For paint, I like white out. It's fast drying and doesn't anger the bees. Acrylic latex, sold in little bottles at the craft stores works good also, but doesn't last as long on the queen as the white out. Test the acylic out on a few drones first. Some types will anger the bees.

Take a nail the diameter you want the spot on the queen to be. Grind the point off making a slightly convex surface on that end.

Drill a hole in the cap of the paint bottle the same diameter as the nail. Now insert the nail into the lid of the paint bottle, shake the bottle and withdraw the nail. The paint will be scraped off the sides of the nail. Only the tip will have a small amount on it. Gently, touch this to the thorax or abdomen and rotate it slightly. You've got a neat, round spot.

Here's how I grab the queen. Use your dominate hand. Grab the queen by both wings using your index finger and thumb. Her head should be pointed out and the abdomen pointed toward the palm of the hand.

Now, rotate your other hand like you would hold a cup of coffee. Touch the queens legs onto the end of your ring finger. She will grab on. Now gently grasp her thorax with the index and thumb of the same hand. Release her wings.

She can be rotated and moved so that the center of the thorax is available for marking. Put a spot right in the center and
dont' get any on the head, wing joints, antenna or spiral openings. Hold her immobile until the paint is dry. With white out and a few breaths that just a few seconds.

I like this method because her wings and legs are immobilized. She can be repositioned with ease. She is easily directed when released, either back into the hive or a queen cage.

I have injured queens using other methods.
Either by the physical damage to the queen as she struggled or a slip of the paint when she moves.

Practice on some drones first. After you have done it a few dozen times, it will become second nature and takes less than 30 seconds.

Young, newly mated queens are nervous. With some races, marking a newly mating queen will result in her balling and death. I have seen bees kill their own newly marked queen and kick them out the front entrance before the hive was closed up. Be as inobtrusive to the hive as possible,even with the smoker.

They can and will readily fly, so if she's is not caged immediately, direct her back into the same general area of the hive. Point her hear down into the darkness between a couple of frames where she has been laying. If she flys off, stay put for awhile. Most often she will return to the hive. Close the hive up and try another day.

I don't routinely mark queens anymore. I didn't have any evidence that it harmed the queen until my experience with marking the Russians.

Worker bee can be picked up by the wings and put into the cage the same way as the queen is picked up. The easiest workers to pick up are those with their heads in a cell. Just grab their wings, put thier head in the little hole in the queen cage and release them. A fraction of a second later plug the hole with a finger and grab another bee. Watch you don't let the queen out when inserting additional bees.


[This message has been edited by BWrangler (edited May 24, 2003).]

[This message has been edited by BWrangler (edited May 24, 2003).]