How to Requeen a Hive
Requeening a hive with an existing hive is relatively simple. Deciding if they need to be requeened and finding the queen is a bit more challenging.
- Order a replacement queen, and once she has arrived alive and well, move to step 2. Check out “Ordering & receiving queens”.
- Find the queen in your hive & remove her. See “Tips to Find a Queen” for help finding a queen if needed.
- Wait a minimum of 2 hours and a maximum of 24 hours before installing the new queen.
- Ensuring the bees have access to the candy plug in the queen cage, (this is what they eat through to release the queen) insert the queen cage in between two frames of brood in the hive. Make sure the cage is inserted in a way that allows maximum access to the screened portion of the cage.
- Close the hive, and if there is not a honey flow (How to tell if there is a honey flow) then be sure to feed the hive a gallon or two of syrup as they accept the new queen. This will increase the likelihood of acceptance.
- Wait 5-7 days, and check back to ensure the queen was accepted. First, check the cage to make sure she was released, then quickly (1-2 minutes max) check for eggs in empty cells (Tips for seeing eggs & larva) in the heart of the brood nest.
- If you don’t see eggs, and see queen cells with larva in them being raised, there is a good chance she was not accepted. Check back 3-5 days later. If you still don’t see eggs, and are seeing capped queen cells, they did not accept her, and you can remove the queen cells, and try again. Or, you can allow the bees to raise their own queen, though it’s ideal to try again with a new queen if you can get one within a few days.