Introducing a new Queen to a hive
On Monday 23rd April I wrote in this blog that I had found one hive without any brood or eggs. To solve this problem I took a frame with eggs on from another hive and placed these in the broodless hive. The hive must have lost its queen for what ever reason. With the very wet weather, my concern was that even if, as expected, the bees created queen cells that the new queen would take 16 days to emerge then up to 10 days for the queen to mate. Naturally the mating would only be successful if the weather was good plus the risk of her not returning to the hive.
I therefore took the decision to get a new queen and re-queen the hive. The queen arrived this morning in the post. She was in a plastic cage with about 6 worker bees with her. I gave her a few drops of 2:1 sugar syrup and placed her in the warm dark airing cupboard at home. With it pouring with rain outside I was hoping for a small window of sunshine to get out and introduce her into the hive.
Fortunately the sun broke through the clouds and I managed to get out to open up the hive for as short a time as possible. At least with no brood in the hive, I did not run the risk of chilling the brood.
I opened the hive removing the supers and the half brood box. I quckly went through each brood frame to see if I could spot the old queen and that there were still no eggs. Confident that no queen was present, I found the frame with eggs that I had placed in the hive on Monday. In only 4 days they had produced 2 queen cells. I cut these out and then placed the queen cage between 2 frames in the main brood box. The cage has fondant icing sugar blocking the entrance/exit and hopefully over the next few days, the bees will accept her, eating their way through to each other. I will leave the hive alone now for a week and will expect then to find that she has left the cage and started laying eggs.
If this is the case this hive will be back in production within a week whereas the other method of allowing the workers to create queen cells would have taken up to 26 days before the new queen was laying.