Many beginner beekeepers are wondering how to identify queen bee in hive. For most beekeepers, this can be a difficult task. And some are even afraid to do it at first.
Identifying a queen is an integral part of beekeeping. And you should not be afraid of this procedure. With experience, you will understand how to facilitate the search.
Table of Contents
- identify queen bee: Beginners and experienced beekeepers
- Why is it important to find the queen bee?
- Best way to identify queen bee
- Why can’t I find the queen bee?
- How to identify queen bee in alpine hive
identify queen bee: Beginners and experienced beekeepers
One of the characteristics that distinguish experienced and beginner beekeepers is the time taken to identify queen bee. In general, an experienced beekeeper will find it much faster. Not every time everyone can have a good or bad day but most of the time, they do.
An inexperienced beekeeper will carefully study each frame, turning it one way or the other. He will examine the extreme and lower bars. Look again at both sides of the frame, and then slowly return it to the body.
An experienced beekeeper will carefully open the hive and pull out the front board and the adjacent frame. He will look at the streets where there are more bees, before dividing them somewhere in the middle. They usually do. Magic? No, experience. And it is not necessary that he actually identify queen bee. Basically, this experience is about better handling of the colony in such a way as to maximize the chances of seeing the queen.
I have pointed out these differences above. The beginner carefully scans the entire hive. An experienced beekeeper “rushes in pursuit of the queen” and breaks the hive in or near the middle of the nest.
The beginner spends time carefully studying each frame. The time spent by the novice, combined with the additional fumigation of the hive, is very worrying for the bee colony. Procrastination leads to the fact that the bees begin to worry. This causes the novice to give them a couple more puffs of smoke…which upsets the bees even more.
In contrast, the experienced beekeeper only cares about the frames where the queen is most likely to be present. Experienced beekeepers act quickly, as gently as possible, and cause as little disturbance as possible, using only a small amount of smoke.
Why is it important to find the queen bee?
- One of the main reasons for the search is a planned replacement of the queen bee.
- The reason may be uneven brood, old queen, drone seeding.
- The second reason is the mark of the queen bee. The labeled queen is much easier to search for on the honeycomb in the future.
- Suspicion of the absence of the queen bee.
Many beginner beekeepers, especially in their first year of beekeeping, constantly climbing into the nest in an attempt to identify queen bee. After making sure that it works on the cell, they calm down. But after three or four days, the procedure is repeated again. This happens, first of all, from a lack of knowledge about the biology and the work of a bee colony.
Best way to identify queen bee
It is better to acquire the first experience in the spring, until the families have gained strength. In a small family and in a small hive, it is always easier to identify queen bee than in a large or multi-hull hive.
There are many tricks on how to quickly identify queen bee. During this procedure, you must be focused on the search and not be distracted by extraneous matters.
Ideally, during the search, there will be clear sunny weather. In such weather, the chance to see the queen bee is always higher.
Before a beginner beekeeper identify queen bee, it would be nice to learn the biological characteristics of bees. And it’s good to know what the queen bee looks like, how it differs from other individuals, what kind of body structure it has.
Visually, the most distinctive feature is the abdomen.
Before searching for the queen bee, you can give one stream of smoke into the entrance. If there is an opportunity not to use the smoker at all, then it must be used. Since the smoke makes the bees move faster on the combs and it will be more difficult to identify queen bee. And it is desirable for us to catch her where she usually should be, in working order laying eggs.
Inspection must begin with the penultimate frame. It is unlikely that the queen bee will be on the extreme honey frames.
We take out the first frame, turn it to the opposite side and inspect it up and down. We carefully look along the edges. We are looking for the abdomen of the queen bee. It is so different that it immediately catches the eye. Then turn the other side and do the same. If the queen bee is not found, remove the frame in ramonos.
