Introducing Your Queen Bee
How to introduce a queen
- At least 24 hours before you intend to introduce the queen (ideally a bit longer), either make a new nuc from a parent colony (3 frames of brood, 2 frames of food and kept in the same apiary as the parent colony), or inspect an existing nuc to ensure there are no queen cells.
- When your new queen arrives, inspect the colony again to ensure there are no new queen cells, making sure that any new queen cells or cups are removed.
- Break the tab from the fondant chamber and gently push a match stick through the centre of the fondant to create a small hole.
- Suspend the cage between two frames in the centre of the brood, fondant-end hanging down. I use match sticks to securely suspend the cage between the frames.
- Before you close the nuc up, ensure the colony has sufficient food, adding sugar syrup if the time of year or weather requires it and then close and leave for 7 days undisturbed. Return to check the queen has been released and that she is laying on day 8. This inspection should be quick and with minimum of intervention.
Occasionally you may find the queen is still inside the cage. If this is the case, gently slide the cage open, letting her run onto the face of a brood frame.
Leave the nuc for another 7 days before any further manipulations or inspections.
- Introducing a queen to a nuc can happen at almost any time of the year within reason, however, introducing a queen to an established colony is more challenging. Re-queening a colony is made less risky at certain times of year and avoiding inclement weather.
- The absence of brood for several weeks does not necessarily mean that a colony is queenless, as colonies like these can often have a virgin queen or a non laying queen. The introduced queen is always killed in a colony like this. The workers in the colony will kill the introduced queen.