13.3.3. Observing and monitoring queen flights
1. Use a transparent flight tunnel at the hive entrance (Fig. 29); it should prevent the queen from leaving on her own.
1.1. The width of the tunnel depends on the type of the hive; its depth should be about 5 cm.
1.2. Put a movable glass lid on top for observations and a movable piece of queen excluder in front.
2. If a queen wants to leave for mating, open either the glass lid or the queen excluder and observe the start of the queen.
3. After her departure, close the excluder again.
4. The returning queen will "wait" until the researcher removes the excluder and allows it to enter the colony again.
The RFID technique can be used for queens (see section 11). Returning from a mating flight, the queen often does not enter the hive right away but flies around searching for the right entrance, lands and takes off again after some seconds; sometimes the queen even takes a rest nearby on the wall of the hive.
In this case, personal observation
yields more information than a RFID reader.
Fig. 29. Mating nuc with veranda in front of the flight entrance. The top is covered with a movable glass lid (depth 5cm) to observe the queen. The proximal opening is blocked by a movable piece of queen excluder to control starts and returns of the queen.