Introducing a New Queen

Care must be taken while introducing a new queen to your Nuc or Queen-less hive. If specific requirements are not met the bees in a colony will reject the new queen. Although no method of queen introduction is 100% foolproof a few basic conditions should be followed.

 

First, be absolutely sure the colony is queen-less and remove any developing Queen cells. Then allow the colony to stay queen-less for at least one day. If possible, remove the attendant bees from the cage before placing it in the hive.

Place the caged queen between the frames in a brood area with the hive’s young bees surrounding her. Face the cage wire mesh up so you can observe the reaction of the bees on the cage. Then remove a few frames from the super above the caged queen so you can peak into the hive each day without disturbing them.

Watch the bee’s reaction on the cage each day and if necessary spray a mist of sugar syrup on the bees surrounding the cage to encourage their grooming behavior. Do not release the queen until the bees act passively towards the queen; this may take 2-5 days. On the third day if bees are still acting aggressively, check each frame for any developing queen cells.

When the time comes for you to release the queen, watch as she walks on the comb and observe the worker bee’s reaction to her for several minutes. You should see them feed the queen as she explores her new home. If there is any sign of aggression towards the queen, carefully pick her up with your thumb and forefinger surrounding her thorax and place her back into the cage. If the candy plug and cork are gone, use a piece of burr comb to block the entrance hole.

Once the queen is out, check, a few days later, for signs of eggs. When she has established her own brood nest, the re-queening has been successful.

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