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Stoney

Queen Marking. Why, How, Is it necessary

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I’ve also been impressed with healthy brood.. my regime was fresh treatment in August as they winter well as doubles and usually are brooding on five finger.. I’ve split them all in half through sept- early oct  and on doing so sent 2 ox/gl paper with each half.. 

this round I’m replacing those chewed out but keeping at 2 per box I’m kinda thinking as a bit of a maintenance dose. 

Usually I run one on every second frame with brood and at opposite ends to get a good distribution. 

Brood is very clean of mite activity. 

Ill be removing the treatment as I prep them for shifting over the next couple wks. 

 

I had some thoughts regarding queens in OX colonies.. I mark all my queens to age them and or show their origin... the ox takes the pen off... 

the OX also affects the little “feet” on the mite... 

does the ox also affect the feet of the queen? 

She has the longest exposure to the staple  as the workers come and go.. 

I do see  supercedure response.. my thought is maybe the walking on brood comb spreading pheromones is diminished by her feet being affected by the acid.. thoughts? 

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23 minutes ago, Stoney said:

the ox takes the pen off..

Aha. That answers that question .

Most times I see a queen, it has the remnants of Posca pen on it in a faint circle . My queens are well used to being caught and remarked regularly these days . 
It hadn’t occurred to me it was the acid doing it 

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Yea Matt it’s been really interesting seeing the small effects the acid has inside the hive.. my posca pen stash is huge these days.. to keep track I have to re paint in the original colour so have also now included recording queen age and origin on the hive matt with my inspection note. 

Id love to understand the relationship between acid and queen  supercedure. 

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Posca pen is popular, but not long lasting. If you expect your queens to do 2 seasons, a posca pen will not go the distance, and probably will not even do one season. Acid or no acid.

 

What i use is automotive paint. Quick drying and long lasting.

 

Method - I have a small tin of automotive paint with a hole punched in the lid, with a nail in it. Just take the nail out and apply a drop of paint to the queen with the tip of the nail. I have filed the point of the nail flat to about 1/2 way up the point, to give the right sized drop.

 

The tin does need a good shake from time to time, and I also have a tin of thinner, to replace evaporation as needed. Being used in this way the paint gradually gets contaminated and goes rotten, I'll chuck it and get a new tin once a year.

 

Once painted the queen is good for life. If it's a very important queen I'll also clip one wing, to avoid ever getting her mixed up with some other queen.

Edited by Alastair
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I’m a note freak and love me poscas for more than just her majesty... but since using acid I find the mark can sometimes be gone inside 6weeks, not always completely with remnants around the edges left. And some colours seem better than others. 

I always make sure she’s dry before re deploying her to her duties as well. 

 

Do you find the bees giving her special attention once fleshly painted with auto paint? 

 

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Yes. I'll blow on her for a few seconds before putting her back in to dry it past the point where the bees can scrape bits of it off and ugly up my nice paint job 😉.

I also put her between 2 combs inside the hive so if she gets chased around a bit she won't go missing, I wouldn't put her on a comb outside of the hive. (Don't ask me how i learned not to do that LOL 😮).

.

Another thing, despite having several years working as a full time commercial queen breeder up my sleeve, I never hit on using automotive paint until years afterwards, when the method was shown to me by a 5 hive hobbyist. 

 

That, and a few other pearls of wisdom shared to me by hobbyists, is why i have an open mind and will never discount anything i'm told, based on the person only having a small number of "hive weeks".

.

Oh and, a tip for "note freaks". 😁

 

I have a posca, and a normal felt pen in the truck. The felt pen is to write notes on the lid that I don't want to last very long, such as for example, the age of a new virgin in a hive and when she should be laying, i wouldn't want that sort of info cluttering up the hive lid for another year. The posca is to write stuff that needs to last longer.

Edited by Alastair
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I find posca blue lasts longer than red. Is the paint tin a bit of a pain, as in you can't stick it in a pocket? Need to try it some point.

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I use these paint pens to mark my queens. I get them from a local art shop. image.png.8c47b9a61cb771baa9abbc9546b45d72.png

I also know a couple of beekeepers that use the CRC ones available at Repco, Bunnings, mitre 10 etc and they also work well.

 

I have not noticed marks disappearing more since using oxalic but will be more conscious to check now.

 

Edited by Otto
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1 hour ago, Gino de Graaf said:

 Is the paint tin a bit of a pain, as in you can't stick it in a pocket? Need to try it some point.

 

Lives in a coffee cup holder in the cab of the truck. Not too much drama but may involve a little more time than a pen. But hey, having to re mark all the queens every few weeks or months would also be a pain no?

1 hour ago, Otto said:

I use these paint pens to mark my queens. I get them from a local art shop. 

I also know a couple of beekeepers that use the CRC ones available at Repco, Bunnings, mitre 10 etc and they also work well.

 

Otto are those actual paint, and how long do they last on the queen?

 

Maybe i could dispense with my paint tin.

