Native Irish Honey Bee Society – Apis mellifera mellifera

Native Irish Honey Bee Society
Apis mellifera mellifera

NIHBS Queen Rearing Group Scheme overview & requirements for applicants



The scheme will run over two plus years and enable us to bring on groups of beekeepers with the necessary skills to breed queen bees, become self sufficient in queen rearing and supply others in the local area with quality queens. Participation in year two will rely on the group achieving certain goals and give feedback to those managing the scheme in year one.  At the end of year one each group will have a nuc which can be swapped with a genetically different one with a group in a different area. In year three the groups will be required to assist with the start up of new groups by supplying a nuc of bees to them headed by a quality queen.

Mentoring and tuition will be provided by experienced queen bee breeders mainly using online materials.



The group size will be a minimum of 10 members with no maximum. At least one member will have been a NIHBS member in the previous year to ensure genuine applications. 

A reliable contact, the administrator, will be delegated to manage the group who will be the link between the group and the NIHBS administrator, they will also coordinate the group’s finances and any insurance requirements etc. and oversee the setting up of a WhatsApp group for internal and external group chat and mentoring. All members of the groups are to join NIHBS for the duration of the 2 year project and also be members of a national beekeeping association. The groups are to be based on the islands of Ireland and have the use of a suitable apiary site.


What NIHBS will provide

Mentoring through Zoom and WhatsApp/email, contact and advice on reading material and online content. Provision of genetic material to commence queen rearing and a small amount of tools. 


What the group will provide

An administrator to act as point of contact with NIHBS and to steer the group. Also at least one experienced beekeeper with some knowledge of queen rearing to be the point of contact with the mentor for the weekly virtual update. 

An apiary site, either with existing Amm in the area or isolated to enable the area to be flooded with Amm drones over the first year. 

Form a NIHBS conservation area around their mating area and further afield if possible

Each member is to provide and fill at least 1 apidea or mating nuc with bees. 

The group will need to keep records of their own hives to use for selection for breeding from the groups own stocks after year one using the Hooper’s/GBBG format and be made available for inspection if needed. 

Each group will need to complete a monthly survey to show data regarding the number of virgin and mated queens to date, the size of the groups the location and records for grafts, virgin and mated queens produced etc. This will be analysed to establish any correlation between their location, the weather and the geography of the area and the general progress of the group in year one to be able to progress to year two. We will also need you to produce a brief note of their aims for year two.


The production target for year one

  1. Produce 2 mated queens per person and produce double this number of virgin queens for the local beekeepers to use to increase stocks locally.
  2. Feedback regularly to their mentor in order to receive assistance through year.
  3. Feedback to the administrators at the end of the season to review moving on to year 2.
  4. Complete the monthly survey.
  5. Increase production by double in year 2.


More details of the above will be issued to the shortlisted groups before acceptance into the scheme.

The document version of this page may be download here


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