Enter the Queen

Remember, the last time we were in the Whiting Forest hives, we had Hive #1 – the hive populated using a package of bees at the end of April with an expansion level at this point; Hive #2 – the Nuc hive that was without a queen and the workers were trying to raise a new one; and Hive #3 – the Nuc hive populated with a strong laying queen.

The Nuc supplier sent us (via the post office) a new queen to add to Hive #2. First we had to remove all of the supersedure cells so that the workers in the hive would be more likely to accept this new ‘ruler’. You will notice in the photo, Elly removing the queens in her cage with some attendant bees from the box they arrived in. This cage was placed between two centrally located frames near the top and the bees from the hive then had time to acclimate to her while they work on freeing her from the cage. The white section of the cage is actually an exit tube filled with queen candy that the bees will chew through to free the queen. After 3 days, we checked in and the queen had yet to be released fully so we use the ‘emergency hatch’ (okay it is really called a quick release, but what fun is that). She crawled right down into the hive.

This is how the queens arrive with their accompanying workers/attendants.


Up-close look at the queen cage with her attendants. The white protrusion is the queen candy in the escape tunnel.

Once released, this queen was antsy to get out of her cage and begin ruling! We will check back on her progress soon.


Her-royal highness, the queen exiting the cage after the quick release cap was removed.

When introducing the queen to Hive #2, we also added mite strips to Hive #1 – the first hive we started up this spring. The mite strips contain Formic Acid and essentially fumigate the hive against Varroa Mites. These mites look like ticks but are the size of the head of a pin and attach themselves to the bee and feed. Experts say that if you don’t have mite populations under control by July, your hive will be in trouble.

Stay tuned as we monitor the progress of all hives.


From left to right: Hive #3 (two-level brood box), Hive #1 (package installed in April-treated for mites), Hive #2 (queen newly released)