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Thread: Queen Question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    Bedford VA USA
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    Default Queen Question

    Yesterday, I went into my hive to see how we fared for the winter. I was looking to mark my queen, since this hive swarmed last year. I always struggle with finding my queen. I had about 8 full frames of bees - very pleased!

    Is she the only bee that puts her butt into a cell? I had a suspect, then she displayed this behavior?

    I was not sure so I did not mark her!

    Thanks - wendell

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Chapel Hill, NC USA
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    Default Re: Queen Question

    Kinda sounds to me like you really could use the practice of finding queens without the mark. Just an idea. I know I used to rely too much on the little colored dot. She'll be the one with wings that only go about half way to the tip of her tail. If you watch her for a bit you'll probably see that the other bees react differently to her than each other.

    If you decide you absolutely must mark her, practice on the drones first. Once you can easily mark them then mark the queen. It takes a little practice to do it without maiming or losing her.
    Walter

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Queen Question

    Quote Originally Posted by wgstarks View Post
    Kinda sounds to me like you really could use the practice of finding queens without the mark.
    Walter,

    Thanks for the encouragement, I need to learn to find queens with the mark first...baby steps. However, since I am the ONLY person to go into my hives and alone, it is difficult to know what a queen looks like without her being marked first. Yes, I do need practice, but how is that acheived? I took classes and have a mentor, but he has never been to my site...available as phone/email support.

    I was a newbie last year and never even located the marked queens before they swarmed. (I am color blind, so the red marking did not help) plus my hive was much to large for a newbie. I did not go into the brood box near as much as I should have since I was intimidated. (FYI my NUC came as 10 frames overflowing). If I had the experience I do now, I would have split both hives early. The grew to about 8 boxes deep each. I had to remove supers so I didn't have to stand on cinder blocks to feed them. After my 2nd hive swarmed on Aug 29, I did locate an unmarked queen around Sept 21!! :-) First one. (I looked at queen photos online a lot before that) Unfortunately, that hive did not survive the winter.

    I want to find my remaining queen and mark her before the hive gets any larger...about 8 full medium frames of bees currently. I want to re-queen with better local stock when queens are available.

    Thanks,
    WW

  4. #4
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    Fort Gay, WV, USA
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    Default Re: Queen Question

    This may sound a bit corny but it is how I learned. I found a picture of a very pretty queen bee with workers around her on the internet. Saved the picture to my computer which i use every day for multiple reasons. Then set that picture as the background picture. Each and every time I used the computer I was forced to look at the queen noticing the diff ways to identify her. After a short time of that picture being there for me to look at, I started finding my queens easier and easier.
    Thomas Bartram - 43 - 8 F langs, 22 Italian & 21 Russian

  5. #5
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    May 2011
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    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Queen Question

    WendellW

    I have the same red (and green to some extent) colour deficiency. I use another colour when those are the colour of the year. Blue, white, yellow, neon pink or green. Go into a dollar store and look in the fingernail polish. Every weird colour you can imagine!
    Frank

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Chapel Hill, NC USA
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    Default Re: Queen Question

    One of the county associations I'm a member of keeps about a dozen nucs at a community college. I got quite a bit of practice finding the queen by working those hives last year. The trick for me was not to try and look at each individual bee, but to look at the whole frame. I can almost always find her that way. Also looking to see what's in the comb will narrow the choices. She's most likely to be on a frame with new eggs. drlonzo's idea sounds good too. Get some good pics of queens in the hive and study them.

    I really wouldn't recommend trying to mark your queen without a lot of practice. It's very easy to cripple or kill her in the process.

    IMO it's really not all that critical to be able to find the queen. More important to be able to decide how she is performing. Are you seeing new eggs? Nice solid pattern? Is there plenty of empty comb for her to lay on? That sort of thing. You may find that she is easier to find when you stop looking for her.

    I know many people recommend not disturbing the hive any more than necessary, but I think that to be a good beekeeper you must have experience. That will only come with practice. So the more you go into your hives the better off your bees will be in the long run.
    Walter

  7. #7
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    Bedford VA USA
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    Default Re: Queen Question

    Thanks for the suggestions & help!

    I am looking to re-queen with VSH stock.

    I was trying to determine the frames with eggs, but there were so many bees covering the frames, I was struggling to find capped brood & determine patterns.

    WW

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Queen Question

    If you blow on them gently they will move.
    Walter

  9. #9
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    Nov 2014
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    Wichita, Kansas, USA
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    Default Re: Queen Question

    Look for the queen inside a ring of workers. The workers will be around her in a ring formation. They are attending to her needs. I look for the ring of workers and she will be in the center.

  10. #10
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Queen Question

    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
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    Jan 2003
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    Default Re: Queen Question

    In addition to the tips given, I seriously recommend that you do not test your marking skills on any queen until you have drones actively flying. It would be a real shame to damage a queen at a point in the season where they can't replace her. Right now is a very critical point in the hives development and I suggest holding off on your desire to mark until much later when mistakes have much lower consequences.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  12. #12
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    Aug 2014
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    Scottsdale, AZ, USA
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    Default Re: Queen Question

    My advice is not to mark the queen but train yourself to be able to locate her among the worker bees. And to locate her is easy, she is usually in the center of them.
    Paul Reyes the author of : Beekeeping-for-Beginners.Com

  13. #13
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    Nov 2014
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    Wichita, Kansas, USA
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    Default Re: Queen Question

    See the queen in the center of the ring of workers?
    1558535_376817075807579_2582626395000473419_n.jpg
    Last edited by Freemind777; 03-13-2015 at 01:51 PM.

  14. #14
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    Oct 2004
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    Portsmouth, VA
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    Default Re: Queen Question

    grew to about 8 boxes deep each. I had to remove supers so I didn't have to stand on cinder blocks to feed them.

    I want to find my remaining queen and mark her before the hive gets any larger...about 8 full medium frames of bees currently. I want to re-queen with better local stock when queens are available.


    Sounds like you have an excellent queen already. Why would you think any other queen can grow a colony to more than eight boxes?

    Eight boxes means two or three brood boxes. The rest are supers, containing honey. Why would you be feeding an eight box hive?
    James Burns
    Science is...the acquisition of reliable knowledge about the world (Jared Diamond).

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Ashburn, VA, USA
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    Default Re: Queen Question

    Queen 1 4 9 13 zoom.jpg

    Here is one of my unmarked queens. Feel free to use her as a pinup girl as suggested earlier.

  16. #16
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    Clinton, Iowa
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    Default Re: Queen Question

    There is a queen in each one of the following pictures... we'll start easy:















    Now this one is a real tough one, she's actually under a lot of bees, but you can still see her abdomen partially.


  17. #17
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    Sep 2014
    Location
    Bedford VA USA
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    Default Re: Queen Question

    Thanks fellow beekeepers - I think that believing she is there may be the key. I was able to easily locate her in each photo. I think knowing she is there helps a lot. Also, after studying the info & photos, I see the longer body , especially in relation to the rest of the body. I think the better lighting in the photos vs my hive is a plus... And they dont move in photos! ��

    Thanks for the photos - anyone that reads this, please feel free to post more!
    Wendellww

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Chapel Hill, NC USA
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    Default Re: Queen Question

    I think practice is the key. I usually make it a sort of game with myself when I'm working in my hives to try and find the queen in all the hives. I'm not always successful. Struck out completely today, but I'm getting better at it. An extra pair of eyes can help too.
    Walter

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