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Queen marking and finding


Hi. I’m new to bee keeping and would like people’s opinion on queen marking. I struggle to find my unmarked queens and it can be time consuming to find her. How long should you spend looking for her? If you cannot find her how do you work your frames? I have a frame hanger that fits into the side of the hive. I am concerned that if I was to hang a frame that has the queen on it that I could lose her.
Should I mark my queens? How do you do that? Concerned I would squash her.

I could not find other posts on this topic. I appreciate everyone’s advice.


I have never had marked queens. You get better with practice, however they can be quite elusive at times. You never need to spot the queen during an inspection, unless you specifically need to for some reason. The state of the brood is all I’m normally concerned about. Healthy BIAS (brood in all stages) is all I’m looking for.

As long as we place the brood frame down so no bees get squashed, the queen should be ok. Use your smoker to move bees away before replacing frames, always helps in reducing casualties. Plus remove any burr comb from frames that is likely to squash bees upon return.


I only take out one outer frame from a box when inspecting. The queen is unlikely to be on it, i then just shuffle the frames across and move them back at the end. Haven’t lost a queen that I know of yet.

When inspecting check for a good brood pattern and not the queen. Inspections will be quicker and less invasive that way.



Great thanks. Botha hives have brood in varies stages. However one Queen is still laying sporadically. I think it is because she is still new to laying. I got that new nuc a month ago. But she is laying.

Thank you for all your answers. Happy for more.


I’m all for marking queens. I marked my queen and it makes her so much easier to spot (usually more important at the start and end of a season; during the season I used the brood pattern as a quicker guide).

Just search on eBay for a ‘queen marking cage’ and ‘queen bee marking pen’’. Make sure you get the proper pen though (non-toxic). I’d suggest doing it before your colony numbers explode…it is easier to find her. If you want to do it ''properly" you should note the colour aligns with a year for ease of reference. If you’ve just got the one hive it isn’t that crucial, and any colour will do.


Mark her.
You don’t often need to find her. Just look for eggs.
I take the first frame out as she is unlikely to be on it though I do give it a quick glance. I always look at the frame face facing the next frame first as that is the darkest. Beginners often find the queen in the last frame as that’s where she has been chased to away from the light.


Hi. I will u tube how to do it. I presume you don’t need a
lot of pressure to mark her. Don’t want to swish my queen :grin:


You can practice on drones


Murphy’s Law definitely applies, though. I take a photo of every frame as I inspect (cellphone voice commands rock for this application!) looking mainly for BIAS as Jeff mentions since I, too, am awful at spotting the queen. Then I can look for the queen at my leisure later if I am concerned or take a closer look at any frame that warrants. Anyway, last inspection, I found her in the photo of the first frame I removed and set aside so I also got a little worried she fell or crawled off. Next time, I will look closer at that first frame - maybe put it back and start from the other side if she is on it.


I don’t need to see the queen either:

I’m hoping for brood in all stages but I’m satisfied with eggs and very young larva in a good pattern. Much can be learned about the hive by the brood.


If you are doing anything in the hive that is going to take a little time it’s good to have a nuc box to pop the queen in on her frame. Then you can concentrate on the task in hand without worrying you are going to damage her


If you are right handed pick one up with your right hand by the wings. Place him gently on your left index finger. He will clasp his legs round it so you can then gently close your thumb and you have his legs and he is immobilised. You won’t hurt him. You have your right hand free to grab your marker pen and dot him. Practice practice.


We call that making drag queens.


Classic comments! But good video.


Fantastic great u-tube. shows me how it is done


Drone Queens love it. Thanks everyone


Get next year’s color and mark a thousand drones. Then you are ready for queens…



I’ve noticed on youtube many beeks don’t wear gloves when grabbing the queen so they have a deft touch- do queens sting much if you grab them wrong?


Queens can sting, but they almost never do so. Unless you are another queen, they are not interested in attacking you. :blush:


No I never have been stung and I always pick them up to mark them