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Author Topic: finding queens  (Read 2381 times)
sanman
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« on: March 10, 2006, 04:48:17 PM »

i've been keeping bees a while and i still have a hard time finding queens. any suggestions from any one?
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Shizzell
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« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2006, 05:28:44 PM »

Buying? Then definately Rossman Apiaries.
www.gabees.com/catalog

Happy Hunting
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« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2006, 05:32:16 PM »

Welcome to the Forums Sanman Smiley

I'll answer these in a generic way, so all new beekeepers can use the info for reference, some may seem common sense, but hopefully I'll list something that helps Smiley

Your question reminds me of something my father once said about "How you tell WHO the secret servicemen are" answer, they are the ONLY PEOPLE who are NOT looking at the President!!! "They look at the crowd!!!"

To answer your question, the queen has several tendencies to help you find her:

She is OFTEN the focus of attention of the workers, there really is a "court of workers" of sorts, not always a picture-perfect circle, but she surely is tended to.

She is generally PALER in color with less pronounced differences in abdominal stripes.

She also has a hairless, thorax (the area where the 6 legs are attached to between the head and abdomen)

Here body is about 1/4 to 1/3 longer than a worker and she has a different "pace" about the way she moves.

She has a real healthy shine, almost a caramel color with Italian bees and very little hair. And when closely weighed against a worker, she is considerably larger in stature.

Her WINGS are shorter than worker-bee wings, she is designed for limited flights for mating and swarming and absconding if necessary.

She tends to "check out a cell" by dipping her head inside to see if it is clean, then turns around to "back into it" to lay the egg. This whole process only takes about 10 seconds or less and onto another cells.

She is the only bee to come out of a cell HEAD FIRST (((EXCEPT))) emerging new born bees.

She pauses often to rest and be fed.  Most workers NEVER seem to "just hang out" unless they are guarding or fanning. If you see worker-bees with their heads in the cells they are either storing nectar or feeding larva.

With a healthy hive, she is the only bee that can back into a cell.

As important as the things you look for are the things you DON'T look for:

Pay no attention to pollen carriers.

Start looking on frames where eggs (if you can see them - you'll need strong sunlight from behind you to really see into the cells to spot eggs) and look for small larva in the cells - she often works only a frame and the frame on either side of that one during a 2 or 3 day laying session.

Fully capped honey cells are not a good place to look - at least not a good place to start looking.

If you see Waggle Dancers, that isn't her. Often, that kind of activity would be distracting and she may not be near by - just a personal opinion. My thought here is, forager communicate food sources to OTHER forager, rather than wasting time showing younger nurse bees who are to young to forage.

Drones are fat, stumpy, lack an aerodynamic look and the are typically hairy and dull in shine. They are a small percentage in a healthy hive and the queen has NOTHING to do with them in the hive.

HOPE THESE HAVE HELPED... I know many are common sense, but many new members without experience may read this post, so I try to cover all the bases I could think of.

here is a older photo of mine showing the difference in wing length, lack of defined stripes and shiny thorax.

http://www.beemaster.com/honeybee/image950.JPG

Let me know if these helped. And again, welcome aboard and happy beekeeping Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2006, 09:11:42 PM »

Mark your queens.  Not only does it help locate them.  It also tells you if they have swarmed or superceded.
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« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2006, 10:04:51 PM »

Sure.... you could mark them, I guess  embarassed  evil Hmmmmmm  wink
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« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2006, 11:48:08 PM »

But one must find them to mark them.
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« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2006, 12:01:32 AM »

Nanny Nanny Foo Foo Yeah Robo.... Take that - lololol
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« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2006, 01:22:09 AM »

One guy told me not to look at the individual bee but instead to scan over the frame a few times.  Looking for a crowd will help get you in the general direction also.
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« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2006, 02:04:09 AM »

Beemaster, thank you for sharing all that information and for sharing the photo.  I have done a few years worth of reading and research.  But as far as "hands on" experience, I am just now going into the second season with my hive that was started from a swarm of ferral bees that were given to me last year.  I had read virtually everything that you posted, but it was in different places and over a period of time.

