Seven ways to help you to find the Queen
By Lindsay Wilson
Sometimes you need to find your queen, and sometimes you only need to know that she is alive and well. But, if you absolutely must find an unmarked queen, there’s nothing like a little practice. You’ll find that spotting her gets much easier after you’ve done it a few times and learn how to look.
Queen Hiding in the Brood.
She will be on the brood e.g. egg and larvae area.
- (a) Please use minimal smoke, 2-3 puffs. (Wait 90 sec let the smoke do its job). Remove honey supers and queen excluder, put queen excluder on top of honey supers and a empty super to place already checked frames into.
- (b) Space frames apart in middle of brood box.
- (c) Scrape off all burr comb on side and top bars.
- (d) Carefully lift out the second frame taking care not to squash bees.
- (e) Scan your eyes over each side of the frame (60 to 90 sec each side). Place this frame in the empty super on-top of queen excluder, that’s on top of honey supers. Move to the next frame and so on till you find the old queen. The queen has not seen light for some time, and will run from light. If you don’t find her on any of the frames, she maybe on the inside wall of the super or the bottom board.
Still not found her? Well you must have missed her so she is in the old brood box or in the new super with the frames. So back you go, one frame at a time, from new super to old brood box.
Split the Brood
- (a) Put an empty Super on a bottom board next to your hive.
- (b) Take one side of brood frames, that’s 4 frames out and into the super.
- (c) You now have 2 bee hives each with brood pollen and honey. Place the roofs on. Go have a cup of tea. Later, you will have one hive fanning at the entrance. The hive fanning has the queen in it.
- (d) Now do step one – Queen Hiding in the Brood – at least you will only have 1/2 the brood to work with.
Light Barrier or Linton Briggs
I have read a lot of books and papers. This is Linton Briggs’ way of finding the Queen.
- (a) Please use minimal smoke, 2-3 puffs, remove honey supers and queen excluder, put queen excluder on top of honey supers.
- (b) Put an empty super on the queen excluder.
- (c) You are now only working on the brood super with the sun on your back, remove the frame from the outside, starting furthest from you, checking for the queen before placing the frame in the empty super.
- (d) Remove outside frame closest to you, again checking for the queen before placing in the empty super. You now have a light barrier driving the queen inwards.
- (e) Before checking the next frame closest to you look down the face of the frame, according to Linton the queen often stands taller than the rest of the bees and can be spotted up to 20% of the time on the face of the frame before it is removed. Repeat for remaining frames until the queen is found.
- (a) Please use minimal smoke, 2-3 puffs. Wait 1 min. Remove honey supers and queen excluder, put queen excluder on top of honey supers.
- (b) Move brood box to one side.
- (c) Put empty Super on a bottom board in original spot.
- (d) Take frames from brood box and shake all bees off into a super with a queen excluder to the bottom, putting frames back into the new super and bottom board.
- (e) Put strainer super with all drones workers and queen on brood box.
- (f) With a little smoke force the bees through the queen excluder into the new brood box.
- (g) Take the strainer box off 15 meters and dump on the ground, old queen cannot fly.
- (h) Introduce cage queen to brood, put back queen excluder and honey supers.
- (a) Shake off bees from brood box into new box and floor
- (b) Put new comb into old brood box.
- (c) Replace queen excluder and super with brood frames on top, nurse bees will move though queen excluder to feed the young.
- (d) The old queen is now on new comb and will start laying there, the next day or after 6 hours, the hive can be split with a division board or taken away to a new site. When the new queen comes you can introduce the caged queen into the brood. This method is used all over the world and has high success rate.