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How to introduce a queen


So here is the situation… We bought a flow hive but were unable to get bees. A friend of a friend was kind enough to give us one of their hives when they found out we were desperate for some. He gave us the bees and the hive 2 weeks ago. Last week we transferred the frames from his original box to our new flow hive brood boxes ( we have decided to have two brood boxes under the flow). Upon inspecting the hive we didn’t notice much brood. This weekend we re-checked the hive and realized we have absolutely no brood, plenty of honey and pollen. We noticed one queen cell and the new queen was in there but not completely hatched she was just starting to kick her legs out of the cell. We informed the man who gave us the hive that we don’t know what happened… did we squish her? did she fall out? He then divulged that he had split the hive he gave us but though he had given us the queen… he checked his hive and there she is with tons of brood. He is planning on giving us this box with the queen and brood.

So the real question is this, can we put this boxes on the top? is it weird to have the honey under the brood? or can we place this third box on the bottom? Secondly now we have two queens… i want to keep the old queens she lays a lot and the bees are very docile. How do we introduce? do we now have to find this new queen and kill her? or is there another method we can use to introduce the old queen?

any advice would be greatly appreciated.


So is that queen dead? I mean, is she out of the cell? Or do you think she died while you were inspecting? If she hatched, she will need to eat for a while, then mate. You probably won’t see new eggs or larvae for 10 days or more, but that is fine, your existing bees will carry you over a little. You are getting late in the season though, so if your friend of a friend is willing to give you a couple of frames of eggs and brood, you would be in better shape going into autumn.

You will never have 2 fertile queens for long - they fight, and “there can be only one!” By the way, you can never keep an old queen for ever, they live maximum 5 years - most stay in one hive for 2 years maximum, or 3 to 4 if you are excellent at swarm management.

You can put honey under the brood. If the bees don’t like it, they will move it. If you put another box on top of the one you have already, when you are trying to merge them, I suggest putting a double layer of newspaper between the two boxes - this reduces the chances of the two boxes of bees fighting. By the time they chew through the paper, they don’t want to fight.


@Dawn_SD If you placed queen excluder’s between the 2 brood boxs and the 2nd Brood box and the Flowhive with a Queen in each Brood box. would the bees carry on as normal with both colonies using the Flow to store honey or would there just be unholy chaos .


You can run a colony with two queens if you have a super or two between the two brood boxes and two QXs


Ah, Give the Queens some space.


It would be a tall box though


@Adam If your bees have made a queen for themselves you really don’t need the other queen unless she fails to get mated or dies on her mating flights. You could give her a few weeks to see how things sort out. Perhaps just have your friend supply you with a frame of brood once a week for three weeks to be sure that she gets mated and that there are enough bees in the box to support her and feed her properly.


In another couple of weeks the new queen will be laying. If they aren’t out of room I wouldn’t add space yet. If they are 80% full then I would add another box.



So one last question, if I place the two hives together with a sheet of newspaper between the two boxes, during this time the top box (with the queen) won’t have any water source for a few days till they get through the paper. Should I put a top feeder on this box? It’s also going to be 30-32 degrees for the next few days so i’m worried about killing them.

What do you all think? And if so would it just be water or sugar water?

Thank you!


The bees will be through the newspaper in less than an hour


I am not trying to avoid your question, but I would check the “queenless” box before you do this. If there are eggs and uncapped larvae in the queenless box, you will be starting a fight anyhow when you try to merge the two boxes, even with newspaper. I wouldn’t do the merge if that was the case.

If there is no brood in the box you are worried about, and you put another box on top, the upper bees should be fine with the newspaper in place. As Dee says, they will go through it quite quickly, but it still makes them do an internal orientation in the hive, and they are much less likely to fight with another box of bees.


Hi Dawn, thanks for your info.

No the Queenless box has no brood/brood cells at all. Just pollen nectar & honey.


Sounds like you are in good shape then. :wink:


Thanks You Dawn & Dee!


If you have a virgin queen you wont have brood either. But you will still have a fight if you try to combine with another queened hive. Are you positive your queenless box is actually queenless. Earlier in this post you said you saw a queen emerging, which means you have a hive with a virgin queen not a queenless hive. Big difference.


Totally spot on, @adagna. I forgot that it is so little time since the first post on this thread - need to wait at least a week or two to be sure of queenlessness, especially when thinking of a new virgin queen emerging.



You need a test frame then.
Put a frame that you can see eggs on into the hive from the other, minus bees, of course and have a look in five days; queen-less, they will have built emergency queen cells, queen-right, none.


Thought I would give you all an update…

Joining the two hives with 2 layers of newspaper worked a treat, all of the bees have settled and back hard at work!

Amazingly they got through the paper super fast and completely turned the newspaper into pulp. (I got a bit of a shock when I pulled out the bottom board)

And this was only 1/4 of it. They never cease to amaze me!

<img src="/uploads/honeyflow/original/2X/2/22976a2a1356755d348e3a5e1bf7784ccda560fc.jpeg" width=“375” height=“500”


Hi Adam, I have one tip based on an experience that turned out bad. Don’t do this during rainy weather.
In my case they emerged as enemies & fought like cats & dogs & didn’t chew much of the paper away.
The result was a lot of dead bees sitting on top of the newspaper that the SHB laid eggs in which turned into a real mess.