where is she?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by babnik, May 10, 2012.

  1. babnik

    babnik New Member

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    I'm in my second year of beekeeping and between myself and my neighbour, we have 10 hives. In those 14 months or so we have only ever managed to find 1 queen. This was only because the hive in question is very weak and the population is way down. I'm beginning to dispair of ever finding the others. Without finding the queen, we just have too many questions unanswered. For example today we opened a hive which was full of bees, but had very little capped brood (1 frame, and very sporadic at that), no eggs but a lot of stores in the hive body. I'm pretty sure she's queen less, but its always a guessing game. I don't think she's swarmed as there are too many bees, but perhaps she has and there is a young queen that hasn't started laying yet. I'd love to requeen this hive, but unless I can find a queen or prove there is no queen, introducing another queen seems like a bit haphazard. What I did do was put in a frame of eggs and brood from another hive. This other hive definitely has a queen, as there were a lot of eggs and brood, but we couldn't find her. There's just too many bees. Id also love to do a few splits, but unless I can find a queen, again its all a little difficult. How am I going to find her?
     
  2. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    good call on putting a frame of eggs in the hive. Im guessing the hive either swarmed or the queen may have been accidently killed in another inspection.
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Check the frame of eggs in 5 to 8 days. If it has queen cells, the queen is gone, but they will make a new one. If no queen cells, the queen is there.

    Split the hive the way you want and be sure there is a frame of eggs in each box. You don't need to find the queen. Check all splits in 5 to 8 days and the one with eggs has the queen. The others should have queen cells.

    You can find her easier in the one box if you really want to find her.
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip...
    How am I going to find her?

    tecumseh:
    there are several approaches to this problem. 1) if the hive is large then tossing in a queen excluder in the middle and coming back 4 or 5 days later and then determining which half has eggs is one way to reduce the search area. 2) shaking all the bees thru a queen excluder set up to allow the worker to escape downward eventually produces the queen + drone.

    +the time involved method which other can add various trick I would assume????

    3) looking in a systematic manner thru the frames one at a time <1 tricks you can employ here for example when actively looking for a queen to look at the face of the frame from an significant angle (not flat on to the face of either side of the frame)... you look for the queen abdomen to show up over everyone elses.... I kind of do the same thing as I pull the frame, that is as I separate one frame from the next I peer down between the frames to see if the queens abdomen reveal itself on either side of the two separated frames.
     
  5. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Another little trick is to look for a floret pattern of workerbees. As the queen moves about on a frame, many of the workers turn to face her creating this pattern. While this picture does not have many bees on it, it is indicative of the pattern. If you find a frame with eggs on it, you are usually close.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  6. jim314

    jim314 New Member

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    Great picture of the queen and eggs Perry:thumbsup:
    Jim
     
  7. babnik

    babnik New Member

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    Great pic Perry. My problem is that each and every frame has 10 times as many bees on as that frame. Bees are 2 or 3 thick on the frame. My bees seem smaller as well, but that could just be the image.
     
  8. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    what an awesome picture perry of a beautiful dark queen!
    babnik, you only need to train your eyes to look but not look for her on frames thick with bees.....look for the activity.....perry's picture show's the bee's facing her.....this is a still picture... a queen, when she walks the frame, the bees will part for her to allow her through, and she will be heading for the other side of the frame. when she pauses, the worker bees will face her as perry's picture indicates....when you look at a frame, look for this....and you will see this 'floret pattern' as perry described, and also very close as he said, on a frame with eggs.....
     
  9. jb63

    jb63 New Member

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    Nice tip Perry.I also look for her big black dot rite behind the eyes.
     
  10. Medic1259

    Medic1259 New Member

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    I just noticed that the dot is Blacker then others.. is that a normal trait?
     
  11. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    He is referring to the queens thorax. I am guessing it would appear darker, probably because she is usually on a frame with younger bees. Newly born bees are quite fuzzy and hairy (light gray coloured) and as they get older , especially when they begin foraging they start to show their age and lose a lot of this and eventually start to look shiny.
     
  12. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    Bonjour

    Finding the queen.

    Use only a little smoke. To counter the Q moving from one side of the frame to the other, quickly look round the edges of the face of the frame then scan the remaining area.

    Which part of France ? I hope you are not in an Asian Hornet area.

    .
     
  13. babnik

    babnik New Member

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    Barbarian, smack bang in the middle of it. South West. Estimated to be 1 nest every 200 metres. Last year was a constant battle against the damn things. Traps and electric fly squatter. This year put out traps early, and caught many queens, so hopefully we'll have less this year.
     
  14. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    places queens will hide..

    1) some hives when you first smoke 'em the queen often flees to the side walls of the box. this seems to almost be an individual queen trait. that is... some queens seem to almost refuse to leave the face of a comb and others run to the inside walls at the first sign that something is amiss.

    2) around the margins of the bottom bars... there is often a gap here and some queens are very savey at ducking from on side of the frame to the other. queens tend to flee from smoke and also will flee the side of the frame exposed to light.

    another trick that works sometimes... I call this my smoke 'em till they choke (not an endorsed method of the EPA or peta)... slightly crack the lid and at the entrance pour the smoke to the hive. wait a few minutes and continue to give the entrance a good puff from time to time. after about 2 minutes (the time here is unspecified) pull the lid off directly and look for the queen there. this of course doesn't work every time and seem to work better on smaller hives than those stacked very high.
     
  15. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    Well, if finding the queen is a requirement, I'll have to give this up. I've been messing with bees for about 5 years now, and I have seen a queen TWICE. I've pretty much given up. I look for larvae and capped brood and watch for queen cells, and just trust that the evidence means she's in there.
     
  16. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    well actually Hobie in about 98% of the things I do here what you describe is all that is necessary. it is not essential to 'see the queen' for most of what bee keepers do.