Either you chose to raise your new queen bee or purchase one from a breeder, installing a new queen to the hive can be challenging for the first time. Here are some easy steps to follow when requeening your beehive.
Step 1: Before Installing a New Queen Bee
Prior to installing the new queen bee, you need to remove the old one. Remove can mean setting her aside, but sometimes it can mean ‘kill’. Nobody likes killing any of the bees, especially the queen bee. However, sometimes it is necessary.
Step 2: Installing the New Queen Bee
When you purchase a new queen bee, it usually arrives inside a queen cage to protect her. To install her, do not remove the queen cage and simply install her in the beehive. The cage will protect her from the worker bees as they will have to adjust to her smell. Remove the cap from the cage (if there is) before placing her. She will release herself by chewing the exit. Usually, queen breeders will give you specific instructions on how to install the queen. Generally, you can position the queen cage next to an open brood.
When you purchase a new queen bee, it usually arrives inside a queen cage to protect her.
Step 3: Wait and follow up.
Give the hive some time to adjust to the new queen bee. Ideally, give them at least a week after the installation to check if she’s out of the cage. You wouldn’t want to disturb the hive too soon after installing a new queen, otherwise they may decide to reject the queen and kill her.
Step 4: Observe the hive.
After the week of installation, check to see if the queen has released herself from the cage. Sometimes they can get stuck, if so, release her. Observe how the worker bees react to her.
If the queen was able to release herself, try to find her and look if there are any newly laid eggs. Also be on the lookout for supersedure cells. The worker bees will try and replace their new queen and make a queen of their own. If you do not find all queen cells and destroy them, the worker bees will kill the new queen and raise their own. That’s why you should not wait longer than a week to check the hive after the installation.
What To Do Next
If the worker bees have accepted their new queen bee, your requeening is a success! Observe the beehive with their new queen. Usually, they become more calm and docile if the new queen is not aggressive. However, worker bees can reject their queen and choose to kill her. Be cautious and follow the instructions of the breeder if they do so. Goodluck!
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