Make sure the hive has been queenless (no queen, queen cells, or laying workers) for a day before introducing the new queen–THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! Look for eggs as well, because sometimes a queen is hard to find.
If you are not installing your queen within 24 hours, let us know before you pick her up, and we can add some attendants. To improve acceptance, we typically don’t add attendants with the queen if she’s being installed within a day.
Keep the queen at room temperature until you install her.
Depending on what queen cage we give you, remove the cap covering the outside access to the queen candy (for the bees to release the queen).
Smoke your hive lightly before adding the queen cage.
Install the queen cage with the candy side facing upward towards the top of the hive (in the middle of the brood nest or cluster).
Check it in 5 days to make sure they’ve released her. If not, go ahead and open the cage and point the opening down into the hive, letting her crawl down in. After she’s been released, don’t disturb her for another week, then check for eggs to see if she’s laying. Unless there is a lot of natural pollen coming in, you could add a small piece of pollen patty to encourage laying, and if there is not a lot of natural nectar coming in, add some 1:1 sugar syrup.