24,329 ARTICLES
ON THIS WIKI

Tutorial:Bee Cultivation (Apiculture)

Wiki.png This article is part of the ATLauncher Wiki's Tutorials section.

The uses for Bees are almost endless; power, food, raw materials and resources can all be created with the right species. Bees also have their dark side; undesirable Effects, low Fertility, slow production Speed and picky environmental needs may plague the novice apiarist. It's time to take the next step, and begin influencing genetic traits through selective breeding.

The basic mod that introduces Bees is Forestry; there are also two child-mods, Extra Bees and Magic Bees. Extra Bees information will be in orange. Magic Bees information will be in purple.

A Note about Spoilers[edit]

This tutorial includes minor spoilers, on par with those found in Bee Basics plus the exploration of the Cultivated branch. For those new to apiculture, Bee Basics should be read first.

Breeding for New Species[edit]

Important!
Mutations can only happen in an Apiary or Alveary, not a Bee House.

Getting mutations is mostly a matter of luck without outside assistance. The Apiarist Database is useful as it tracks all discovered species and records which combinations were needed to make it. Both the Beealyzer and Apiarist Database will show if there are any undiscovered mutations for a given species, but the Database is slightly superior in that it also displays if the parent species have been discovered yet or not, and if the resulting mutation has been discovered already or not. Certain mutations have more than one viable set of parent species. Bee species are arranged in branches of related mutations, and attempting to rebreed a new species to one of the parent species is often successful in discovering a further mutation. Throwing unwanted hybrids together at random is another possibility, just to see if anything interesting results. If the needed combination of parents is known, things become much simpler. A purebred of each species is ideal when recreating a known mutation. Hybrids are only half as effective since 50% of the time they will result in purebreds, which cannot mutate. Researching a mutation with an Escritoire will yield a 5% mutation bonus for most species, and provide insight into which combinations are possible.


If random attempts at breeding are proving too frustrating, a complete listing of all the bees and their parent combinations can be found on the Bee Species page.

Stable Species Equal Success[edit]

Basic experimentation with crossbreeding has most likely resulted in Common Bees and perhaps even Cultivated Bees showing up in Apiaries. Once a new mutation is discovered, an apiarist's first goal should always be to stabilize the new species. A stable species is one that has a purebred drone and princess, so that unlimited numbers of pure drones can be created by breeding the two. All other traits save Fertility are usually secondary to having a stable species. Once the first pure pair is established, their offspring can be used to maintain the species and either clone other princesses, or cultivate specific traits.

An extra Princess and Drone for each new species should be saved somewhere safe against accidental loss. Many species, especially the early ones, are needed to create other mutations later on. An assortment of chests serves very nicely as a "bee library". With a few extra combs, an Apiarist's Chest can be crafted which will hold up to 125 Princesses, Queens or stacks of Drones.

Purifying a New Mutation[edit]

A common problem is having a handful of Hybrids from a newly mutated species, but no pures and possibly no princess either. The drones may also be saddled with undesirable traits, especially the dreaded x1 Fertility. While it's possible to keep crossbreeding the parent species until a pure princess and drone result, sometimes the mutation rate is too low to make this feasible. A purebred strain with x1 Fertility is severely limited in use, for it cannot be easily cloned.

If the available stock includes a princess and a drone with at least one copy of the desired Species trait each, and they are not hindered with x1 Fertility, crossbreeding them in the hopes of eventual purebreds is a viable option. There is a 25% chance of getting a pure of the new mutation with two parents that each carry one copy of the gene. Once one purebred princess or drone is obtained, crossing it to a hybrid with one copy of the species gene has a good chance (50%) of yielding more pures.

Purifying through Crossbreeding Example
Possible mutations have been ignored for the sake of simplicity
Generation 1

Trying for Pure Cultivated

File:Common Princess.png

Common-Cultivated Hybrid

Grid Forest Bee.png

Forest-Cultivated Hybrid

Generation 2

Lucky! A pure Cultivated.

