Supply of Queen Bees and Nucleus Colonies
The importation of bees in Jamaica is firmly regulated. As a consequence, there has been no officially authorized importation of bees into the country for over 40 years. Local producers of queen bees, however, have been restricted to produce for themselves and close associates only. This was due mainly to a reluctance to undertake queen replacement, which provides for the introduction of new genetic blood into their stock as a management tool for improved productivity levels. Instead, they opted to allow for natural requeening or the supersedure process and, in many cases, transferring queen cells from one hive to another. This caused a decline in sales from the small commercial queen breeders.
The decline in bee population in North America and the revived awareness of local beekeepers to replace queens every two years have stimulated production of high quality queen bees on a large scale. One large commercial entity, which intends to export queen bees, has over 160 hives and 500 double queen mating hives dedicated to the production of queens. When in full operation, this company will be able to produce a minimum of 1,000 queens at ten-day intervals.