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Well this is our first year...We have 3 hives installed beginning of May and we have done 2 full inspections so far ...Unfortunately, we have unmarked queens and while we see brood, eggs etc. and life is good...We have not been able to spot her highness ..Would love to be able to find her...So there must be some tricks/strategies the old timers can share to make it easier for beginners...? What's your favorite way to look for her majesty..?
 

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In most hives I seem to spot her right away, but sometimes, for various reasons a queen may be difficult to locate. I had one hive that was like that, just yesterday. I used my usual technique to find her, I carefully examined each frame in turn, checking first one side then the other and looking closely where the comb meets the frame. I went from one frame to the next, then back again. I did not find her. So I escalated my search to the next level; I returned early this morning to repeat my search process. Bingo, there she was on the first side of the second comb I examined.
 

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Slowly scan one side of the frame starting at the perimeter first in case she is trying to get to the other side then work your way to the center. Don't be looking for the whole queen(sometimes she is under other bees). If the hive is not packed with bees on every frame and there are empty frames she is almost always on a frame with brood. Look real hard for her on frames that have fresh layed eggs that are standing on end at the bottom(back) of cells. Look at the frame at a 45 deg angle not straight on(90 deg angle). Move the frame side to side when scanning for her instead of moving your head and eyes to scan. Look at every bee as an individual not as a mass of bees. When looking for queens what your eyes should tell you is-that's a worker, there's it's leg, there's it's head, look at that big fat/short abdomen that's a drone, that worker's smaller, that ones fuzzy, that ones not fuzzy, that ones wings are tattered on the tips. When your eyes register details of every bee you scan spotting the queen will be easier.

Once you find her practice when you know what frame she is on. Turn your head away from her for a while then find her again. Hold the frame at different angles to see what allows you to spot her the easiest.
 

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I don't even look for the queen until I get to the frames where the very youngest larva and eggs are. The queens job is laying eggs, that's usually where you'll find her is in the youngest portions of the brood nest. If all else fails, here's a trick that works most of the time...

Remove an empty or mostly empty frame and put in a frame of young open larva from a different hive, into the center top of brood. close box. Check back in 5 minutes and check that frame, the queen will be on that frame 90% of the time. That frame of young open brood from a different hive has a strange smell to her, and she checks it out and spreads her own pheromone on it to claim it for her own.
 

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I spent my first year taking the presence of eggs and brood as a queen sighting. She is in the area of eggs and brood as expected,you will find her in time don't try too hard that's what helped me out.
 

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Look for frames w/ eggs standing up, and then look at EVERY bee. Always look at the frame itself, not just the comb. She really likes the bottom bar:D

Do not be discouraged if you cannot find her your 1st year and 2nd year. It comes w/ practice.

Kingfisher :banana:
 

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The queen moves differently. I look for the movement which catches my eye. When you smoke the bees will go for the nectar, the queen won't. Bees move aside for her so you can trace her as she moves. Also hold the frame at 45 degree and look down on it instead of flat against your face.
 

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The only problem with this method in this case, is that if a person can't find a queen, they might have just grabbed the frame with the queen from the other hive.:pinch:
The frame of open larva you pull from one hive, shake all the bees off it into it's hive before taking it to the next hive to insert in. Then pull it back out in 5 minutes and inspect for queen. If hive has a queen, chances are good she'll be on that frame. It's not fool proof method, but help most times on those hives where you're pretty sure there's a queen but you can't find her. Another trick is to mark your queens, it does make them easier to find most times.
 
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