Yesterday I found the QUEEN in a highly populated, two deep and two honey supers stack, bees galore.
USING FISCHERS " BEE QUICK " :!: Which is an excellent product for fuming bees out of honey supers BTW. Are you there Jim Fischer :?:
Last week and again day before yesterday, after about three hours of going through the two boxes boxes frame by frame, two and three times I gave up, frustrated to the point of almost installing a new queen convinced that there was no queen in that hive.
I returned yesterday equipped with an empty deep on a bottom board and installed it face to face towards the active hive, placed a queen excluder on it and then placed an empty deep box on the excluder. Taking each frame from the hive one by one, looking at it, both sides, then placed it into the empty until full. Ten frames. I then placed the " Bee Quick " fume board on top. After about 15 minutes most of the bees had slid down through the excluder leaving the drones and some workers/house bees, but most cleared out. After doing the two deeps I found the QUEEN :!: Caught her, and she is now sitting next to me in an empty plastic ice cream container with six other bees feeding herself on some comb honey.
The " Bee Quick " is temp sensitive, the hotter it is the quicker the bees react. Yesterday the temp was around 80/ 85 degrees F.
The usual method used with the two boxes and excluder to find a queen, is to shake the frames free of bees and smoke them down through the excluder. I find that method very harsh, kills a lot of bees, and a PITA generally, trying to do all of that, wheras the Bee Quick is a harmless concotion, has a pleasent odor and it did the job without undue harm to the bees, or, to me. There was some bee mortality but not an undue amount considering the population.
I rearranged the hive as it was and the bees started marching back into their home. Today I am going to insert the new SMR Minnesota Hygenic Italian Queen in that hive.
I am adding a disclaimer here about the Bee Quick. This is NOT an advertisment for the product. WTH, it worked for me, for both, clearing the honey super and an aid in findng a queen in a highly populated hive.