File:Forest Princess.png

Forest-Cultivated Princess

Grid Forest Bee.png

Forest-Common Drone (discarded)

Grid Cultivated Bee.png

Cultivated Drone

Generation 3

Followed by terrible luck.

File:Forest Princess.png

Forest-Cultivated Princess

Grid Forest Bee.png

Forest-Cultivated Drone

Grid Forest Bee.png

Forest-Cultivated Drone (discard)

Generation 4 File:Forest Princess.png

Forest-Cultivated Princess

Grid Cultivated Bee.png

Cultivated Drone

Grid Forest Bee.png

Forest Drone (discard)

Generation 5

No improvement.

File:Forest Princess.png

Forest-Cultivated Princess

Grid Forest Bee.png

Forest-Cultivated Drone (discard)

Grid Cultivated Bee.png

Cultivated Drone

Generation 6

Success.

File:Cultivated Princess.png

Cultivated Princess

Grid Cultivated Bee.png

Cultivated Drone

Grid Forest Bee.png

Forest-Cultivated Drone (discard)

With no princess carrying the desired species gene, a different tactic is needed. A purebred strain of x4 Fertility bees of a species that does not have any further mutations is a worthwhile investment of time. A cloned princess from such a strain can be paired with one of the hybrid drones. There will be five bees in the resulting generation, each one with a 25% chance of carrying the desired species gene. If the Princess is one of them, pair her to a drone with the desired species gene and continue as above. If only drones are carrying the gene, reclone the princess until her fertility trait is x4 / x4 again, and then repeat. There is still a chance that the desired species gene will be lost with this method, but it usually results in at least one or two bees carrying the desired trait. If the gene is completely wiped out, the original parent species will have to be crossed again in the hopes of more mutations.

Purifying Using x4 Princess Example
Possible mutations have been ignored for the sake of simplicity.
Generation 1

Trying for Pure Cultivated

Wintry Princess.png

Wintry Princess (x4/x4)

Grid Cultivated Bee.png

Common-Cultivated Drone (x2/x2)

Generation 2

More Cultivated drones!

File:Common Princess.png

Common-Wintry Princess (x2/x4) (reclone)

Grid Wintry Bee.png

Wintry-Common Drone (x2/x4) (discard)

Grid Wintry Bee.png

Wintry-Cultivated Drone (x2/x4)

Grid Cultivated Bee.png

Cultivated-Wintry Drone (x2/x4) (save)

Grid Wintry Bee.png

Wintry-Cultivated Drone (x2/x4) (save)

Gen 3 Parents Wintry Princess.png

Wintry Princess (x4/x4)

Grid Wintry Bee.png

Wintry-Cultivated Drone (x2/x4)

Generation 3 Wintry Princess.png

Wintry-Cultivated Princess (x2/x4)

Grid Wintry Bee.png

Wintry Drone (x2/x4) (Discard)

Grid Wintry Bee.png

Wintry Drone (x2/x4) (Discard)

Grid Wintry Bee.png

Wintry-Cultivated Drone (x4/x4)

Grid Wintry Bee.png

Wintry-Cultivated Drone (x2/x4) (Discard)

Generation 4

x4 Fertility established.

File:Cultivated Princess.png

Cultivated-Wintry Princess (x4/x4)

Grid Wintry Bee.png

Wintry-Cultivated Drone (x2/x4) (Discard)

Grid Wintry Bee.png

Wintry-Cultivated Drone (x4/x4)

Generation 5 Wintry Princess.png

Wintry-Cultivated Princess (x4/x4)

Grid Wintry Bee.png

Wintry Drone (x4/x4) (Discard)

Grid Wintry Bee.png

Wintry Drone (x4/x4) (Discard)

Grid Wintry Bee.png

Wintry-Cultivated Drone (x4/x4) (Discard)

Grid Cultivated Bee.png

Cultivated Drone (x4/x4)

Generation 6 Wintry Princess.png

Wintry-Cultivated Princess (x4/x4)

Grid Wintry Bee.png

Wintry-Cultivated Drone (x4/x4) (Discard)

Grid Cultivated Bee.png

Cultivated Drone (x4/x4)

Grid Wintry Bee.png

Wintry-Cultivated Drone (x4/x4) (Discard)

Grid Cultivated Bee.png

Cultivated Drone (x4/x4)

Generation 7

Cultivated strain established.

