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Finding the Queen?

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Poly Hive 

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With folks thoughts turning towards swarming I thought to start off a how do you find the Queen thread.

One very simple answer is practice, getting your eye in. How? Chat up someone with reasonable competence and ask them to show you how they do it. The more often you find her the easier it is.

My method for an elusive Queen is as follows.

Remove the brood box with the unfindable Q some twenty feet or so away from the stance. Leave the supers there on the roof for the foragers.

Carefully remove (assuming National) five combs and make very very sure she is not on them. Lean them gently against the BB. Pair up the remaining 6 with a good two inches between the pairs, and the same distance from the BB side to the first frame. The pairs of frames are tight together with the gap between one pair to the next.

Go away and have a cuppa, or work the other hives but leave the problem one for a good twenty minutes or better a half hour. Why?

Because HM hates the light and will calm down and slip into the dark between a pair of combs. There being now only 6 sides to inspect and the flying bees having gone back to the home stance the odds are now heavily in your favour.

So what is your favourite trick to find her on a day when she is playing games?

PH
 

victor meldrew 

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Hi Pete,
Heard the one about pinning a dead queen to a top bar, leaving for about 20 mins; on removing the crown board HM is supposed to be busily trying to kill/remove her rival :). Never tried it myself :driving:.
John
 

FenBee 

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Finding the queen - any more tips ...

PH, your tips on finding the queen are very useful.

I read that someone in the local BKA is doing some research, it seems that some beeks can find the queen with very little effort, while others, even though they are very experienced just cannot find her. So if anyone has some more ideas, I would like to read them, as my queen is very hard to find and is not yet marked.
 

Poly Hive 

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I have a bad one too.

Colony is bad tempered and on the 2nd go round the bees clump at the bottom of the frames.

As soon as I have my cells, I intend splitting this box into (hopefully) five nucs and after four days the one with eggs has her. If I haven't found her by then and at least got her clipped, whichever way it lands she is for the chop.

I dunno about experienced people unable to find queens. Define experience?

When I was at full strength, running 80 + boxes you could argue in a year I had the lifetimes experience of the one colony owner. And so on as the numbers stack up.

Some people literally never learn.



PH
 

FROGDOGDIVER 

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Because HM hates the light and will calm down and slip into the dark between a pair of combs. There being now only 6 sides to inspect and the flying bees having gone back to the home stance the odds are now heavily in your favour.


PH
I like that method poly hive. I could have done with knowing that last year when searching a busy hive to mark the queen. Spotted her sunday though and all marked up. Thanks for the tip though.
 

David P 

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I find the easiest way to find my queen is to stop looking.
 

MJBee 

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I had a difficult Queen which I eventually found, I carried the frame she was on the few yards to get the queen cage, sat down and tried to find her again!!
Bearing in mind I only had one frame to look at it took me 5 minutes to find her - the little minx was right at the bottom of the frame and every time I turned it over she was nipping to the other side:) No hiding now she is sporting a fluorescent red spot.
:cheers2: Mike
 

Finman 

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.

For swarming?

If the hive has no small larvae and eggs, the queen has gone.

*********

Queen si easy to see if you look for "longest leg walkin style".

When I open the brood box, i do not use smoke. There is a dense cluster between frames and the queen is in the middle of cluster. It is on the frame where are youngest larvae.

During swarming time the queen is often walkin near frame's bottom bar where is queen cell cupps.

If you do not find her easily, try another time. Don't use smoke.

*********
Unmated queen maybe where ever. Often they are near entrance.

.
 

hedgerow pete 

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i use a very specilised piece of equipment which i will sell to others for the very cheaP price of £2500 each i have several for sale . its called the "pete's queen finding frame development device" it basicly works like this one at a time lift each frame up in the comfort of your bee shed attach "pete's queen finding frame development device" and then at your leasure slowly work the eyes over the frame until hm is found and correctly marked

I would also like to squash any rummours spreed on this forum that " pete's queen finding frame development device is two pieces of string hanging from a nail in the shed roof above the hive, that one hangs the frame from to allow both hands to work the frame one to steady and one to search?shift bees to find the little bugger who's hidding
 

biglongdarren 

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i marked two yesterday,i am starting to find that if you have it in your head that you will find her you usually do.
also taking your time and doing everything nice and gentle and slowly and with no smoke helps me,maybe a little spray with sugar syrup to keep them busy.
Darren
 

jackbee 

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One method I have heard is to use peripheral vision - 'looking without looking', maybe a bit 'zen'ish though lol

Another one was to look for a pattern of bees clearing out of her way as she moves, they will surround her differently to other bees
 

bobandbec 

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No smoke. Don't rush. Is there evidence of a queen? Big queens. Know where to look.
Most importantly concentrate on looking for the queen. Practice.
More times you find her the better you'll be at it.

Peter
 

the beehive lodge 

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ive seen in the bbka mag that you can use a magnet if she has a metal disc as on her thorax i wouldn't use it my self it reminds me of the crane in a scrap yard what ever next gps LOLnot worthy :eek:
 

SixFooter 

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Theres a book called "Beekeeping without finding the Queen". If you read this, the bees know you've read it and the queen doesnt hide. Then if you see her you can mark her. If you dont, san fairy anne
 

Polyanwood 

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Watch how queens walk diffferently - mated queens like stilt walkers and virgins scurrying like beetles.

I did try the dead queen trick. ( Killing surplus queen by putting her in freezer, then pinning her on top of brood nest to see if queen would seek her out) I don't know if it worked. It upset me because it seemed to upset and agitate the bees. Their sound changed and they frothed over the dead queen and so I stopped.

Once when I was desperate to find a queen I sieved all the bees through a queen excluder. They didn't like it much, but I found her.

You have to believe she is in there and you can find her. If you do not believe you will not look properly. You have to turn off the waves of emotion and the voice inside your head that says, ' I can't find her. I'll never find her. I'm useless at this' With persistence and positve attitude you will succeed. This last advice about believing, was the most useful advice of all for me. I used to get stressed and then i was no longer looking properly.
 

talon-ted 

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i agree that positive thinking is part of the answer.

clive de bruyn states in one of his books that if you are struggling to find the queen you should make that your only job when opening the hive.

as a newby i failed the first few times and then tried this, combined with moving the brood box 20 feet away.

it took me some time and it was on my second look through that i spotted and marked her. since then i have found that my eye is in, i my confidence has soared and i have found it a great deal easier and more fun.

i now treat it like a challenge in which i know i will succeed rather than a test which i am anxious not to fail.

mark
 

Chris B 

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Concentrate on the lighter brood frames - she's more likely to be on a frame with space she can lay in.

If frames are heaving with bees, a light shake will remove half of them but queens usually hang on. Then she's easier to find.

Don't tolerate bees that run all over the comb and hang off in clusters - it's difficult to find queens in such colonies. Replace these queens when you do eventually find them, or at least don't breed from them.
 

mbc 

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He's the one in the pink lycra shorts.

EDIT: sorry, I'll get my coat
 
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