Using Apideas

How to setup and manage Apideas for mating honey bee queens

The Apidea came with no instructions... until now

The Apidea mating mini-nuc is well known but comes without instructions. Despite its popularity, advice on using an Apidea is not always easy to come by, and can be variable in quality and relevance to the British climate. Our purpose with this new book is to provide a good single reference for using the Apidea in particular, and mini-nucs in general.

We run up to sixty Apideas at any given time in our queen raising activities at our honey farm in Devon. At so many points in this book I’ve been tempted to add the phrase “ask me how I know” to underline a piece of advice with a sense of self-deprecating humour. The simple truth is that we worked it out as we went along, and have learnt by making most of the mistakes imaginable. The point of writing it all down is to help you short-cut that learning process and avoid some of the frustrations. Thus what we present here has evolved as our working practice during forty years of running many Apideas at a time.

Using Apideas comprises 250 pages with over 280 colour photos and illustrations.

Establish, manage, recycle ...

Many beekeepers are taught or advised to consider an Apidea ‘finished with’ once a single queen has been mated. “Set it up with bees, feed, and a queen cell; leave for three weeks, then check for a laying queen” is typical advice. Whilst this does often work, it’s really just scratching at the surface of what you can do with an Apidea. In fact, each Apidea you establish could mate three or four queens successively during that season.

We view the process of setting up and running Apideas as having three distinct but overlapping phases – establishment, management, and recycling – and consider an Apidea to only be fully ready for use once it has mated its first queen and it contains her brood. What others consider the end point is, for us, just the start!

Sample pages - click to enlarge

Downloadable resources

A number of record sheets and simple tools that we have developed as useful aids are discussed in Using Apideas. These are available as PDF files to download, print, and use.

Where to buy


RRP £45
ISBN 978-1739179007


RRP £25
ISBN 978-1739179014

Buy direct - signed copies

If you are in the UK then we would be delighted to supply you a copy signed by the author directly via the online shop for our honey farm.

Special offer: £10 off hardback, now £35

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International orders

Outside of the UK, it is most cost effective to order using the ISBN number, either through an online seller or through your local bookshop. Some example links are given below.