2000, Volume 11, Number 1

Queen Rearing in East Hawai`i

Lorna H. Tsutsumi

Though honey bees flourish in many parts of the east side (Hilo) of the island of Hawai`i, one of the beekeeping activities which has been limited to the west side (Kona) of the island is queen rearing. This study was conducted to determine if queen rearing could be done in east Hawai`i and assess the possibility of queen rearing in east Hawai`i on a commercial basis. One hundred and twenty grafted larvae were placed into starter and finishing hives. The completed queen cells were placed into nucleus hives and the mated queens were removed at the end of the process. The number of completed queen cells and mated queens were recorded. This procedure was repeated approximately every two weeks from January through April in 1998 and 1999. Monthly rainfall data for Hilo and Kona was obtained for 1998 and 1999. The results showed a decrease in the number of completed queen cells from January through April for both 1998 and 1999. However, the number of completed queen cells was much lower in 1999 than in 1998. The reduction in completed queen cells in 1999 compared to 1998 appears to be related to the increase in rainfall (6.14 inches per month in 1998 and 13.41 inches per month in 1999) in 1999. The results indicate that queen rearing is possible on the east side of Hawai`i but queen rearing on a large commercial scale would be risky due to the unpredictable weather conditions from year to year.

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