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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    4,141

    Default Nurse bees without finding the Queen?

    I'm asking this in Queen rearing because so many manipulations involve Nurse bees (without the queen) or making a hive queenless or getting the queen below an excluder. Actually finding the queen can be SO time consuming - there have to be other methods.

    1. So, I'm guessing that one method would be to shake all of the bees into a brood box and top it with an excluder - then when you come back all of the bees above the excluder are Not the queen.
    2. Shaking bees through an excluder would be another - but particularly traumatic - way.
    3. Smoking bees - along with various chemical aids - through an excluder might be another.



    #1 is the only one of those that sounds at all good to me. Too bad there aren't some special CSI glasses that make her glow blue or something. Anyway, what do you do in a production setting to accomplish this task?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
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    2,034

    Default Re: Nurse bees without finding the Queen?

    I'd hardly call my backyard a "production setting", but #1 is exactly what I do when making splits or nucs. I take frames of brood, shake/brush off the bees, put the excluder over the colony, then place a box containing the brood frames over the excluder. Close it up for an hour or two and when I get back, I've got frames covered with nurse bees.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Nurse bees without finding the Queen?

    From another thread....

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    The way we did it was use a shaker box, it fitted a super and went down in a kind of funnel that went into another box that held the bees.

    No time was wasted finding queens, we went around the yard taking lids off and put a queen excluder on each hive, and then a box with 6 empty frames evenly spaced, and the lid got put back on, we then walked around smoking the hives heavily in the entrance and "drumming" on them with a rubber hammer. This got done to each hive 2 or 3 times. Then the boxes we put on, now full of bees, were taken off and put on the shaker box and bees shaken off the 6 frames. As the bottom box got full of bees, one guy would lift the bottom box onto his knee. The other guy had packages and a set of scales. the guy with the box on his knee would open a hatch in the box and tip bees into a funnel the other guy put into packages on the scales. The guy doing the packages would yell the other guy when there were 4 lbs of bees in the package, so he would stop tipping and the other guy would stick the tin in the package and put a new package on the scales, with the funnel, so the other guy could tip more bees in.

    Hope all that makes sense.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Munfordville, Ky. U.S.A.
    Posts
    1,245

    Default Re: Nurse bees without finding the Queen?

    When trying to find the Russian queens that I got rid of last year, I added an extra box below the brood chamber with 5 frames of empty comb leaving plenty of room for all the bees. I then ran them all down one box at a time with a fume board using beego, then put an excluder and all the bees came back up except a few and the queen. I know that the=is is not the same situation, I just thought you might be able to work something like this. Good Luck!!
    So much to learn, so little time!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Winston Salem , NC
    Posts
    228

    Default Re: Nurse bees without finding the Queen?

    What is the best chemical to use to smoke them up? Thanks
    larry

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Franklin County, PA
    Posts
    503

    Default Re: Nurse bees without finding the Queen?

    David, I was wondering the same thing. I'm glad you asked. None of my queens are marked. I spent like forever looking through frames the other day and I thought there must be a better way I will start marking them but I need to find them first These are some good techniques with the excluder. The queens seem like they hide because they are often on the last frame I check Smart Bees keeping the queen safe in the furthest possible place.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Nurse bees without finding the Queen?

    Queen finding is a good skill to have, but an even better one would be to know how to do what has to be done without Having to find her. I bet commercial bee keepers usually know how to avoid it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
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    1,310

    Default Re: Nurse bees without finding the Queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    Too bad there aren't some special CSI glasses that make her glow blue or something.
    Well, once you've found her once, you could always mark her with a dot of fluorescent colored (or white) paint...then when it's time to find her, hold a blacklight over the box when it's cloudy/dusk...then she really WOULD "glow blue" for ya!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    5,408

    Default Re: Nurse bees without finding the Queen?

    I don't worry so much about finding the queen. When I harvest nurse bees, I just bring my screen-bottomed 5-frame nuc, with two empty combs, I shake the bees from combs into the nuc box, nurse bees stay, foragers leave and return to their own hives. When I select combs to shake, I just check them thoroughly to be sure no queen is on each comb that I select to shake. Sometimes I place a cloth over most of the top of the nuc, shake the bees onto the cloth, field bees quickly fly back to their hives, nurse bees stay on the cloth and soon enter the nuc and cluster on the combs and sides of the box.

    I don't worry about finding the queens in nurse donor colonies, I only concern myself about not finding any queens on the frames I shake into my collected nurse bees.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
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    5,544

    Default Re: Nurse bees without finding the Queen?

    Re-arrange the colony. Place sealed brood and queen below excluder, and unsealed brood above. Next day, nurse bees are above excluder on the open brood.

    If you can't find the queen(s), shake all the bees into bottom box with sealed brood, and place bee-less combs of unsealed brood above excluder.

