Queen Introduction

Posted by Patrick Murfet on

Your new Queen is enclosed, it has been carefully reared then mated by between 12 – 20 drones who all die after mating………….so please take the time to read this piece of advice, most of you will know exactly what to do and have your own tried and trusted method and that is fine.

For the rest this may be the only advice you have had or may compliment something you already do, maybe something is new to you, however you introduce your queen we wish you well.

Sometime before receiving your queen you will have need to check that your hive is queen less then check again.

No eggs very important.

Next Check for queen cells, shake off every frame even the ones that are full of stores check for any sign of a cell and destroy it.

Now to the size of the receiving colonies, a small nuc with nurse bees is ideal, a healthy mix of brood and bees, not so big and not so small, 2 – 3 frames of brood well covered with bees would be good.

Now to the cage you have received, it will have the queen with her attendants.

The best advice is to remove the attendants, some people disagree as with everything to do with beekeeping.

At this stage you will need to have made up a feed, a week one is best of around 50% solids. Most premixed syrups will be around 70 – 75% just add some warm water to reduce the solid %.

With the queen in the cage and the small removable tab at the bottom of the cage still in place hang the cage from the top bars between two frames of brood. The reason for leaving the tab in at this stage is to allow a soft introduction, after 2-3 days take the cage out again and remove the tab from the bottom edge of the cage. Now the bees have access to the fondant and will start to chew this away to release the queen.

Feed and leave.

Now the hardest part of all this will require all your patients and skill LEAVE THE HIVE ALONE FOR 2 WEEKS. The queen needs to settle down and start to lay and this will give her an uninterrupted chance to do that.

When you reopen for the first inspection use as little smoke as possible, just a whiff at the entrance then wait 5min, I usually smoke then get my suit on and sort out the hive tool ect. You need to let the smoke alarm get around hive.

Do not use those rolled up cardboard cartridges or anything with glue, the glue smoulders and has an acrid smell.

You are now looking for eggs, make this inspection quick, don’t worry if you see several eggs in one cell a new queen will often do this.

Tips on the makeup of the nuc

One frame with some pollen (outside edge) position 1

Two frames brood (between pollen and drawn foundation) position 2 and 3

One frame of drawn foundation (next to the brood) position 4

One frame of stores (outside edge) position 5


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