Simple Requeening

SIMPLE REQUEENING METHOD

An excellent IPM practice to help your bees survive!

It is recommended, as an integral part of Integrated Pest Management, to replace queens regularly, in order to have younger queens in your colony for the winter. This greatly helps bees to survive even though they may have to contend with mites and /or diseases, such as AFB (American Foulbrood), EFB (European Foulbrood), SACBROOD, CHALKBROOD, HTM (Honeybee Tracheal Mite) & NOSEMA (Apis & Cerana).

Applying treatments, medications, and pesticides is sometimes not sufficient to keep your bees alive. One explanation could be the queen in the colony is older and her level of pheromones has diminished; or it may also be the queen is genetically inferior – not bred for disease resistance. Introducing superior stock may help solve this problem.

Many beekeepers are hesitant to requeen their colonies. They feel the risk of ending up with a queenless colony is not worth the effort.   Moreover they do not feel confident to find the queen. The approach described below makes it somewhat easier, and almost full proof. I have divided the explanations in different sections to simplify.

Click on the link that corresponds to your situation:

MATED QUEEN – DOUBLE BROOD CHAMBER

MATED QUEEN – SINGLE BROOD CHAMBER

QUEEN CELL – DOUBLE BROOD CHAMBER

QUEEN CELL – SINGLE BROOD CHAMBER

 

MATED QUEEN – DOUBLE BROOD CHAMBER

  1. Insert queen excluder between 2 brood chambers 5-7 days prior.
  2. Wait 5-7 days.
  3. Remove honey supers and stack on upturned hive cover near the original colony.
  4. Set top queen excluder on top of honey supers.
  5. Separate top brood chamber and set on top of honey supers and excluder.
  6. Remove the lower queen excluder and cover the lower brood chamber temporarily.
  7. Inspect the top chamber first to find the queen and remove her.
    1. Carefully remove the 1st frame, using minimum smoke not to agitate the bees. Look for the queen on both sides of the frame. Set aside.
    2. Proceed to inspect other frames, one at a time, and set aside in the same order.
    3. As you are looking over each frame, look for the presence of eggs to confirm the queen is in this box. If eggs are present, the queen should be there.
    4. Once you remove her, you can go ahead and scrape frames in both chambers & rearrange if need be.
  8. If no eggs are present, she is in the lower brood chamber.
  9. Repeat procedures to find the queen and remove her.
  10. If no eggs are present in either box, you may have a virgin or a queenless colony.
    1. If queen cells are present but capped, the colony may be queenless and are trying to raise a new queen; or the colony may have swarmed with the old queen. Remove all natural queen cells.
    2. If queen cells are opened, you may have multiple virgins. Close the colony and wait until the natural queen is mated to requeen. About 2-3 weeks.
    3. If no queen cells are present, you probably have a queenless colony. If there are enough brood left you can try to requeen. If no or little brood is left, introduce a frame of emerged brood from another colony or unite. It is probably a good idea to reduce the brood chamber to a single.
  1. Put back the top brood chamber above the lower one without the lower excluder.
  2. Introduce the caged queen immediately.
    1. Position the cage between 2 frames of brood.
    2. The bees must be able to access the screen of the cage to feed the queen and exchange pheromones.
    3. The cage may be held between 2 top bars, or else pressed in the upper comb section of the brood frame.
    4. Put a pollen patty if necessary.
  3. Place the queen excluder above the requeened colony.
  4. Put back all honey supers.
  5. Close the colony.
  6. Come back 8-10 days later to inspect the colony.
  7. Open the colony to inspect the brood chambers again.
  8. Look for the presence of eggs or young larvaes, and for natural queen cells.
    1. If eggs, the new queen is laying. The colony is successfully requeened.
    2. If natural queen cells are also present and partially tore down, they must be destroyed. Usually, the bees have already begun to remove the occupants.
    3. If no eggs are present, and queen cells are present and intact, the queen may be dead. Remove the queen cells and reintroduce another queen or unite.
    4. If neither eggs nor queen cells are present, you probably have a virgin (she may have been there previously). You have a choice to leave the virgin until she mates or hunt her down.
    5. If you find the virgin and remove her, requeen immediately.

