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I Need to Find The Queen

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iball 

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Okay I don't, but it would be helpful if I did! I hived the nuc 17 days ago and having fed them they've drawn 5 full frames and there's 6 frames of brood from egg to capped brood so I'm confident that we're queen right.

I've put a super on with foundation and left the QE off to encourage them to go up. I'll add the QE once the majority of super frames have been drawn, hoping that her ladyship is down below unless I can put her there myself.

I'm now concerned that if I have to perform some sort of swarm management of the next few weeks this is going to be difficult if I can't locate her, so what are your top tips to finding an elusive unmarked queen?

I'm thinking a warm afternoon, the hive is going to be open for a while so should I cover with cloths to keep warm and dark?

Minimal of smoke, so that I don't spook her.

Patience and my best queen finding eyes selected.

Cheers

Ian
 

iball 

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Having just read my own thread it looks like the Demaree method is available if I can't find her but need to control a swarm, but any other suggestions would be welcome.

Ian
 

Nellie 

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Having spent nearly an hour trying to find a queen on three frames of brood the other week maybe I'm not best placed to dish out advice.

As you point out, if you need to do an Artificial Swarm and can't find her there are a few different methods of sorting it out.

On a general basis I tend to try the following:

1) Ignore frames of stores/foundation
2) I tend to find that she's more likely to be on or close to frames of eggs/space than frames of mostly sealed brood (not always the case though).
3) Look for the way she moves and/or her legs, it's how I spot her most often. Perhaps not the best way to describe it, but: Don't look for her specifically, look for something moving differently to everything else. If nothing's moving, gently blow on the bees once they start moving, look for the bee that's running differently to everything else.
 

Rosti 

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iball, i may have misread / interpreted your thread?

You have 6 drawn frames in a brood box, which holds 11/12, why are you not using a blanking board to retain heat and feeding in extra frames at the edge of the brood nest for drawing out as necesssary? Primary objective must be to establish a full brood box colony with the strength and space for later honey production / over-wintering. You seem to be asking a lot of them, I would want to see a few more drawn brood frames first. If you are determined to super up then at least keep the QE in place!

If they are showing signs of swarming prep then that is a different scenario, with a different solution, but your post gives no indication that you have evidenced based concern that this is happening.
 

admin 

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I would pop a queen excluder on,its a right pig to find the queen has been laying in the super on the next inspection.

I would get a nuc box and split the hive,inspect a comb and then place it in the nuc box and pop the lid on,keep going until you find the queen or you have filled the nuc.

Then go through the rest of the frames putting them back in the hive in pairs.
If you cannot find the queen after checking the last frame them look at the inside on each frame pair as she will hide in the dark space.

Dont forget to re-assemble the frames in the order they were found.

Sometimes it can take 2-3 attempts to find her over a couple of weeks when in your first year.

Is she marked ?
Nellie gives good advice above regards how she moves.
Another tip is when opening the hive ONLY look for the queen,ignore everything else thats going on,dont look at brood pollen cells ect.

I can understand what you are saying in that if you have to do a split AS ect in a hurry what chance do you have if you cant find her majesty now with plenty of time.

Take a deep breath and relax pop the roof off and go find her..

[POP: Admins word of the day.]
 

Nellie 

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Sometimes it can take 2-3 attempts to find her over a couple of weeks when in your first year...

Another tip is when opening the hive ONLY look for the queen,ignore everything else thats going on,dont look at brood pollen cells ect.
Do these are important points to stress especially if you're moving frames backwards and forwards between boxes trying to find her. It's not the end of the world if you don't find her on an inspection. I think it's far more important not to spend too long with the hive open and frames going in an out as it doesn't take too much of that to start stressing the bees and making them grumpy. I try to limit myself to two passes over the frames then I'll come back later and try again.

If I've got an unmarked queen in a colony I keep the marker to hand when I go through it just in case I spot her, often she pops up when you least expect it.
 

Polyanwood 

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Take a deep breath and relax pop the roof off and go find her..

