I just requeened one of our hives in San Diego, CA with a Wildflower VSH queen. We collected our new queen last weekend, July 1st. According to the rep from Wildflower (Murray), the queen had been mated for 2-3 weeks and had been laying very well. She was pulled out of her hive just the day before we collected her.
We followed their recommended procedure. Remove the old queen. Wait 24 hours, so we removed the old queen on June 30th. Then check the hive carefully for queen cells, removing any that you find (on July 1st for us) and rubber band the new queen in her cage over some brood. They recommend banding over open brood, however, research has shown that emerging nurse bees will accept the closest queen without question and then help promote acceptance by passing her pheromones around the hive. So we rubber banded the cage over a frame of capped brood, honey and some empty cells. They recommend waiting a week before inspecting to avoid provoking a supersedure of the new queen.
I have to say, I had anxiety dreams for the intervening week. I dreamt that we inspected and dropped and lost the queen. I dreamt that she was dead in the cage. I have requeened before, I just haven’t cared this much before, because previously our neighbors were further away. This time, we needed it to work, or we would be looking at moving the hives.
So today we inspected. We have a double deep brood box. Sixteen frames to inspect for supercedure/queen cells and the new queen. We found 3 queen cups. Zero supercedure or emergency cells. The queen cage was wide open. About 4 frames of eggs, some eggs probably late day 2 or early day 3 (almost horizontal). No really young larvae, but lots of capped larvae from the old queen. So it looked like she was out and about. You can guess that it wasn’t until frame 16 that we finally found her. Beautiful yellow spot-marked Italian queen. Worth all of the anxiety. Plus, she looks to be quite the producer - I would guess 2,000 to 3,000 eggs per day from what we saw today.
Oh and the new sting and swelling on my hand through my gloves really doesn’t hurt that much. Honestly. (Reaching for Benadryl and toothpaste).