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Artificial Insemination

Artificial Insemination

We use artificial insemination to make all of our breeding crosses. Honey bees mate naturally away from their hives. To breed, one selects desirable parents. We need to choose both the sire and dam in our crosses; artificial insemination provides this ability to us. By choosing the queen mothers and drone mothers, we are able to make crosses that continue to perform and express the desirable qualities we and our customers want.

An example: imagine a prize race horse, in heat, being free to roam the farm, mating with any stallion. What are the chances her foal will be a winner? Certainly less good then if she was bred to a prize male suited to compliment her.
Essential Components

There are many essential components and details in the process of Artificial Insemination, when breeding bees. The pre and post insemination care of the queen, collection and storage of the bee semen and the actual insemination technique used, are three extremely important ones. Our meticulous attention to detail in these areas ensures a productive AI breeder queen.

General Principles

Although methods differ, the following general principles are similar for all who use AI in honey bees breeding. Virgins are matured until they are at least 7 days old, when they may then be inseminated. Semen is collected from mature drones (2 weeks old) to provide the highest sperm count. Queens need two periods of anesthesia (CO2 narcosis) before they will lay eggs regularly and the whole process must always be as sterile as possible. Around the world, each honey bee AI program uses these principles and adapts their production protocol around them and the season, operation, equipment and preferences.

Queen Production

As with honey bee queen production, to get the best possible outcome in the cross, both the virgin and the drones must be raised with the necessary nutrients and attending bees to ensure they receive the nutrition needed to maximize their physical and physiological potential: the virgins and drones must be optimally healthy.

VP Insemination Services

We can make inseminated breeder queens to order, per your specifications: we offer several cross options. We can use genetic resources from our stock, another breeder's stock, yours or any combination that suits you.

Semen from VSH expressing VP breeding stock is available for you to do your own inseminations. Semen is collected and stored in capillary tubes for efficient shipping to your insemination lab. (International shipments require adherence to importation regulations: please check your importation regulations).

AI queen production is a highly specialized part of Apiculture. Producers are constantly refining their techniques for production. There's never a dull moment producing AI or instrumentally inseminated breeder queens!
  • modified Mackenson artificial inseminaton device for honey bees
  • catching drones for semen collection
  • A cordovan colored drone honey bee
  • Honey bee drone collection for use in bee breeding
  • virgin queen honey bee almost ready for artificial insemination
  • VP Queen Bees artificial insemination
  • honey bee artifical inemination set-up with virgin ready to be inseminated
  • VP Queen Bees artificial insemination
  • Threaded virgin honey bee queen sting shaft through hook for
insemination with selected semen
  • virgin queen flight jars for defecation prior to insemination
  • AI queen nucs and CO2 treatment set-up