Adrian Grew knows a thing or two about producing quality bees.
Whilst he may be a relative newcomer to the commercial beekeeping industry, he cut his teeth working for Australian Queen Bee Exporters where he gained all the skills and knowledge that would set him up later to run The Bee Farmer.
When it comes to queen breeding, Adrian’s ethos is “queen breeding isn’t about the number of queens you produce, it’s about how many you cull which are not up to standard,” he said.
It’s that commitment to quality queens that saw Adrian start The Bee Farmer, a bee breeding business that aims to produce the highest quality queens which achieve the best results for his customers.
“I don’t produce queens, I breed genetically superior queens,” he said.
It was this passion for breeding high-performing queens that led Adrian to working closely with Agrifutures Plan Bee Project.
Plan Bee is a national program which seeks to use innovative breeding technologies and genetic selection to help secure Australia’s honey bee population, accelerating productivity and helping safeguard bee stocks against disease.
Adrian says working with Nadine Chapman and Liz Frost, researchers within the program, has helped him breed queens based on specific selection criteria.
“I’ve been working with Liz on artificial insemination (AI), which has enabled me to significantly narrow the gene pool to select for very specific criteria,” he said.
“For example, when selecting for docility, I was able to produce a hive that was so docile, no smoke was needed and no amount of disturbance caused the bees to become agitated.