Then we move towards ourselves and take out the next frame. At the same time, we look at the next frame that remains in the hive. Fetal queens have a peculiarity to hide from the light. That is why it can move from the lower edge of the frame to another cell. And it is for this reason that we begin to look at the cells from the opposite side of ourselves. If the queen bee is on the edge of the frame, then it will run to the shaded side. When you rotate the frame, it will return to the other side again.
Inspection of the framework must be carried out carefully and at the same time quickly. So that the queen does not go to the bottom of the hive or to the honey frames.
So frame by frame we look through the entire hive. And the queen bee will appear sooner or later.
Having found the queen bee, you need to isolate it together with the honeycomb in a special box, put it in a cage or place it under a cap. Further actions will depend on the reasons for which you were looking for a queen bee.
You can only handle the queen bee with clean and dry hands. You need to approach it from the side of the abdomen. Raise your hand carefully. We put our fingers on the honeycombs. And we take the queen bee by the breast.
Why can’t I find the queen bee?
- Death of the queen bee due to disease.
- The death of the queen bee from wear and tear and old age. The average age of the queen bee is 3 years. The older the queen bee, the more likely it is to lose it.
- Inaccurate transplantation of a bee colony into a new hive. When working in the hive, the beekeeper can press down on the queen bee.
- Unsuccessful flyby of a young queen bee. With a dense arrangement of hives, it can get lost or be eaten by birds.
Identify queen bee in hive by other indirect signs
There are also other indirect signs to identify queen bee.
- The bees do not carry the bee to the hive at all. Most likely, there is no brood in the family and there is no one to feed.
- Sluggish behavior of bees on the landing board. Inactive flight.
- An increase in anger in the summer.
- The bees actively run along the landing board, as if trying to find something. This behavior is typical for bees in the first few hours after the loss of the queen.
- There is no open brood in the hive.
- There is only drone brood.
- The presence of fistulous queen cells.
- If the queen died in winter, the bees behave sluggishly during the first cleansing flight, do not participate in cleaning the hive.
How to identify queen bee in alpine hive
Many beekeepers are intimidated by the sheer number of enclosures in an alpine hive system. It is an especially difficult task to identify queen bee in them. Actually, it’s not all that scary.
The nest occupies, on average, five blocks of an alpine hive. They are approximately equal in volume to the Dadanovsky hive. During honey collection, a separating grate usually lies above the fifth body so that the queen bee does not rise into the upper body.
In an alpine hive, the design involves the use of a mesh bottom. This means that the queen bee is unlikely to be in the lower body. She will rise to sow higher, where it is warmer. And, as a rule, the lower body is completely clogged with bee bread. It remains to check four small cases.
If the queen bee needs to be found urgently, then, as described in the main method, going through the frames, we are looking for it.
If you have a planned replacement of the queen bee. Then three days before we divide the nest in half with a dividing grid.
Returning to the hive on the third day, we look at the middle frames of the two upper buildings. If the one-day-old brood is not visible, we remove them and look at the lower two cases, which are under the grate. This method makes it possible to simplify the identify queen bee without disassembling the entire hive. By the way, it is suitable for any multi-case system.
how to mark queen bee for easy identification?
Whoever says what, but for faster search queen bee, it is better to mark. It is much easier and more pleasant for a beekeeper to work when he knows what he is looking for. Plus, it is easier for beginners to determine that a quiet change of the queen bee has occurred in the hive, which he might not have been aware of.
It is not worth saving on the means of labeling queens. You need to immediately buy high-quality paints, markers or tags, and other special marking devices.
In your apiary, if you do not sell packages, bee colonies, or queens, you can get by with one color. In order to save money. Of course, you still have to enter their date of birth in the bee book to know the age of the queen bee.
And if you are going to do any of the above, you need to purchase five different marking colors. And apply labels in accordance with the international queen labeling table.
Should I look for the queen bee?
The reality is that while working in the hive, it is not necessary to identify queen bee.
Just enough to identify queen bee evidence of its presence.
The main thing to look for is the presence of eggs in the colony. If they are, then the queen bee must have been present within the last 3 days.