What do I look for if the queen in the package is dead?

Q. As you might know we here in Tennessee had problems with some packages this year. It mostly involved queens. I would like to know what to look for if the queen in the package is dead. Could she have been killed by a virgin queen shook into the package? If so, would her attendants all be dead also? Should I wait to replace the dead queen? If so, what would the procedure be? J. Ash

A. A virgin in a package would not be able to get to the queen in the cage and probably would not try; she is stressed out just like the other bees. Nor would she kill the attendants. Excessive heat or cold, or getting soaked by syrup would be likely causes for the dead queen.

If you receive a dead queen, obtain a replacement as soon as possible. If you do not get a queen ASAP, you run the risk of a laying worker, a situation extremely difficult to correct. Kelley’s guarantees its queens; instructions on what to do should your queen arrive dead are provided when you order a package of bees from us.

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