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How to Install a Queen Bee

Installing your honey bees into their new hive can be a quick and rewarding process. Follow these instructions to ensure that you and your bees are ready for the big moment.

Pre-Installation Prep

Make sure you're prepared for your bees! Ensure all equipment is assembled, painted and placed in the bee yard before your bees arrive. Make sure you have all the necessary equipment ready to go; protective gear is clean and ready, hive tool is near. Don’t forget to have bee feed and a pollen substitute at the ready, too!

Caring For Your Bees Before Installation

It’s important to install your bees as soon as possible. If you are going to transport your bees, make sure they are strapped securely and are NOT covered in a blanket or winter wrap otherwise the bees will overheat.

If you are unable to install your bees right away, keep them in a dark, quiet place, preferably around 50°F – 70°F. Do not chill or overheat your bees.

Feed your bees by generously spraying or brushing Pro-Sweet, a 1:1 water/sugar syrup, or 1:1 water/high fructose corn syrup mix on the screen sides 3-4 times a day.


Queen Installation

If you are replacing an existing queen, remove and destroy the old queen at least 24 hours before installing the new queen. If queen cells are present they need to be destroyed before introducing the queen.

Queen Arrival

Inspect the queen as soon as you can upon arrival. Place a small drop of water on the screen of the cage (twice a day). If you cannot install her immediately, keep her out of direct sunlight at room temperature and water every day until installation. The queen cage is not a permanent living space.

Queen Installation Instructions

Follow the instructions below or print our queen installation guide.

Step 1: You will receive one of the three pictured queen cages below. Attach and suspend the queen cage between the middle two frames to prevent from falling. Make sure that you’ve faced the screen towards the front of the colony. (Do not remove the cork or cap for the first three days). Identify your queen cage and follow the instructions.

Step 2: Place the inner cover and outer cover over the hive.

Step 3: Feed the bees.

Step 4: After 3 days return to the colony to release the queen.

7-10 days after installing the queen. Check to see that she has been released from her cage. If the queen has not been released on the 7th day, manually release her by holding the cage (or screen on wooden cage) close to the hive and using a hive tool to pull back the plastic tab or the screen to allow her to walk out of the cage and onto a frame. Once the queen is released into the hive, replace the frame in the center that was removed for spacing purposes during installation.

Recheck the hive after a total of 10-14 days after her release. You should begin to see eggs. The timing can vary based on the condition of the comb and the weather. Please Note: If there are no signs of eggs or larvae within 10-14 days please contact us at queenhelp@mannlakeltd.com

What do I do if my queen arrives dead?

If the queen arrives dead, DO NOT refuse her. Refusal of the shipment will result in a non-replacement of the queen. To receive a replacement queen we require a photo of the dead queen(s). Submit a photo here and after receiving the photo, the queen will ship on the next available shipping date. We will replace one queen free of charge. The customer will be held responsible for the full cost of the queen and shipping if a second replacement is needed.

We apologize that the queen has arrived dead. Please follow the instructions below so that we can get a replacement sent out immediately.

How to File a Claim:

Step 1: Contact us within 24 hours of receipt of the queen. (We will send one replacement at no charge).

Step 2: Take a photo of the dead queen in the queen cage and a picture of the shipping label.

Step 3: Make sure to install the dead queen in the hive with BOTH corks in place. Her pheromones will keep the workers from leaving.

Step 4: Submit photos here.

Important Tips for Claims

United States Postal Service

  1. Report to the Postal clerk upon inspection, the Postal clerk will need to submit an internal PS2856 form via MYPo. You will be provided with a receipt of damage form PS3831.
  1. We require a photo of the queen (in the queen cage) and a photo of the PS3831 receipt to receive a replacement.

United Parcel Service (UPS)

  1. Report directly to Mann Lake.
  1. We require photos of the shipping label (tracking number must be visible), the dead queen (in the cage) and the original shipping package to receive a replacement.