To produce optimally mated queen bees, it is the queen breeders’ responsibility to select for the highest quality genetic stock possible. In evaluating a colony, we like to keep in mind that any given colony consists of not one, but two generations of bees: the queen bee, who is the mother of the colony, and her offspring, the second generation. One of the components of evaluating the first generation, the queen bee, is to examine the quantity and consistency of her brood laying.
A quality queen honeybee lays her brood in a tight circular pattern leaving not too many holes within the brood pattern. At a minimum there should not be less than 15 empty cells per hundred (or 85% viable brood). Ideally, in the best displays of brood laying, a top quality queen bee will not miss more than 5 cells per hundred (95% viable brood). Sometimes, you find a frame that is corner-to-corner or wall-to-wall with brood. This is what is affectionately known as an “egg-laying machine!”