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Help! Requeening today


Received a new queen in queencage yesterday to replace the queen that came in a nuc 7 weeks ago. Weather looks nice after days of rain.
Please, what do I need to consider?
Until I am ready, should I offer her some water on a cotton bud? The cage has a sugar plug.
Smoke or not?
How long should the nuc be queenless before introduction in cage?


Yes you should smoke. Water drops or the cotton bud is ideal, as long as there is a good amount of candy and all the attendants are alive and well you will be ok to replace the queen the same day. Just make sure the entrance/exit to the cage is not facing down in case a dead attendant blocks the exit. I tend to put mine either between two frames or sitting across the top of the brood frames. Check in 2-3 days and remove the cage.


I read in the past to wait up to an hour so the nuc bees recognize they are queenless. But not longer than an hour.
And just now I read to take out the old queen and wait at least 24 hours, but 2 days is better.
Do you think I should wait any amount of time after taking out the old queen?
Thanks a lot for responding.


Yes, you are correct. So if you are oK to remove the queen and then go back in with the new queen 1 hour later (or even several hours) then that will help the new queen to be accepted. I don’t usually have that sort of time, so do it all in 1 hit. Have not lost a queen so far.


Little update:
Went in to remove the frame with the queen, without smoke. Wow, were they grumpy. Also removed a frame with a huge supercedure cell with white stuff in it. The bees were attending to it. Something must be wrong with that queen, as she only lays about 10 eggs/day, but she looks nice and big.
I put these 2 frames into a hiveDoctor nuc box to see what will happen. Wonder if it’s possible that we get a nice new queen from that supercedure cell? Are 2 frames enough for that nuc box for now? Lots of honey and pollen in the frames and I could add another empty frame later, or I could remove some empty comb from my ideal honeycomb box from another hive and strap it into a frame. I closed the entrance of the nuc box and took it 50m away.
Should I open the entrance, so the non nurse bees stay and the others fly back? Is it safe to place the nuc box next to the original box or will all bees move in there because their queen is in there with that supercedure cell.
In a few hours I will introduce the new queen to the original box, with smoke. Hope the bees will take her on.
I have so many questions. Need to get it right!


I had hoped for more forum people to come up with advice.
Took that nuc box onto our verandah and it was somehow leaking bees. I thought the bees came from the mother hive, so I locked the nuc box into one of my kids rooms, and about 10 more bees came out. So out the box went onto the porch again and I opened the entry hole and put a chair in front, so the bees would reorient. They did. What a pleasure to watch. Proves @Michael_Bush theory right, coz this was essentially a split within 50m. So my 2 frames nuc with the old queen and supercedure monster cell actually ended up with nurse bees and foragers.
The mother hive calmed down now, so hopefully they will take the new queen tomorrow, if it ever stops raining.
I still have the question if I can safely put the nuc hive next to the mother hive tomorrow. If yes, before or after installing the new queen? I closed the nuc entry hole for the night, and will probably put some tape around the lid where I think the bees come out.


If I had advice I’d give it, unfortunately I’ve no experience to share. @Dawn_SD and @Dee and of course @RBK have the experience and are always keen to share their thoughts.
With any hive moving less than a distance I’d have thought putting obstacles in the way of the he entrance to force the bees to reorientate would be wise however in a split situation I don’t know. Swapping the locations is said to work well to boost numbers of a weak colony.

Good luck with the requeening, I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes. :+1:


Thing is, I could have just squashed the old queen and be done. But I would like to see what will happen from here on, especially what type of queen comes out of this big cell. If she is viable or better or worse, since there weren’t many eggs available for the bees to chose from.
In any case, can’t leave the box on the porch where the kids and grandkids rooms are. They’ll all be here over the weekend.


Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
A porch isn’t the best place for a box of bees either especially queenless grumpy ones… I’d put the small split in the spot where the parent colony is and do as Rodderick suggests and requeen as soon as you can, awkward in poor weather I agree.
I’m hoping to not have to buy a queen, I’ll let the bees do that. That said, I have bought nucs with quality queens and they haven’t disappointed.
Did you catch the dethroned queen easily?


I just took the frame out where the queen was on. And another frame with a filled supercedure cell, yet uncapped, but full of some white stuff, guess Royal jelly. Those 2 frames are in the nuc box on the kids verandah. They are quite docile, after all, they have their old queen.
They are locked up now. My plan is to install the new queen in the morning and once the excitement is over, to put the nuc box with the old queen next to the mother hive with new queen again. Just have to come up with an idea to make the nuc bees reorient again. They just have a small hole as an entrance and not much of a landing board.


I didn’t buy this new queen, my nuc supplier sent me a new one after I sent him pictures of the nuc frames and was concerned about her spotty laying pattern. Nobody knows why she doesn’t perform, all else is good.


I don’t think that is generally right. I have put the new queen into the hive as little as 30 minutes after removing the old queen. Generally I think 24-48 hours is ideal, but as @Rodderick says, I have done it the same day, and haven’t lost a queen yet.


Sorry, I had a Doctor appointment yesterday, and it went on a lot longer than we had planned. Busy office! I was too exhausted to read the forum by the time we got home. :blush:


Queen introduction in my experience goes best if done an hour or so after removing the old one or waiting till the colony is hopelessly queen-less (i.e. unable to make a new one, so that in reality means a week after removing both queen and resulting emergency cells.
The problem with trying to raise your possible supersedure queen away from the original colony is that your newly made up nuc will be really short of new young bees if as you said the old queen is laying only a few eggs a day. If you had another hive then you could make a nuc of 1 frame of emerging brood, a frame of food and filled with drawn comb and you might get something


The new queen is in. Lots of bees welcomed her, hope in a good way. They were all over the cage.
The nuc box with the old queen is next to the requeened hive now. All flying bees went back to the hive with the new queen.
Looked into nuc box, the 2 frames are half covered in nurse bees, they are busily tending to the supersedure cell. All quiet in there, bees just crawling on the frames. Wonder who is defending the hive, no bees in the entrance. If the weather fines up will get them a ready to hatch capped brood frame. Where do I get guard bees or foragers from for this nuc? Or will they decide to make some nurses into guards? They have plenty honey and bee bread.


You could swing the hives 180 degrees if next to each other, then the returning foragers will enter the Nuc and become defenders.


What? Serious, turn them around? Why should they then enter the nuc?


As long as they are not “balling” the cage, you should be OK. You will know it is balling when the cage is not visible due the number of bees, and all of the bees are vibrating their wing muscles but not trying to fly. The ball of bees may be the size of a tennis ball.

Nurse bees can become guards when they are around 18 days old. If there are none in the hive, they may speed this up a bit. If you reduce the entrance to the nucleus to around 2-3cm wide, they should be OK. Foragers are workers which are around 21 days old, so your bees may not forage much until then. If you have a full frame of pollen and honey, they should be fine.


Hi Jeff,
Thanks for the b’day wishes. Once over the 60 I stopped counting, but always nice to have all family home.
I thought Rodderick was joking! Just couldn’t make sense of it by myself. Prob too late now to do the 180. Yep, SHB is what I worry about most. Since all flying bees go into the mother hive I’m not concerned about them. Hope that new queen survives.
It’s drizzling on and off, so don’t want to go into the broodbox of my other hive to get some more capped brood frames. Do you think if I leave some bees on those frames that could work in the nuc with the old queen? Would hate to see them kill each other.


180 turn for both of them? Like, turn them both together, so they would face the other way around, now the left one being on the right?