I had the opportunity last weekend to attend the North Central Queen Assembly held in Troy, Ohio. It was entitled ‘Selecting and Rearing Your Own Queens’, which did make me think the information was going to be rather introductory and basic and that I wouldn’t get all that much out of it. It’s the downside of beekeeping conventions after a while and you are really into bees, the conventions tend to target those at the beginner level and there just isn’t that much new information for some of us.
But the list of speakers included some very notable people such as Gary Reuter who works with Marla Spivak in Minnesota, Greg Hunt from Purdue University and John Harbo who worked at the USDA Honey bee lab and is responsible for the Harbo syring, SMR/VSH queens and much more. Not to discount Larry Connor and Jim Tew, both entertaining speakers, and Joe Latshaw whom I blame for my queen rearing obsession. So I had some high expectations.
It ended up being well worth attending, and if you have any interest in rearing queens (or even just buying a queen) you should be kicking yourself for not attending. Enough basic information was presenting for the beginner, yet had plenty of good information for us that have been rearing queens for some time. Even had good information for those just wanting to buy a queen and what they should look for in a breeder. It was very interesting and very worthwhile. I sincerely hope they hold it again next year.