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Queen Cage

This is the cage that a new Queen Bee is shipped in by Queen Bee Breeders when a beekeeper orders a Package of Bees or simply wants to replace his existing Queen. This is just a small block of wood with three circular hollow chambers. On the top you can see that a wire mesh has been stapled over the chambers. Inside is the new Queen Bee with two or three attendants to take care of her during her trip.

This cage is now pictured sitting on top of some frames inside a bee hive that has been opened. One end of the cage has been drilled out and after the Queen and her attendants are placed inside by the commercial breeder, the small tunnel is sealed up with a candy plug.

The bees that you see on top of the wire outside of the cage are worker bees from the hive in which the cage is now sitting. They can “smell” the new Queen inside the cage. They will soon start to eat the candy plug that is sealing up the tunnel so that the Queen can get out and enter her new home.

You might ask why the beekeeper does not let her out of the cage right away when he puts the cage in her new home ? Since she has never lived in this particular hive she does not yet “smell” just like the other bees that live here. Because she is a stranger, so to speak, the bees in this hive would kill her if she were let loose right away, as she doesn’t “belong” to this hive just yet (she does not have the hive “smell”).

During the time that it takes the bees that already live in the hive to eat the candy plug and free her to leave the cage, her unique “smell” and the “smell” of this hive will have intermingled and she will then be accepted by the bees as one of them (she will by then be one of the family).