Make sure the hive has been queenless (no queen, queen cells, or laying workers) for a half a day to a day before introducing the new queen–THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! Look for eggs as well, because sometimes a queen is hard to find. Many times there may still be a queen or a new, virgin queen. However, waiting much longer than 24 hours increases risk of bees stimulated to produce queen cells and ultimately a virgin queen. If your bees have recently swarmed, do not immediately requeen, as it may take up to a month for the new queen that they make when swarming to start laying eggs.
Keep the queen at room temperature until you install her. If you are not installing the queen immediately that day, put a drop of water on the outside of the cage where the bees can reach it.
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), slightly down from the top of a frame (don’t put it right at the very top).
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.