How do I care for my Queen once she arrives?
When your queen arrives, you should give her a drink of water. The best way to do this is let a drop of water hang off the end of your finger and slide your finger across the screen of the queen cage. Because of surface tension, the water will bridge across the screen. Don't worry, you won't get stung by the attendants will start drinking immediately. Also, put a very tiny drop of honey on the screen, by the candy. If you put to much honey on, all your bees will get very sticky.
How soon should I put my Queen in the hive?
We recommend you put the Queen in the hive ASAP. Put her in the day or following day you receive her. The bees in the hive will take care of her a lot better than we can in the Queen Cage.
How do I release my Queen?
There are as many methods to release your Queen as there are beekeepers. Some general rules to follow. Do Not Release your Queen until Day 4 or or later. Many beekeepers remove the cork and use a paper clip to drill a small hole in the candy, so the Queen is released by the bees in the Hive. Some beekeepers do not remove the cork and just go back to their hive after 4 days and release the queen themselves. As in many aspects of beekeeping, there are many right answers, you just have to find the one that works for you.
How long before I check on the Queen?
After the Queen is released, you need to make sure she is laying eggs and the bees have accepted her. Most beekeepers wait 7 to 14 days before going into the hive and looking for eggs.
What do I do if my Queens dies in shipping?
Over 99% of the time, the Queen arrives safely. But sometimes, the Queen will get chilled or other unfortunate events occur during shipping. When this happens, you need to contact us immediately by phone or email. We will replace your dead queen, but not the shipping cost.
Why do bees not accept new Queens?
Many times a Queen is introduced to a hive and their is either a Queen already there or there are Queen cells. In these situations, the Queen will not be accepted and is usually killed. So, make sure there are no Queen cells in your hive. If you don't wait at least one week before getting into your hive; after the queen is released, the bees can panic and roll your Queen. There are many other reasons a Queen is not accepted. That is why it is important to release your Queen properly.
How often should your Queen be replaced?
Some beekeepers think their Queens need to be replaced every year or two years. Well, I think about this differently and here is my method. Every Spring, I check the brood pattern of my queen. If she is laying in most of the cells across the frame, I do not replace her. If her brood pattern is spotty and there is not much brood, then, she should be replaced. The reason to verify the brood pattern, is that you could have a new queen, that replaced the old queen in the Fall. Plus many hives swarm each year and replace their old queen. So, it is best to check the brood pattern before replacing a queen. If you do not find any brood, that is a sign that your hive is Queenless and you need a new Queen.