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Finding and marking queen

New beekeeper, installed Nuc 3 weeks ago. I have done 2 hive inspections and have tried to spot the Queen with no luck. Seems as the numbers grow, this task will become harder and harder? How important is it for me to find and mark her? Trying to limit my time disturbing the hive, but would love to see her?

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When I do inspections I don’t really try to find the queen specifically, but I generally do find her most times.

Don’t worry about or spend to much time trying to find the queen, it is just as valuable to simply find the signs that the queen is there and actively laying. Look for capped and uncapped brood, larvae and if you can see them, eggs. All of those are indicators the queen has been there within certain differing time periods.

E.g. if you spot eggs the queen was there within the last 3 days etc.


Hi there wickedqueen. Stevo above nailed it.

I will add this: by time you will be able to find her on most occasions even if she’s not marked. Usually I spot her by the way she walks across the frame. She’s more likely to be on a brood frame, and she walks hurriedly and worker bees seem to move out of her way.

I always try to find the queen to be more careful not to squish her.


Thank you both for advice! I will not obsess over it then, rather look for signs of her activity and hopefully spot her one of these days!


I do as above also. some of my queens are very sneaky and hard to find. even marked they somehow play hide and seek very well.

I just look for eggs and young larvae and then i know she is there.

as for inspections i was the same as you when i got my first nuc. try and push out inspections to no more than once a fortnight.

Welcome to beekeeping!

Thank you🙂. My bees seem very calm, I find myself going out to just sit and watch them with my morning coffee. They aren’t bothered by my presence in the least. Every day is a learning experience with them! I will definitely try to spread out my inspections. Wondering, when you have more than 1 brood box, do you inspect each one, or just the top one? I guess this might be a question for a new topic?! So many questions and such a wealth of knowledge on this forum❤️

I sit about 1.5 meters in front of mine when I watch them and they generally ignore you if you stay out of their flight path, but there are a lot of them so don’t be surprised if the odd one decides to line you up every now and then.

Whether you inspect both brood boxes would depend on what you are trying to ascertain, if for instance you are checking whether they’re queen right then you could stop an inspection once you confirm brood in all stages of growth. Whereas if you were checking for pests and diseases you would want to inspect both boxes frame by frame, possibly shaking all the bees off depending on what you are looking for e.g AFB.


we havent spotted ours since the day we put installed the nuc 2 years ago. (not because we haven’t tried)
it’s great to just see signs that she’s been there recently, but when you want to split the hive in the spring as we will this year, i need to be able to find her so i know which hive has or hasn’t got a queen.
i’ve started to watch some youtube videos for tips on how to find her.
haven’t been able to put anything into practice because its winter and i can’t open the hive at the moment.

Take the outer frame from each side of the brood box and check them but not likely the queen will be on them but you have isolated her from going onto the box where she can be hard to find.
As you take a frame out look on the side that was towards the cluster first, the dark side of the frame. Ignore stationary bees, they will be workers and nurse bees, I don’t look for her size or shape, I look for a bee moving quickly, she will be heading to the shady side of the frame. Work with the sun over your shoulder for better light. When you see a bee moving quickly then look at her closer to being the queen.
When you have looked at each side of a frame twice then move it to a spare box next to the hive then check the next frame, shady side first.
If she is smart she will know your looking for her and will move to another frame, more often I find her on the last two frames. If you have run out of frames to check then check each frame as you reassemble the brood box in the same order checking each frame again as you go.
When I find a new unmarked queen I mark her, it is so much easier next time you are looking for her. But when you do spot her it is so obvious to see the difference in size, shape of the longer abdomen and more golden and fainter black bars.
Cheers mate


Honestly some queens are just ninja’s! one hive of mine im lucky if i can see her once every 3 or 4 inspections and she is marked! i dont know how she does it. sometimes i go through each frame twice and still no luck.

i always mark my queens. just helps find her and then if you find a queen without a mark you kniw something has happened.


I picked up a few pamphlets when I was at John L Guilfoyles yesterday, one is about creating a nucleus.

It has been republished here:


If you read down to the end the second last bit offers another method of finding your queen, it’s kind of how I’ve always done it and it works.

I feel that finding the queen is like doing a magic eye puzzle lol.

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