Bee Breeding

(Redirected from Apiculture)

Bee Breeding (also known as Apiculture) is a mechanism introduced in Forestry, used to create new types of Bee Species from old ones. Bees can be harvested from glowing beehives which spawn naturally in the world. A Scoop, Thaumium Scoop, Manasteel Scoop, Bedrock Pickaxe (Extrabees-Hives won't drop bees, they will be silktouched), Mining LaserVajra, Quarry,  Ars Magica 2 Dig spell, Atomic Disassembler, Wand of Excavation or Wand of Equal Trade is necessary to extract the bees - breaking a hive with anything else will drop nothing.   Each type of wild Beehive spawns in specific biome(s).

Basic Tools[edit]

To begin breeding bees, one Apiary, a selection of wild bees, and at least one of their preferred "flower" is required. A Beealyzer is highly recommended; it is not possible to see what genetic traits each bee is carrying without one, and it will reveal important information such as climate and flower needed. The Apiarist Database, which tracks which species have been acquired is useful but not mandatory to begin. One easy way to acquire some Apiaries and other useful materials is to find a Village with a resident Apiarist. Apiarist Villagers will trade 24-26 logs for Apiaries, two wheat for a random comb, one princess for an emerald, and one emerald for six Proven Frames.

Frames are fairly easy to make, needing only a Carpenter and Seed Oil at most. Up to three frames can be placed in any Apiary, or one in a Frame Housing Alveary block. The first three types all boost production by 10%, varying only on how quickly they lose durability.

Item Function
Apiary Apiary Holds bees. One needed for each breeding pair.
Beealyzer Beealyzer Provides detailed information on a bee's genome. Requires Honey Drops.
Habitat Locator Habitat Locator Used to find a matching habitat for a given bee. Requires Honey Drops. Optional.
Honey Drop Honey Drop Fuel to operate Beealyzer and/or Habitat Locator.
Carpenter Carpenter Necessary to make Beealyzer, Apiarist Database and Apiaries.
Centrifuge Centrifuge Produces honey drops and other items from combs.
Untreated Frame Untreated Frame Lowest durability but easy to make. Only requires sticks and string. Boosts hive production.
Impregnated Frame Impregnated Frame Medium durability. Requires Impregnated Sticks. Boosts hive production.
Proven Frame Proven Frame Longest durability. Only available from an Apiarist Villager. Boosts hive production.

Advanced Tools - Extra Bees[edit]

The Extra Bees mod adds a variety of advanced tools and options onto the basic Forestry system. The Alveary is a larger multi-block version of the Apiary. It allows the climate within to be tailored to the species being cultured, and other special features with purpose specific blocks. An Alveary is quite expensive in terms of resources, requiring Honey, Seed Oil, Royal Jelly, Pollen and Beeswax in addition to large amounts of wood. It is not possible to create one without fully exploring several branches of the bee species.

Other types of Frames are added by Extra Bees and affect breeding, production and/or lifespan. While Chocolate and Soul are the most useful, Extra Bees also adds Healing Frames and Restraint Frames (and Nova Frames, but they are unobtainable without cheating).

Extra Bees also contains many advanced machines that allow manipulation of genetics or alteration of bees directly without resorting to the semi-randomness of breeding. Due to the crafting components necessary and that multiple types of machines need to work together, most are mid-to-late game acquisitions.

Item Function
Apiarist Database Apiarist Database Tracks discovered species, encyclopaedia of traits, produce, and mutations. Apiarist Databank is a stationary version.
Chocolate Frame Chocolate Frame Reduces lifespan while increasing production. Useful for faster turnover of generations.
Soul Frame Soul Frame Increases odds of a successful mutation, at the cost of lifespan and production.
Acclimatiser Acclimatiser Allows the Humidity and Temperature tolerances of a bee to be altered.
Indexer Indexer Unlimited bee storage container. (buggy. consider an Apiarist's Chest)
Genepool Genepool Converts unwanted bees into Liquid DNA, needed for the Splicer, Synthesizer or Purifier.
Isolator Isolator Extracts traits of bees. Works in combination with the Purifier, Synthesizer and Inoculator.


A Demonic Bee Queen in an Apiary with three Chocolate Frames. The Drone slot below her is empty, lifespan bar to the left.
To start the breeding process, place a princess and a drone into an Apiary or Alveary. They will be replaced with a queen of the same type as the princess; the drone is lost in the process. The progress bar on the left will decrease over time, but only if the Apiary is located in a biome favorable to the queen. When the lifespan bar reaches the bottom, the queen will die and produce offspring - one princess and one or more drones. The number of drones is dependent on the fertility trait of the queen. The traits of each new princess and drone will be a combination of the parents used. If a partial mutation occurs, creating a hybrid, the resulting offspring will have traits of the new species mixed with the parent bees'.