File:Cultivated Princess.png

Cultivated Princess (x4/x4)

Grid Cultivated Bee.png

Cultivated Drone (x4/x4)

Grid Cultivated Bee.png

Cultivated Drone (x4/x4)

Grid Cultivated Bee.png

Cultivated Drone (x4/x4)

Grid Wintry Bee.png

Wintry-Cultivated Drone (x4/x4) (Discard)

x1 Fertility can be bred out in a similar manner, only a strain with x2 Fertility should be used, not x3 or x4. The reason is x3 and x4 Fertility are both recessive, while x1 and x2 are dominant. Pairing x1 Fertility with a recessive gene will cause the x1 to take precedence unless the bee gets two recessive genes, and a single drone gives no opportunity to influence the next generation.

Cross the new species with poor fertility to an established strain with x2 Fertility, and preferably one that has no possible mutations. If the princess gets the x2 Fertility trait, but not the desired species, re-clone her. If she gets the desired species and the x1 Fertility, cross her with her original stock, hoping to retain the species but gain a usable fertility gene. If the princess gets neither the desired species nor the x1 Fertility, rebreed her to a drone with the desired species or use fresh stock. It is easier to use a (x2/x2) Princess as the base, since the next generation will have two drones to choose from instead of just one.

Removing x1 Fertility Example
Possible mutations have been ignored for the sake of simplicity. This process would normally NOT be done with Forest bees, but any x2 Fertility species that doesn't mutate with Rocky.
Generation 1

Trying for Pure Rocky, x2 Fert

File:Forest Princess.png

Forest Princess (x2/x2)

Grid Rocky Bee.png

Rocky Drone (x1/x1)

Generation 2

All Hybrids

File:Forest Princess.png

Forest-Rocky Princess (x2/x1)

Grid Forest Bee.png

Forest-Rocky Drone (x2/x1)

Grid Forest Bee.png

Forest-Rocky Drone (x1/x2) (discard)

Generation 3

Terrible Princess result. Replacing with a fresh Rocky.

Rocky Princess.png

Rocky-Forest Princess (x1/x1) (discard)

Grid Forest Bee.png

Forest-Rocky Drone (x2/x1)

Grid Rocky Bee.png

Rocky Drone (x1/x1) (discard)

Generation 4

(x2/x1) Rocky Drone is good, too good to pair with this Princess. Pairing a (x2/x2) Forest Drone for the next generation.

Rocky Princess.png

Rocky Princess (x1/x1)

Grid Rocky Bee.png

Rocky Drone (x2/x1) (save)

Grid Rocky Bee.png

Rocky-Forest Drone (x2/x1)

Generation 5

All Hybrids again. Princess has x1 as her active Fertility, so will pair with one of the hybrids again.

File:Forest Princess.png

Forest-Rocky Princess (x1/x2)

Grid Rocky Bee.png

Rocky-Forest Drone (x2/x1)

Grid Forest Bee.png

Forest-Rocky Drone (x2/x1) (discard)

Generation 6

An excellent Princess result. Pairing with the saved Pure Rocky (x2/x1) from earlier.

File:Forest Princess.png

Forest-Rocky Princess (x2/x2)

Grid Forest Bee.png

Forest-Rocky Drone (x1/x2)

Grid Forest Bee.png

Forest-Rocky Drone (x1/x1) (discard)

Generation 7

Poor luck. Next generation will only have one drone.

Rocky Princess.png

Rocky Princess (x1/x2)

Grid Rocky Bee.png

Rocky-Forest Drone (x2/x2)

Grid Forest Bee.png

Forest-Rocky Drone (x2/x2) (save)

Generation 8

Drone is inferior to the saved (x2/x2) Forest-Rocky Drone from Gen 7, that one will be bred to this princess.

