I either find her right away or it takes forever. Here's what I do:
- Pull a frame and just look at it without trying to focus on specific bees. Sometimes I can spot the queen right away if I'm looking at the frame as a whole.
- If I don't see her like that, I look for a cluster of bees that aren't scurrying around quite as fast as the others....especially if that cluster is nearer the middle of the frame.
- When I turn a frame, I watch the corners and edges. I've had queens run to the side I just got done examining while I was rotating the frame.
- I try not to use very much smoke since it sends the bees in all sorts of directions and makes it harder to spot the queen.
- Even if I know that I had a marked queen, I look for un-marked queens as well since there's no guarantee that my original, store bought queen hasn't been replaced.
- Sometimes, I place the examined frames in a different box very near the one I have open. That helps with the process.
Sometimes I never find her. Most of the time, I see her when I'm looking for something else like condition of brood, etc.
Hope this helps.
"My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"