  11. #11
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Nurse bees without finding the Queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    When I select combs to shake, I just check them thoroughly to be sure no queen is on each comb that I select to shake.
    The thing is - the only ways that I am 100% Sure that any given comb doesn't have the queen on it is if I find her on another comb and put it in a safe place first - or shake all of the bees off.

    Relatively speaking I'm pretty good at finding queens, but I spend too much time doing it.

    We have people in our association who have NEVER been able to spot their queen (in at least 2 years) - people who are getting to be knowledgeable bee keepers I would add. I asked this question for myself, but the answers are also going to be aggregated on our website. www.cookevillebeekeepers.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    5,408

    Default Re: Nurse bees without finding the Queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    . . . If you can't find the queen(s), shake all the bees into bottom box with sealed brood, and place bee-less combs of unsealed brood above excluder.
    But don't forget you have the occasional hive that has more than one queen, so perhaps Michael Palmer's method to trap any queens below an excluder, see quote above, would likely work the best for people who have difficulty locating queens.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  13. #13
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    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Nurse bees without finding the Queen?

    True. Nothing is 100% when it comes to bees.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: Nurse bees without finding the Queen?

    The method is repeatable, too. 10 days after shaking nurse bees, brood above excluder is sealed. Brood in bottom box is unsealed with queen.

    Place top box on bottom board, shake bees and queen out of bottom box and place it above excluder. Nurse bees will be there in the morning.

  15. #15
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    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Nurse bees without finding the Queen?

    Thanks Michael, that's the kind of tip that might take a long time to figure out - if ever - but could really be useful for a backyard queen raiser like me. Really helpful. The way i've been doing it has been a great learning experience, but not at all time efficient.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Nurse bees without finding the Queen?

    I've been do this the last couple of days - Shaking all of the bees below an excluder that is - And I've discovered a couple of things.

    I use 8 frame mediums, and when you shake 6-8 boxes of bees down they don't really fit into one 8 frame medium - Surprise surprise. So, I went to 2 boxes - one of which is nothing but foundation, and then set another empty box on top of that to help keep the bees inside the boxes instead of crawling over the sides. That worked pretty well, although one particularly populous hive had masses of bees that came out of the entrance bearding all over it for an hour or so after I finished. But, by this morning everything seemed pretty normal and I was able to (hopefully) dequeen the hives just by moving the bottom boxes to new spots. I may have taken more bees with them than would have been my first choice, but those "nucs" should really take off - or I might just find the queens in the smaller hives and recombine the extra if I have time and inclination. Anyway the main point is I shouldn't have to worry about those hives swarming for the remainder of our main nectar flow - which is really early this year of course.

    Anyway, this was a bigger job than it might sound like - shaking down 50 or so frames - but it isn't nearly as tedious as finding the queen in the same hive. Any tips - or is this about what you would expect?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    Default Re: Nurse bees without finding the Queen?

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    Anyway, this was a bigger job than it might sound like - shaking down 50 or so frames - but it isn't nearly as tedious as finding the queen in the same hive. Any tips - or is this about what you would expect?
    Tips on?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    3,709

    Default Re: Nurse bees without finding the Queen?

    ....as Michael remarked when he was showing us his system, "this way you not only find the queen, but you find the other queen."
    Note that if the queen is always on the last frame you look for on, you will.NEVER find the "other" queen.

    Deknow

  19. #19
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    Jan 2009
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Nurse bees without finding the Queen?

    Michael - tips on making the whole shake down process quicker/easier.

    Deknow - I've been coming back in a few days and making small nucs with some of the frames with cells. So if I was to miss a queen on the first round the lack of cells would tip me off that something is up.

    I'm trying to come up with a relatively simple system for sustainable increase that doesn't ruin the honey crop. Swarm management, and mite control via brood break are good too.

    I'm amazed that experienced bee keepers in our association buy bees every year instead of doing their own increase. Some people just can't find their queens. Others are afraid it will cost too much honey. So i'm experimenting on my own bees to prove if it will work.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Franklin County, PA
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    503

    Default Re: Nurse bees without finding the Queen?

    Thanks Michael, Shaking the bees has worked well for me. I have found the queen in the process of shaking them out 2x now when I needed queenless frames of bees and I was looking for the queen. The shake out I was shown was shake them out in front of the hive and have a sheet that works like a ramp up to the entrance. It works really well. I hadn't tried putting the unsealed brood above the excluder and waiting because I found the queen both times in the process but If I cant find her or I just need the nurse bees I will try it like you are saying. Great tip. I haven't found two queens in one hive yet but saw alot of queen cells this year so I suppose it will happen one of these days. If I shake them all out and use the excluder then they should both be below that so they can fight it out and I can still get queenless frames from above.
    bee egg nice.jpg

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