[POP: Admins word of the day.]
One of the most useful things I was told in learning to find queens was to go through the box calm and confident with a positive attitude that I would find her... and that if I did not first time, then I would soon. This really helped. Sometimes you get into a negative mindset thinking it will never happen, and that doesn't help.

Good Luck!:coolgleamA:
 

iball 

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Thanks to everyone for your advice, it's funny but having read all of the replies I realised that I knew 70% of the answers, but I didn't know that I knew it!?

Rosti, they now have 9 frames of drawn comb to work with, it was a 6 frame Nuc (4 brood, 2 stores) and, at the last check (4 days ago) have drawn a further 5 frames of foundation.

Nellie, good advice on looking for how shes moves, I shall make sure that I am 'in the zone' when I open up on Friday. Bugger where can I lay my hands on a blue marking pen in a hurry.

Admin, I was going to fit the QE on the next inspection, so it would have been open for only 7 days. Prior to doing that give a quick check through the supers, there's more space up there so she should be easier to spot if she's up there.

Polyanwood, I'm far more relaxed and confident than I was 2 weeks ago, fortunately I have been tutored on some of the society hives but a big breath and some positive attitude is, I believe, a cure for lots of things.

One last thing, and I know I'm panicking but I'd rather panic a little now than big time when I'm up to my armpits in bees, if worst comes to worst will I cause any, some, lots (delete as applicable) of damage to her if I carefully brush the frames off?

I'll let you know how I get on.

Cheers

Ian
 
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Rosti 

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One last thing, and I know I'm panicking but I'd rather panic a little now than big time when I'm up to my armpits in bees, if worst comes to worst will I cause any, some, lots (delete as applicable) of damage to her if I carefully brush the frames off?Ian
I suggest you don't brush to find her, blow!
You'll find that the workers move away from the breeze very quickly and you'll (hopefully) be left with a queen on her lonesome. Also works if you have already found her and want to make space around her for a crown of thorns to pin her down for marking - I dont handle to mark (and dont clip either)

You'll get other advice/options to be sure, but you can experiment and have the time to find a method that suits your needs and approach.
 

Nellie 

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Nellie, good advice on looking for how shes moves, I shall make sure that I am 'in the zone' when I open up on Friday. Bugger where can I lay my hands on a blue marking pen in a hurry.


One last thing, and I know I'm panicking but I'd rather panic a little now than big time when I'm up to my armpits in bees, if worst comes to worst will I cause any, some, lots (delete as applicable) of damage to her if I carefully brush the frames off?
I wouldn't worry too much about the mark having to be blue. If you've only got a couple of colonies, write it on the roof/in your notes etc that she's a 2010 queen and marked. Tippex is a good substitute but don't use Nail varnish and keep her trapped while you wait for the mark to dry off.

As for panicking, do it here or at your association. There's very little in beekeeping that can't be worked out by closing up the hive and taking an hour/day or two to think it over or even just leave it until your next inspection while you get some advice.

My approach when I inspect is to work out from the last inspection what I need to do this time around an to try and stick to that, anything new that comes up that definitely doesn't need to be sorted out right this very second (and I'd say marking a queen falls into that category) becomes my focus for the next inspection.
 

iball 

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Thanks again to all, good sound advice at the press of a button. Hopefully I'll be able to reciprocate and help next year's newbies.

Cheers

Ian
 

iball 

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Opened up yesterday late afternoon and voila there she was on frame 4, her majesty in all her regalness.

What did I do? Watched her for a few seconds, replaced the frame and carried on. I'll mark her next time!

Ian
 

Poly Hive 

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Just for info, supering on 6 frames of brood is a bit premature. Note that, pre... mature.

I super on 8 or nine of brood. Mature.

Too early and you are holding them back. Not what you want I would think?

PH
 

iball 

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PH, we're now on 7 frames of brood and there's very little foundation left to draw so all being well we're only a week behind your suggested regime as far as brood size goes and once the limes get into full swing there'll be somewhere to store a drop or two and then the heather and balsam. It's not for me I just didn't want to be in a situation where I only had undrawn foundation. While everything was going on around me.

Thanks for the advice though as always it's appreciated.

Ian
 

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