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Queen Introduction Using the JzBz Cage

It is disappointing to have spent time and trouble in raising queens, or buying them, to find the colonies they were intended for, reject them.

The obvious precautions before trying to introduce a new queen are fairly well known by all beekeepers, these include:-

Your queen is in a JZ BZ queen introduction cage. You will notice that a plastic 'fork' is attached to the cap on the candy tube, remove the plastic 'fork' but leave the cap on the tube. Save the fork for later use, (see below). The cage has a long tube that is filled with candy, the tube initially has a plastic cap fitted to prevent the workers in the colony from releasing the queen. Remove attendant bees by opening the small cap that is alongside the tube, a blunt knife will be needed as it is a tight fit. Once the cap is open the top part of the cage can be broken open as it is hinged. Do this in front of the window and allow all the bees to come out, then shepherd the queen back into the cage by placing the cage on the window in front of the queen and with your open fingers behind and each side of her, close the cage once the queen is safely inside. Now place the cage in between two of the brood frames leaving the cap on the candy tube. 48 hours later the cap is removed and at the same time a small strip of plastic is removed from the bottom of the cage. This then makes one of the slots, of queen excluder dimensions, preventing the queen from passing through, but allowing workers into the cage. Bung this gap up with stiff candy so as to delay the entry of the workers into the cage for a short period of time. The workers are then able to have contact with the queen within the cage in limited numbers. Of course the process of releasing the queen by the workers in the colony by eating out the candy in the tube will start. By the time this has been done the workers will have had a day or more of limited contact with the new queen making the acceptance of her more likely.

After the cap on the tube has been removed leave the colony alone for at least a week, for some colonies can "ball" a queen if put under stress. Once the queen has her own offspring around her she will be safe from "balling".

It is safer to introduce a queen to a five frame nuc first, allow time for workers of the new queen to be present (4 weeks), then to unite the five frame nuc to a full colony, removing the old queen first of course. Uniting can be done by removing five frames from the full colony, shunt the remaining frames up to the front of the hive, get newspaper and line the space in the gap created leaving enough newspaper to lap back over the top of the inserted frames then close up and leave well alone for two weeks.

The cage can be re-used if the plastic 'fork' that is attached to the cap when you received the cage, is inserted into the queen excluder slot you created when you removed the mesh at the opposite end of the cage to the candy tube. Inserting this blocks the passage of bees into the cage until you remove it to allow access.

Please take the trouble to follow the instructions on introduction, we have found that doing so gives a very high rate of successful introduction.

Albert Knight.

These were instructions given to purchasers of queens from the breeding group run by Albert Knight. The reader will have to modify to suit themselves. R.P.