As I posted yesterday, I am splitting a two deep hive this weekend and putting in a new, purchased queen in a queen cage. My plan is to take the box of bees to a new location probably Saturday then introduce the queen on Sunday. After 24 hrs I'm hoping she will be accepted. My question is, how long does it usually take the workers to eat through the candy plug? Will it be enough time for them to be accepting or should I keep the candy covered for a few days?
INSTRUCTIONS FOR INTRODUCING QUEENS
You should have read one of the books on beekeeping that we list in our brochure. For those who have not, here are some brief instructions:
Make sure your hive is queenless. (Finding queens for requeening colonies is a subject for another set of instructions). You may install the new queen immediately after killing the old one but it is best to wait a day, or you may wait as long as four or five days. Remove the cork from the candy end of the queen mailing cage. If the candy is hard, make a small nail hole almost all the way through it. If the candy is soft, don't do anything with it. It is not necessary to remove the attendant bees from the queen cage, but some beekeepers believe it helps. If you have 10 frames in your hive you might have to remove one of the wall combs to be able to wedge the queen cage between two of the center combs with the screen on the cage exposed downward so the bees in your hive can communicate with the queen. The cage should be slanted with the candy end lower that the other end. The queen must be placed in the part of the hive where the bees are clustered. Close the hive and wait five to seven days before opening it. At that time the queen should be out of the cage, and she should have laid eggs in one or two of the combs. If she is not out of the cage, release her by taking the screen off, then check back in four or five days to see if she is laying.
If you know a method that works for you then use it.
Hives that have been queenless so long that all of the brood has hatched out, and hives that have developed laying workers do not accept new queens very well. Such hives should be given one or two combs with open brood in them from another hive if you have it available before you introduce the new queen.