Glenn Apiaries logo  Glenn Apiaries honeybee dna
 Home | Queen rearing | Honeybee genetics | Bee breeding | Bee gallery | Bee links | Pattern Press | De Luz wildlife

Breeds of Queen Bees

Varroa Sensitive Hygienic VSH Queens

VSH Queens from Hawaii

Cordovan Italian Queens

Carniolan Queens

MN Hygienic Queen sources

Russian Queen sources

Naturally mated queen suppliers

Package bee suppliers

Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH)
An organic solution to mites and diseases


Glenn Apiaries Operations

Instrumental insemination

Drone rearing

Queen introduction

Virtual tour

Breeding program

Queen bee genetics

Our story

Honeybee watering

Queen cage filler

Spermatheca test

©2015 Glenn Apiaries

Italian bee pollinating avocado flower

Welcome to Glenn Apiaries


Located in southern California, halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles. Glenn Apiaries is nestled in a rural valley surrounded by avocado and orange groves, oak trees, and chaparral. Our Mediterranean climate provides nearly perfect conditions for raising queen bees.

Tom GlennSince 1977 Tom and Suki Glenn have produced more than quarter million queen bees.

The breeding of bees for genetic Suki Lueck Glennimprovement depends on the control of matings and performance evaluation. A breeding program utilizing instrumental insemination (II), numbered queen tags, and an accurate record keeping system allows controlled breeding with great integrity.

Here are methods we use in a commercial queen breeding operation, which produces about 2000 instrumentally inseminated queens annually, from February to September. Breeder queens of several mite resistant lines, including VSH (Varroa Sensitive Hygiene), Hygienic Italian, Carniolan, Russian, and Cordovan Italian are distributed to commercial and hobby queen breeders. Custom breeding is also carried out for bee researchers needing queens of specific crosses.

This system to produce inseminated queens requires the coordination of several subsystems: queen rearing, queen banking, drone rearing and banking, semen collection, insemination, queen introduction into nucs, and colony evaluations. Each of these steps requires it’s own record keeping system, and must be timed to insure that the proper queens and drones are sexually mature simultaneously

.Inseminated queen bee production


Grafting Queens

The first step in queen rearing is selecting the best queens to be the breeder queens. Bee breeding tests are carried out to select queens which are disease resistant as well as good honey producers.

grafting queen cellsgrafting queens

Young larva (< 24 hrs old) of the breeder queens are transferred into artificial queen cell cups. Larva are timed by giving the breeder an empty comb to lay eggs in four days before grafting.



queen cell builder


The queen cells are then placed in a queenless "starter"colony.



virgin queen hatched in a bottle

queen cell bottles

On the tenth day after grafting the cell are removed to an incubator for one final day before they hatch into bottles.




queen bank framevirgin queens

Virgin queens are banked in a queenless colony for about a week before they are ready to be inseminated.

Drone Production

Our location in southern California, USA is in an Africanized honeybee area, so a secure system of raising drones of known parentage is essential.

Empty frames of drone comb are placed in colonies which have been selected for desirabldrone banke traits. When the frames are filled with sealed drone brood, they are transferred to a drone bank colony, where they are allowed to hatch out confined above a queen excluder. Multiple frames of drones of the same type are allowed to hatch together, creating an artificial drone congregation area. After two weeks of confinement, sexually mature drones are attracted towards light. A clear plastic sheet is kept between the top bars and lid so that drones can be easily captured by hand as they try to leave on their first flight through a small opening.

collecting drone semenpartial drone eversion


Semen is collected in a capillary tube from about 200 drones, enough to inseminate 20 queens



Queen bee inseminationinstrumental insemination device

The semen is allowed to naturally mix for 24 hours to insure that each queen receives the maximum genetic diversity in the 8 micro liters of semen with which she is inseminated.

Tom Glenn

push-in queen introduction cage

After insemination, each queen is introduced into a small nuc with a push-in cage.



Suki filling queen cages


cordovan queen


The queen is allowed to lay a good brood pattern to prove her fertility before being shipped to her new home.


Suki shipping queens

Questions? Comments? Contact Glenn Apiaries at: Glenn Apiaries, P.O. Box 2737, Fallbrook, CA 92088-2737

De Luz, CA rainfall records 1967- Present


Glenn Apiaries



Wildflower Meadows Queens and Nucs



Honey bee in mimosa 

What's happening in the Bee World

Honeybees in the News

Glenn Apiaries Blog

Beekeeping Supplies

Beekeeping Classes

Beekeeper Associations

Beginning beekeepers click here for advice on getting started in beekeeping.