Given A Queen, Let's Experiment

As you know, we discovered that the white colored hive has laying workers last week.

I was about to combine them via the newspaper method to my good queen-right hive, but while talking with another member of the Eastern MO Beekeepers Association about my discovery, he indicated that if I wanted, he had an extra queen "I could just have."

He had an extra nuc that was robbed by another hive two weeks ago, and all that remained was the queen and a hundred or so workers. Not having the heart to put them down, he said they were just hanging out in the nuc, awaiting the inevitable.

I decided it would be at least fun to try introducing her and see what happens. I've got nothing to loose right?

Here's the process, as described in the Beekeeping for Dummies book, as well as several other handbooks that I've read:

  1. Order a new marked queen from your bee supplier.

  2. The day your queen arrives, put the entire “problem” hive (bees and all) and move it at least 100 yards away from its original location.

  3. One by one, shake every last bee off each frame and onto the grass.

    Not a single bee can remain on the frame — that bee might be a laying worker. A bee brush helps get the stubborn ones off.

  4. Put each empty frame (without bees) into the spare empty hive body you have standing by. These should be at least 15 to 20 feet away from the shaking point.

    Make sure that no bees return to these empty frames while you are doing the procedure. Use the extra outer cover to ensure that they can’t sneak back to their denuded frames.

  5. When you have removed every bee from every frame, return the old (now bee-less) frames to the original hive bodies.

  6. Place the hive to its original location on the bottom board, and transfer all the denuded frames from their temporary housing. So now you have the original hive bodies back at their original location, and all of the originals frames (less bees) placed back into the hive.

    Some of the bees will be there waiting for you. These are the older foraging bees (not the younger laying workers). Be careful not to squash any bees as you slide the hive back onto the bottom board.

  7. Introduce your new (caged) queen. Allow the bees 2-3 days to accept her before opening the cage.

Sounds simple enough - right?

We opened the nuc, and found the queen. We marked her and then placed a push-in style cage around her and some of her attendants.

Then we carried the white hive to the front of the house because we didn't have 100 yards of space, and figured moving them from the back to front of the house was as good as we could do.

Pulling frames, shaking, brushing and using a vacuum to remove every last bee, we then placed the bee-less frames back into the empty awaiting boxes.

We took the frame from the nuc with the marked queen in her push-in style cage, and slipper her into the bottom brood box of the white hive.

In two or three days I'll go back and remove the push-in cage and see if they ball her, or accept her.

Comments For This Post: (1) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Holly says...
Date:   September 17, 2011, 10:28 pm

WoW!  That's a lot of work, but thank you for sharing all the details.  I haven't done this (yet) so this was great information for me!

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