Each bee species has its own Produce, which is permanently linked to the species. A Common bee will always make Honey Combs, a Tropical Bee Silky Combs, etc. Hybrids will yield produce of both species. Produce is usually one or more types of Comb, and possibly a secondary Specialty product as well, such as Pollen, Royal Jelly or Glowstone Dust. Most species have only one product. How quickly a hive produces items is dependent on the Queen's active Speed trait. Certain types of Frames can also improve production speed, as does housing the queen in an Alveary. Products can be piped out of Apiaries or Alvearies with Pipes, and Autarchic Gates are capable of reacting to missing bees. The Apiarist's Pipe is particularly useful in separating items from bees or fully automating a hive, though depending on how you want to handle mutations, a Diamond Transport Pipe may work more efficiently.

Every bee tick (550 minecraft ticks, or 27.5 seconds), the bee has a chance to produce items. This is calculated separately for each item type the bee produces. The chance is given by the following formula:

   P = (bee speed) * (production modifier) * (item probability)

P is the probability of the bee producing items during this tick. If P >= 1.0, then the bee will always produce items every bee tick. Bee speed is determined by the "Speed" trait of the queen, using the following table for the conversion:

Speed trait Bee speed
Slowest 0.3
Slower 0.6
Slow 0.8
Normal 1.0
Fast 1.2
Faster 1.4
Fastest 1.7

The production modifier is determined by the following algorithm:

  1. Set the production modifier to 0.1 for an apiary, or 1.0 for an alveary
  2. For each default Forestry frame (Untreated Frame, Impregnated Frame or Proven Frame), multiply production chance by two

The last variable, item probability, is a constant value for each type of item produced for each bee. For example, for industrious bees, the item probability is 0.2 for honey combs, and 0.15 for pollen.

The total chance of producing an item with a given queen is acquired by multiplying the production modifier by the base chance of producing an item (e.g. 20% for honey combs, 15% for pollen) by the speed trait of the queen (e.g., multiply by 1.7 for a queen with Fastest Worker) and then doubling the resultant value once for every frame present in the Apiary/Alveary.

(Production Modifier * Base Item Production Chance * Speed Trait of Queen) * 2^Quantity of Default Forestry Frames = Chance of Producing Given Item per Cycle with Given Bee

Once every 27.5 seconds (the length of a cycle) this formula is checked and the bee has a chance of producing an item. Any frames in an Apiary/Alveary also take one point of damage, five if in an Alveary.

Inheritance & Mutation[edit]

Bees have "chromosomes," which carry their traits, such as their species and other attributes. These traits can be combined to get desired breeds and abilities. For instance, if you have a slow Industrious breed with a valuable produce, you can crossbreed it with a faster Cultivated breed, to try and get a strain with both benefits. In the Beealyzer and Apiarist Database, dominant traits are color-coded red and recessive traits are blue.

Inheritance follows basic Mendel genetics. When a princess or drone is created, two genes are picked for each trait, one from each parent with equal odds. By selecting which drones and princesses to pair together, you can influence what traits the next generation of bees will carry. Because genes are picked from the parents (princess and drone) at the time of mating. altering a queen bee does not guarantee that the next generation will have the altered traits. More information on the laws of Mendelian inheritance can be found here.

Inheritance alone will not produce the more advanced species of bees in Forestry. Mating the right combination of bee species has a chance of creating a new species - a mutation. Some mutations can also only occur in specific biomes, and the odds of a viable combination mutating vary by species, from 2% to as high as 40%. Soul Frames will increase the odds of a successful mutation. The right combinations can be discovered using available in-game tools, the Bee Species page, or through trial and error. Here are a few tips that may help:

  • Mixing naturally occuring bees may give you something even more common.
  • Crossing something common with naturally occuring bees might cultivate it.
  • Cultivated bees can branch off into at least three different directions.
  • Sinister bees are cultivated but also modest. Jungle climes also seem hellish.
  • Heroes lurk in dungeons and have found refuge in forests.
  • The frugal and austere like it hot.
  • Beware dragon.
  • Rural are diligent and plain.


Bees have something resembling an actual genome complete with "chromosomes" and "alleles". Most traits of a bee are freely inheritable between species, only a few defining ones (produce, temperature and humidity) are tied to the species of the bee. Each of these chromosomes consists of an active and an inactive gene. The active traits are those the current queen will have, while inactive traits (and all drone traits) are only useful as inheritance for the next generation.

