Queen Grant

This page will highlight information regarding the RI DEM Honeybee Colony Improvement Program (“Queen Grant” ).  This is not to be confused with our own Queen Rearing Project. More information will be posted as it becomes available, please check back.


If you are eligible to participate in the grant and will be putting them in nucleus colonies to be grown into full colonies. You must be registered with DEM to participate in the grant.

Carniolian Distribution

June 14 – 15.
Pickup times as follows:
Thursday and Friday 11:am – 5:pm
Directions to RI College Campus   Campus Map for Sherlock Center – use the Buildings drop down arrow to locate it. 

Questions – Jane Mackenzie Dennison  jamdmd@aol.com  (401) 374-9105
Bee Inspector Jim Lawson  James.Lawson@dem.ri.gov  (540) 521-9879. 

Terms of the Grant:  This grant is open to all RI registered beekeepers.  Please remember that the hive itself must be living in Rhode Island, although the owner may not necessarily live in RI.  RIBA membership is not a requirement.  We do require your contact information (email / phone number) to follow up later on how things went with your hive so we can record the data for the study. 


USDA Queen Grant

RIBA members and other beekeepers who have hives already registered with
the State of Rhode Island will be able to receive free high quality queens again
this year. In order to be eligible for this, beekeepers must agree to follow the
protocol on splitting existing hives into nucleus colonies that are ready to
receive the new queen. The protocol can be found here: Queen Grant Protocol
The following dates are set for queen pick up:
May 10 Minnesota Hygenics
May 24 New World Carniolans
June 7 New World Carniolans
Please keep an eye on the RIBA Facebook page for further updates.
People interested in a free queen from the Queen Grant MUST have a
registered hive in order to be eligible!
Please follow this link to find the form and register your beehives with the state of R.I.



The Protocol for accepting a Grant Queen in Spring 2018, can be downloaded here.
If you are accepting a Grant Queen this spring, you must have an overwintered hive, and you must follow this protocol or the data you generate will be excluded. The split procedure described would also be good for swarm control, provided you reverse which box the original queen ends up in – grant queens end up in the small split, but if you’re doing swarm control, you’d put the over-wintered queen in the small split and either put a new queen in the overwintered parent hive or let that one create its own queen. Letting it create its own also creates a brood break, slowing down spring mite population.


Thanks to you all who have been involved in this successful 2017 season.
We will complete the grant spring 2018!!!
Queen Grant 2017 Season

The DEM/RIBA Honeybee Colony Improvement Project begins its second season.  The goal is to get a diversity of superior mated queen stock into Rhode Island to increase drone genetics.  Hopefully this will allow for increased winter survival, improved hygenic behavior against varroa mites, gentleness and honey production.  Last year 150 mated queens were imported.  We are gathering that survival data now.  This year, we are bringing in 300 mated queens from 4 different sources.  Half are being put into packages bound for registered RI beekeepers.  The other half are being handed out from a DEM Queen Bank in Johnston for beekeepers who want to split hives, re-queen other southern stock hives, manage swarming in survivor hives, or queen replacement. We hope to have improved survival this year.

All queens supplied by the grant this season carry VSH (varroa sensitive hygienic) behaviors, and are northern stock to help with overwintering.  For more info on the traits /queen lines which we chose, see vpqueenbees.com, Glenn-apiaries.com, Lamb’s Honey Farm, BBhoneyfarms.com for Minnesota Hygenic queens developed through Dr. Marla Spivak, Wootensqueensbees.com for “Homer Park Italians” from Northern California, and New World Carniolans (NWC) from Sue Cobey’s NWC Breeding Program in Ohio from Honey Run Apiary in Ohio. See https://pcela.rs/interview_susan_bkq.htm  for Sue Cobey’s interview on her NWC queen breeding program.


The logistics for this spring are outlined below—but be aware that package delivery and queen shipments are dependent on weather.  Your package supplier will confirm the exact pickup dates.  If you are one of our beloved volunteers, be aware that we, too, may be shifting.  Volunteer sign ups through Doodle: 2017 package re-Queening Volunteer Request or link through the RIBA Facebook page.

*April 8th  Cedar Lane Apiary Package pickup: 100 requeened with Lambs Honey Farm queens

*April 21-22nd  Lambs Queens available at

  RIDEM 2321 Hartford Ave, Johnston RI  (RI DEM building)





*May 5 & 6  Robataille package pickup:   with Wooten Queens 50 re-queened and 50  mated queens available at the RI DEM building  2321 Hartford Ave, Johnston RI 

*May 17-20th at  2321 Hartford Ave, Johnston RI  with B&B Honey Farms – 50 MN Spivak strain

*June 21st or thereabouts at  2321 Hartford Ave, Johnston RI  – 50 NWC from Honey Run Apiary, Ohio.


