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FINDING A QUEEN
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Requeening colonies is time consuming because of the difficulty in finding the old queen. Here are a few tips that might help you wth that job
Try to requeen when there is a little honeyflow. If there is nothing coming in, then the bees will try to rob. If robbing starts, it is best to close the hive and leave the Beeyard.
Use a bee smoker, but use a minimum amount of smoke. It is best to puff a little into the entrance, and then waft a little over the tops of the frames while your are removing the cover. If the bees are in two stories, give them a little smoke between hive bodies as you remove the top story. As you break them apart bend over and look to see if the old queen is on the top bars of the frames in the bottom story as she moves from the upper story to the bottom. Then set the upper story catty-cornered on the upside down cover which you have placed on the ground just behind the beehive. Then decide which hive body the queen is most likely to be laying in, and examine the combs in it first.
Beginners tend to see all of the thousands of bees in the hive. You are looking for the one that looks different, so try not to see any individual bees, but concentrate on trying to see the one that looks like a queen. Try to look quickly.
We like to kneel beside the hive and remove the third comb from the near side. Look at the side toward you as you are pulling it out of the hive, then if you did not spot the queen quickly, flip it over and look on the other side. It is natural for queens to try to hide, so be sure to look in any cracks between the comb and frame. If you haven't found the queen, lean that comb against the hive body you are not working in, or against the far side of the hive you are in. Then remove the second comb from the near side, and repeat the process of examination, and lean it against the third comb that is already out. Next examine the wall comb, and look down at the wall of the hive. Sometimes the queen has run over to the wall and is running around on it. If no queen, put the wall comb back in place.
Now remove the fourth comb, looking quickly at the near side of the fifth comb before you examine the fourth comb. Put the fourth comb back into the hive against the sidewall comb, so it now becomes the second comb. Repeat that process until you have gone all the way across the hive and have examined the far sidewall. Of course you should stop this process as soon as you have found the queen. Put the far sidewall comb back into place and put the two other combs that are standing out back so the brood nest is well organized. If robbing has not started, you may now look for the queen in the other hive body. If there is brood in only two or three combs, it might be best to start with the comb that you think is the first one that will have brood.
If you know a method that works for you, then use it.
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