How To Find Your Queen

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in your hive can feel like a game of hide and seek. Even seasoned beekeepers can find it challenging. Some queens are plump and shine like a gold beacon on the frames, while others seem to have a knack for camouflage. Mastering the art of finding the queen bee can be a frustrating journey, but it’s crucial for the success of your bee colony.

Spotting your queen bee within the hive is a skill that depends on her size, color, and behavior. Some queens love the limelight, while others prefer to hide in corners. To successfully find your queen, you’ll need to perform various hive management tasks.

So, how can you improve your queen-spotting skills? If you’re currently struggling to find your queen, don’t worry, you’re not alone. But with the right information, you can become a pro at it!

Understanding Your Queen Bee (In All Aspects)

The queen bee is the heart and soul of her bee colony, mothering most, if not all, of its worker bees and drone bees. A healthy queen is vital for the hive’s health and well-being. If the queen ages or dies, the hive will quickly perish if a new queen isn’t introduced in time.

Beekeepers should be able to distinguish a queen bee from the rest to maintain their hives. While marking the queen is an option, it’s often not recommended. Therefore, it’s best to learn how to identify and mark your queen by observing differences in behavior, location, and physical characteristics.

Physical appearance.

Your queen bee can be distinguished from other bees by her appearance, but she’s not as conspicuous as you might think. Many new beekeepers are surprised when they see the queen for the first time, expecting her to be larger.

Queen bees can vary in size, but she is usually only slightly larger than a worker bee. Her most distinguishing features are a longer abdomen and longer legs.

Her wings are very short compared to her body, and they don’t reach the end of her abdomen, unlike other bees in a colony. Her back is bald, black, and shiny!


Many new beekeepers mistakenly rely on the queen’s color for identification. They may believe that queens are lighter than the workers, or they may only search for the colorful mark of paint on the queen’s back without researching her true appearance.

What they often don’t realize is that queens can come in a range of colors, and the paint on marked queens can wear off over time. Relying solely on color to find your queen will limit your ability to spot her.

So, if you’ve learned to identify your queen because she’s golden and marked with a red dot, you might struggle to spot her if the mark isn’t there.

This can make it challenging for new colonies to raise a queen themselves, especially if she’s a different color than your original queen and lacks a mark. It’s smarter to look beyond her coloring and study her shape, movements, and habits.

How To Spot Your Queen By Sight

  1. Look for the largest bee. The queen bee is usually the largest bee in the colony. Drones can sometimes be as big or even bigger than the queen, but they can be distinguished by their thickness. The queen bee is longer and narrower than any of the other bees.
  2. Check for a pointed abdomen. A bee’s abdomen is the lower part of its body, nearest to the stinger. Honeybees have blunt abdomens, but the queen’s abdomen is much more pointed, making her easy to identify.
  3. Look for a bee with splayed legs. Worker bees and drone bees have legs that are directly under their bodies- you won’t see much of their legs if you’re looking at them from a raised angle. The queen bee’s legs splay outward, making them much more visible than the other bees’ legs.
  4. Look for a stinger without barbs. If you find more than one bee that might be the queen, gently lift each bee by its thorax (the middle of its body). Hold them under a magnifying glass and inspect each one’s stinger. Workers, drones, and virgin queens have barbed stingers. The queen bee’s stinger is smooth and un-barbed.

Movement and Pattern

When your queen moves across the frame, she does so with purpose. She quickly navigates through worker bees, who often move out of her way, leaving a trail of empty comb behind her.

The queen’s movement creates a visual disruption in the hive’s pattern. Some beekeepers can find their queens just by looking for this disruption. The pattern also changes when she is stationary.

A resting queen is surrounded by a circle of worker bees. This circle resembles a flower, with each worker bee representing a petal facing the queen in the center.

