Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

Can the queen lay without attendants?


Learning from a previous disastrous push-in cage queen-release experience, I decided that this time, I would make absolutely sure no bees could get in prematurely. So I modified an ulster observation hive with hardware cloth on top of the queen excluder, put a frame of capped brood, nectar and honey in the observation window, and nudged the queen in. Questions:

  • since the newly emerged brood are normally fed and cared for by nurse bees, will they survive and make it to day 3 when they become nurse bees themselves?

  • will the queen be OK without attendants until the newly emerged brood (if it survives) becomes nurseworthy? Can she feed/groom/ whatever she needs herself?

  • I think I understand that the advantage of a push-in cage is the queen can start laying and thus emit higher levels of QMP. Will she do so if s he’s alone without attendants?

Many thanks as always, let me know if photos would help!


(here’s a standard Ulster.)


Did you make sure the frame had emerging brood on it? Capped brood might be 2 weeks off emerging
I have concerns…It’s a huge space for a few bees to manage. The eggs will come to nothing unless they are nourished with royal jelly.
I fear this might fail but I would be overjoyed for you if it works.
You would have been miles miles better to put her in a pre-prepared nuc in an ordinary cage


In that case I will happily revert back! I‘ll aim to catch her in a clip, put her in a brushy mountain queen cage, and put everyone into a single nuc. Unless the stress of being handled several days in a row would be worse for the queen?


She will gather some attendants and they will feed her through the cage if they have to. But I always put a push in cage over emerging brood. That way she gets some real attendants. A queen cannot even feed her self, so no, she cannot lay without attendants. If I put it over some open nectar and emerging brood she will neither starve nor be without attendants.


Then that is good news! The frame she is on is full of emerging brood. I just wasn’t sure if these emerging brood would be able to feed themselves, let alone the queen, during their first 24hrs. They just seemed so hopeless crawling on the floor of the observation window.