I too have had trouble locating my queen and just couldn't get the best method of finding her quite right in my mind.  Having all of this informaiton in one place is a great help!  I've printed it out, and the next time I head to my hive, I'll have a copy of it with me!!

Thanks again.  By the way, great pic!!
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« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2006, 07:20:10 AM »

Quote from: beemaster
Sure.... you could mark them, I guess  embarassed  evil Hmmmmmm  wink


 cheesy
Ok let me try again.

After finding the queen with John's excellent (but potentially time consuming method).

MARK HER smiley

Unless you enjoy pulling your hair out and the fustration of looking for her, or don't care about her heritage.wink

One other point,  sometimes it just pays to walk away and come back the next day.  I know at times I have gone thru a hive multiple times and could not found her.  Yet can go back the next day and find her in minutes. shocked
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« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2006, 11:04:00 AM »

Build an observation hive.  You can look for the queen every day until you get good at it.
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« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2006, 11:18:32 AM »

>Build an observation hive. You can look for the queen every day until you get good at it.

That's my favorite.  Just don't mark the one in the observation hive so you have to work at it.  Mark the ones in your hives.  Practice with next year's (or last year's) color on drones first.

The queen is usually on the frame of the brood chamber that has the most bees. This isn't always true, but if you start on that frame and work your way from there you will find her either on that frame or the next 90% of the time.  Of course you want to remove an outside frame first to make room so you don't roll the queen pulling the frame from a tight location.

Of course the obvious thing is that the queen is larger, but that isn't always easy to see when there are bees climbing all over her. Look for the larger "shoulders" The width of her back, that little bare patch on the thorax. These are all larger and often you get a peek at them under the other bees.

Don't count on your marked queen still being there and being marked. Remember they may have swarmed and you didn't catch it or they may have superceded and she may be gone.

Look at how the bees act around the queen. Often there are several, not all, but serveral bees facing her. The bees around the queen act different. If you watch them everytime you find a queen you'll start noticing how they act, and how they move different around her.

The queen moves differently. Other bees are either moving quickly or just hanging and not moving. The workers move like they're listening to Aerosmith. The queen moves like she's listening to Schuber or Brahms. She moves slowly and gracefully. It's like she's waltzing and the workers are doing the bossanova. Next time you spot the queen notice how the bees in general move, how the bees around her move and how she moves.

Usually the queen is slightly different color. I have not found this helpful because she's also usually close enough in color that she's still hard to spot by this.
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« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2006, 05:22:30 PM »

Heave smoke is another thing that will usually make her run and hide! When you are on a queen hunt, try to smoke as lightly as possible.

By the by, here's one of my queens:

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« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2006, 05:45:43 PM »

Quote
Michael Bush
The queen moves differently. Other bees are either moving quickly or just hanging and not moving. The workers move like they're listening to Aerosmith. The queen moves like she's listening to Schuber or Brahms. She moves slowly and gracefully. It's like she's waltzing and the workers are doing the bossanova.


Nicely put Mike.... Said much better than I had put it Smiley Definitely what I tried to convey, she indeed does have a grace about her that no other bee in the colony has, thanks!

Jay, nice pic, you can really see the color difference there!

And about looking at the whole frame, it is really true - try blurring your eye (in my case that means JUST take off my reading glasses) and look at the whole side of the frame at once and she will stand out if she's there and not covered by other bees.

The observation hive is a great tool - it puts all these techniques and the whole cycle of life in the hive in prospective. You need a fully functional hive though, it needs an entrance landing board and access tube (ideally a clear tube so you can see them walking in and out of the hive, otherwise if it is a sealed hive, you just watch bees die off and one day they are all dead.

Great answers everyone!!!
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« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2006, 09:00:14 AM »

someone told me if you have two or more deeps(brood) to look through
if you split them down then wait a few min., the box with the queen in it will make less noise and the ones without make lotsa noise
so start in the quiet box first.......
 I have seen this to be true atleast part of the time.....
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« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2006, 10:12:41 AM »

Quote from: TREBOR

 I have seen this to be true atleast part of the time.....


at least 50% on the two box hives?   wink
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