Requeening a top bar hive

Requeening, part two: inserting the new queen. In the queen rearing class we learned ways to introduce a queen to a hive. The best way is to use a cage from hardware cloth and press it into a comb (in conventional Langstroth this would be a frame). You can buy these cages, Ted made one.

Queen cage pushed into a top bar comb

Queen cage pushed into a top bar comb

Our training told us the best location on the comb would have brood to hatch attendants, open cells for the queen to lay in, and uncapped nectar. We didn’t find that perfect place. Ted picked a comb with brood and open cells. He made queen candy – here’s a how to: Bee Journal post on making bee candy. He smeared the bee candy on the comb to substitute for the nectar.

We bought the queen from Jason Deal of Star Valley Apiary, who gave us great instructions on how to insert the queen.He advised us to pick a room with a closed door and a window, because if the queen gets away, she’ll head for the window and you have a chance to pick her up again. Ted reasoned the best thing to do was not to lose her in the first place. The tricky bit is inserting the queen into the cage. Ted made a collar of white cardboard to narrow down the insertion area.

Narrowing down the cage opening

Narrowing down the cage opening

Final step is to re-insert the bar into the hive. I wondered if the cage would stick out too much, but it goes into the hive just fine.

Inserting the new queen into the hive

Inserting the new queen into the hive


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