Neeltje Jans Queen rearing

Mating result Neeltje Jans and Texel 2021

In 2021 mating nuclei have been placed on Neeltje Jans during two periods. During these periods 5 drone-producing colonies with unrelated queens were present at Neeltje Jans.

The customary first period was cancelled due to cold weather, but during the second and third period conditions were favourable for mating of the young queens.

Colonies used for grafting are originating from Texel. Aim is to increase the population of dark bees from Texel on the mainland.

Thirteen beekeepers have placed a total of 117 mating nuclei on Neeltje Jans. Out of these, 80 queens were fertilised, a mating percentage of some 68%.

In addition, the DDB has grafted directly on Texel from two colonies, on the one hand on behalf of Texel beekeepers and also to broaden the biological basis of the DDB colonies.

30 larvae have been transported to Veenendaal, 20 of which have mated on Neeltje Jans. In the end, 8 of these are now overwintering.

During grafting on Texel, 2 beekeepers have introduced quality larvae into queenless colonies. During a second visit by the DDB they have constituted mating nuclei which were mated on Texel. Also, Henk Kok has made 8 mating nuclei with these Texel queens on behalf of the DDB. During a third visit 6 fertilised Texel queens were collected and transported to the mainland. Out of these, 7 queens died because of robbery of the young colonies. Only 1 queen is now overwintering.

.In the spring of 2022 wings of workers of all young colonies will be measured in order to establish whether progress has been made in the purification of the Texel black bee.

Neeltje Jans Queen rearing

Mating result Neeltje Jans 2020

In 2020 mating nuclei have been placed on Neeltje Jans during four periods. We have added a fourth period because of the growing demand for black, Varroa-resistant queens. In addition, there was an extra period for participants of the queen rearing course organised by Henk Kok. A total of 17 beekeepers, including course participants, have placed their nuclei on Neeltje Jans.

During all periods 8 drone-producing colonies were present at Neeltje Jans. These had unrelated queens, contrarily to the usual approach of other mating stations, where the drones stem from sister queens. The DDB has opted for this approach in order to minimise inbreeding.

Thanks to the favourable weather during the mating season the average fertilisation percentage was considerably higher than the multi-year average for Neeltje Jans.


Period # nuclei # fertilised % fertilisation
2 (including course)523771%
Dark bee

New Dutch Dark Bee Association

Over the past few months we of De Duurzame Bij have had talks with the Dutch association ’t Landras (the Landrace) ( about closer cooperation. As a result we have agreed to set up a new association named
’t Landras: de inheemse donkere bij (Apis mellifera mellifera) (The Landrace: the Indigenous Dark Bee (Apis mellifera mellifera).

This new association aims at improving and strengthening the population of Apis mellifera mellifera (AMM), commonly known as the local dark bee, in Holland.

We try to reach these goals through:

  1. Census of AMM colonies in Holland.
  2. Registration in a studbook and certification of purebred AMM queens.
  3. Facilitation of breeding purebred AMM queens and drones at breeding stations managed by the association.
  4. Education and information about census and breeding AMM colonies, including publications on these issues.
  5. Fund raising and financial support of projects in connection with these activities.

We will shortly approach people connected to De Duurzame Bij to interest them in joining the new association.
Members of the ’t Landras association will automatically become members of the new association.

Neeltje Jans Queen rearing

Mating result Neeltje Jans 2018

A very good mating result of young queens of 85% fertilised during the first period at Neeltje Jans, undoubtedly as a consequence of the favourable weather conditions during that period!

The second period at Neeltje Jans showed 57% of fertilised young queens, much lower than during the first period, but in line with the multi-year average at this mating station.


The ‘Samen Imkeren’ project

Together with Coby van Dooremalen of Wageningen University and Resarch (WUR), Marleen Boerjan explains in this YouTube film the set-up of the ‘Samen Imkeren’ (Keeping Bees Together) project of Bijen@wur, in which DDB participates.

Research goals of this project are:

  • Gathering knowledge about the practical use of various resistant populations of colonies as compared to control colonies, including the mite infestation level at which a colony can still survive.
  • Gathering experience in maintaining resistant and non-resistant colonies in one single apiary.
  • Exchanging knowledge between the participating organisations about beekeeping practices.
  • Showcasing to the beekeeping community beekeeping with Varroa-resistant colonies and eliminating chemical treatment against Varroa mites.

The first phase of the ‘Samen Imkeren’ project expired in April 2019.


2nd Phase project ‘Samen Imkeren’

‘Samen Imkeren’ means ‘Keeping Bees Together’.

The second phase of this cooperative project between various Dutch beekeepers’ organisations has now been approved. The project is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV). The project is coordinated by Bijen@wur. DDB was involved in the first phase of this project and aims to participate in the second phase as well.

During this new phase a variety of aspects will be researched in connection with colonies in which Varroa is not chemically treated. The colonies are supplied by various beekeepers’ organisations that have stopped treating against Varroa since a number of years already: BioDynamic Beekeepers, Vitale Bij, Bijen@wur and DDB.

The project aims at more robust and resilient honeybees, with the emphasis on resistance to Varroa. In this approach, not only the colonies are targeted, but also possibilities for practical application of results obtained.

See also:

Neeltje Jans Queen rearing

Mating result Neeltje Jans 2019

In 2019 there were three mating periods at the mating station Neeltje Jans. The third period has been added in response to the growing demand for black, Varroa-tolerant queens. A total of 13 beekeepers have placed their mating nucs at Neeltje Jans.

During the entire period of nine weeks there have been eight drone colonies at Neeltje Jans permanently. These had queens that were no sisters of each other. This differs from what is customary at other mating stations, where the drones are descendants of queens that are full sisters of each other. Purpose of DDB is to avoid inbreeding to a maximum.

The mating result is in accordance with the multi-year average of Neeltje Jans.


Period# Nucs# fertilisedPercentage
1 (weeks 22,23 and 24)653554%
2 (weeks 25, 26 and 27)613456%
3 (weeks 28, 29 and 30)474757%