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Discussion Starter #1
I have a nuc that I bought back in late April. Have yet to find the queen but continue to find brood in all stages each time I go in. I've been in this hive about 5 times now and have diligenly looked for her. Any advice? These bees seem to scurry around faster than my others when you pull the frame and start looking.
 

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Check in the cool of the morning when they won't move as much and will be covering the brood. She will be in the center frames.
 

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Or...check in the afternoon on a warm day when most of the field bees are gone. Don't use smoke (or much) and keep looking at the big (drones and queens) bees. Most queens will be on open cells unless they are running (hiding). Young queens can be anywhere, but the older they get the more they stay on the open cells.
 

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If you have an open frame of brrod from another hive, shake the bees off and take out a frame in the center of the hive and replace it with the bait frame. Close it back up and wait about 5 minutes, then pull out that frame. 90% of the time she has come to see what the funny smelling brood is and make it her own. Just look slowly. Thanks to Ray Marler, i learned to find mine if i was questioning if she was there...
 

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She is usually in the area of the frame with the eggs.
It is said smoke makes it harder to find her because she to will become agitated, so possibly les smoke will help (as said).
The queen's back (or at least all the ones I have seen) usually stands out more than the workers (possibly from less hair?). Sometimes looking at their backs can help since she may have her tail in a cell.
Sometimes looking for the attendant ring will make it easier.

Marking her does help to find her fast if it is a good color choice. I don't see a need to use the color code if the bees are only for my use (my record can tell me how old she is) so I would probably go with some bright color.

Mike
 

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Stop looking. It does not sound like you where going to do anything with her(like clip or mark) after you found her.

If you must look , when you pull out a frame, look on the exposed next frame before you look at the frame you just removed.

Roland
 

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How are you looking? Starting at the top...smoking, looking, smoking, looking? Remove that box. More...smoking, looking, smoking, looking...

The best way would be to take the hive down placing each box on an upturned outer cover. Cover each box with a cloth or inner cover or what have you.

Now, which box is she most likely in. Probably not in the supers unless you smoked the bottom entrance. Maybe not in the bottom box...unless you smoked the top of the hive. So look through which box you think she might be in first. Don't bump and crash.

The trouble is that most beekeepers want to smoke a colony. Causes many queens to run away. You mention that you have runny bees in this colony. Makes it eveh more difficult. That's why you need to separate the boxes. Queen can't run to the bottom of the hive with all the other bees.
 

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You don't have to find her to know she's there but assuming it's important, I'd go slowly and use just enough smoke to calm things down. Too much pushes them around. I usually start in the bottom box but that's more habit than anything else. It's probably best to start in the box where you have the most bees. Pull frames slowly and look for the queen carefully. Look especially hard where a group of bees seems to be gathering. Sometimes, I place an inspected frame off to the side or in an empty box to segregate what I've inspected from what I haven't. As Michael said, runny bees make it harder. I would also offer that a cool morning can help you focus on your cluster but it also puts a lot of bees in the hive. A sunny day with lot's of foragers out leaves you with less bees to get in the way of finding her.
 

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I had the same problem for the longest time. Then my 8 year old spotted her. Now I bring him with me every time I want to find her- and he finds her every time!:)

I think the main thing is to go slow and be careful you don’t squish anyone when you lift frames out or replace them. If it helps, start looking for all the bee’s that are drone size- that helps mentally eliminate the majority of workers. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the replies folks. I don't have trouble usually finding my queens. This is the only hive I've had trouble. She must be a runner. This is a new Nuc that grew out and I put in a 10 frame. I've tried looking for her with smoke and without.

I agree there is no reason to look for her if I see brood in all stages. However, usually just doing a normal inspection this many times I will accidentally run across her. Not on this hive.

If desiring to check brood patterns I will start from the middle of the middle offset. If checking for stores I will start from the outside. I don't go in with intention of finding her everytime, just have never had a hive I've checked this many times without seeing her scurry around.
 

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I thought i had lost my touch when i saw eggs dead center of cells and no queen. Man i looked and looked and looked....and had laying workers. I know the feeling to want to see her..LOL
 

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I've had a great deal of trouble finding queens in certain hives. First place experience has taught me to check is the bottom of the frame and the edges. If the queen is a runner and tries to hide from the sunlight, she'll scoot around the edge or the bottom of the frame in a hurry. If she's in the middle of the frame, you have more time to see her before she goes to the dark side of the frame.

I've followed my queens back and forth, from one side of the frame to the other as she tries to get away from the bright sunlight.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Looked for her again this weekend, still didn't find her. Plenty of eggs though. She is very elusive.
 

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I have trouble spotting them, so I just look for eggs, and young larvae. I did spot one the other day. She went to the other side of the frame, I turned it over and lost her. I looked over the frame for several minutes and couldn't find her again, but I knew she was there. That's just the way it is.
 

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You know when you really want to find her and you know she's there, it can almost be impossible.

I have this one hive where I looked four or five times trying to find the queen as I was pulling bees just to keep them from swarming. I really wanted to find her and I don't know, but I just couldn't.

One day, I decided to find her and mark her. Would you believe that I found her so quick that day -- I successfully marked her and now she is so easy to spot on the frame.

It certainly makes it easier by having a marked queen than a non-marked queen in all aspects of my own operation.

I do need to try the RayMarler trick as my plans are to mark all my queens before the summer is over.
 
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