Replacing the Queen - Apis Mellifera Beekeeping Course

Apis Mellifera
Beekeeping Course
by Amazing Bees
Apis Mellifera
Beekeeping Course
by Amazing Bees
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Replacing the Queen

Session 5
Queen Bee Replacement

Replacing the Queen

Queen replacement methods:
For the beginner probably the easiest way to replace an unwanted queen is to buy one from a Queen Breeder and have it delivered per express mail. A Queen bee is packed in a little purpose-built queen cage, together with a few nurse bees.

Raising a new queen, although not difficult, is probably not within scope for a beginner beekeeper and is therefore not part of this introductory course.


When to replace the queen?
Queens for purchase from Queen Breeders are usually only available from September to March and usually have to be pre-ordered. When you have ordered a queen bee you are usually given an approximate date of arrival.

It is better to replace the queen early in the season. Should things go wrong with the queen replacement done in March, there is no chance to get a new queen in April.

A list of Queen Breeders can be found at AussieApiaristsOnline.net


Steps in requeening:
1. When the new queen arrives in the mail she will have to be introduced into the hive as soon as possible, as she weakens by the day in the cage.

2. Before the queen cage with the new queen is introduced in the hive, the old queen must be found and removed/destroyed; with the old queen present chances are that the new queen gets killed once she is freed from the cage.

3. Placing the queen cage on top of the frames or hive mat is the easiest way; in a horizontal position, or better on an angle to ensure the cage exit cannot get blocked by a dead nurse bee from inside the cage.

4. The queen cage comes with the exit closed with a block of candy, which is eaten by the bees when in the hive, hereby unblocking the cage exit, freeing the new queen.

Hint: To protect the queen from being attacked by the bees as an intruder while still in the cage, a strip of newspaper half the width of the cage can be wrapped around the cage (1 or 2 layers) to distract the bees and provide the new queen with a place to hide. By the time the bees have finished removing the newspaper the new queen has become familiar to them and is no longer be seen as an intruder.

5. Close the lid and leave the hive undisturbed for about two weeks. Then check briefly to confirm the new queen is laying; no need to find the queen if you see eggs and young larvae.

If replacing the queen is still daunting, try to get assistance from a more experienced beekeeper.


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