A beehive has a three types of bees: a queen bee, drones, and worker bees. The queen bee lays eggs and is the only female who can mate.
When a new colony starts, they need one queen to lay eggs for them, and a good quality queen can produce over 3000 eggs per day!
For the beekeeper, queen bees are a big deal. They’re what make the colony work and without them, honey production would cease to exist.
If you need a new queen for your hive or just want to learn more about these important insects, then this post is for you!
Why is a Queen Bee Important?
Honey bees are social insects. The honey bee queen is the only reproductive female in her colony, and she specializes in laying eggs.
Worker bees do all other work for the hive, including creating wax cells to store food, raise young larvae, and guarding against intruders such as robber wasps who steal from the hive.
Worker bees also clean up around their home before going back out again to gather pollen and nectar.
The drones mate with virgin queens during mating flights on warm days of late summer. They mate with virgin queens to ensure the continuation of their genetics before dying off after mating.
Depending on your requirements and preferences, there are different types of available queen bees in the market.
You may find it difficult to make up your mind about which queen bees to choose so below are some of the best queen bees for the bee-keeping business.
1. Buckfast Bee Queen
These are one of the most popular queen bees on the market and tend to be more productive than other breeds of bees.
The colonies created by these queen bees are vigorous, hardworking, healthy, have a low inclination for swarming, and survive winter well. These are specially bred to ensure maximum honey production.
2. Carniolan Bee Queen
Carniolan bee queen produces very hardworking bees that create many strong hives, making them ideal for commercial purposes.
The colonies of these bees are super-vigorous and give you maximum honey yield. These bees have exceptional resistance against varroa mites, a common threat to bee colonies.
Carniolan honey bees are remarkably tolerant to cold weather conditions and are known for their hardworking nature. They make excellent queens for your bee business and can produce large quantities of honey even in colder regions.
3. Italian Bee Queen
These queen bees are among the best for people who want their bees to effectively pollinate all kinds of fruits and vegetables on their farms. They are particularly good at pollination and are not aggressive.
Italian bees are some of the best honey-producing bees in the world. They have a slow development process and require more time to build good hives.
However, they perform like an unstoppable force once developed and give you significant yields for years without any decline in their performance.
4. Carnica Bee Queen
A very hard-working bee, Carnica Bee Queen is known to work long hours throughout the seasons. These bees have an outstanding resistance against varroa mites and other pests, making them a favorite among beekeepers.
Apart from being excellent pollinators, these bees are effective honey producers and can be used throughout the year.
5. Caucasian Bee Queen
This queen can be found in the Himalayan mountains up to the coldest regions of Siberia. They produce gentle and calm bees, which makes them great for beginners.
Caucasian bees are less prone to brood disease than other types. They have a long proboscis helpful in sucking nectar from the tissues of deep nectar and are great honey producers.
6. West African Bee Queen
These are very popular black bees and are chiefly used for their honey production.
The queen bees of this breed can be used throughout the year and produce huge amounts of honey even through cold weather conditions. As a result, these bees are popular all over the world.
These hardworking bee colonies form massive and healthy hives under good management.
7. Buckfast Swiss Bee Queen
Swiss bees are not only extremely hard working but also give you honey in large quantities all year round.
They are known for their productivity, size, and vigor. Buckfast Swiss queen bee can be used during the whole year and have excellent resistance against varroa mites.
They are known for forming massive and healthy bee colonies.
8. New Zealand Bee Queen
This is one of the most popular queen bees for commercial honey production. These black bees are incredibly hardworking and give you excellent honey yields and quality as well.
The workers of these bees are also extremely large and can play a crucial role in pollinating all kinds of fruits and vegetables.
9. Russian Queen Bee
Russian queen bees produce a large quantity of brood for pollination. They produce a large amount of honey and are able to survive in extremely cold climates.
They are resistant to most parasites such as the varroa and the tracheal mites. They are mildly aggressive as they opt to headbutting an intruder instead of stinging.
Before you start looking for the best queen bees, there are a few things you should know.
First, not all queens are created equal! The quality of your colony and its brood depends on the quality of your queen.
Second, it’s essential to know what type of beekeeper you are before deciding which kind of bee is right for you.
If you’re an experienced keeper that wants a high-quality hive with plenty of honey, then maybe a Carniolan or Russian Queen would be suitable for your needs.
If you’re just starting out in this hobby and want to learn more about how these fantastic creatures function, perhaps one from the Italian family would suit you better.
Here are some things to look for when choosing a queen bee:
- Can she produce healthy offspring?
- Is she gentle and not prone to becoming aggressive or agitated?
- Does her temperament make her an ideal choice for novice beekeepers?
The answers will vary depending on what type of hive you’re looking to cultivate.
Still, if you want the best possible chance of having good quality bees who can thrive and grow, then it’s vital that you find out as much as possible before making any final decisions.
When it comes to purchasing a queen bee, you can not just buy a queen bee because honey production often depends on whether your queen has good genes or not.
If she’s productive enough, then you’re likely producing high-quality honey. If she is not very productive, then she is a low-quality queen, and thus, you will need to replace her to ensure the continuation of the colony.
A mated queen bee can cost anywhere between $20 to $100. You can purchase queen bees online, where they get delivered by mail, or you can buy from local beekeepers’ stores in your local area.
The queen bees mostly come with worker bees who tend to her before integrating into her new colony.
If you’re a beekeeper, the queen is your most important asset. She ensures the hive has worker bees and thus honey in plenty.
The colony will fall apart if the queen leaves or dies because no other bees can take on the queen bee’s responsibility.
It can be challenging to find another queen when this happens. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye out for any signs that your current queen bee isn’t doing well and needs replacement.