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The Knight/Taber/Dews Method of Queen Introduction

butler cage 'in situ'

Use a Butler cage for the introduction. No workers in the cage of course, and no candy. The entrance is closed with a pre-pricked piece of newspaper, and this is covered by plastic film (shown blue). The cage is placed along the top bar of a frame (in line with the frame). A glass quilt with an extra framing of wood is fitted on the underside equal to the thickness of the cage (or the board Illustrated on Observation Board and alluded to in the diagram to the right) is then placed on the brood box (or preferably nuc box) and the roof replaced. The bees in the colony will now be able to climb all over the cage. The queen will be fed, but until the workers show signs that they are no longer aggressive towards the queen she is not allowed to be released. This is when the bees are not making the cage look like a hedgehog and biting the wires. It can take several days before the bees have stopped doing this. John Dews had one queen two weeks in the cage before he could release it. Observation through the glass every day or so will give the indication when to allow the queen to be released by just removing the plastic film.

The above text was transplanted from an Email sent by Albert Knight, to the Irish Beekeeper's List. So far Albert and John report 100% success with this method. There are many things that make this 'the best method yet' as the cage is lying along the top bar the queen can walk about on the bottom of the cage without her feet coming under attack. I am very enthusiastic about this idea! and have now tried it, it was successful and the monitoring process was also enjoyable (it took 7 days on the first occasion that I used it and 9 days on the second). Since then I have used it a further fourteen times, still retaining a 100% success rate.

There is a method of uniting a frame of bees to a stock, which, if a queen is present, becomes an introduction method. It is a method developed by John and Angela Flint and is called the 'Newspaper Bag' method.

The mechanical methods of introduction are only part of the story... The condition the colony is in at the time of introduction has a major influence on success.

Originally written by Dave Cushman as part of another page. Edited by Roger Patterson.