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Thread: Black Queen

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Edgefield County, South Carolina
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    646

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    I'm thinking about replacing a queen I recieved in a nuc in april. I had not noticed (it took my twelve year old son to point it out to me today)she's marked. I had not noticed it because she is black and the mark is blue. Kind of embarassing be I had not noticed. My questions:
    -I understand they use a different color each year. Is this correct and is this years color blue?
    -also an experienced bee-keeper that I am mentoring under said black queens he has dealt with seem to have more aggressive offspring. What race would black most likely bee? Any comments on agressiveness? They do seem to be fairly aggressive. The colony has had a slow start compared to my other that was purchased and recived at the same time.
    My first year. Thanks for any advice.
    sc-bee

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Odessa, Missouri
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    629

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    Blue is the color for 2005. Most older beekeepers remember the old german black bee which was mean as hell. Gave all dark bees a bad rep!

    Color has nothing to do with aggresive behavior. Aggressive behavior has been linked to 2-3 genes.
    New world Carniolans are dark and not aggresive.
    The place you bought your nuc should know what type of queen they sent. Give the producer a call or look on your invoice.
    Bob Harrison

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    College Station, Texas
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    The color markings are not standard, so each queen breeder likely uses a different color for a given year. I purchase a few queens close by and this year color is red. Last year's was blue. Nice way of keeping a track of how old the queen really is up to a point. Point in case: one of the nucs I made up this spring when I check to see how the queens were doing one of the queens was unmarrked, but when I checked really close it had a slight ring of red on the queen. My theory is the bees from the hive in which I had made the nuc were hygenic and they were just not happy until the spot was gone.
    As to dark queens being aggressive. I worked some bees commercially a few years back and the old fellow used midnight which were very black. A bit slow to take off in the spring, but extremely workable. On the other hand the german black bees (I think actually dutch bees) were always rank, cross and just downright mean. However, it you reference abc-kyz the auther explains that the german black bee is not only dutch, but it's color is actually a more brown color.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
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    New York City
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    > The color markings are not standard...

    Gosh, I thought that they were standard,
    nearly planet-wide, as follows:

    Color Last Digit Of Year
    ------ ------------------
    White 1 or 6
    Yellow 2 or 7
    Red 3 or 8
    Green 4 or 9
    Blue 5 or 0

    Does anyone, anywhere, use another scheme?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
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    >so each queen breeder likely uses a different color for a given year

    nope...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
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    So I am now a bit confused. So what authority decides this years color and why are my purchased queens NOT marked with the approved color? Or should I believe that my red marked queens will really not arrive until 2008?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    oneonta al.
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    I ordered some early spring queen's afew years back from a well known breeder.Paid extra to have them marked.When I got them they was marked the year before's color,(as Jim has pointed out above).By them being early mated made me wonder if they wasn't fall queen's from the year before.
    I called this well known breeder & he said he didn't know anything about color code (BIG BREEDER??)& he marked diff- colors for diff- breed's.
    Well he went on my S%#@ list.>>>>Mark

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    oneonta al.
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    Tecumseh:I'm not sure by what authority of the color code system,But it's an international color marking system.
    Could your red queen's not be 2003 queen's?>>>>Mark

  9. #9

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    Just my opinion! I don't think it really matters the marking color if you keep accurate records of your hives. If red is what you have, then YOU know it and what year you received it. I don't think there are "Marking Police" that care what or how the queens are marked. It is just an aid for the keeper.

    ...Just my opinion...
    If you see me runnin' you'd better keep up!
    http://hillshivery.blogspot.com/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Fredericksburg, Va
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    being mizerly as a lot of us are - why throw out left overs or wait 5 years to use them?

    I would say that some just use their marking paint until it is gone.

    I thought that the most useful part of the marking of the queen was to just monitor if she had been superceded (in this case it is the mark and not the color that matters). Age can be determined by record keeping as HH points out.

    I tend not to pay extra to have them marked. I had read that sometimes the workers veiw the marking as a defect on the queen.
    Bee all you can Bee!
    http://www.hamiltonapiary.net

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    As already mentioned, dark has nothing to do with mean. I've had some viscious yellow bees. I've had some hot black bees. I've had nice yellow bees and nice dark bees. Caucasians are generaly quite gentle and quite dark. Carniolians are generally quite gentle and quite dark.

