We were able to attend the Queen Rearing workshop with Sue Cobey at the Texas A&M Honey Bee Lab and it was a great event filled with a lot of super valuable information. We did some hands on and classroom training, received kits to help with queen grafting at home, and were able to get a glimpse of the research that the honey bee lab does on a daily basis.
This was an all day classroom event that Juliana Rangel and her team put on each year. It included watching artificial insemination using a high definition camera, precision instruments, and a lot of skill.
A few highlights from our journey:
- Learning to “pop” drones to display their spermatheca (not my favorite thing to do, but fascinating).
- Watching Sue Cobey artificially inseminate a queen bee after mixing sperm from multiple drones.
- Discussing different queen rearing techniques from the most simple to the more skilled and complex.
- Meeting other beekeepers around Texas from hobby beekeepers, to sideliners, to growing commercial operations
Sue Cobey was skeptical that mite resistant stock is currently a good option for hobby beekeepers unless they have a good understanding of genetics and can watch for signs that the genetics need improvement. She also pointed out that when “open mating” you cannot control the drone genetics and could be inviting unwanted traits into your apiary.