About Bees – Introducing Queens

QueenMarking 2 by Max Westby

Queen Marking 2 by Max Westby

Next to Queen Rearing, I have given more time and study to the Subject of Queen
Introduction than to any other branch of beekeeping. From the letters I received, I
found that so many queens were lost in introduction, it was a wonder that any one
had courage to buy queens only to lose so large a percent in introduction. As a help
to those purchasing queens, as well as offering an inducement to the beekeepers
to purchase more queens, I set to work in experimenting to find a method which
would eliminate this heavy loss.

My experiments and experience showed that several points are necessary to
perfect queen introduction. First, the queen must be on the comb of the colony to
which she is to be introduced in order to take on the colony odor. Second, she must
be laying when the worker bees gain access to her, since a laying queen is
received much more readily than one which is not laying. Third, the bees must get
into the cage to her one at a time, for if the queen gets out of the cage among the
bees, she becomes frightened and is apt to be balled.

As a result, I brought out the Jay Smith Push-in-the-Comb Introducing Cage. This
cage consists of a wooden frame with teeth on one side and the other side
covered with wire screen cloth. Two holes are bored into this frame; one for the
purpose of putting in the queen, and the other to accommodate a queen excluder.

To use this cage, it is pressed into the comb until its teeth are firmly embedded into
the midrib of the comb. The queen is run into the cage thro the opening in the side,
into which a cork is placed. Another cork is put in the entrance over the queen
excluder.’ After the queen has been in this cage two days the cork over the
excluder is removed so the bees can enter one at a time. They seem afraid of the
queen at first and act as tho they were getting into a strange colony. They soon
become acquainted with her, however, and feed her. She begins to lay, increasing
her egg capacity and becoming large and plump. Tho lack of space, she
sometimes lays over a score of eggs in a single cell. Two days more, the cage can
be removed, since the bees have accepted her, and she is in no further danger of
being killed by them.

This cage is ideal in its success, I have introduced hundreds of queens under all
sorts of conditions without a loss. When robbers are troublesome and no honey is
coming in, the cage should he left three days, then the cork removed, and left three
days more.

Here is the original 1926 page:

 About Bees – Introducing Queens

About Bees – Introducing Queens

Keeping Bees with Ashley English is a great book for anyone wanting to learn
how to keep a urban beehive.