Queen Bee Availability

The WSU honey bee breeding program had its origin in the late 1990’s when a diverse collection of US honey bee stocks was purchased and screened for apicultural characteristics under Pacific Northwest conditions.  Continuous selection criteria for these stocks have included hygienic behavior, gentleness, overwintering ability, honey production and disease resistance in the absence of antibiotics.  Occasional introductions of new genetic material through the drone mother colonies have continued through the years, including selected Carniolan and Caucasian stocks derived from recent importations.  Queens are mated at our isolated mating station in the George Hudson Biological Preserve on WSU’s 800-acre Smoot Hill Farm.

WSU Program Queens

2017 WSU Program queen – naturally mated. Due to our climate, queen production takes place in June and July and WSU Program Queens will be available for shipment in July-August 2017.  Limited quantities are available – priority will be given to beekeeping associations in the PNW involved in local breeding efforts.  Cost per queen – $50.00 prepaid; prior to June 30, 2017.

Please send checks with description of your purchase request to:

Adam Williams
PO Box 646382
Department of Entomology
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-6382

WSU Old World honey bee germplasm importations & queen availability

In 2008, the WSU honey bee program began overseas collection and importation of semen from three European honey bee subspecies, Apis mellifera carnicaA. m. caucasica and A. m. ligustica, under permit from USDA-APHISThis germplasm was used annually to instrumentally inseminate virgin queens initially derived from US commercial strains of Carniolan or Italian honey bees and, following viral screening, was released from quarantine by USDA-APHIS.  Starting in 2011, aliquots of all released semen were also maintained in cryogenic storage and cryopreserved semen was used for backcrossing and further enhancement of the proportion of Old World parentage in 2011 – 2015.

Old World Carniolan, Italian and Caucasian germplasm is currently available through limited numbers of instrumentally inseminated (I.I.) breeder queens that will be shipped from July to September of each year from the WSU honey bee breeding program.  These queens are recommended for use by beekeepers and organizations to propagate production queens. Experience in introducing I.I. queens is recommended.  We will provide instructions with suggestions for safe introduction.  Cost – $750.00 per Breeder Queen. To reserve queens, a deposit of $300 per queen is required by June 1, 2017.  Breeder queens will be shipped between July and September, please request a shipping date.

2017 Carniolan breeder queens – instrumentally inseminated.  The initial germplasm releases of A. m. carnica were incorporated into commercial strains of “Carniolan” and “New World Carniolan” by several California queen producer collaborators and have been available commercially since 2010.  Instrumentally inseminated (I.I.) breeder queens containing a high proportion of Old World A. m. carnica germplasm are available.

2017 Caucasian breeder queens – instrumentally inseminated.  The 2017 Caucasian breeder queens will have greater than 80% genetic origin from Old World A. m. caucasica sources with the remaining genetic background sourced from US commercial Carniolan strains.