Here are a few things I have learned the hard way about hatching and introducing queens through the years.
1. Always put candy in the cage. The bees will not always feed a virgin queen or a mated queen for that matter.
2. How to make candy for cages: Put white sugar in a blender and blend it until it is powder Mix a small amount of honey with the sugar until it reach a dough consistency. (Make sure honey is from hives w/o disease) I place it in a bag and knead it. Don't use too much honey. If it sits overnight it will form a more uniform dough.
3. Hostile bees sometimes will chew through the cork to get to the queen. Make sure the cork is solid or replace it.
4. If you are hatching queens in the hair roller cages check them twice a day when they are due to hatch and remove the queen cell when the queen is hatched. The queens sometimes become lodged in the queen cell or between the cell and the side of the cage and die.
5. If you are working in a hive where the queens are nearly ready to hatch, they will chew out early. I have had as many as six or seven freshly removed queen cells emerge while I watched so be prepared with cages if you are handling ripe or nearly ripe queen cells.
6. If you re-use a traditional wooden cage, the bees sometimes eat the hard candy through the screen and thereby create a space between the candy and the screen where the queen can become lodged and die. Refill the candy and place foil or plastic over it so that the bees do not eat it out from the outside.
7. Not all bees are the same in the way they treat foreign queens. The guidelines for introducing queens often do not work for the bees I have. I have learned that it is better safe than sorry when introducing a new queen.
8. Folks may differ with me on this, but the kind of bees I work with will draw queen cells when I remove the old queen and place the caged queen. Most of the time when they do this they will kill the queen when she is released. To avoid this, check for queen cells on day 5 and remove then release her on day seven.
9. I have quit removing the cork and never release the queen before day seven unless it is a mating nuc with young bees. I have lost too many 15-20 dollar queens getting in a hurry.
10. Bees sometimes will destroy a queen cell if placed in the hive unprotected particularly if it has damage or if the royal jelly is exposed.
11. This should probably go without saying but be sure to place the queen cage or queen cell where the brood nest is, particularly if it is cold.