Assessing the mating quality of Australian queen bees

The University of Sydney

  • Project code: PRJ-009757

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Tuesday, September 1, 2015

  • Project completion date: Monday, April 30, 2018

  • National Priority: HBE-Improve hive productivity with innovative pest and disease control, feeding, breeding, and automation solutions


Colony health and productivity is greatly influenced by the number and genetic variety of the drones with which queens mate. Beekeepers often complain that queens produced in spring are rapidly superseded, and this may be because spring queens are insufficiently mated or mate with a drones from a narrow genetic base. This project will assess the mating frequency of commercial queens purchased in spring and late summer. We will also conduct a field trial to determine if queens that have been inseminated with the semen of > 15 males are significantly better than queens mated with < 6 males.


Honey Bee

Research Organisation

The University of Sydney

Objective Summary

Goal: determine whether Australian colony productivity is constrained by inadequate mating


1) Assess typical mating frequencies of commercial-purchased queens in spring and late summer
2) Assess the genetic variability among the males that mated with the queens
3) Determine whether “more is better”