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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Victoria, Texas, USA
    Posts
    159

    Default Tips for finding the queen in a vacuum bucket or box

    I had a cutout hive abscond today, and got some cool swarm video footage. The bees clustered on a tree branch about 20' up. I was able to vacuum them up with my bucket vac, but then spent 2 hours searching for the queen so I could cage her until I can get this hive reestablished and moved away from my strong robbing hives.

    My questions:

    1. Are there bee behaviors that help to locate the queen in a container, whether a box from collecting a swarm, or a bucket or hive body from a vacuum? There were bees fanning all over the bucket, and then the hive when I started dumping bees. I just finally lucked into the cluster she was in, but the search got frustrating.

    2. Does anyone use a strainer / filter type device using a queen excluder to help locate queens, and what does such a device look like, and how do you use it?

    I've got several cutouts coming up and want some suggestions finding the queens if I wind up vacuuming them up.

    Thanks in advance!
    TxBeek. KTBHs. Victoria, Tx. along the Gulf coast. Zone 9b.
    Treatment free bees from traps and cutouts.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Tips for finding the queen in a vacuum bucket or box

    I have a "swarm sieve" as we call them over here. It is basicly a box with a movable framed queen excluder. The swarm is put into the box, box closed and turned upside down and the queen excluder sinks through the swarm by it's own weight. Spacers are need, so no bees get crushed when it reaches the bottom. The excluder is mounted onto a broomstick, that guides the excluder and the handle sticks out of the box, so when turning the box back you can hold the excluder in place. Open up the box and the queen and drones walk on the excluder.

    It's been a long time I used it. Usually I lightly spray the swarm and dump it into a lid or floor. The queen usually bobs up to the surface of the swarm quickly and walks on the swarm. You drop the swarm to the ground, the queen will walk on it soon. You can see it happen in this video when I installed a shook swarm into an experimental hive type. The queen is marked and I point with my finger onto it.



    Drop the swarm to the floor and the queen comes up. That's my way to find a queen in a swarm. If I can't find her that way, I put an empty super above a queen excluder onto the hive I want to install the swarm into, shake that swarm into the box and let it sit for a while. Bees start walking down onto the combs and the queen is exposed soon.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,576

    Default Re: Tips for finding the queen in a vacuum bucket or box

    QE over the brood chamber and add empty hive body as a funnel, then dump the bees in. The only time I caged a queen was while performing a cutout where I found 13 that were emerging as I was removing the hive. Almost ran out of queen cages!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Victoria, Texas, USA
    Posts
    159

    Default Re: Tips for finding the queen in a vacuum bucket or box

    Thanks for the replies. Ill try the box idea.

    I did cut out the middle of a 5gallon bucket lid with and cut a QE to fit over the hole. Tried it today and the bees just stayed at the "top" (which was the bucket bottom but became the top when I inverted the bucket) with the queen and refused to go down through the excluder into the hive. I even smoked them to try and force them to move down into the hive, but no luck.

    But I didn't try misting them with water.

    Did a cutout today of an exposed hive under the edge of a roof. Vacuumed lots of bees, then moved comb into the frames, always looking for the queen. Vacuumed more bees, and then started dumping bees and looking through the bucket. 2 hours later still no luck finding her. So I finally just dumped all the bees into the deep box, and then searched through it. The girls kept fanning indicating the queen is there, but I still never found her. Will try again tomorrow when it gets light.
    TxBeek. KTBHs. Victoria, Tx. along the Gulf coast. Zone 9b.
    Treatment free bees from traps and cutouts.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,879

    Default Re: Tips for finding the queen in a vacuum bucket or box

    Use a Robo Style/Bushkill vac and then the bees are right away in a box on combs and the queen can be searched for as normal. The box they are in can also easily have an excluder top and bottom.

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