How To Spot Your Queen Bee By Movement And Pattern

  1. Look for any unusual activity inside of the hive. The queen may move around within her hive. If you notice any unusual activity inside the hive, such as bees clustering together or larvae where you don’t usually see them, the queen may be nearby!
  2. Locate the larvae inside your hive. Gently remove each hive frame and look for larvae. They look like tiny white grubs, and you will usually see them in piles next to each other. Since the queen lays all eggs in the colony, she will most likely be nearby. Be careful when lifting and replacing the hive frames, as you could accidentally kill the queen.
  3. Check for hidden places. The queen bee will never be on the edge of the hive or outside of the hive. She will most likely be deep in the hive, away from outside disturbances. If you have a vertical hive box, your queen will probably be on one of the bottom frames. If you have a horizontal hive, look for your queen more towards the center.


The queen’s main job is laying eggs, so the nursery is the most likely place to find her. Although it’s possible, the queen is unlikely to be on frames that are entirely full of honey.

For that reason, you should always scrutinize brood frames more carefully, especially those with new eggs. If you need to find your queen, you should also be quick about it!

Queens tend to hide if the colony feels exposed or disturbed. The longer you leave your hive’s lid open, the more likely your queen will retreat into a corner.

How To Spot The Queen Bee By Behavior

  1. Watch for bees moving out of the way. Workers and drones will always move out of the way when the queen is on the move. After she passes, they will cluster together where she was. So keep an eye out for bees moving out of the way.
  • Look for a bee who isn’t doing anything. The queen bee is fed by the rest of the hive and has no duties except for continuously laying eggs. Keep an eye out for a bee that doesn’t seem to have a job because that could most probably be your queen.
  • Check if your bees are feeding a specific bee. The queen will always have all her needs attended to by the rest of the hive. Look for bees that are giving attention and providing food for another bee. However, this may not always be the queen, and it could be a virgin queen or a young bee, but the chances are pretty good that it will be the queen.

Other common traits of the queen bee

Knowing what to look for is half the battle in spotting your queen!

Here are some more common traits of the queen bee and additional things to look for:

  • The queen bee is approximately 50% larger than the rest of the worker bees
  • The queen is considerably longer than the worker bees
  • The queen is often darker in color than the worker bees. She may be a caramel color with black stripes or dark black and brown. She may not have any stripes at all or just a couple at the bottom of her body.
  • Queens often walk slower and move differently than worker bees. When you spot your queen, observe how she walks
    Title: The Quest of Finding Your Queen: A Comprehensive Guide

    In the labyrinth of relationships, finding a perfect partner – your queen, is somewhat akin to a quest for the elusive Holy Grail. You might have eventually come to the stage in your life where you desire a deep, fulfilling relationship rather than fleeting moments of attraction. Herein lays the premise of this article – How to find Your Queen – that one significant woman who would complement your existence.

    1. Introspection and Self-awareness:

    First and foremost, cape yourself in the armor of introspection and self-awareness. Know thyself before embarking on the journey to find your dream lady. Understanding your own personality, values, and desires will provide a compass guiding your search. Acknowledging your strengths, weaknesses, aspirations, and deal-breakers establish the foundation upon which you could construct your relationship.

    2. Determining Your Ideal Queen:

    The parameters that define your ideal queen will be exclusive to you. It could be intellectual compatibility, shared interests, similar life goals, a specific personality type, or mutual physical attraction. Whatever characteristics appeal to you, remember your queen should inspire you, challenge you, and more importantly, accept you for who you are.

    3. Actively Seek and Explore:

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    Never underestimate the power of authentic communication. Express your feelings and desires with clarity and genuineness. Clarity ensures there are no misconceptions or false expectations, while authenticity builds an atmosphere of empathy and respect.

    7. Intuition:

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    Finding your queen requires a delicate balance of introspection, patience, active exploration, genuine connection, respect, and heartfelt communication. Keep your optimism aflame during this quest, as the fulfillment of sharing life with your queen is absolutely worth the pursuit. Until then, work on being the king that your queen deserves. Attention to your own personal growth will not only enhance your overall satisfaction in life but also make you more appealing to your potential queen.

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