Take the colony apart, separating the boxes. I remove supers and place on overturned lid, and cover. Then each brood box goes on another overturned lid, leaving bottom brood box on bottom board. Remove combs from bottom box, looking for Q of course. Stand combs against next hive in row...actually, I stand them on an OSB board setup...one on ground, and one on it leaning against next hive. This prevents bees from crawling onto hive or into grass. Keep the combs in proper order...first comb out leans against OSB. Next on first, etc. If the queen wasn't found, check bottom box...now without frames. Not there? Scrape burr comb off box, and frame rests. Place shaker box over the now empty bottom brood box. Leave a 3" space on the side facing you. Pick up the first comb, and shake the bees into shaker box. Scrape burr comb off top bar, place down into box via 3" space you left, and slide frame under shaker. Then, shake the second frame and place into box, sliding both under shaker. Continue until all frames are back into box. Slide shaker back over box, closing 3" space. Shake bees off frames from second brood box into shaker. When done with second box, replace frames in proper order, place shaker on it, and lift both onto first box. Waft smoke over shaker. Don't gas the bees with smoke or they'll fly or crawl out of box. Once they start down, continue shaking next boxes. The queen(s) will be found running on the excluder where it meets the box. 2" of duct tape inside the shaker...along the top edge, discourages the bees from crawling out of the shaker.
I use this method all the time, when I have to find the queen. I look through the brood combs once, and then shake.
HOW TO BUILD A SHAKER BOX:
Take an old deep hive body and attach a wooden framed excluder to the bottom. I actually drilled holes in a metal bound excluder and drilled them to the bottom of the hive body. Works fine.
After you attach it to the box add two strips of duct tape to the inside top edge. First strip lines up with the top edge and the second one goes just below it. The reason for this is that the bees are hesitant to crawl over the tape. They will do it but it does slow them down enough to keep them from boiling over the edge.
If you absolutely have to find her, once I have exhausted all other options, the shaker box is the answer. For all the steps before you use the shaker box, Michael Bush's website link above shows them all.
But I like to do it the easy way. I let my assistant do it!
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