How to requeen?
- If the queen is not laying well, the colony may not be thriving, the queen may lay too many drones or have weak genetics.
- If the queen has aggressive genetics it will cause the colony to be aggressive and difficult to work with.
- If your hive is queenless you will often want to provide them with a new queen.
Queen breeders can supply queens with gentle & productive genes.
Replacing an old queen:
- When you replace the queen, you must first remove the original queen from the hive – otherwise, the colony will not accept the new queen.
- When you add the new queen, you will need to check to ensure that she has been accepted. Check the hive about a week after installing her.
- Wait at least 8 hours between removing the old queen and adding the new one.
Introducing a new queen:
The queen usually comes with a few attendant bees, in a queen cage which is blocked at one end with candy. The bees chew through this candy over several hours to release the queen. This gives the colony time to become familiar with her scent.
- STEP 1: Remove the plastic cap if there is one.
- STEP 2: Place the queen cage into the hive between two frames, with the candy end pointing upwards and at an angle. Pointing this end upwards prevents the queen from getting trapped in the cage (e.g.: in case one of her attendants were to die and fall into the tube). Also make sure that if the candy melts it will drip into the hive rather than onto the queen.
Ensuring requeen has succeeded:
- Check the hive about one week after installing the queen.
- If the queen is stuck in the cage, you should release her. If the queen is out of the cage, try to find her, and look for eggs. If she is laying, you can consider your requeening a success.
- Check for queen cells, and destroy them if you find any. The workers may try to raise their own queen to replace the one you have installed, but you can reduce the chances of this happening by destroying the queen cells.