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Author Topic: Finding queens  (Read 3787 times)
jimmy
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« on: March 04, 2009, 10:18:42 PM »

I was in 3 of my overwintered hives today. This is my 3rd spring raising bees and the hardest part for my wife and I  is finding the queen each time we look for her.Before next spring I will have all marked queens.
We split 2 hives today .  1   we are almost sure we saw the queen and moved her to a new box leaving fresh brood in the old box.
The others we never did find the queen but put 2 frames of fresh brood and 2 honey frames in each. We faced the hives toward each other just like M.Bush says to do. I do hope and pray we have done the right thing here for swarm prevention.
My wife feels very confondent we have done good but ,I am sceptal at this learning process. Thats why I will have Marked queens next year.
I don't like guessing.   Just venting here, thanks for reading.
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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2009, 10:35:14 PM »

to be honest it took me finding queens in nuc's before I could find the queen most every time, still sometimes them hags can hid from me but most of the time I can find them now, it just takes practice, old saying is find the frame with eggs and look on the frame and both frames on each side for the queen, works some times. set the frames aside when looking not back in the hive and sometimes she will run on the inside walls of the hive or floor, if not there inspect again every frame you reinstall. It just takes practice!!!
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2009, 07:58:36 AM »

Like M.B. says people get obsessed with finding the queen. (maybe he didn't say it exactly like that) Point being if you have eggs, uncapped larvae, she more than likely is there.

I find these help out a lot when putting frames aside and out of the way https://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=194

Its not the best picture but the way it works is those two sleeves go over the top side of the hive body, metal frame rests extend outwards where aprrox 4 frames can rest.

If you have multiple bodies on, you could seperate these and go through the boxes frame by frame.

As Ted pointed out she can be crafty and elusive. If I don't find her the first time even after carefully looking for her, I either take a little break and go back in, or move on and come back to that hive and recheck. Sometimes the second time is the charm.


...JP
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« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2009, 08:14:38 AM »

Before next spring I will have all marked queens.


 grin

http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/queen-marking/
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JP
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2009, 09:18:08 AM »



I've been thinking of marking my queens as of late. Liked your video.


...JP
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jimmy
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2009, 03:44:09 PM »

Thanks for all your support. Robo I bookmarked your page.However I will probaly buy new marked queens in the fall if I don't need them before that. I wanted to do a walk away split but had trouble finding queens this early. Thanks again. jimmy

JUST THOUGT I would add ,it looks real simple looking at a picture however, in the field there is a huge difference with very little experience.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2009, 08:11:39 PM »

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenspotting.htm
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kathyp
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« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2009, 08:24:39 PM »

the markings can come off.  how many times to people come here and complain that they can't find the marked queen, one they usually paid extra for?  i don't much care whether people mark queens, but may i suggest that learning to spot a queen is a handy skill.  it's not just about seeing the queen, but also about recognizing the behavior of the bees that will be around the queen.  once you have a little practice, the queen will jump out at you even if you are not really looking for her. 

i also agree with jp.  if the products of the queen are there, most times you don't need to find her.  was just emailing with a lady who's upset because she can't find the queen.  she's been keeping a couple of hives for 3 years and didn't think to look for eggs or young larvae.  she did mention that she had a little capped brood.  for as cold as it's been here, that's pretty good.
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« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2009, 08:41:44 PM »

I don't necessarily disagree with you Kathy that learning how to spot a queens by their behavior is not something everyone should strive for.  But even after keeping bees for over 30 years,  I occasionally get a queen that is very good at shall I say "blending in".  Even though all the signs of a queen are there,  I've gone through certain hives 3 or 4 times before I could find her.

The other point to keep in mind is that just because there are no eggs or other tell tale signs of queen doesn't mean there is not a queen. Certain queens will shut down when there is no nectar coming in and/or earlier in the fall then others.   I have seen too many times people trying to introduce a new queen when there was still a queen in the hive.

I also know you are comfortable with emergency queens,  but once again I have seen too many people have failing queens late in the season and find out they where emergency queens.  So for those who don't want to risk early life failures from unknown queens,  marking is a sure way to know your queen has not been replaced.

And yes you hear of markings wearing off, but that it just from using poor quality paint.  I can't remember the last time I have seen any signs of paint wearing off my queens.
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« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2009, 09:02:08 PM »

did i sound cranky?  smiley.  to many  jalapeños in my pasta.

i didn't realize how handy queen spotting was until i started doing the cutouts.  even  with my comparatively little experience, it is an invaluable skill.  one i might not have developed if i had not been to cheap to avoid the extra cost of the marked queens.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

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« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2009, 11:35:58 AM »

Michael Bush ,Those pictures is exactly what I saw bees and more bees. I didn't find the queens in either of those pictures. But I am a amateur.
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« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2009, 01:00:59 PM »

Michael Bush ,Those pictures is exactly what I saw bees and more bees. I didn't find the queens in either of those pictures. But I am a amateur.

