Finding the queen

HOW TO FIND THE QUEEN

This procedure may appear difficult for beginners. We have listed some practical advices to facilitate the task.

  • Ø It is easier if the weather is favourable, and the bees are happy and busy.
  • Ø Mark the queens before introducing them. This makes it easier to find them later.
  • Ø Make use of queen excluders to confine the queens in her brood chambers.
  • Ø Utilize minimum smoke when opening & working the colony to prevent agitating the bees unduly.   The bees should stay calm on the combs.
  • Ø If you run 2 brood chambers, separate them first before looking for the queen. Begin by the upper body. This is where the queen is most often.
  • Ø Position the upturned cover close to the colony to deposit each inspected frame.
  • Ø Another way is to have an empty hive body on an upturned cover nearby to place the inspected frames, and to shelter them from the wind.
  • Ø Begin with frame #2 taking care not to crush or roll any bees while pulling it out.
  • Ø Scan over the surface of the comb, looking for the queen. No need to look at each bee. Rest the frame in the upturned cover, in upright position, leaning it against the box.
  • Ø Remove 1 frame at a time, taking care not to alarm the bees by knocking or jarring the frames.
  • Ø Repeat with the rest of the frames, leaning them neatly against one another, forming a block of frames sideways, similar to when they are in the brood chamber.
  • Ø The queen is usually found on a young brood comb.
  • Ø If you have not seen her, go back to the frames you’ve set beside you, and look again.
  • Ø Working in team helps a lot. You can ask for help from fellow beekeepers to find her.