Introducing Queen Bees
Queens are best introduced when the bees are on good breeding conditions i.e. plentiful supply of pollen and a light honey flow. Avoid trying to introduce queen when the bees readily start robbing (the bees will be on the defensive and more likely to kill the queen when she emerges from the cage). Sometimes a heavy honey flow will interfere with good queen acceptance.
Make sure the hive is queenless. Do not add the new queen until the existing/old queen has been removed. Destroy any queen cells that the bees may have started in the hive. For the best results leave the hive queenless for from 5 to 24 hours before adding the new queen.
Place the cage between two frames of brood, making sure the candy spout is horizontal and uppermost (if any bees die they do not block the queen's exit). The candy acts as a time fuse and will allow the bees to release the queen after a day or two.
DO NOT DISTURB OR OPEN THE HIVE for at least one week. After about 10 to 14 days check the hive for a laying queen. Usually it is only necessary to look for fresh eggs or young brood to know that the new queen has been accepted.
When The Queen Bee Arrives
Check the bees on arrival and if they don't arrive in the best possible condition, please let us know. Give the bees one drop of water on arrival and one drop per day until introduced.
Queens are best kept in a cool, dark place away from ANTS and PESTICIDES. Often it is best to have the queens delivered to the local Post Office to avoid them being placed in your letterbox where they may be exposed to excessive heat or cold or be attacked by ants.
DO NOT PLACE QUEENS IN THE SUN (a few minutes in the hot sun can quickly kill or damage them).
If the queens are held for a number of days, it may be necessary to add extra candy to the spout of the cage (too little candy in the cage may allow the bees to release the queen too early).
Finding The Queen
Separate the boxes of the hive and begin searching through the one or more containing brood. It is often better to quickly look over each side of the frame looking for the different bee, rather than trying to intently examine each bee. Leave the first two or three frames examined on the outside of the hive to allow more room to examine inside the hive. Systematically search each frame as well as checking the bottom board and side walls.
These are an excellent way to start up new hives. The standard nucleus comes with 4 frames of brood and honey and a young queen. Placed in your box and moved to good conditions, they will quickly expand into the rest of the box. If bought in Spring, they can be built up to a productive hive and may even give you a surplus of honey.
Feeding the bees regularly with a 50/50 sugar syrup will often encourage the hives to build up even quicker.
Buying extra frames of bees and brood will also allow the bees to build up quicker, particularly if the bees are bought in Summer/early Autumn.
Your box should have ventilation provided, have straps or clips to securely fasten lid and bottom and have enough frames to fill out the remaining spaces in the box.