So you've brought a new queen - what to do? 


The first step you need to do is make sure the colony has been queenless for at least 48hrs ideally.   If you are replacing a Queen because is is failing, then you need to find her and remove her from the hive before you add a queen.    If you are not sure what happened to your queen - she has just 'vanished', then you need to make sure they definitely need a new queen and that they don't have a virgin queen running around inside.   If you do have one in there, they will not accept this new queen when you try to put her in.   It is also important that you remove any queen cells that they make after you make them queenless too.


The new queen will come in a cage.   You can use this cage to introduce your queen into your hive.   The cages will all vary in size, shape and colour but the principle is the same.   Put the cage into your queenless hive, between 2 frames of brood (if they have any), otherwise between the main cluster of bees.   Leave it in there for around 2 days.  Don't worry about removing the attendant workers that come with her.   They will die, but their sole purpose is to make sure the queen is looked after until she is in the hive.   Leaving them in there makes no difference to the acceptance of the Queen either.  Also, do NOT remove the plastic tab that is covering the candy plug yet.


After around 2-3 days go back and then remove the plastic tab that is covering the candy end.   Put the cage back into hive.   This has allowed the bees in the hive to get use to her but now you are allowing them to slowly gain access to her.   They should eat their way through the candy within a couple of days.


Optional step:   after about 3 days, you can go back and remove the cage, making sure that the queen has been released from the cage.   Sometimes, she can get trapped in there but you should be safe to remove her manually by now (be careful she doesn't fly out of the cage though).   DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO CHECK THE HIVE - doing so may cause the bees to stress out and kill the new queen.


We suggest you leave the hive alone for at least a week, ideally 2 weeks.   But after that time, you should fine there are a frame or 2 of eggs.  



Additional Note:


There is no 100% successful method for introducing queens - we are dealing with nature!   however, you should be able to get 95% success with this. 


There are a number of factors that will increase  your introduction rates:


1 - smaller colonies are more likely to accept a new queen compared to larger colonies.   if you are introducing into a full hive of bees, we suggest making a 2 or 3 frame split from it, adding the queen into that, and then merging them back together when the queen is properly laying.     This method works very well if you have aggressive bees.   breaking them down into smaller colonies makes them easier to handle and more likely to accept a new queen.


2 - nectar flows will help.   colonies will more readily accept a new queen if there is a strong nectar flow so wait till then.   If you can't and there is no flow, then feeding them sugar syrup at the same time as introducing her will help too.


3 - consider using a cage like this:  https://www.paynesbeefarm.co.uk/queen-marking/catching/queen-introduction-frame-cage/   this allows the queen to start laying straight away and has an even higher chance of success.


4 - Make them queenless for longer.    It is possible to add a queen into a hive that has only just been split.   we often add queens in only hours after they have become queenless.   Leaving them queenless for 48hours is only a sensible guideline but leaving them even longer is likely to increase chances even better so go ahead, leave them for 5 days, a week, or longer!    Just don't leave them so long that they will get laying workers as that will ruin your chances but that normally takes 3+ weeks.