Introducing a queen cell is a really simple process. Even easier than introducing mated or virgin queens. These instructions apply to all queen cells – those 48 hours old or capped. Of course, in agriculture things sometimes don’t go as planned but if you follow these instructions, your chances for success increase greatly.
1. Make sure you’re queenless.
It’s as simple as that. Make sure there is no queen in your hive, split, or nuc. They should be without a queen for about 8 hours or more.
2. Make sure there are no queen cells.
On the day you introduce your queen cell, go through and make sure there are no existing queen cells. If a virgin were to emerge from one of those queen cells, she could kill/destroy the queen cell you introduced.
3. Place the queen cell between two frames of brood.
This is quite important. The house bees are going to be where the brood is – feeding them and keeping the brood warm. If the queen cell is away from the brood, the bees may not travel all the way over there to keep that queen cell warm. If you put the queen cell with the brood, she’s right where the bees and heat are.
4. Close it up and leave it alone.
Put that top on and walk away. Go play with a different hive.
5. Wait and check for eggs and brood.
Weather dependent – from the time the queen cell is capped, she should emerge, firm up, go out on mating flights and start laying after 20 days. So check the hive around 20 days after the cell has been capped. At that point you should be seeing eggs or just hatched larvae (might not see the larvae but you should see a little puddle of royal jelly) or you might see some older brood. If you don’t see eggs or brood, wait about 5 days more then recheck. If you still don’t see any eggs or brood, contact me.