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What to do if your queen wasn’t accepted

This is frustrating, but fairly common. You introduced a queen to your hive properly, following all the steps in “How to requeen”, but she wasn’t accepted. If this happens to you, here is what to do: 

  1. Read “How to tell if a new queen was accepted” first. Look very carefully for eggs!
  2. It only takes the bees 12 days to raise a new queen using a 24 hour old larva. So, if you killed the old queen 13 days ago, and you saw queen cells in the hive, odds are the bees already have hatched out a few virgin queens, and you are better off letting them try to finish the process. Virgin queens usually go on a mating flight 5-7 days after hatching, and begin laying 5-7 days after returning from the flight. So, start watching for eggs about 14 days after she hatches. 
  3. If it has been less than 12 days since you killed the old queen, you can go through the hive, carefully look at each frame, wipe out any queen cells, then quickly get a new queen to replace the one which was not accepted. If you can’t get a new queen within a few days, it’s best to just let them finish raising their own queen with the queen cells already in the hive. Since this process is slower, you may need to add a frame of brood from a stronger hive to keep their strength up.