Rocky Princess.png

Rocky-Forest Princess (x2/x2)

Grid Rocky Bee.png

Rocky-Forest Drone (x2/x1) (discard)

Generation 9

x2 Fertility established.

File:Forest Princess.png

Forest-Rocky Princess (x2/x2)

Grid Rocky Bee.png

Rocky Drone (x2/x2)

Grid Forest Bee.png

Forest Drone (x2/x2) (discard)

Generation 10

No improvement.

File:Forest Princess.png

Forest-Rocky Princess (x2/x2)

Grid Rocky Bee.png

Rocky Drone (x2/x2)

Grid Rocky Bee.png

Rocky-Forest Drone (x2/x2) (discard)

Generation 10

Success.

Rocky Princess.png

Rocky Princess (x2/x2)

Grid Forest Bee.png

Forest-Rocky Drone (x2/x2) (discard)

Grid Rocky Bee.png

Rocky Drone (x2/x2)

Cloning[edit]

Cloning is simple set of steps that can be used to duplicate a desirable strain of bees. The strain must be stable, that is purebred and preferably with homozygous traits. It must also have a fertility trait higher than one. Extra Princesses are necessary, one for each clone hive desired, of a species that has similar environmental needs if possible. With disparate environmental needs between the desirable strain and extras, it may be necessary to set up two different production areas and shuttle between them.

Place the Queen to be cloned in one Apiary. A sign labeling it as the original stock is suggested, to avoid accidentally introducing mixed bees. The princess and one drone from each cycle should be rebred in this Apiary, thus maintaining the desirable strain. Excess drones can be paired off with the surplus Princesses. It takes 4-6 generations on average to clone a Princess of wild origins, but the actual number of cycles can vary depending on how different the two strains were and random luck. For each cycle, discard the mixed drones and rebreed the Princesses to purebred drones from the holding stock. Eventually they will become identical copies of the original Queen. When a cloned Queen begins leaving behind stacked drones, the cloning process is complete or very close. Clones should always be carefully checked with the Beealyzer to make sure they have the full complement of desired traits with no leftovers from the original species are lingering.

This process can be used to create many identical hives for speedy production of desired items.


Breeding for Traits[edit]

Breeding for traits involves selecting particular drones and princesses to pair together in the hopes of improving their offspring. By crossing the various mundane and mutated species, a single strain can be developed with the best qualities available. The initial set up is similar to cloning - only established strains which are purebred for the desired trait should be used, and a holding hive and/or stockpiled bees should be kept in case the crossbreeding attempt fails. Breeding for traits is easiest with two strains that do not produce a mutation, since mutations overwrite the existing parent genes.

Clone one of the strains onto a new Princess. Once she is purebred for the desired traits, cross her with a drone from the second strain. All the offspring will have one desired gene and one undesired gene from each side. Breed the princess and a drone from this second generation together. The third generation and beyond is where selective breeding can begin, since the offspring will start to vary. This is due to how basic genetics works.

Cross 1 - Purebred A x Purebred B - two different parents with two copies of a single gene. For this example, we'll use a Forest Bee with no special traits, and a River Bee with the Nocturnal gene. The goal is to move the Nocturnal gene onto a pure Forest strain.

Forest - None Forest - None
River - Nocturnal Nocturnal / None Nocturnal / None
River - Nocturnal None / Nocturnal None / Nocturnal

All the offspring will be a combination of None/Nocturnal (100%) and Forest-River Hybrids, since each got one gene from each parent. Cross two of these offspring.

Cross 2 - River-Forest Hybrid with None/Nocturnal x River-Forest Hybrid with None/Nocturnal

Ability None Nocturnal
Nocturnal None/Nocturnal Nocturnal/Nocturnal
None None/None Nocturnal/None
Species River Forest
Forest Forest/River Forest/Forest
River River/River River/Forest

Thus the possible results from the third generation are Pure Nocturnal (25%), Mixed Nocturnal/None, (50%), and pure None (25%). The same holds true for the species, this third generation could be Hybrids (50%), Pure Forest (25%), or Pure River (25%). Any of the ability results could end up with any of the species results. Thus, it's possible to wind up with pure Rivers with no nocturnal trait after all that work - this is why keeping pure strains of the original stock is important. The odds of getting a single pure Forest with pure Nocturnal from this cross is 1/4 x 1/4, or about 6.25%.

