Queen Rearing Course

Pre congress queen rearing course


Date: 9-11 September 2016

Time: 9.00 am to 3.30 pm Friday and Saturday (1hr lunch), Sunday 9.00 am to 12.00 noon

Instructor: John Gates

Place: Tobago Tourism and Hospitality Institute, Mt. St George, Tobago

No. of participants: Limited to 20 participants with prior experience in beekeeping

Cost: USD$160. The cost includes lunch and snacks (Friday to Sunday), queen cups, grafting tools and a manual.

The course will cover:

  • Honey bee nutrition
  • Colony evaluation
  • The biological basis of queen rearing
  • Cell starter and finisher hive preparation and manipulation
  • Grafting
  • Mating nucleus production and maintenance
  • Queen cell care, storage and transportation
  • Cell introduction
  • Queen catching and shipping
  • Using queen cells in your operation (mite control, swarm prevention, increased honey production, colony increase)

About 1/4 of the time is in the field and the rest is theory in the classroom.  Participants each get to graft 15 larvae into prepared queen cups the first day so they can see their grafting success the next day.


Vicky’s Guest House – 175 Windward Road Mt. St. George
Recommended accommodation for participants for the duration of the course
(3 minutes drive to THTI; the venue for the Course)

Self catering, kitchenette & bedroom with 2 standard beds
single/double occupancy TT$200/250 (US$31/39)
3rd & 4th person in room an additional TT$50 (US$8) each.

Self catering, kitchenette & bedroom with 2 standard & 1 single bed
single/double occupancy TT$300/350 (US$46/54)
4th & 5th person in room an additional TT$50 (US$8) each

Breakfast is available for a minimum of 15 persons. Rates are variable and affordable.

Transport will be provided to and from the course venue for participants staying at Vicky’s.

About the Instructor

John Gates is one of the most respected beekeepers in Western Canada. John’s queen rearing traces back nearly 40 years. Growing under the tutelage of legendary BC Provincial Apiculturist John Corner he helped develop the” BC bee” and British Columbia’s stock production industry. Working as BC’s province’s Apicultural Specialist, John taught this course and advised queen producers all around British Columbia. John has lectured on various beekeeping topics in Canada, the US and New Zealand. Since retiring from the BC Ministry of Agriculture he has been operating his own bee breeding and stock production business. His stock itself is always in hot demand.

John Gates CV

Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto, 1969.
Apiculture Technician, then Provincial Apiculture Specialist with the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture from 1975 to 2002.


Regulatory – Hive Inspection, Disease detection, administering BC Bee Act, Policy development.
Extension – Course development and delivery eg. Spring management of hives, orchard pollination, disease control, wintering colonies, queen rearing, nucleus colony production.
Writing material for beekeeping magazines and Apiculture Program’s Bee Notes.
Taught components of Bee Masters Courses at University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University.
Lectured to beekeeping groups in Canada, the US and New Zealand.
Developed a series of Economic Enterprise Budgets for BC beekeeping operations
Research – Supervised and developed the British Columbia Bee Breeding Project.
Nucleus hive production and overwintering.
Control methods for Tracheal and Varroa mites.
Economic analysis of commercial beekeeping operations.
Owner/operator of Gates Honey Bee Farm 2002 to present, engaged in Bee Breeding, Stock Production, Honey Production and Orchard Pollination.


Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists
BC Honey Producers Association
BC Bee Breeders Association