Tips for finding your queen.


Tips for finding your queen.

There are times when seeing eggs to know your colony is queen right is just not enough and you may need to find your queen to perhaps make a split or carry out a manipulation or just to mark a new queen (only mark a new queen when she is definitely in lay and you have sealed worker brood which have come from eggs that she has laid).

So you’ve gone through each frame and haven’t found her….what are your options.

Option 1

  1. Firstly remove the end frames which have a few bees on and may just be stores or not even drawn yet. Check these first for the queen and store or remove to the side.
  2. Then move the remaining frames in your brood box and place them together in pairs with spaces between each pair so that there is a dark side in between the pair of frames and light on the outside of the pair and replace the cover board.
  3. Leave for 10 mins and then go through the frames again, checking each pair and looking at the dark inside side of each pair of frames first. If you can do this with a Bee Buddy this helps as you can bring both frames of each pair out together and check the dark side. Usually you’ll find her in the middle of the pair and she tends to head for the dark side.

Option 2

  • Whenever you have a dead old queen or one that has died, place her in a matchbox in the freezer. When you need to find your queen then use the old queen from the freezer and pin to one of the frames. The new queen after about 15 minutes with a group of workers will sense the queen pheromone and check out this intruder.

Option 3

  1. Take a new brood box & a couple of frames and remove the old brood box with frames from the current site, and put aside. Place the new brood box on the old floor containing a couple of frames; checking the old floor for the queen firstly.
  2. Place a queen excluder on top of the new brood box, and another super box or brood box on top of that.
  3. Shake the bees from each of the brood frames and smoke them down through the queen excluder until no bees are left in the original box.
  4. The queen will be found sitting on top of the queen excluder.
  5. This is option 3 as quite stressful for both you and the bees; but it is a sure way of finding her.
  6. Once found and caged, the old brood frames and box can be put back together with the bees so they can look after the brood again and settle back down.

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