Two Queens

Another common reason for a dead package queen is that your package has two queens. Sometimes when a beekeeper is making a package, they accidentally shake a queen in with the workers. Then, when the caged queen is added, the worker bees reject her because they already have a queen. The workers may kill the caged queen while in transit and you will find her dead in her cage upon arrival or they may kill her several days after you install your package. Typically, in this scenario, you will find that your queen is dead, but that the rest of the package is healthy.


If this sound like your situation, it’s still a good idea to contact your supplier to let them know what’s going on. They will likely offer to send you a new queen, however, you should hold off on installing one. If your colony already has a queen, any new queen you try to introduce is doomed to die.

At this point, you might be wondering how you can know for sure whether your package is queenless or whether there is a shook queen in there. Unfortunately, the answer is that you cannot know yet and will have to wait at least one week to find out. A word of caution, you should resist the temptation to search the cluster for a queen when they are first installed.  A shook queen is not always marked and you are unlikely to spot her. Any effort to do so may only stress your bees out and could prompt your new bees to abandon the hive.

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