Setting up a mating station for the Dark Bee is no easy task. However, where there’s a will there’s a way! DarkBee.org already started conducting research on this topic in 2016 at a possibly interesting location in Belgian Limburg, the Bosland woodland. Of all Dark queens that have been mated there in recent years, none of them was mated purely less than 40%. Furthermore, several queens were found mated purely 100%! This location certainly has potential, so the aim is to fine-tune this mating station in the next years. In addition, research has been conducted since 2019 on a potential mating station in Flevoland, the Netherlands.
In 2020, DarkBee.org will make both mating stations (Belgian Limburg and Flevoland) available to its members, who would have to comply with strict rules. Members receive all necessary information on time via email. At the moment, not all matings at these mating stations are 100% pure, but pure matings are already possible. Mating nucs should be brought together at a collection point in Belgian Limburg or Gelderland. From there, members of the Task Force Mating Control bring all mating nucs to the mating station. Picking up mating nucs after the mating period happens at the same collection point.
In 2020, there will be 2 mating periods at both mating stations for which mating nucs can be brought. For as well the mating station in Belgian Limburg as well as the one in Flevoland, these periods are May 30th – June 13th and June 13th – June 27th. The queens of the drone colonies at the mating stations are daughters of selected Dark bee breeding colonies, more specifically daughters of:
Members must make a reservation if they wish to let their queens* mate at one of the mating stations. This should be done by sending an email to the mating station administration with subject MATING STATION, stating the location (Belgisch-Limburg / Flevoland), the mating session , the number of mating nucs (max. 6 per member per mating session in 2020) and the type of mating nuc (only Kieler, Apidea, Miniplus and EWK (shelter for EWK should be provided by the member) are accepted). Stands for the first mating period must be reserved before May 23th, stands for the second mating period before June 6th.
* In order to rear highly qualitative Dark queens, larvae from selected Dark bee breeding colonies can be obtained at our grafting days . Be careful if you obtain Dark bees from a beekeeper who is not a breeder affiliated to DarkBee.org: these honey bees may be bastards instead of Dark bees or the descent might be completely unknown (which can lead to problems when mating queens of that stock with drone lines at our mating stations).