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Desperate to check...Can I?


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Mated Queen arrived in post from Auckland (to

Christchurch) Thursday a.m. 

I had it delivered to a friends place,where I was staying,so as dear Queen didn't have to suffer my rural letter box.

Came home and popped her into my nicely prepared hive Friday a.m.

After hearing horror stories of a Queen and her escorts dying because they couldn't get out,it makes me want to check on her.

It was suggested check after  5 to 7 days to see if she is out and laying. 

Is it too invasive if I check later today?


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I always check on day 3 to make sure she is out of the cage.  If not, I release her.  If she has self released, then I close up the hive and wait another 10 day, by which time she will have capped brood.

The less disturbance you can give the hive the better for 10-14 days.

Otherwise, sometimes the bees can get grumpy and blame the invasion on the new queen and kill her, once she has capped brood the you can do as you wish with the hive.



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2 hours ago, Dal said:

I have seen too many hives turn on a newly released queen when the hive is opened on that crucial day the queen has just been released and has a fragile acceptance in the hive.


Is why I say leave it 7 days at least before checking.


The only horror story from a queen dying in the cage would be from a cage improperly installed.


The risk of having the hive turn on a queen and ball her is greater if the queen is spooked when the hive is opened and starts running around the hive or the bees panic and reject her.  Once a hive rejects a queen it is almost impossible to get them to accept her again.


I also am not a fan of manual release for the same reason.  Sometimes the bees in the hive know that they don't want that queen yet.  In fact I've seen hives where a queen has been installed in a cage when the beekeeper didn't see the hive already had a queen/virgin.  The bees propolised the exposed candy end of the cage shut so she couldn't get out.  They didn't want her.  I went back 4-5 weeks later to find the queen still alive in the cage, but the bees had kept her confined.  So they must have been feeding her.


If you're not sure - the safe play is to leave it alone for 7-10 days.  If you got your queen from me and you didn't get a good result - we'll replace it and help make sure it doesn't happen again. 

Thanks for your advice.  

Too late for me to consider leaving the Queen longer this time around.I went with Trevors O.K. to just check she was out. Didn't even remove cage. Just had very quick peep to see cage was open.

I am absolutely sure there is no Queen of any sort,and unless I accidently squashed her in my attempts to do quick check,I am hoping for capped brood when I next check.

Earlier on in the forums,someone spoke of hard candy,being a reason for lack of exit. But this is probably rare?

I find it absolutely fascinating that you have seen bees propolis a cage shut but still feed a Queen for weeks. Usually from what I heard,if there is a Queen,virgin or not,or even laying workers,bees can kill the new Queen. Has anyone else seen this happen? I couldn't imagine it to be common? Why would they feed both Queens? Very interesting.


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I can back up every single thing that Dal said, he has it exactly right on every point.


To Trevor taking a look on day 3, Trevor has had bees for quite some years now, and will be well capable of taking a quick look in a hive while creating very minimal disturbance, and done carefully, will nearly always get away with it. It is still an accident waiting to happen though, I too have had queens balled right in front of me cos I jumped the gun and checked too soon.


When I was selling queens, my standard advice was leave it at least a week before checking. But all the same, I had excited beekeepers call me on day 3 or even day 2, saying they had checked and the queen was released, and they had seen her. Too many of those same beekeepers would ring back in another week or two weeks and say the hive is queenless, had the bees killed her?

I just found it so frustrating. Because the new beekeeper going through the hive absolutely searching for the queen, and causing massive disturbance in the process, had been a death knell for the queen. She had only just got out of the cage, relations between her and the bees were tense, it only takes one bee to get upset and grab her by a leg, next thing all the bees join in, and it's over for the queen.

Plus, it is totally unnecessary. There is nothing at all to be gained by checking on day 3. Check in a week, and if the queen has not been released, you need to find out what is the problem with the hive. Most people in this situation get back and say there is something wrong with the candy. But if the queen came from an experienced breeder that is unlikely.

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7 minutes ago, Alastair said:

Check in a week

Thank you but?Ship has already sailed!

As I said to Dal. Checked super quick day 3. Did not remove cage only lifted one outside frame to make room.Then the cage frame to see if open. All back together within couple of mins. Not touching now until she should have capped brood.

Hopefully I haven't disrupted them too much.???

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13 minutes ago, Alastair said:

I can back up every single thing that Dal said, he has it exactly right on every point.

Have you  ever seen bees propolis a Queen into it's cage and then still feed it? 

I just can't get over how super clever they are ...( Except of course when they chew their Queens legs off and kill her when she is the one who is keeping their colony  alive!?)

