She chooses the hive from which to make a queen based on many factors including honey production (which she said was 15% genetics and 85% management), hygenic behavior, gentleness, and several other factors. She said to determine whether a queen was raising bees who were hygenic, you can do the following:
- Cut a section of comb out of a brood frame - about 3- 4 inches round or square
- Count the number of empty cells, ones with pollen, or ones with honey so you'll know how many in the section did not contain brood to begin with
- Freeze the section overnight in the freezer
- Return the section to the brood frame and toothpick it back in place
- The next day (24 hours later) check on the section and count the empty cells.
Isn't that fascinating?
BTW, her reference for a good book about queen rearing is Successful Queen Rearing by Spivak.