queen acceptance

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New Bee
Jun 21, 2009
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I ordered a Buckfast queen last week, to increase stock (turn 1 hive into 2). In anticipation, I separated a "nuc" into the spare - 2.5 frames brood capped and uncapped + (minimal) eggs on Sunday. Anyway, queen arrived yesterday, I think maybe I jumped the gun, and there were a few queen cells, I squished these and left the cage on top of the centre frames.

Had a look this am (warm and sunny) there were a large number of bees surrounding the cage. Had another look and found a further possible QC - squished this. Having moved the cage to a corner, this became covered with resident bees.
BTW- yesterday I sprayed them with hive clean and today I've done a sugar syrup/vanilla spray

Problem - does this indicate that the new queen has not been accepted - the surrounding bees seem to come off easily- or should I wait till tomorrow to take the plastic plug out??
This isn't the definitive answer by any means but I was talking to someone about this method a few days a go and from what he was saying you should leave it a little while longer.

The ideal is when there are just a few bees near her, as there would be normally.

If they are still reacting to her as you describe it does not sound safe to let her out.

Just my thought having listened to a man who knows, but others on here will have much more experience of this than me.
I've tried this method many times and its works well. However depending upon the hive it can take several days, even up to a week before the bees leave the cage alone and the queen can be released.

In the mean time they will still feed the caged queen, so she will be fine, I guess you just have to be patient and let them get on with it.
I would have done an approx 50:50 split when the new queen arrived and straightaway put the cage with the knockout tab removed into the hive not containing your original queen.

But, you have done what you have done now. I would absolutely destroy anything looking like a queen cell in the hive containing the new caged queen - do not remove the knockout tab. And then I would check things a couple of days later. Squash anymore queen cells, and see if they are more friendly towards the queen. Then i would check again a couple of days later and do the same.

You will get bees around the caged queen, but look carefully and you will see the difference between inquisitive bees and aggresive bees. The idea is to remove the knockout tab when there is no sign of any queen cells, and at such time the bees are more likely to accept the queen.

If you make up a queenless nuc in readiness to recieve a new queen it would have been correct to kill all queen cells eight days after making up the nuc ... and then introduce the new queen. After eight days they have no larvae to raise anymore queen cells on.

So 'yes', you have stuck the new queen in too early, but hopefully your queen introduction will still work if you are cautious about releasing her.
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Thanks for the replies. They are still gathering around the intro cage and very active, the helper workers are still alive. I've put the polycarb crown board so I can see with minimal disturbance and some 1:1 syrup.
There seem to be fewer jostling about this pm, so I'll give it a couple more days.
When you say the helper workers are still alive do you mean the attendants that came with the queen?

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