I have to say, the glare in the pictures made it a little challenging,  but the fact that the queens where marked helped a lot grin
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« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2009, 05:20:23 PM »

>but the fact that the queens where marked helped a lot

People are always surprised when they finally find them and they are marked.  Smiley
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JP
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« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2009, 05:37:00 PM »

>but the fact that the queens where marked helped a lot

People are always surprised when they finally find them and they are marked.  Smiley


I'm not surprised by that statement. They seem to have a way of traveling through and under other bees in the hive. One second you see her and the next bam! disappearing act!

...JP
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« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2009, 08:48:47 PM »

part of teh problem can be haveing marked queens..  we start looking for a bright dot....  and as shes moving we look again and again.....   after a while we get smart  and start looking for just an unmarked queen.....  sometimes they lose the dot......  sometimes they have been replaced......

I don't usually look for her unless I am wanting her for a reason....  fresh brood and eggs  and off to the next hive I go......
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« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2009, 09:10:36 PM »

I don't usually look for her unless I am wanting her for a reason....  fresh brood and eggs  and off to the next hive I go......

unless I am searching for the queen on purpose this is what I also do....
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BjornBee
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« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2009, 09:28:37 PM »

There is no reason for marked queens except for your own lack of ability......  grin

For AHB areas, I can not argue against it. For non-AHB areas, I can not argue for it... Wink
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« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2009, 02:29:06 PM »

There is no reason for marked queens except for your own lack of ability......  grin

So how do you assure your prize breeder queens have not been superseded and your not just propagating an unknown quantity?
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« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2009, 03:03:27 PM »

why does it matter if the queen is doing a good job?  you'd off your super duper queen just a  quickly if she didn't perform as expected.

i can see where it would matter if you were selling and needed to be able to certify that the bees/queens were what you advertised.  it might matter if you had a rigid schedule of re-queening.  for the rest of us, i can't see that it's a big deal unless it just makes you feel better.  it 's extra work.  extra expense. extra risk to the queen....at least until you are very good at it.

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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2009, 03:54:12 PM »

There is no reason for marked queens except for your own lack of ability......  grin

So how do you assure your prize breeder queens have not been superseded and your not just propagating an unknown quantity?

Oh, Robo, you know me....anything to rub someone...  grin

It's like saying marking queens saves the colony on stress due to beekeepers finding them sooner, yet ignoring the fact that if beekeepers knew how to "read" a brood frame, one would spend far less time looking for a marked queen, and even less stress could be seen.

My prized breeders are usually seen at least once a week on average. And swarm season is generally about an 8 week event, which I would rather control through good old fashion strategy. And a marked queen never stopped that.

As for supersedure, I have read some, that painted queens may actually promote supersedure.

I think if I did not or could tell my queens superseded in mid-season without the use of a paint spot, then I think thats the least of my concerns to my business and customers. Suggesting that controllong my genetics or as you mention "unknown quantity" certainly goes beyond whether a queen is marked.

We have gone down this path before. I'm not really opposed to marking queens. Just show me a product deemed safe, manufacturered and tested on insects. As it is now, none of them I have researched and sold by major bee suppliers have been tested, not one manufacturer will go on record it should be applied to humans let alone insects. I've heard about nail polish, modeling paint, and a host of things that some beekeepers use. And I'm not convinced that we should be using them.

When I made an effort to go chem free, I also decided not to paint my queens. And the last paint pen I bought from a bee supply company, had carcinogenic warning and health issues for any contact with the product.

a beekeeper wants to mark a queen, fine. I just think for far too long, we took things for granted, and didn't even think that this could be harming the very lifeline of the colony.

Yes, I'll continue to monitor my paint free queens. As a breeder, it is the least I can do for my customers. If they want to paint them fancy colors, I'll actually do it for them, right after I tell them what I think about it..... grin And I'm certainly not going to promote such use, as an alternative to beekeepers desire to find the queen at every visit to the hive.
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« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2009, 11:57:35 PM »

Here I go again.....
Once you find the queen note which frame she is on.  Next time into the hive look for her on that frame first, then work outward in each direction.  With a little work the beekeeper should soon deduce that a particular queen is usually found in a certain area of the hive (3-4 frames).  Mark those frames and always look for the queen there 1st, it'll save a lot of eye stress.

My mentor taught me to always look at the 3rd frame in from either side of the brood chamber (upper if double) then work toward the center followed by out to the sides.  Same thing with the bottom brood chamber if she wasn't found in the upper one. The Northern District Beekeepers Association (back in the days when there was only one association between Seattle and the BC border) used to have a "Find the Queen race" every year at our annual picnic.  I always won, regardless of age group.  I could go into a hive and find the queen faster than any of the beekeepers who had been doing for as much as 50 years.  Why? Because I listened to my mentor and I believed him.
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« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2009, 01:43:28 AM »

What if she is laying in 2 westerns and 2 deeps?   grin
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #22 on: May 01, 2009, 11:57:48 PM »

What if she is laying in 2 westerns and 2 deeps?   grin

She will still go or attempt to go to her sweet spot in the hive.  2 deeps and 2 westerns is a very large brood chamber.  I'd venture that you have a multiple queen hive to put out that much brood production.
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« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2009, 01:46:37 AM »

On routine inspections, I never care much whether I see her or not as long as there is brood, eggs, and a good pattern. I see more queens when not looking for them than I do we I want to find one.
They must know that I am looking for them. rolleyes :)doak
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