Note that many of the best traits are only available with species from Extra Bees and/or Magic Bees.

Chromosome Description
Species Species determines name, appearance, produce, preferred temperature and humidity for a bee. These traits are tied to species, and cannot be altered through breeding. It also determines the genetic makeup a bee receives when it appears via mutation or as a world drop. A bee with different active and inactive species genes is listed as a hybrid.
Lifespan Lifespan affects how long a bee will live. Shortest < Shorter < Short < Shortened < Normal < Elongated < Long < Longer < Longest
Speed Production speed. The possibilities, from worst to best are Slowest < Slower < Slow < Normal < Fast < Faster < Fastest. The production times listed in the Apiarist Database are based on Normal.
Pollination This determines the rate at which new "flowers" will appear around the Apiary, or how fast certain "flowers" grow for Sugarcane, Cactus, etc. It also determines how fast trees breed.
Flowers The item which must be nearby in order for the hive to be productive. For many species this will be the vanilla rose or dandelion (or any of the added flowers in FTB), but certain species require more exotic plants. At least one "flower" must be present within the hive's Area.
Fertility The more fertile a bee is, the more drones a dying queen will produce. Fertility can range from one to four.
Area Area affects the distance a hive will check for its preferred flower, pollinate, and influence with any Effect.
Effect Effects can be beneficial or harmful. Most species will have None.
Climate The degree of heat or cold the bee prefers. From coldest to hottest, Icy < Cold < Normal < Warm < Hot < Hellish
Temperature Tolerance How much variation a bee can take from its preferred temperature. This can range from zero to three, in one or both directions.
Humidity The degree of moisture the bee prefers. From dampest to driest, Damp > Normal > Arid
Humidity Tolerance How much variation a bee can take from its preferred moisture level. This can range from zero to two, on one or both directions.
Nocturnal Nocturnal bees will work during the night as well as during the day.
Flyer Bees with this trait will work even during rain.
Cave Cave tolerant bees will not object to working indoors, underground or anywhere without line of sight to the sky.

Crossbreeding Quickstart[edit]

Spoiler warning!
This article contains detailed information of discoveries, recipes, or secrets, which are intended to be discovered through in-game mechanics.

The following grid summarizes some of the possible combinations to begin on the Cultivated / Noble Branch.

Bee Breeding Combinations[edit]

Mate Meadows Forest Common Cultivated Diligent Noble
Meadows Common
Common Cultivated Cultivated
Cultivated Diligent/Noble
Diligent Rural[note 1] Unweary
Unweary Industrious
Noble Majestic
Majestic Imperial
Modest Sinister[note 2]
Sinister Fiendish[note 2]
  1. Must be bred in Plains.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Must be bred in the Nether.

Best Available Traits[edit]

Trait Bee Species
Lifespan Longest - Relic (Extra Bees); Longer - Austere, Demonic, Edenic, Ender (Forestry)
Speed Fastest - Aer (Thaumic Bees); Fast - Cultivated (Forestry)
Fertility 4 - Majestic, Wintery (Forestry)
Pollination Maximum - Aura (Thaumic Bees); Fastest - Hermitic (Forestry); Faster - Rural (Forestry)
Area 15x13x15 - Aura (Thaumic Bees); 11x8x11 - Ender (Forestry)
Flowers None - Arid (Extra Bees); Lily Pad - Water, River (Forestry)
Effects Beatific (Regeneration) - Imperial (Forestry); Explorer (Gives EXP) - Edenic (Forestry); Heroic (Attacks nearby hostiles) - Heroic (Forestry); Swiftness (Speed boost) - Aura (Thaumic Bees); Mining (Haste Effect) - Solum Bee (Thaumic Bees)
Cave / Rain / Nocturnal Rocky (Extra Bees) - has all three
Temperature Tolerance Both +/- 3 - Doctoral (Thaumic Bees); Both +/- 2 - Robust (Extra Bees), Edenic (Forestry)
Humidity Tolerance Both +/- 2 Robust (Extra Bees)
Produce Royal Jelly - Classical, Imperial (Forestry); Pollen - Industrious (Forestry); Glowstone Dust - Demonic (Extra Bees); Clay Dust - River (Forestry); Peat - Preserved (Forestry); Tiny Pile of Emerald Dust - Emerald (Forestry); Tiny Pile of Diamond Dust - Diamond (Forestry); Lapis Lazuli - Lapis (Forestry); Tiny Pile of Bauxite Dust - Bauxite (Forestry)



External Links[edit]