How do I use a Push-In Cage for Queen Introduction?


A push-in cage is the best way to introduce your queen because it allows the queen to start laying eggs immediately and will increase the chances of acceptance. This method requires handling the queen, which must be done with great care. To make a push in cage cut a flat 6 in x 6 in screen wire and fold the screen over at the cuts. Select a comb with emerging brood. Brush the bees off the comb and place the push-in cage over an area of empty cells, a few emerging brood cells and open nectar. Remove the queen from the candy cage and put her under the cage. Do not allow adult bees under the cage with the queen, or at least minimize the number of bees under the case with the queen. Push the cage into the comb about a quarter of an inch (so that the hardware cloth penetrates into the was all the way to the midrib of the comb) allowing the queen to move freely underneath. Be sure the hive bees can't get under the cage. Remove the push-in cage after about four days or whenever the bees are no longer clinging to the cage. If the bees are clinging to the cage it means they have not accepted her yet, and more time is needed before the cage is removed.

The hive receiving the queen must have no laying queen and virgin queen or queen cells present. Ideally, the hive should be queenless for at least 24 hours prior to introduction. The frame with the queen should be placed in the middle of the brood nest (if no brood is present, place in the middle of the cluster).

The colony should be disturbed as little as possible for the next week, while the queen establishes her brood nest.