Spring is a really good time to check your queens and make sure they are laying well. Remember, you do not have to actually find the queen — you only need to see eggs (must be on the bottom of the cell and not the sides) and young larvae. She should be laying a nice oval pattern on the center of the frames. If you find supersedure cells (located in the middle or sides of the frames, look for your queen and make sure she is okay. She may be sick or not laying well. The colony can sense this and will hatch a new queen and depose of the old one.

Systematic approach to finding the queen:

  • Do not look on honey frames.
  • Inspect each frame and find the largest cluster of eggs and larvae.
  • Concentrate looking where the youngest brood is located.
  • Any of the frames that have eggs and larvae may also contain the queen.
  • She will almost always be near the highest concentration of eggs.
  • Watch for movement — she will be moving in a weaving pattern through the other bees.
  • If you do not see her in the brood, then look in the middle of a cluster of bees.