Reprint of this classic 1973 manual. Although beekeepers do not rear queens without the aid of bees, it is now possible to produce queens in the laboratory without any contact with bees. But it is much easier to let the bees raise queens, and the numerous methods reflect local practices and variations of individual beekeepers. Whatever the method, bees manage the care and feeding of the queen larva until it is "sealed" or "capped" in an elongated peanut-shaped queen cell. It is this cell which the beekeeper harvests – during the interval while the larva metamorphoses into a pupa and before the virgin queen emerges – and the term queen cell refers to the cell with the live immature queen in it.
Beekeepers may be reluctant to undertake the production of queen cells, but there are simple ways to obtain a few cells for replacement of undesirable queens or for increase, and it is a challenge to develop competency with more elaborate methods. Information on queen rearing in general beekeeping manuals is limited, and we hope that this compilation of information from specialized books and articles on queen rearing will stimulate more beekeepers to try this fascinating side-line of their craft.