A queen bee plays a vital role in honeybee colonies, responsible for laying eggs and maintaining the colony’s unity. Finding the queen bee amidst thousands of worker bees might seem like a difficult if not impossible task, but with a little knowledge and patience, it doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking for a queen bee, find some useful tips below.
Identify the Characteristics
Queen bees have distinctive features that set them apart from worker bees. They’re typically larger, longer and more elongated in shape. Their abdomen is also noticeably longer, and they have a tapered, pointed end. In addition, queens are usually darker in colour, sometimes even appearing black. Keep these characteristics in mind when searching for the queen to make it easier to spot.
Observe Egg-Laying Activity
One of the most reliable ways to identify the queen bee in a beehive is to watch for her egg-laying behaviour. The queen is the only bee in the colony that lays eggs, so if you spot a bee laying eggs in the cells, you've definitely found her. The queen moves gracefully and deliberately across the comb, often accompanied by worker bees attending to her.
Use a Queen Bee Marking Kit
Many beekeepers use queen bee marking kits that involve gently applying coloured dots to the queen's thorax. This makes it much easier to spot her during hive inspections, as you can simply look for the marked queen that stands out from the other bees in the hive.