Package Queens (025)
Play • 10 min

Packages arrive with a queen and together are installed in a hive of some kind. In a few days to a week the queen is released from her travel cage by either the bees or the beekeeper. Then the evaluation of that queen, and the bees, too, begins. How good is this queen? And when should I be able to decide if she needs replacing. A week? 2 weeks? A month? And how do you decide?

There are some basic parameters you can use to evaluate her performance. You can look at the egg laying pattern she is producing, measure how many eggs she is laying each day, and note if most are workers and only a very few, if any, are drones.

Experienced beekeepers can, because of lots of practice, estimate the amount of brood in the colony after a quick inspection, and can determine if she is producing what she should be producing depending the time she has had. Returning in a week, there should be a week’s increase in the amount of brood noted. And how much is enough?

But what if she isn’t producing well? Spotty pattern? Hardly any brood - basically an unorganized nest? And when does she cross the line of being very new, to being very unproductive?

Package queens can be tricky to work with, and Jim and Kim look at the ways to measure how she is doing, and what can be done with a queen that’s only a C+ instead of an A+. There are several ways to make this work for the colony and for the beekeeper.


We welcome Betterbee as sponsor of today's episode. BetterBee’s mission is to support every beekeeper with excellent customer service, continued education and quality equipment. From their colorful and informative catalog to their support of beekeeper educational activities, including this podcast series, BetterBee truly is Beekeepers Serving Beekeepers. See for yourself at


Honey Bee Obscura is brought to you by Growing Planet Media, LLC, the home of Beekeeping Today Podcast.

Music: Heart & Soul by Gyom, Walking in Paris by Studio Le Bus, original guitar music by Jeffrey Ott

Copyright © 2021 by Growing Planet Media, LLC

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