Apiculture is the part of Forestry that deals with Bees and Bee Breeding.
The player principally encounters Bees by finding Hives in the World. When broken with a Scoop these hives will drop a combination of princesses, drones and some bee product such as combs.
A Princess is the unmated female bee. Princesses may be Ignoble or Pristine.
A Drone is the male bee. Between 1 to 4 drones are produced each time a Queen bee dies. Drones with identical traits will stack.
A Queen is the mated form of the Princess bee. When scanned in the Portable Analyzer she will only show the Princesses traits—the mated Drones traits are present but hidden and will be combined with the visible traits when the Queen dies to produce offspring. Queens carry the Ignoble or Pristine trait. When a Pristine Queen comes to the end of its lifespan it produces a Princess and 1 to 4 Drones. Ignoble Queens have an internal counter that counts down (Unless the Queen is housed in a Bee House) and will eventually not produce a Princess. New Ignoble Princesses can be created by equipping an Alveary Swarmer in the Alveary multiblock.
Bee genetics and mutations
Queens (bred princesses), princesses, drones and bee larvae carry the genetic traits of Bees. These traits can be scanned using the Portable Analyzer and are combined using Mendelian inheritance rules when princesses and drones are bred together in a Bee House, Apiary or Alveary.
Additionally, a species trait can trigger mutations to introduce completely new Species with entirely new traits.
Bee product is obtained by placing a queen, or pairing a princess and drone, in a Bee House, Apiary, or Alveary. If conditions are appropriate—different bee species have environmental requirements including humidity, temperature and nearby flowers, time of day constraints, and the hive's exposure (or lack thereof) to the sky and rain—the queen will start to age at a rate determined by her lifespan trait, and start producing produce at a rate determined by the production trait.
When the queen dies she will generate drones and a new princess. In the case of bees that are described as Ignoble, after a number of generations in an Apiary or Alveary, no princess will be produced. Pristine queens will always produce a princess.
The Escritoire can be used to perform research on any bee specimens (drones, princesses, larvae and queens all qualify), using Honeycombs and drones to provide clues. The yield will be a Research Note, and some Bee Produce. Research Notes can be consumed to improve the chance of the Player getting certain Mutations.