I posted this on another thread, but thought it could use its own.
This is not something I recommend as general practice, for a queen you value highly (your best queen, or the $200 breeder queen you just bought). This is something to do in a pinch.
I had some queens from packages that had been banked for about 2 weeks, but had been laying well until then. I wanted to get them producing somehow, so we decided to make up some nucs in one of our Boston locations (Fenway Victory Gardens).
I forgot to bring candy tubes for the queen cages...and wouldn't be back for a week.
I was going to buy a bag of marshmallows and make some candy tubes out of drinking straws...but Ramona suggested we try a direct release. Since the topic had just come up here on BS, I thought it was worth filming what I did (dredging the mated queen in honey), and reporting back a week later that the queen was accepted and laying up a storm.
After making up the nuc, I left the queen in her cage on the top bars for 15-20 minutes...you will see on the video that the bees were not ready to accept that queen. I made a pool in some honeycomb and made sure the queen was covered head to stinger with honey. The idea is that the bees gradually become accustomed to the smell of the new queen as they lick the honey off of her. I've done this twice...the first time I believe it worked, but it was too long after that I saw the results to be sure that a new queen hadn't been produced (I'm pretty certain it worked). This time, the video was shot on Monday, and I checked back on Sunday, so unless a rouge queen flew in and started laying, the bees accepted this queen just fine.
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