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Thread: Marking Queens

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    804

    Post

    Greetings,

    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.

    Regards
    Dennis

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

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

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    804

    Post

    Greetings,

    Queens are a lot more tough than commonly though. I am not suggesting treating them carelessly but their thorax is are as tough as a drones,although smaller.

    While practicing with the drones, squeeze one to see how much pressure the thorax can take. The amount of force needed may surprise you. It will give you much more confidence when handling queens. A crunched thorax is not necessarily fatal.

    The legs and wings are the easiest parts to damage. The queen can and will twist them off to escape if not handled correctly. But they are very tough to pressure.

    The abdomen is next. It can be flatten to a surprising amount but at some point will pop and that is fatal.

    Note, crushed thoraxes can heal. I have seen bees squeeze through spaces so small that it crushed their thorax yet they survived.

    While requeening a particularly nasty yard, I captured the queen with one ungloved hand, placed her on the cover setting crosswise on a brood chamber and applied the hive tool test until I heard a crunch. I figured that would do her in. Well over half those queens crawled down into those supers before the hive was set back together. Survived. And a week later were laying again. Interestingly some layed much better patterns than before were failing. That crunch was the thorax.

    Regards
    Dennis
    Who repents at routinely treating God's creatures so calously while working them commercially.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,299

    Post

    I saw a queen the other day who looked like she must have gotten pinched between end bars,she was that damaged.She was still filling whole combs of eggs,so I thought what the heck and didnt replace her.When i catch them to clip,it is by both wings and then when they grab my left thumb hold them by the legs.I am very comfortable with this but am too much of a klutz to try to hold them by the body.I could mark them with paint at the same time but never did.I also never clip a new queen untill she has laid several frames of brood.She is too excitable and so are the bees till then.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    crown point, NY, USA
    Posts
    971

    Post

    Used to do as Don says till I had a power tool accident. Run a few fingers through a router making bottom boards one day. Ouch!!!! Doc rebuilt them real nice and all and the still work and even look pretty good with some scarring (I used honey to minimize scarring a swear to it too). Even can play guitar still. But just a little stiff for catching queens now so had to use the gizmos. So be careful with power tools.


    Clay

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