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  • 2 weeks later...

bit late here but just want to add to this thread in case anyone finds it in the future and is in a similar situation.

i'm a first year BK and had to requeen early on, start of October, because the queen in my starter nuc was DOA (long story, but I didn't accidentally squash her or anything). The nuc supplier sent me a new queen for free and I set the cage according to one of trev's videos, then commenced chewing my fingernails down to stubs. What if... etc., exactly as described in this thread, and all the advice in old threads here and elsewhere was of course to just let them be. On about day 6 I couldn't hack it any more and lifted the lid for 20 seconds with no smoke to see that the cage was empty and there wasn't a single scrap of candy left. All good. Did another check exactly two weeks after introduction: massive slabs of brood. STAY OUT, they will almost certainly be fine.


anyway posting in here because back then I found a post on beesource that they have up as a sort of PSA for people doing queen introductions and I think it's worth quoting at length. I followed this advice, except for when I caved and had a peek, and it worked great. Link to the thread is at the bottom.

also: hi everyone, I spose this is my first post, I've been lurking for ages.


Have you seen the movie, "Groundhog Day"?
It is a comedy about a fellow that wakes up every day and it is the exact same day as yesterday.

Well it's Groundhog day once again on BeeSource because just like every year, it is story after story after tear-jerking sob story about queens not being accepted.
But for me, as the poster describes their procedure, it is no surprise whatsoever.

First let me say that I have installed several boxes of queens (hundreds) so far this year.
Exactly one (1) has not been accepted.

The first thing that you need to know is that the advice and procedures in almost all of the books is VERY, VERY POOR!
And the information in the books is just repeated, over and over, book after book, never questioned and in my opinion and experience almost assures high failure rate.

Before we talk procedure, let me tell you how VERY GRATEFUL I am for my mentor, Kenny Williams of Oregon that taught me how to have a 98% annual acceptance rate for queen acceptance.
When I was new and asked him questions, he often replied with a question.

Example: "Kenny, should I poke a hole in the candy plug with a nail"?
"Why would you want to do that"? he asks in reply.
"Well, so that the queen can be released sooner" I respond.
"Why would you want the queen to be released sooner than later", he asks?

The answer is: YOU DO NOT want the queen released in any big hurry!!!
What we want is to pull the cork from the candy plug, place the queen cage between frames of mixed brood, or in the case of a package, centered and then LEAVE THE HIVE ALONE so that the queen can emerge in the dark, still and quiet of the hive, having had the extended time release of the candy plug to aquint the bees with her pheromone.

Over and over and over and over I read, "I went back 2 or 4 days later to make sure the queen was released, and now I'm queenless"

Again, WHY are you worried that the queen will not be released? Why?
The queen WILL be released. Stay out of the hive!

If a queen is not released, or is found dead later in the cage, it is for a few reasons:
1) she died
2) your package had a queen in the population
3)she was a spent virgin.

In 25 years of beekeeping, and thousands upon thousands of queen introductions, this has happened maybe twice.

Do you want a 98% queen acceptance rate? Here are some PROVEN tips:

1) Do not poke a hole in the candy plug.
2) Always place the cage between frames of mixed, open brood (where the nurse bees are that are much more inclined to accept and care for her. Re-queen, drone layer replacement, laying worker, or hive start-up; all the same. Place her with brood and nurse bees. In the case of packages, just hang her centered in the hive.
3) Fill the feeder with syrup.
4) Place a piece of masking tape on the corner of the hive with the date she was introduced an DO NOT TOUCH the hive for at least 10 days other than to quietly fill the feeder without shuffling frames or otherwise making a disruption.
5) After 10 or better yet 14 days, gently move through the hive frame by frame until you find the empty cage. Remove the cage and then reverse one frame with the dent left from the cage. They will almost always repair the dent with worker cells if you do this.

So that is it. The problem that I read day after excruciating day her on Beesource is excess, needless micro-managing and ****amamie monkey-motion.
I read books. I have an extensive beekeeping library.
But when it comes to queen introduction, almost all the books give TERRIBLE advice.

I never direct release. (no need to)
No push-in cages.
No monkey-motion.

So here is a report:
Today, I went to a yard of 64 hives that were all hard splits. (Hives directly split in half.)
The splits were made on April 17th. Today is May 8th.
I never returned to the hives after queen intro on April 17th.
ALL of the queens were accepted.
All I did today was to remove the cages and reverse one frame with the dent.

Every year I shake packages for myself to start brand new hives.
Last weekend I queen-checked 32 hives that started as packages on April 5th.
After installing packages, I only returned to the hives on multiple times to quietly slide the lid aside and fill feeders.
ALL of the queens were accepted.
They were accepted using the time honored candy, time-release method and most important; NO DISRUPTION for the initial period.

Ever heard of K.I.S.S.? That stands for "Keep it simple stupid!

I hope that those of you that have been bamboozled by the ****amamie, monkey-motion procedures outlined in "the books" will try our procedure next time.
And I am open for any questions.



Edited by scramble
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