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Home > International > Beekeeping techniques > Mated queens’ introduction

Mated queens’ introduction

The queens insertion is a delicate step. The queen’s acceptance depends of her intrinsic qualities (possible alteration during the carrying), but the success of this step mainly depends of the insertion technique used.

General points:

In the following cases, the chances of success are more uncertain:

  • if we insert a Buckfast (Brother Adam) queen in an aggressive colony,
  • if we insert a queen during the breeding period (from April until June),
  • if there are many old bees in the colony.
    Conversely, the success rate increases if:
  • it is the end of the season,
  • when the colonies can’t breed anymore (absence of open brood),
  • there are only young bees,
  • we feed them during the insertion,
  • we let the colony alone after the queen’s insertion.

Operating method for introducing mated queens:

In fact, many methods actually exist. You are free to choose the one that suits you the most. Do not hesitate to share ideas with other apiculturists, especially during the special event organised by ANERCEA.

This is our procedure:

  • Prepare in a small hive a swarm with 2 frames broods (opened and with a cap) + 1 frame for the reserve,
  • Move the small hive of 50m. The foragers (old bees) will return to their initial hive. You can move again the small hive of a few meters, the next day.
  • Put the identity card on the small hive when the queen will be inserted in it.
  • Place the small cage on the frames’ top, without opening the access strap to the candy. Turn over a nourishing hive’s top to create an enclosed space above the brood chamber,
  • The following day, verify if the colony is orphan: the bees must agglutinate around the small cage. In this case, let the small hive closed for 48 hours (2 nights),
  • Break the strap and insert the small cage between 2 frames, or even better, let it on the top of the frames,
  • Verify the laying one week later.


It can happen that the bees don’t accept the new queen if there was already a queen (virgin?) in the colony. In this case, there is no chance that the new queen gets accepted.
In the case of a very aggressive colony, it happens that the bees let the young queen lay for several days or even weeks. Then, they will kill her to raise a new one.

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