Raising A New Queen

This is the first time I am trying to raise a new queen.
I lost the last one during a brood box inspection, she accidentally got squashed.
I swapped a frame from another hive, eggs, larvae, honey and capped brood, with a frame from the lost queen hive.
This was done 10 days ago.
I inspected the queenless hive today and found 4 capped queen cells.
What should I do,
1, leave them as they are and let the bees sort it out ?
2, squash the 3 smallest cells and let the bees tend to the largest cell ?
Help would be greatly appreciated. Cheers, G

I would leave it to the colony to sort out.

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Hi @ABB, Someone told me that if I do that, the emerged queens will fight to the death and maybe finish up with no queen at all.
What do you think ? G

I think, a chance of four queens emerging at the same time and killing each other is rather too slim to worry about. What is going to happen most likely, first emerged queen will find other cells, side open them and kill other queens while they are still in cells. Given that, I would rather had “spares” in case of something goes wrong with the only queen I had.
There is another option if you don’t feel comfortable with “nature taking its course” approach. Create a temporary nuc, and transfer one cell there.

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Some people narrow it down to the best 2 queen cells, but like @ABB, I would be inclined to let the bees sort it out. :wink:

Hi @Dawn_SD and @ABB, Thanks for your replies. I think I will follow your advice and let the bees sort it out.
Today I did another inspection of the queenless hive and removed one of the Flow frames and noticed about 20-25 capped brood cells, all the other flow frames were ok with just honey at various stages.
It looks like the queen may have got through the QX as she was only a small queen before we killed her.
Should I just let the capped cells hatch in the flow frame and then let the bees clean up ?
I did not do a brood box inspection. When I removed the Flow box the bees in the brood box became extremely angry and started to attack me, they were also very noisy.
I decided to replace the Flow box and leave it for another week before I do another inspection.
Is there anything else I should be doing ?
I guess I’m learning the hard way. Cheers, G

Hi @George_Perth,

It is the thorax what does not allow queen to go through the excluder. Unless you somehow managed to get queen above it yourself, the QX is to blame. Check its integrity, presence of oversize gaps.

Yes. Leave capped cells be. It is too late to do anything about that anyway. Bees will not pull out paper cocoons left after the brood. There is good chance cocoons will be damaged in harvesting process. Maybe bees will remove them after that? Or you have to do it yourself.

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One thing is to leave the hive well alone during the period you estimate the virgin queens will be hatching and taking their maiden flights. Virgin queen are flighty and should not be disturbed during the mating period. Do your calculations and work out when you should expect to see the the first eggs and inspect for eggs then. You won’t need to find your new queen - if you see the eggs you know all worked well. If you don’t wait another week or so and check again.


There is also a chain of research that says you should go in after 4 days and knock down any capped queen cells. These will have been created from more advanced larvae and will not have been fed as much royal jelly as those created from younger larvae leading to poorer queens. Something to think about for next time.


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I’m also of the inclination to let nature take its course - bees are smart, they’ve created their own contingency plan :slight_smile:

The idea of culling emergency cells to make thing better draws a picture in my head. Imagine this. Millions years of evolution. Only last 6-9 of them dedicated to honing traits helping to survive in cavity. And, suddenly, an upstart species - Apiarius Vulgaris, sticks their face into cavity looks around and chirps enthusiastically : “Fellows, you are doing it all wrong!”. Imagine a bee with dropped jaw. This is the picture. :slight_smile:

Anyway, Roger Patterson writes about this better than I could.

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This is a situation where, as you get more advanced you can have fun.
I would remove two of the cells and place them in an incubator (I use a cheap six egg incubator from china). Alow the queens to hatch out so you have spares/backup. The queens can be put in small mating nucs with a handful of bees and allowed to mate.
If all works well (it doesnt always) you have lots of options, you have a queen for your original hive if it failed to work out, you can make up nucs using the mated queens or you can sell or donate the queens. Although more advanced beekeeping, its fun and interesting to develop things in this way.

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Thanks Jim, I will save that one till I get a bit more confident in what I’m doing. I sounds like a good idea
Cheers, G