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1 hour ago, Alastair said:

 

Lives in a coffee cup holder in the cab of the truck. Not too much drama but may involve a little more time than a pen. But hey, having to re mark all the queens every few weeks or months would also be a pain no?

 

Otto are those actual paint, and how long do they last on the queen?

 

Maybe i could dispense with my paint tin.

Yes, oil based paint. Doesn't have any negative impact on queens. Have plenty of queens where it never wears off, some where it does...

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Not all posca pen are equal , I use posca paint pens and into my 4th season with ox strips and have no issues with queen marking .

 

 

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8 hours ago, olbe said:

Not all posca pen are equal , I use posca paint pens and into my 4th season with ox strips and have no issues with queen marking .

 

 

That explains some colours holding better than others.. 

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10 hours ago, olbe said:

Not all posca pen are equal , I use posca paint pens and into my 4th season with ox strips and have no issues with queen marking .

 

 

Do you use green and red ? 
A mark used to do a good year and a half .

I will keep a look out because I have no staples in now till Feb , so the paint should last better 

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Do most commercial bee outfits mark queens? Ive only had bees for three years with ten hives how and dont see the point in marking them. Whats the main reason ya it for? 

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There's a few different reasons YTB, but you are right, most commercial bee outfits do not mark their queens, or not much, anyway. Some people use colour codes for different seasons so they know how old the queen is, or to help them determine if it has been superseded. Me, i don't colour code cos just looking at the queen is usually a pretty good guide, I just use white cos it stands out the best. Wether to mark or not really just comes down to personal prefence, plus how much time it would save or cost, based on the particular management system.

 

One outfit I worked for we ran 2 queen hives, the method was they were seperated by a queen excluder and the new queens were introduced by way of queen cells, it was rarely necessary to even see a queen so wouldn't have been much point in marking them.

 

When selling queens commercially some people specify they want them marked, which is not too much drama as it can be done at the same time as caging them.

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Thaks Alastair. I've got a couple of two queen hives this summer.  I took nucs off of hives with old queen as a swarm prevention method ,then squashed queens and put bees back into hive later when they had requeened. A couple that I couldnt bring myself to kill i put into a box above excluder. All working out great for now. Not that i need extra honey, dont know enough people to give it to.

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I mark the new queens after their brood is capped and write on the mat, with the same Posca pen , that I have done so .

This way I know the age of the queen and when she is superceded and/or the temperament of her offspring and whether she’s a breeder or not 

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Nice work YTB, 2 queening should work well in Hokitika. 

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Do you mark your queens.  

What marker or paint etc do you use.

Why do you mark your queens.

How do you mark your queens.

 

Here is my video to get us started.

 

 

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I mark queens whenever I come across an unmarked one as it makes them easier to find again. I make splits for various reason quite often throughout the season so finding queens is essential. Anything that makes them easier to find is worth doing in my opinion. I also supply nucleus colonies and some queens to hobbyists, often people new to beekeeping and marked queens makes it easier for them to spot their queen/s.

 

I mark queens by picking them up and holding their thorax between my thumb and index finger, then putting a dot of paint on the thorax. Handling queens can be quite daunting and takes a bit of getting used to. To work out how much pressure to use the easiest thing is to practice on drones. No big deal if you accidentally squash one and they cannot sting.

 

Edited by Otto
Removing repitition
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8 minutes ago, Otto said:

I mark queens by picking them up and holding their thorax between my thumb and index finger, then putting a dot of paint on the thorax.

Yep so do I . I capture them and hold them

with my left hand . I am right handed and it’s more important that the aim is ‘spot on ‘ with my more reliable hand .
When ever I go through a hobbiests hive , I catch and mark the queen as a favour to them , and to show them how easy it is .

Ive never been stung by bees on the comb as I dive in and pluck the queen off with bare fingers . 
Aggro hives I work with nitrile gloves and they are fine for queen handling as well .

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Interesting techniques.. we run marked queens at work as well, for lots of reasons. 

Age of queen, origin of queen- different mothers or cells or if she’s an emergency Q or superC etc 

I like to keep track on the mat notes as well and run right through to harvest, keeps track of how much honey , brood, temperament, mother she came from etc.. 

which goes on wide grey tape, rip off and replace once the strip is full.. 

 

I’m a wing man.. pick up by both wings with dominant hand, give her my opposite index finger tip to hold (she grabs it with all her legs) then I bring thumb and middle finger across to hold her by sides of her thorax.. as I whip me posca outta me pocky and give her a makeover.. then back to a wings pick up and release.. 

Very fast to do and no hassles. 

 

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Never marked a queen in my life. I did have some of those coloured and numbered glue on discs but we used them for marking weta in the end.

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11 hours ago, john berry said:

I did have some of those coloured and numbered glue on discs but we used them for marking weta in the end.

Why?

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11 hours ago, john berry said:

Never marked a queen in my life. I did have some of those coloured and numbered glue on discs but we used them for marking weta in the end.

I wish I had your eye for finding queens .

I never saw the queen for nearly a yr in a hive full of bees .

I spend my time looking at brood and miss the queen .

I can not do both , I have to just look for the queen .

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