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Hi bee friends,

My daughter and I installed a package of bees into our first hive on Friday. Even though the attendants in the queen cage were dead (the Italian bees were shipped from Georgia, a 5 day trip), we opted for delayed release (cage between two frames at the top of the box).

We live in Connecticut, and the two nights after the install were pretty cold and windy, down to 33F. We were concerned about the hive, and about the queen. So yesterday we opened the hive to check on her. She was still alive, but the bees had not made much progress on her candy door, less than half I'd estimate.

We decided to direct release her. Unfortunately, instead of coming out, the cork was loose and just pushed into the compartment with the queen, and she seemed incapable of getting around it. I pried out the staples holding the screen. I wish we'd taken more time to strategize (probably would have been best to spray her with some water, then place the open cage on the bottom of the hive), but instead my daughter ended up trying to empty the queen out of the cage onto the frames with the main mass of the bees.

It was a stressful moment, and my daughter seems to think she saw the queen fall onto the rest of the bees, but I (standing a few feet away) thought I saw a queen-sized bee fly away. I had forgotten about standing still if the queen flies away, and I later read on these forums about lifting out a frame to get Nasonov in the air to lure her back. But instead we just sealed up the hive.

So, our dilemma is, what do we do now? We could open the hive again, either today or tomorrow, and look for the queen (it was not marked). My concern about that is, there probably isn't any/much comb for them to have spread out on, so it might be difficult to find her if she's in the mass of workers. Also, if they are in the initial building phase, the comb will probably be very fragile, and we don't to break anything. And, of course, there is risk that if she is there she'll fly away for real!

Should we wait a few more days to let them get the comb established more, or should we find out ASAP if we have a queen or not? I understand that w/o a queen the colony is just going to wind down as the older bees die ...

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

5 ,8 ,10 frame, and long Lang
2,561 Posts
Well you need a queen , and she did not lay prior to flying off.......
So either she flew away or she did not 50-50
then if she flew away it is possible she did find her way back 50-50

you need to go in and find the queen or eggs, I would give them 4-5 days from the last date you were in and go in to look for either the queen or eggs.
Eggs would be in the cells of the comb so if litle comb exists it should not be difficult.

While waiting research when you can order a queen from, so you can pull the trigger quickly if needed.

Go in slow look really carefully and if no queen and no eggs then order another one. If the hive sounds loud and is pissy when you open if that is also a clue, queen less bees are not happy bees.

O And think the release thru a bit more :) it is only a 50$ oops and 10 day delay not insurmountable, most lessons have cost, you will soon learn this.

the cork is pulled out, think wine bottle, A small diameter screw, turn in slowly so you do not poke thru to the queen, pull and viola cork is gone. Very small flat blade will also work, it can also be used to work out a staple.

good luck

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