Native Irish Honey Bee Society – Apis mellifera mellifera

Native Irish Honey Bee Society
Apis mellifera mellifera

Cavan Beekeepers Queen Rearing Day

Cavan beekeepers organised a very successful queen rearing day at Castle Saunderson Scout centre on 29th June. (click photos for larger images)

The state of the art venue

The day started at 10.30 with two lectures from NIHBS members PJ Curran and Jonathan Getty.

The first presentation by Jonathan Getty covered the topic of how to set up and run a queen rearing group – why to do it, how to do it, what materials are needed. Apiary sites, drone producing colonies and Apidea siting were also covered.


PJ Curran then gave a lecture on how to produce quality queens based on the ‘Ben Harden’ queenright System. He emphasised how grafting allows you to produce daughter queens from the best colonies as opposed to waiting for queen cells to be produced. Grafting puts the beekeeper in control of selection.


There was a break for lunch followed by practical sessions in the afternoon.
Luckily the heavy rain let up and the sun came out for this part of the event.

We looked at four different aspects of queen rearing:

colony appraisal
apidea management
use of the cloake board

Jonathan Getty, Michael Giles and PJ Curran looked through a couple of colonies to find frames with larvae of a suitable age for grafting.

Jonathan takes us through Colony Assessment

healthy larvae in royal jelly

Pat Deasy took a series of groups and demonstrated how to handle apideas and discussed the importance of labeling and record keeping.



PJ took charge of the grafting demonstration and made sure everyone had a try at this basic part of queen rearing

PJ ensures that all can graft before leaving his workshop

Chinese Grafting tool with a good example of the size of larva for grafting.
Correct size of larva on chinese grafting tool

larva in cell cup
Larva in the cell cup

John Summerville showed a group how he uses the cloake board.
Forever Friends; John and Pat at the conclusion of John's Workshop on the Cloake Board system.
John and Pat at the end of the Cloake board demonstration

Cavan beekeepers also showed a clever design for a self leveling hive stand.


There was a good atmosphere throughout the day and the event was a great success for both NIHBS and Cavan members. It’s great to see Cavan beekeepers getting a queen rearing group organised – based around our native black bee.

2 Responses

  1. Congratulations to everybody involved – kind of sorry now I didn’t attend. Spent Sat. doing preparatory work for some grafting of my own today Sun. However, strong wind blowing here on coast with temperature of only 13 degrees feeling more like 8 or 9 so have postponed until tomorrow.

    1. Poor sort of a day here in Belfast as well but I did about 50 grafts late afternoon after the rain stopped. Hopefully a few of them will get started.

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