 

MATED QUEEN – SINGLE BROOD CHAMBER

  1. Remove honey supers and stack on upturned hive cover near the original colony.
  2. Remove queen excluder.
  3. Inspect the brood chamber to find the queen and remove her.
    1. Carefully remove the 1st frame, using minimum smoke not to agitate the bees. Look for the queen on both sides of the frame. Set aside.
    2. Proceed to inspect other frames, one at a time, and set aside in the same order.
    3. As you are looking over each frame, look at the brood pattern for the presence of eggs and young larvaes. The queen is usually near this area. If eggs are present, the queen should be there.
    4. Once you remove her, you can go ahead and scrape frames in both chambers & rearrange if need be.
  4. If no eggs are present, you may have a virgin or a queenless colony.
    1. If queen cells are present but capped, the colony may be queenless and are trying to raise a new queen; or the colony may have swarmed with the old queen. Remove all natural queen cells.
    2. If queen cells are opened, you may have multiple virgins. Close the colony and wait until the natural queen is mated to requeen. About 2-3 weeks.
    3. If no queen cells are present, you probably have a queenless colony. If there are enough brood left you can try to requeen. If no or little brood is left, introduce a frame of emerged brood from another colony or unite.
  5. Introduce the caged queen immediately.
    1. Position the cage between 2 frames of brood.
    2. The bees must be able to access the screen of the cage to feed the queen and exchange pheromones.
    3. The cage may be held between 2 top bars, or else pressed in the upper comb section of the brood frame.
    4. Put a pollen patty if necessary.
  6. Place the queen excluder above the requeened colony.
  7. Put back all honey supers.
  8. Close the colony.
  9. Come back 8-10 days later to inspect the colony.
  10. Open the colony to inspect brood chambers again.
  11. Look for the presence of eggs or young larvaes, and for natural queen cells.
  1. If eggs, the new queen is laying. The colony is successfully requeened.
  2. If natural queen cells are also present and partially tore down, they must be destroyed. Usually, the bees have already begun to remove the occupants.
  3. If no eggs are present, and queen cells are present and intact, the queen may be dead. Remove the queen cells and reintroduce another queen or unite.
  4. If neither eggs nor queen cells are present, you probably have a virgin (she may have been there previously). You have a choice to leave the virgin until she mates or hunt her down.
  5. If you find the virgin and remove her, requeen immediately.

 

QUEEN CELL – DOUBLE BROOD CHAMBER

  1. Insert queen excluder between 2 brood chambers 5-7 days prior.
  2. Wait 5-7 days.
  3. Remove honey supers and stack on upturned hive cover near the original colony.
  4. Set top queen excluder on top of honey supers.
  5. Separate top brood chamber and set on top of honey supers and excluder.
  6. Remove the lower queen excluder and cover the lower brood chamber temporarily.
  7. Inspect the top chamber first to find the queen and remove her.
    1. Carefully remove the 1st frame, using minimum smoke not to agitate the bees. Look for the queen on both sides of the frame. Set aside.
    2. Proceed to inspect other frames, one at a time, and set aside in the same order.
    3. As you are looking over each frame, look for the presence of eggs to confirm the queen is in this box. If eggs are present, the queen should be there.
    4. Once you remove her, you can go ahead and scrape frames in both chambers & rearrange if need be.
  8. If no eggs are present, she is in the lower brood chamber.
  9. Repeat procedures to find the queen and remove her.
  10. If no eggs are present in either box, you may have a virgin or a queenless colony.
  1. If queen cells are present but capped, the colony may be queenless and are trying to raise a new queen; or the colony may have swarmed with the old queen. Remove all natural queen cells.
  2. If queen cells are opened, you may have multiple virgins.   Close the colony and wait about 2-3 weeks until the natural queen is mated.
  3. If no queen cells are present, you probably have a queenless colony. If there are enough brood left you can try to requeen. If no or little brood is left, introduce a frame of emerged brood from another colony or unite. It is probably a good idea to reduce the brood chamber to a single.
  1. Replace the upper brood chamber back on.
  2. Put the upper excluder back on.
  3. Put the supers back on.
  4. Close the colony.
  5. The queenless bees will now raise natural queen cells.
  6. Come back 8-10 days later. The cells are now capped. All brood is now capped.
  7. Open the colony and separate the 2 brood chambers.
  8. Proceed to remove natural queen cells in both brood chambers.
    1. Remove the frame #1 located on the side of the brood chamber.
    2. Shake or brush the bees off the frame into the brood chamber.
    3. Inspect the comb section carefully on both sides for natural queen cells, checking corners and crevices.
    4. Cut out or destroy any partially or capped natural queen cells with your hive tool.
    5. Set it aside.
    6. Remove frame #2 and repeat the operation.
    7. Replace frame #2 in the brood chamber immediately at the place where frame #1 was positioned.
    8. Repeat for each remaining frame, taking care to replace them in the brood chamber in the same order and position.
    9. Last, shove the frames over to make room for the first frame.
    10. Replace it in the first position.
  9. Introduce the queen cell between 2 brood frames in the middle of the top box, hanging from top bars.
  10. Close the colony and do not disturb for a minimum of 17 days, up to 21 maximum.
  11. Open the colony to inspect brood chambers again.
  12. Look for the presence of eggs or young larvaes.
  1. If eggs are present, the new queen is laying. The colony is successfully requeened.
  2. If eggs are present, and you find an emerged natural queen cell; you may have a natural mated queen, instead of your introduced queen. You may have missed to remove a natural queen cell before.
  3. You have a choice to leave the natural queen or hunt her down.
  4. If you find the natural queen and remove her, requeen immediately, preferably with a mated queen.
  5. If no eggs or queen cells are present, the colony is queenless. You can add brood & requeen immediately with a mated queen or unite.

