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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Salem, NY, USA
    Posts
    5

    Default I caused one of my best queens to get killed!

    Hi everyone,

    I have 6 nucs that I'm going to try overwintering this year. Made them up in mid-July, let them produce their own queens and they've all been building up really nicely since then. Most are 2-stories high at this point (5 over 5 configuration).
    Well, last Saturday I decided to mark the queens in these nucs. I'm pretty new at this so I decided to use a queen marking tube (the one with the foam-topped wooden plunger) and Testor paint pen. Got the first queen done with no problems. After that I went into nuc #2, marked that queen the same way but when I re-introduced her she got balled and killed immediately! I probably could have intervened sooner but I wasn't sure what was going on at first. It's the first time I've ever seen that. By the time I did break them up she was dead.

    So now I'm trying to figure out what went wrong. I'm suspecting that the 1st queen's pheromones were transferred onto the 2nd queen while she was in the marking tube, masking her identity to her workers? Or, maybe the paint wasn't completely dry and the fumes pissed them off? I did keep her in the tube for about 10 minutes after I marked her...

    Any ideas?
    Thanks,
    Rich
    (2nd year beek in upstate NY, zone 5)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Laurel Hill, Fl
    Posts
    471

    Default Re: I caused one of my best queens to get killed!

    Good question... I've done the same think twice now, and lost the second queen both times. I didn't see them kill her, she went down between the frames and I popped the top back on. Next time I looked, the second queen was gone and replaced. I assumed being a rookie that I’m hurting them somehow thou I don’t remember anything that made me think I hurt them. I used the same tube you described.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    1,272

    Default Re: I caused one of my best queens to get killed!

    your first assumption was correct. when placing one queen after another is a device the scent from the first queen is transferred to the second. although she carries her own perfume, she also carries that of the other queen, her subjects see her as an invader, thus they dispatch her.

    That is the main reason I never use those queen push up pops. if you feel the need to use one, use one without the foam so it can easily be cleaned between queens.
    Marking a queen is pretty simple! pick her up bare handed, gently hold her by the thorax and dap the paint on. I use a piece of angle hair pasta as a paint dabber. Blow on the paint gently for a second, then release her. takes less than 30 seconds after finding her.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,633

    Default Re: I caused one of my best queens to get killed!

    Scent transfer. Learn to grab them with your fingers. Practice with drones.

    Edit. Wipe fingers with wash towel if doing them rapid fire to remove scent. Bees may sting your fingers and same with queen problem.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,961

    Default Re: I caused one of my best queens to get killed!

    I've marked around 15 queens in a row with a tube for 6 years now and never had a problem.
    Bruce

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Palm beach Florida USA
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: I caused one of my best queens to get killed!

    I understand marking will make it easier to spot, but I don't see the need to look for her unless you want to change her out. I've never seen mine but she must be there because the hive is growing. I thought the less I do the better the bees will do. Can someone please explain to the new guy.

    Gene

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,961

    Default Re: I caused one of my best queens to get killed!

    To keep bees from swarming in the spring and early summer I remove brood and bees and use them to equalize weaker hives or to make nucs up. If the queen is marked, the process is much faster since you don't have to worry about moving your queen by accident. That's just one reason. I never had a marked queen for the first 15 years that I kept bees, but now I mark them all.

    It is simple to know that your queen has been superceded. In the old days I would find a hive without much brood but had a queen. I used to requeen them, but now I can see that they are just in between queens and perhaps my hive swarmed or was superceded. Maybe I should wait on the new queen until the new queen has a few weeks under her belt.
    Bruce

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Papaikou, Hawaii, USA
    Posts
    90

    Default Re: I caused one of my best queens to get killed!

    I am sorry that happened. I know it must have felt awful.

    I rarely mark queens so had not thought of this, so I have learned something today. I am grateful and at the same time sorry you lost your queen.

    Thank you for sharing and for coming her to ask you question.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,633

    Default Re: I caused one of my best queens to get killed!

    Quote Originally Posted by beedeetee View Post
    To keep bees from swarming in the spring and early summer I remove brood and bees and use them to equalize weaker hives or to make nucs up. If the queen is marked, the process is much faster since you don't have to worry about moving your queen by accident. That's just one reason. I never had a marked queen for the first 15 years that I kept bees, but now I mark them all.

    It is simple to know that your queen has been superceded. In the old days I would find a hive without much brood but had a queen. I used to requeen them, but now I can see that they are just in between queens and perhaps my hive swarmed or was superceded. Maybe I should wait on the new queen until the new queen has a few weeks under her belt.
    True Dat beedeetee. Black queens on black comb are almost impossible to find sometimes. Ill find em then loose em, and sometimes takes a while to find her again. Usually if find the queen I throw the frame in a swarm box or put her in queen catcher for peace of mind while doing major manipulations.

    If your not manipulating brood via splits for swarm control or making new hives with brood then the marker is more or less unnecessary.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Renton, washington
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: I caused one of my best queens to get killed!

    I'm new to this,try a queen cage

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lower Lake, California, USA
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: I caused one of my best queens to get killed!

    Quote Originally Posted by Genemiller View Post
    I understand marking will make it easier to spot, but I don't see the need to look for her unless you want to change her out. I've never seen mine but she must be there because the hive is growing. I thought the less I do the better the bees will do. Can someone please explain to the new guy.

    Gene
    Gene there's a color code for the year the Queen is born/Marked in. So an additional reason is to keep track of Queens that are multiple years old.

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