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anyone have a favored system for finding an unmarked queen?
 

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No not really i am just lucky i guess to find her when i am looking thru the hives well two are marked and one is not. I did have a gentleman call me today and ask me to help him find his queens and i did i found 13 out of two and we still have not finished looking he has about two hundred more to go but his queens are easy to me they are light color and mine are all dark.

Tom
 

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Here's what works for me:

-- Use as little smoke as you can get away with.
None is best.

-- Don't spend much (if any) time looking on frames that don't have brood.

-- Don't try to look at each bee. Look at the frame as a whole and the queen sort of pops out of the crowd.
 

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First, look at the frames, and pull out the
frames with the most bees between them.

If you don't find the queen on those two frames,
you must then engage in some counter-intuitive
thinking, and pick the least likely place a
queen would be. This is a very "zen" sort of
thing, based on the evidence that many people
spend long periods searching for queens in a
straightforward rational manner, only to find the
queen in a very unexpected place after a long
and tedious search.

After you become experienced at this approach,
you have to reconsider the "least likely place",
as you will be finding queens in these "unlikely"
places, thus making those places "likely".
So, you will have to look in even more
unlikely places to be able to find the queen
quickly.

Some say that the beekeeper's choice of "unlikely"
versus "likely" places can't possibly have an
effect on the actual location of the queen, but
these people are dead wrong. They clearly have
never heard of the semi-famous "Heisenberg
Uncertainty Principle", which states that the
act of merely looking at an electron can make it
actually be somewhere else, and even
make it change direction or velocity.

Clearly, the act of looking for a queen can make
her run, change position, and change velocity if
she is moving, so quantum principles DO apply to
finding queens.

If you look in enough hives for enough years,
at some point, you will find so many queens
in so many unlikely places that the day will
come when you don't even have to even leave
the kitchen to find all the queens in an
entire yard of hives. (It may sound unlikely
now, but you just wait until you do it for a
while.)
 

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when serious about locating the queen (and desiring not to pass all the bees thru a queen excluder) this is my process.. I will use a single deep for reference.

first pull the outside frame nearest you, this is quite likely the least probable place to find a queen but give the frame a quick clance and set it aside. you should now have a one frame gap nearest you. without moving frame 2 look at the bees clinging to the exposed side of frame 2. if the queen is moving about on this frame, her very much enlarged abdomen will stand out in great contrast to the abdomens of the workers and dones (especially at this acute viewing angle). now lift out frame 2 and as soon as you have remove it from the hive immediately look down onto the exposed side of frame 3. repeat this process of giving a quick clance at the exposed side of the yet unmoved frame as you proceed across the box... the idea is that with the one side of the frame exposed a queen most often will dash across to the the still dark unexposed side of the frame. now what to do with the frame in hand.... you will need to view this frame (then repeat on the remaining frames) at a very acute (non 90 degree angle). much like peering down into the box this exposes the drastic difference between the abdomen of the queen and workers. my habit when pulling the frame is to pull the frame straight up holding the frame by the 'ears' of the top bar, when the bottom bar is 'just' out of the box I I tilt the bottom bar slighly away from me (looking at this side from a sharp angle from straight above). I then flip the position of the end bars (spin the frame 180 degrees) and tilt the end bar away from me once again (spinning the frame is not absolutely necessary, but for me it maximizes the light). with no success this frame in hand then goes directly againist the wall (or empty slot) nearest me (a purest would spin the frame again 180 degress back to it's original position). if you go thru all 9 to 10 frames in a standard box with no success (and especially if you have smoke the girls a bit) as you get to the far wall look in the corners and along this wall...... a running queen will often time end up there...

last (actually the first) good ploy..... most queens will run from smoke, especially a lot of smoke. if the hive is a single or at most a story and a half (I have seen this work or doubles but the more layers the less likelyhood that you will see this work)... when you come to the hive smoke the entrance very heavily (I like to call this smoke 'em till the choke)... allow maybe 30 seconds continuing to give the entrace a puff every now and then. quickly pop (if you have smoked the entrance heavily you should have a lot of bees at the top of the hive) the top and look for the queen on the lid or inner cover.

hope that helps and good hunting...
 

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>They clearly have never heard of the semi-famous "Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle"

I'll never forget it. I had a high school physics teacher who kept us dangling for weeks promising to tell us how to use "HUP" to get out of a speeding ticket. Basically, HUP states that the more accurately you measure a particle's momentum (speed), the less accurately you can ascertain it's true position. Logically, if they accurately measure your car's speed, they can't tell exactly where you're at. Of course, when the numbers were crunched for highway speeds, the position error was an infinitesimal fraction of an inch. Oh well.

Sorry to digress so far off topic (like that's never happened before)
 

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<when serious about locating the queen and desiring not to pass all the bees thru a queen excluder>

This weekend I tried passing all the bees through a box with an excluder stapled to the bottom. What a mess!


They would not go through the excluder as fast we wanted them to. They hung on the inside surfaces for the most part. Smoking didn't help very much and jarring the box put most back on top of the excluder. The top edge was rimmed with duct tape and it helped to keep them from spilling over.

We went through three colonies, all three are deep boxes stacked three high and full of bees. Out of the three colonies we only found one queen. She was on the last frame we looked on in the bottom box.

The other two colonies we didn't see her but did not look on every frame. Just closed them up after they had had enough. We will try again later.

I practiced marking a couple of drones(boy we have some big beautiful drones!) and we saw them several times as we looked through the frames. They really stand out with the paint on them.

We were able to add some more 4.9 and several foundationless frames using wooden strips and the triangle cut top bars.

I now keep a marking kit with me at all times, just in case.
 

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I think Steve summed it up pretty well. If you don't see the queen on a frame in the first twenty seconds, quit looking and go to the next frame.

Also look at a frame systematically, don't jump around the frame with your eyes. Start a grid search, up and down across the frame and back.

Looking for the attendants in a circle from a distance will greatly increase your odds.

Convince yourself you will see her and you will.
 

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flathead sezs:
This weekend I tried passing all the bees through a box with an excluder stapled to the bottom. What a mess!

tecumseh suggest:
place a bit of open brood below the queen excluder, once the girls locate the brood they will tend to herd themselves. at your location (and season) if you were not brushing the bees off the frames you likely created quite a splash of nectar which coated the bees and tends to make them sticky and impossible to manage. if the season had been a bit later this heavy splash of nectar can create overheating problem (to the point that yes the bees will die). this is also a situation where just a whiff of smoke along the top rim of the box with the excluder below becomse a rule not to be casually ignored. typically the queen will go to the corners of the excluder box.
 
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