    Of course, as most people have mentioned there IS a standard and as has been pointed out it is not always followed, but it's easy to follow and simplifies life for everyone if we all follow the same standard. I LIKE being able to look at a queen and know how old she is. I had one this spring that was yellow and I knew she was from 2002. I can't keep that good of records of all my hives to always remember how old the queen is. If I get one that is marked the wrong color for that year, I paint over the other color.

    Of course no one is going to arrest you for using the wrong color. But it's helpful if we are all on the same page. You only have to own five paint pens and they will last for five years if you leave the cap on. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    I occasionally use some other color to signify something special about the queen, but I usually put this next to the standard color on the same queen.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Anchorage, Alaska
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    I had read that sometimes the workers veiw the marking as a defect on the queen.
    Walter T. Kelley in his 'How to Keep Bees and Sell Honey' mentions that in his experience painted queens were superceded quicker than unpainted queens. Now that was many years ago, of course, when paints often contained lead, etc. Queens today, too, are often automatically replaced every couple of years by many beekeepers. Were they arbitrarily replaced as often back in his day?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    I had one marked yellow (meaning it was three years old). They superceded her, but not because of the paint, because she started laying drones. [img]smile.gif[/img] She was my best queen and my nicest hive for the last three years. I made many splits and nucs off of it. Also, she was black.

    Here's some black queens:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

    Look at the bottom of the page.

    I guess you can see what I think of black queens.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Edgefield County, South Carolina
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    Thanks for all the input. I just wondered how old the queen possibly could be. I know brood pattern and keeping records are more important.We were told in class one of the best methods to reduce swarming was to requeen every two years (of course depending on the number of hives you have if this is feasible) and brood chamber space. That is the main reason I was asking about color code related to age.

    Thanks again
    sc-bee

  15. #15
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    May 2005
    Location
    Colorado
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    Yes there are Marking Police and I'm one of them. I refused to purchase a queen marked with the wrong color. If we all did that they would all be marked correctly. Personally, i think it's our duty to force queen breeders to do it right. I understand why one would want to use different colors for diferent breeds, I just don't permit it.

    Join me.

    Hawk
    KC0YXI

  16. #16
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    Jan 2001
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    Perhaps the marking police could send out a
    CSI team ("Color Scheme Investigation - Denver!")
    and take a close look at that "black-marked
    queen". Could this perhaps merely be a very
    dark blue dot?

    Given a choice between White, Yellow, Red, Green,
    or Blue, "black" could be an attempt at a blue, as
    no other color could appear "black" if dark enough or mixed wrong.

    Just a thought.

  17. #17
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    Letter of the law! Is Navy Blue still blue? It's up to the judge to decide.

    Hawk (Who spent eight years on the force.)
    KC0YXI

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Lancaster , S.C.
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    It almost sounds like you have a Russian Queen. They can be black, may be a tad smaller than their Italian cousins, and build up a little slower initially . Because of their color they can be a little difficult to find when looking casually. Though they may be slower getting started, once pollen is available and the nectar flows starts they will explode. They can be temperamental. Early season or during a nectar shortage , look out. Once the nectar flow is in full blast, I can work mine with no veil and sometimes with no smoke. Of course like everyone, they can have a bad day. I'm currently working 34 Russian colonies. Since you are in SC, join us at Clemson for our annual summer meeting.

  19. #19
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    Apr 2005
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    So can I assume since I have no source of EXACTLY who authorizes this so called standard, that it really is not a standard but really represents a loosely held convention?

    I think I will keeping marking mine with my one white pen, no matter what the color nazi might demand.

    And yes Mark Williams, I am absolutely sure these fine young girls that I acquired from the BWeaver were not 2003 queens.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
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    I've read the same info on supercedure as Dick. We don't mark or buy marked queens although for some it is useful. Most of our queens never see the 3rd year, some don't see the 2nd just due to the way we manage.
    Tecumseh, my buckfast are killing me this year, I can't put honey supers on fast enough. They are outperforming the cordovans by a considerable amount. I heard they(Weaver) had a pretty difficult time this year with the mating nucs, let me know if you happen to hear anything about how they are doing.

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