A few weeks ago I captured a colony of bee’s in a couch which I split. I did finally order queens which arrived days late. I’m worried about the hives and the stress of the queens and attendants in the wooden queen boxes they came in. What is the shortest installation times (uncorking) once I’ve placed them in the hive for the getting acquainted session? BTW are you supposed to leave the attendants with the queens in those tight little boxes? Thanks
Normally you can put a queen with her attendants in a split with the cork covering the candy end pulled and in three days they will chew thru the candy and release her into the hive. You don’t mention putting any of the comb from the cutout into the splits so I am going to assume that their were no eggs for the splits to make their own queen cells from. The attendants should stay with the queen as they will help care for her until the candy is removed by the bees in the hive. They will go out with the queen once their is room for her to escape the cage.
Before you place them in the hive use an eye dropper and put a drop of water inside each cage. The queens and her attendants are more than likely thirsty. Put them in the hive as soon as you can. You can search this forum and YouTube for queen cage introductions. There are plenty of examples. There are many ways to put the queen in the hive but I like the method of placing them between two frames horizontally. That way if an attendant dies she does fall to the bottom of the candy and then not able to be moved for the others to get out of the cage once the candy has been removed to the point they can escape.
I have also seen instances where people released queens immediately into the hives. These were queenless hives for sure. This is obviously done with a considerable amount of risk. If the colony doesn’t accept her they will kill her and you are out the $40 you paid for the queen/shipping.
Hope this helps!
Hi @Dusty, nice to hear from you again. Did your couch bees try to make any queen cells? This will affect my answers to your next questions.
More than one? Are you requeening several colonies?
They should be fine in those boxes for at least a couple of days, as long as they are somewhere dark and fairly cool, like an air-conditioned house. I would not leave them outside.
I am not quite sure what you are asking. If I requeen, I generally remove the old queen 24 hours before I plan to put the new queen into the hive. Then I inspect the hive and check for queen cells, destroying any that I find. I put a rubber band around a frame that has capped and uncapped brood, and use the rubber band to secure the queen cage to the frame. The attendants stay with the queen, otherwise she can’t feed. The reason for this placement choice is that emerging nurse bees (from the capped brood) are naive to queen pheromones. If they emerge and find a queen nearby, they immediately accept her. Older nurse bees are not as reliable, because they may remember the previous queen’s smell. If the nurse bees on the frame seem peaceful towards the new queen, I put the frame with the cage attached back into the hive. If they are biting the cage and trying to sting, I have to reconsider.
Once the (uncorked but still candy plugged) queen cage is in the hive, it takes anywhere from 1-5 days for the colony to release her, depending on how thick the candy plug was. My last queen was out in about 3 days. However, I don’t inspect for a week, as premature inspection can provoke supersedure, if they had very young brood from the previous queen.
If your queen cage has no candy and just a cork plug, you can cut a piece of marshmallow and push it into the hole to slow down the introduction. You need a piece about 3/8" long in the hole to give a few days of chewing time.
Thanks you guys for responding to my SOS. You know who your friends are. Thanks for coming to my rescue. Truth be told, I was definitely the quivering’apricot’ jelly gutted ‘nervous Nelly’ when that package arrived, (quite the opposite in regards, (to what I’ve been told) is my muscular, and quite manly ‘exterior’ frame- LOL). I have just returned from planting the Queens/cages in hives. I did sprits them with a few drops of water, upon their 2 day late UPS arrival. I think they may have preferred a proper invigorating ‘water massage’ after such a long hot trip, but as this wasn’t a party and I wasn’t into taking chances. Yes, to answer the question- I received two queens for 2 hives. I should have just joined the hives immediately after pulling two batches of bees from my recent couch cutout, but didn’t, so I have one strong hive of queenless bees and a queenless one that is at least 1/3 weaker. I wedged the queen cages between frames between empty comb, in the middle of the box. Most of the existing brood comb I’d gotten from the cutout has already hatched. About a week ago I did spot a single queen cell with larva in one of the hives, but when I went back a few days later did not see or maybe recognize it, and couldn’t wait any longer just to see that hive die out. I inserted the cages between frames near the top of the box at an angle, with the candy at top. There was definitely at least one dead assistant in one of the cages, but I didn’t want to mess with it in case something went wrong. I will check back Thursday afternoon as the ives are about 10 miles from where I live. Though my bee’s are Italian, I could only source Carniolan (Slovenian) Queens. Though I would have preferred Italian Queens, the Slovenians are known to have court advantage in world cup volleyball and they do have actress Nina Rokovec to call there own as well. I don’t know if that means anything (but who doesn’t like a winner, right)? That said,it shouldn’t be taken as a swipe at the Italians since I’m a big fan of Pasta, and past movie star Gina Lollobrigida who was a very ‘drone worthy’ queen bee in her own right. The truth however will be in the pudding, though I’m really partial Rocky Road ice cream. Where am I going with all this? I’m not exactly sure as I’m sitting at my computer with no plans to go anywhere, except to the freezer in the garage where I’ve hidden some Ben and Jerry’s, after which retrieving I will scan netflix hoping to find something to watch something staring Gina Lollabrigida and so enjoy 2 favorite things at once.