We need volunteers to help on location with queen information literature and RIDEM handouts for registrations for both the study queen and for the hive.  People to input the queen data are also needed – this is an anytime ongoing activity.  Help with this pollinator project!!!  Thank you.


To assist with training for queen replacement, Ken Warchol will teach 6 seminars to cover three techniques.  Our breeders have asked that, initially, the queens remain caged for 5 days to improve acceptance rate into hives where a laying queen has been removed.  We realize that this project will not be able to provide queens to every beekeeper who wants them.  The package handouts are on a first come basis.  Our goal is to spread the genetic potential around the state. Please realize that a package established with the original southern queen can be re-queened from a RI DEM 2321 Hartford Ave pickup.  We will have frequent posting to the website and Facebook about the supply of queens at RI DEM 2321 Hartford Ave.  Our goal is to get queens into hives within a few days of arrival in RI.

The RI DEM Queen Bank 2017 is managed and run by Jim Lawson, RI State Bee Inspector.  Queens needed on non-pick up days will best be coordinated with him via phone or text at (540) 521-9879.  Paper work will still need to be filled out and hives registered.  The RI DEM Queens will have a mini box to travel in.

This project has many moving parts and is weather dependent.  Please let us know your concerns and we will try to address them. Remember, we are all volunteers and may not be able to respond immediately.  Be patient we will get back to you.  Contact info is on the RIBA website and below.

Thanks for your help and interest.


Jane Mackenzie Dennison jamdmd@aol.com  (401) 374-9105

Lori Joslin-Hill. Lhill129@cox.net

Keith Salisbury  bearhawk949@gmail.com

Jim Lawson (540) 521-9879

Emily Patry patrye@my.uri.edu. (Schedule)



UPDATE 8/7/16

The grant is off and running for the next two seasons!  150 queens from Parker-Baris were distributed around RI. Now the data teams are collecting the info — presence of marked queen, brood count of the entire hive, and mite counts.  These assays are being done on 20% of the hives in the area surrounding the queen yards every two weeks for the season.  We will be presenting the data once it is gathered, so stand by!  So far we are finding mite levels needing treatment and a variety of brood production. Some queens did not survive introduction.  All data is important.

There is a real need for more people to get the training for the hive inspections.  There is a video to watch and current teams will help with hands on practice and then you too can be part of this amazing group!!  Send Jane Dennison an email at jamdmd@aol.com if you want to train up for this exciting project.

This week the southern queen yard and surrounding areas are getting their queens and within a few weeks they will start their data gathering.

We appreciate all the support and work all the volunteers are doing.

Watch a VIDEO of Ken Warchol’s field day brood count lesson

UPDATE 6/29/16  9:20 PM…

How are you doing with your new queen?   Got questions?  Contact Don Joslin: djoslinsr@verizon.net  or  cell (401) 207-6879.

UPDATE 6/26/16 8:00 AM…

The queens arrived Friday and were picked up by most of the participants Friday and Saturday.  A few still need to be picked up and arrangements can be made to pick them up at Salisbury Farm in Johnston (by appointment only).  Contact Keith Salisbury at pkbees@verizon.net

UPDATE 6/22/16  6:30 PM…

UPDATE 6/21/16  10:30 PM…

Emails have gone out to the first order recipients.  If you signed up for the first delivery and did not receive an email today, Tuesday 6/21, please email  Lori Hill at lhill129@cox.net.

UPDATE 6/19/16 10:PM… 

We are expecting the first order of Grant Queens will be delivered late Friday, June 24.   If that goes according to plan, they will be available for pickup at the following times and location:

  • Friday, 6/24 from 4:30 till 8:00 p.m.  and also Saturday morning from 9:00 till 12:00

Directions to the Park and Ride lot at Exit 7 off of Rte. 95:

  • Heading south on Rte. 95 take exit 7.  At the end of the ramp take a left.  The Park and Ride is about 1/10th of a mile on the right.
  • Heading north on Rte. 95 take exit 7.  At the end of the ramp take a right. The Park and Ride is on the right.

If you ordered on the first round, you should be getting an email from the Grant Committee.  Check your spam/bulk mail folder if you don’t see it in a day or so.