How to find a queen

Have 3 hives to requeen. I’ve spend 2.5 days trying to fin the queens with no success. I’ve tried removing frame by frame to a plastic crate carefully examining each frame to & from. Failure. I tried basically sieving them through the queen excluder. Failure. I’ve tried removing the 2nd frame watching thre 3rd on removal & then the 2nd & so forth. Failure. I’ve lost 1 queen & attendants, 2nd is down to 1queen & 1 attendant & 3rd all good but its getting to the limit foer them as well.

I’m well aware an experience bee keeper could do the lot in an hour. I’m not 1.5v seasons into bees & all else has been a sucess but this exercise is a dismal failure.

Can someone soon help me befot the next 2 queens die out of frustration. Please. Please.

Where in the world are you? Your profile doesn’t say. Maybe somebody on this forum is close enough to give you a hand.

I think that the best thing to do is to find an experienced beekeeper who will do a call out, for a fee of course. Someone who will help you with some tuition during the process. It is amazing how much you can learn if someone is prepared to share some hands-on tips with you.

The thing that really helps when finding queens, is when all of the brood frames are relatively new, with the comb build up to the frames without any nooks & crannies. It’s all of those nooks & crannies that provide hiding places for queens. Another place they’ll hide is the gap between the bottom of the comb & the bottom bar. It’s always good to pay particular attention to those areas.

If you can get away with a single brood box, that’s always a big help.

Where are you Bill?
I have always been lucky to spot my queens. This weekend though, I was transferring frames from one box to another and I found the queen hiding -face down in a cell - with her retinue all around her and her long abdomen sticking up! She stayed that way for minutes. I actually had a disaster with the frame she was on as it was foundationless and, due to the heat and fragility of the comb, it broke in two. To my horror, the queen dropped to the ground with it. I picked it up and was able to put her into the hive but that is something I hope to never let happen again. I learned a lesson for sure! I’m very hopeful she was not injured in the fall.

Just photograph your frames and post.
@Dawn_SD is the queen spot champion of the world. Big call, but true.

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Do you need to find her?

I don’t think so. Ed @Anon is better than me. :blush: Thank you, though!

Yes, if re-queening…

If you still have the dead queen, put her to use. Pin her (drawing pin/thumb tack etc) to the top bar of a frame in the hive. Put the inner cover back and do something else for 15 minutes. When you come back, there is a good chance that your old queen will be trying to sting the dead queen to death. @Dee uses this method for elusive queens.

The only other suggestion I have is try not to use smoke. Queens really run when you smoke the hive. Of course if the hive is hot, you have to smoke them, because queens really don’t like alarm pheromone either.


Queen spotting:

One more thought, but it won’t help you this time. You can take your time finding your existing queen days or even a week before the new one comes. You then just place her under a push-in wire mesh cage about 5cm x 5cm - you can make one from number 8 hardware cloth (3mm mesh holes). She can still be fed by the nurse bees, and she can lay in the area you restrict her to. Then when the new queen arrives, you know exactly where the old one is. Try not to put the cage over capped brood - it will be very crowded after a week! :blush:

Stupid. I missed that and it’s the first sentence.

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Split the boxes into two. Go away for half an hour. The box making a lot of noise has no queen. Go through the quiet box. If you still can find her repeat the first manoeuvre. If that fails split all the frames into pairs. Go away for another cup of tea then open each pair of frames. She’ll be there between one pair. Don’t forget to check the floors

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