charged for the use of 1890 numbers may vary among different service providers)
Fax: +353-1-888 3272
E-mail: nature.conservation@ahg.gov.ie
Web: www.npws.ie

Disease Sampling Form

Teagasc offers a Honeybee disease diagnostic service to beekeepers, more information available here

All-Ireland Pollinator Plan

Great news! - The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020 is released this week. Click here for more info!

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