Requeening day

Alf Brugman Beekeeping Blog

This morning we picked up a post bag containing 15 Italian queens from our local post office. They came in the little queen cages which are about the size of a matchbox and contain a young queen and about a half dozen workers as attendants.
We immediately went to our home bee yard and started searching for the old queens we wished to replace. The first few hives were swarms which were collected in the past few weeks and had good brood in the middle frames. The frames consisted of newly drawn out foundation and so were clean and white and the queens were relatively easy to spot and remove so that the new queen cage could be placed on top of the frames.
The next few hives were more populous and had many dark bees and dark queens which can be difficult to see against the masses of workers. We got lucky and did pretty well and had to leave about four hives overall because we simply couldn’t find the queen after a certain amount of time.We always order less queens than the number of hives present in a yard so that we can move on to the next hive if necessary.
We can always go back to those later on and eventually win out and find the queen but occasionally we give up on some because the queen is really good at hiding. We could find her if we were desperate by forcing all the bees through a queen excluder, but usually we just admit defeat.
Anyway the new queens are all in and we won’t disturb the hive in any way for at least 11 days so that the bees don’t kill the new queens and accept them.