Hi Tom, this might seem like a weird question, but it's sincere.

So my wife has been getting into beekeeping lately, and she loves it. But she's learning about hive practices and she's sad about having to kill the queen once she's past breeding use. She even named her queen, talks to her, wife is a real animal person, haha.

Is there any way of creating a "queen bee retirement" hive? Is there any known methods for taking care of "retired" queen bees instead of killing them? How would she go about feeding the retired queens, giving them water, keeping them warm, etc? My wife is a sentimental type  =)

Sorry for the odd question, thanks Tom!


Hello Rob,

Thanks for your question.  The question is a good question and not weird at all.  Ideally to maximise honey production we aim to keep young queens (up to two years old).  This advice is for people who want to produce as much honey as possible.  Your wife does not have to kill any queen.  Chances are that the bees will replace the queen themselves through swarming or supersedure.
Your wife can practice a more bee centric style of beekeeping which is not commercially orientated.  She could research Natural Beekeeping online and I am sure she will find many like-minded people.  The great thing about beekeeping is that we can all do our own thing.  We can just enjoy having bees without worrying about following advice which we are uncomfortable with.  


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Tom Carroll


I can answer questions on African bees and beekeeping and top bar hives.


I have worked in Kenya and other African countries for 14 years on beekeeping development

Baraka Agricultural College Kenya Honey Council International Bee Research Association

I have a Bachelors degree in Agriculture A Masters degree in Agriculture - Environmental Resource Management A Masters degree in Entrepreneurship I am currently studying for a PhD in Agriculture specialising on beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods

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