I re-queened a hive a few months ago and it all went swimmingly. I pretty much did exactly what you did. One thing: when I put the cage in I looked at how the bees reacted and they seemed to be OK and were not trying to sting the queen through the cage- which was a good sign. Did you observe how your bees reacted when they went in?
I did check after about 15 minutes and bee’s were completely covering the screen on the queen cage but I couldn’t tell if they were trying to sting her or not. Since it is a queenless hive I can’t imagine them wanting to sting her, but as you know, boys will b… bee’s will be bee’s. Can’t wait to check back in a few days.
Hmm. Nice warm and fuzzy thought. However, the longer a colony has been broodless and had no queen pheromones, the more likely it is to develop laying workers. Laying workers are like delinquent teenagers who do not want to accept control (a new queen). To make them submit, the easiest way is to add frames of brood once a week from another hive with a laying queen, until they show signs of trying to raise a queen. At that point, you will have more success in introducing your queen, because they are expecting one anyway.
Hopefully your bees are not delinquent, and you won’t have to face all of this.
I would give them at least a week. The queen has to be released, and then start laying. My new queen was probably released 3 or 4 days after putting the cage in the hive, because after one week, I could see vertical eggs (1 day old), leaning over eggs (2-3 days old) and possibly some very early hatched larvae (4 days after laying). There were no uncapped larvae at older pre-pupal (5-7 days after laying) stages. You need good glasses, great lighting and a trained eye (or a nice video recording) to see all of this.
OK, @Dusty, all your fault. I have made a totally cringeworthy YouTube video of our requeening. It has a voiceover, which is why I am currently hiding behind the couch. I may never come out…
You never know what you might find in a couch, … @Dustyknows
I have a mental picture of you abandoning your hiding place .
Chased by angry bees and people who hate my voice?
Your voice is young and lovely. You can come out now.
Do I detect an English accent?
You are too kind, my good friend. My voice has more than half a century of abuse, but Mac computers are perhaps kind in the recording?
Very much so. @Dee is probably cringing at my “home counties” public school accent.
Not kind at all, I mean it. Extremely pleasant voice. Looking forward to meeting you when you come to Australia for apiary visits.
Hope you can then put up with my voice and accent.
Ha ha not all all…You sound very nice.
I always thought I was fairly RP (Received Pronunciation …which is supposed to be no noticeable accent) till some drunk cornered me at a party and said I sounded very Hertfordshire…which I am
As for queen introduction, I wait half an hour after removing the queen then I don’t have to bother looking for queen cells.
The best way to introduce a queen is with a largish metal push-in cage, but you have to be able to handle her confidently. It’s foolproof
With a drop of water everyday, live attendants and candy in the cage the queen can live for weeks. The attendants may give out in a couple of weeks and need to be replaced. It is not a race to get her installed. Once there are bees feeding her through the cage, she can last for months… The important thing is to get her accepted first and then released. That will take a few days and she has a few days. The problem with transporting the queen is that no one is giving them that drop of water everday (if they aren’t in the hive). If they are in the hive they will feed her and care for her through the cage.
Nice video! and thanx to all for advice. Unfortunately, I can’t visit everyday for the water, so after 3 days if the hive seems accepting I might release the queen. It’s a wait and see I guess…
The water is only while she’s not in the hive. Once she’s in a hive the bees will giver her what she needs. If she’s not in the hive, I would keep her somewhere dark and quiet and somewhere around 70 F (room temp). 50 F won’t hurt. 80 F won’t hurt. But my target would be room temp.
Ich liebe einen deutschen Akzent!
Very kind from the master of videos about beekeeping!
Yes this year is yellow. Last year was white. Next year is red, then green then blue, then repeat. I can spot queens without the dot, but it makes it so much easier when she is marked. With the africanization in our area, I really want to know when the queen has been superseded, and the mark helps a lot with that.
Help. While un corking our queen today she fell out and flew off. Will she come back?