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Installing Queen Cells

Using Queen Cells in your Hives 

We are often asked how to best use Queen Cells, Install Cells or 
how to best make up Nucs or Splits using Queen Cells

How to Install Queen Cells

1. Make up your hives to install the queen cell into. This can be a Nuc, a swarm, splits or maybe you have a recent queen less hive.

  • Your Splits or Nucs can be completed 1-3 days before you are ready to install your cells (before they emerge). As a side note one to three days is only a suggestion, there is nothing wrong with a few more days. It's not a hard and fast rule but a guideline. The only thing you want to avoid is having the hive stay queen-less too long where you get into a laying worker situation. The other downside to waiting too long unnecessarily, is that your hive will have a longer period of no eggs being laid and potentially setting back the hive.
  • Assuming you have purchased your queen cells from us, or another reputable beekeeper and queen rearing operation you should know the expected emerging date of your queens. This determines your timeline for all the things you need to do and watch for in the coming days.

2. Installing your queen cells

  • You want to place your cells in the center of the bee population and brood frames. So in the case of a five frame nuc, look for the bees covering brood and it will be here in the center where you want to place the cells at the top of the frame. You can simply just place the cell over the space between the two frames (you can do this if you know the hives wont be moved) OR take the cell cup and press in into the wax gently careful in both cases not to crush the cell.

3.  Close up the hive

  • From here, the best thing to do is LEAVE IT ALONE!

  • You may be tempted you check your queen cell daily to see if its emerged, DONT! If you need to intervene you can do that in the coming days (Day 19 from the emerge date.

Installing Queen Cell Timeline | DAY

Queen Expected to Emerge 1

Mating Flight Takes Place 5 or 6

Check Nucs for Eggs 19

Larvae should be Present 23 Re-queen if No Eggs or Larvae 24

General Questions and Answers Related to using Queen Cells

  • Keep the cells relatively warm prior to installing them in the hive. Using an insulated cooler will help keep drafts and extreme heat away from the cells. Remember that the optimal temperature is at 95 degrees +/- 1 degree. 
  • If you plan to pick up your queen cells from us, bring along a small incubator (some use small chicken egg incubators) OR bring a small cooler and we can place your queen cells carefully in it and keep it warm with a heated bottle of water or the like.