The next steps depend on how successful the crossbreeding was. Analyze each princess and drone, selecting those with the greatest number of desirable traits to create the next generation. If things go horribly wrong, re-clone the princess with original stock. Stabilizing a strain can be particularly tricky when trying to add multiple traits from each side. Keeping extra drones with partial traits on hand in a chest until the crossbreeding is over can be helpful. Crossbreeding multiple princesses at the same time will increase the chances of success, since there are more opportunities to get favorable results and the best princess and drone across all hives used can be paired off. Using x4 Fertility stock also makes crossbreeding easier.

It can be helpful to work on just a single trait at a time. Choose the trait that is the most important, and cross species until it breeds true. Establish the improved strain as the new foundation stock, clone a new princess, and begin again with the next most important trait.

Princess Supply[edit]

Each new species discovered requires a Princess and a Drone to be stabilized. Drones are not a problem, but Princesses are in finite supply. Eventually it becomes necessary to go hive hunting just for more princesses to create new species on or increase the numbers of productive hives. Even if you begin with a surplus of Princesses, keep them on hand.

Of the wild types available, Meadows, Forest, Marbled and Rocky are the easiest to use. All are happy with a basic flower or stone block and a Normal/Normal biome. Meadows and Marbled are common and usually out in the open, so for manual gathering the Biomes their Beehives both prefer should be focused on - Plains, Meadows, Forested Hills, Green Hills, Extreme Hills, Forest, etc. Water Princesses are also fairly easy to find with potions of Night vision, and an Aqua Affinity helmet. Their requirements are more specialized, needing Lily Pads and a Damp Humidity if outcrossed and the -/+1 Humidity Tolerance is lost.

For players employing automatic mining systems, particularly the Quarry, Rocky Princesses will be the way to go. A Quarry will collect multiple Princesses and Drones in each chunk with no additional effort on the player's part. Rockies have excellent traits for cloning other strains onto.

The Twilight Forest is another option - virtually all surface hives will be of the Marbled variety, with the occasional Water Princess or Rocky Princess. The white hives stand out well in most biomes, making collection fairly routine.

One source to avoid are Princesses generated by Swarmers - they will be afflicted with the [ - ] trait, which means they will die out after only a few generations. Any drones or princesses produced will be similarly tainted.

Alvearies[edit]

These large multi-block hive structures dwarf the standard Apiary, taking up considerably more room. Alveary blocks are also more expensive in terms of resources, using multiple bee products. The main advantage of the Alveary is a built-in productivity bonus similar to Proven Frames, and the ability to add specialty blocks to the bottom two levels, especially if you have Extra Bees installed. As the needed supplies become available, stockpile Scented Paneling and Impregnated Casings with the goal of eventually getting a few Alvearies going. The production bonus will help keep up a steady supply of Honey Drops or provide more Silky Combs for getting Silk Wisps.

Item Function
Grid Alveary.png Alveary The standard Alveary block.

27 are needed to create one Alveary, plus 9 wooden half-slabs.

Grid Alveary Heater.png Alveary Heater When supplied with MJ, increases the Temperature of the hive.
Grid Alveary Fan.png Alveary Fan When supplied with MJ, reduces the Temperature of the hive.
Grid Alveary Hygroregulator.png Alveary Hygroregulator Supplied with Lava, decreases Humidity & increases Temperature. Supplied with Water, increases Humidity and decreases Temperature.
Grid Frame Housing.png Frame Housing Allows any single Frame to be added to the Alveary. Multiple Frame Housings effects stack.
Grid Mutator.png Mutator Supplied with specific items, increases mutation rates.
Grid Swarmer.png Swarmer Requires Royal Jelly, creates Swarm Hives with limited use Princesses in the nearby area.

Apiarist's Pipe & Automation[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • Genetic Machines ExB Tutorial