Queen Introduction Checklist

OWA QUEENS HAVE DIFFERENT PHEREMONES, REQUIRING SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS

Our hardy feral Survivor Stock is present in all of the queen lines we offer.  Although we do consider “gentleness” in our selection process, our higher priority is for disease and mite resistance. While our wild bees may appear to be more defensive at times, most find them entirely manageable.  When working with our bees, we recommend you follow these simple precautions:

Before your Queens arrive:

  • Plan to place OWA queen colonies in a sunny location a minimum of 50 yards from frequent human and livestock traffic.
  • Use proper safety measures when working your colonies:
    • At a minimum, use head net.  It may be necessary to also use a bee suit, gloves, & smoke. (We work w / no gloves, in half suits using a fine mist spray of liquid smoke in water.)
    • Work your bees on sunny days when the field bees are out foraging whenever possible.
  • DO NOT remove your existing queens until you have your new ones in hand.
  • Set up your supplemental feeding prior to installing queens to minimize disturbance; AVOID using feed stimulants containing additives like lemongrass when introducing a queen during a dearth, this can contribute to robbing. If available provide the new queen w drawn comb.

When your Queens arrive:

  • If unable to install promptly, keep the Q cages out of the sun, at room temperature. Give one drop of water daily taking care NOT to wet the candy.
  • 4 – 24 hours PRIOR to introduction REMOVE: OLD QUEEN/ VIRGIN QUEENS; AND ALL QUEEN CELLS. (Throw the dead queen away from the hive).
  • DO NOT REMOVE OR POKE A HOLE IN THE TAPE ON WOODEN CAGES.
  • DO NOT REMOVE ATTENDANT BEES FROM CAGES
  • Wedge the queen cage, snugly between 2 frames in the center of the brood nest, candy plug UP, taking care to leave the screen accessible to the bees.
  • NOTE: in a 10 frame box it may be necessary to remove an outside frame then widen the gap between 2 center frames to be able to insert the wooden California cage below the top bars.
  • EXTREMELY important for successful introduction:  Return on the  5th Day
    • at this point bees should NOT  be balling the cage: (…acting aggressively; biting the screen etc.) if they are, you may have missed a queen cell or you may have a 2nd queen.
    • Remove and carefully set aside queen cage.
    • Remove one or two outer food frames & set aside. Vigorously shake bees off each BROOD frame back into the box. ELIMINATE ALL QUEEN CELLS! 
    • Reassemble hive; REMOVE TAPE, and replace queen cage (allowing the bees to chew through the candy plug in a day or two, quietly releasing the queen.
  • DO NOT DISTURB THE COLONY FOR AN ADDITIONAL 7 DAYS – EARLY DISTURBANCE WILL INCREASE THE RISK OF NON-ACCEPTANCE OR SUPERCEDURE!!!

A SPECIAL NOTE IF REQUEENING IN THE FALL OR DURING A DEARTH IN NECTAR FLOW: Provide a constant food source of protein patties and 1:1 sugar syrup to stimulate queens to continue to lay until they naturally shut down for the season.