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Queen Introduction

A Simple Method

This method is probably the most common and uses any form of slim queen cage that can be put between two brood frames or placed on top of frames, such as the "Butler" or "Puzzle" cage. I don't use candy and rarely have.

When using the Butler cage, I put the queen and 3-4 attendants in the cage and put a couple of thicknesses of paper over the open end of the cage, secured by an elastic band. The paper creates a refuge for the queen to move away from the bees in the colony who might damage her legs and allows the bees to release her when they chew through it.

I prefer to use the "Puzzle" cage because the lid slides in a dovetail and I don't need to find paper or elastic bands. They are inexpensive and I buy several at a time. One thing you need to be aware of with this type of cage is the lid can snap out of the dovetail slot and release the queen. This can be a problem if you put the cage on top of the frames, as the bees will stick the cage to the crownboard and frames, so you separate the cage before you notice it. I learnt the hard way by losing unclipped queens who took wing.

As with the Butler cage, I put the queen and 3-4 workers in the puzzle cage and close the lid quickly. Place the cage between a couple of frames in the brood area and release the queen 48 hours later. If she is still alive she should be accepted.

I check about 7 days later to see that everything has gone O.K. but don't be disappointed if the queen has subsequently been rejected, or there are supersedure cells. This happens with all forms of queen introduction and much more than it used to.

Roger Patterson.