Today we received a new Carniolan queen from Corky of Ballard Bees. He’s one of the pioneers of urban bee-keeping in Seattle, working out of the garage of his single family home in Ballard. He’s a very cool guy and we talked bees for a while before heading home with our new queen and a couple of attendant bees safely stowed in a little paper bag.
Now how to introduce her to the other bees? As usual in beekeeping, there are many ways of doing it. Considering the laying worker episode, we decided to play it safe and use a very gentle technique: the push-in cage. The queen is protected while still being able to move around, feed, and possibly even start laying eggs. Workers hatching inside the cage become her new attendants. After a while you remove the cage – by then the hive has hopefully accepted her as their new queen.