 

QUEEN CELL – SINGLE BROOD CHAMBER

  1. Remove honey supers and stack on upturned hive cover near the original colony.
  2. Remove queen excluder.
  3. Inspect the brood chamber to find the queen and remove her.
    1. Carefully remove the 1st frame, using minimum smoke not to agitate the bees. Look for the queen on both sides of the frame. Set aside.
    2. Proceed to inspect other frames, one at a time, and set aside in the same order.
    3. As you are looking over each frame, look for the presence of eggs to confirm the queen is in this box. If eggs are present, the queen should be there.
    4. Once you remove her, you can go ahead and scrape frames in both chambers & rearrange if need be.
  4. If no eggs are present in either box, you may have a virgin or a queenless colony.
  1. If queen cells are present but capped, the colony may be queenless and are trying to raise a new queen; or the colony may have swarmed with the old queen. Remove all natural queen cells.
  2. If queen cells are opened, you may have multiple virgins.   Close the colony and wait until the natural queen is mated to requeen. About 2-3 weeks.
  3. If no queen cells are present, you probably have a queenless colony. If there are some brood left, go ahead and introduce a queen cell. If no brood left, introduce a frame of emerged brood and introduce a queen cell.
  4. Put the excluder back on.
  1. Put the supers back on.
  2. Close the colony.
  3. The queenless bees will raise natural queen cells.
  4. Come back 8-10 days. The cells are now capped. All brood is now capped.
  5. Open the colony.
  6. Proceed to remove natural queen cells in brood chamber.
    1. Remove the frame #1 located on the side of the brood chamber.
    2. Shake or brush the bees off the frame into the brood chamber.
    3. Inspect the comb section carefully on both sides for natural queen cells, checking corners and crevices.
    4. Cut out or destroy any partially or capped natural queen cells with your hive tool.
    5. Set it aside.
    6. Remove frame #2 and repeat the operation.
    7. Replace frame #2 in the brood chamber immediately at the place where frame #1 was positioned.
    8. Repeat for each remaining frame, taking care to replace them in the brood chamber in the same order and position.
    9. Last, shove the frames over to make room for the first frame.
    10. Replace it in the first position.
  7. Introduce the queen cell between 2 brood frames in the middle of the box, hanging from top bars.
  8. Close the colony and do not disturb for a minimum of 17 days, up to 21 maximum.
  9. Open the colony to inspect brood chamber again.
  10. Look for the presence of eggs or young larvaes.
  1. If eggs are present, the new queen is laying. The colony is successfully requeened.
  2. If eggs are present, and you find an emerged natural queen cell; you may have a natural mated queen, instead of your introduced queen.
  3. You have a choice to leave the natural queen or hunt her down.
  4. If you find the natural queen and remove her, requeen immediately, preferably with a mated queen.
  5. If no eggs or queen cells are present, the colony is queenless. You can requeen immediately with a mated queen or unite.