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Firegazer 

House Bee
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Here's something that might be obvious (apologies if so), but might be a useful tip.

When doing inspections, it's really important to find evidence of the queen, but hunting for her herself can take ages if she's shy and unmarked, which tends to cause additional stress to the colony by keeping it open for longer than necessary. If you can spot eggs and young larvae fairly quickly, it answers lots of the basic questions about the colony's status and could be just the job, especially if the weather has got a bit colder.

So, Mr Smarty Pants, how do you do it?

Bees never ignore cells, and forget they're there; certainly not at a busy time of year like now. Some frames are full of capped honey - put them back in. Some frames are all capped brood - put them back in. Most uncapped cells will have nectar in at the moment, waiting to be moved or capped where it is. Some cells on new foundation aren't deep enough yet to be used for much more than pollen stashing.

What we need to see is a patch of cells (or a whole frame side!) where nothing seems to be happening in the cells. They don't have white maggoty larvae in them, the bees haven't stashed nectar or pollen in them, they aren't capped. You look in and there's nothing in them. These are the ones!!! Look harder. Still nothing? Look even harder; angle the frame to get the light down to the bottom of the cells; try and focus on the BOTTOMS of the cells and not the rims of the cells. Can you see them now? Bees don't do all that work for nothing and the chance that these cells are empty and haven't been laid in yet is tiny.

You should see tiny hair-like eggs, or maybe some gel with a tiny c about the same size as that one I just typed.

Try the FG method. Success guaranteed or you get your money back!

FG
 

kazmcc 

Queen Bee
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Thank you Firegazer. Makes total sense. But here comes ANOTHER question lol.....what is the problem with marking the queen? Why don't some people do it? Does it hurt her? Or as the bees lick the queen, does it get in the way of this process?
 

Peter Cox 

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Using a digital camera helps. Take a few pics of that empty frame from different angles then blow them up on the computer. Makes it far easier to see what's in them. Made easier by using a frame perch to hold the frame on the outside of the box to snap the shots.
 

keithgrimes 

Field Bee
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the best advice I was ever given was 'don't inspect the bees, inspect the cells' . I know several experienced beeks who don't even make a point of looking for the queen.
 

bramblebee 

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I dont see the queen but just look at all the frames and then take notes
do more or lees what is said above
 

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