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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,347

    Default Killing queen after Marking?

    I have 1 queen that the bees have been trying to supersede for the past month but I wouldn't let them. I was harvesting the beautiful cells for new nucs.

    In early april I found what I thought were swarm cells and moved them into a nuc. Resulting in a beautiful queen, booming now. Then they tried to supercede her again, moved the cell over, another beautiful nuc shes just starting to lay. Then again this weekend noticed 3 cells being made. Well this time I decided to mark the queen with testers paint. Just so I could obersve if she hangs around with new queen etc. I noticed when I released her back in the hive a few bees acted a bit agressive towards her, wiping at the dry paint etc. Well I looked today no sign of queen and more started cells. Im pretty sure shes gone. No biggie, but did the workers kill her because of the paint smell, knowing they had cells and wanting to supercede her anyways. Was the paint the last straw? ;-) hehe

    So anyone have a tip for marking and releasing, is the testors paint too strong? I don't think i injured her in anyway. I plan to mark a bunch of new queens and don't want them all killed. :-) I liked using the testors, it was quick and easy. The color is very vibrant. I just wonder if this was a special circumstance.
    Last edited by burns375; 05-07-2014 at 08:19 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Johnson City, TN
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: Killing queen after Marking?

    I bought a paint pen at Micheal's craft store for $2.00 this year. It's non toxic and does not have acid. It is not the greatest marker ever but for marking queens, it's been doing me good. Beats 7 or 8 at the bee supply. It is thier brand Craft smart.
    All beekeepers can agree on one thing, and that one thing is, that all beekeepers can't agree on one thing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    905

    Default Re: Killing queen after Marking?

    The bees sometimes do behave funny after marking the queen, especially if she is not too cooperative and it takes a long time. I think I will make a smaller queen marking plunger that allows her to move less and gets her thorax lined up with the paint hole a lot more quickly.

    I DO recommend using a queen muff whenever handling a queen.

    Epilepsis is a phenomenon where the queen seems to get paralyzed for a few minutes after handling. The bees will think that you, the beekeeper, has killed the queen, and they can get pretty mad at you for that. My buddy and I once observed a queen "fainting" after being handled, and a small tornado of bees took off from the tops of the frames and flew into our veils, bouncing off in very aggressive, vengeful manner. The queen was observed walking about the comb about two minutes later. Order was soon restored.

    Michael Palmer suggests using a piece of Timothy hay to mark with Testor's model paint. I've gone to a Q-tip with the cotton ball cut off. The paint pens just don't work when I need them to, or they paint the entire queen blue or green or white or whatever, and all the bees get painted trying to clean her, defeating the purpose.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,379

    Default Re: Killing queen after Marking?

    If using a pen, you definitely need to get it working on a piece of cardboard of wood first, be sure all the excess paint is off and put the smallest dot you can on the queen. Sometimes it ends up a lot bigger than you intended...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    905

    Default Re: Killing queen after Marking?

    Yes, the dreaded "Blue Queen Syndrome" leaving blue trails all over the combs, and 50+ bees painted blue. UGH!!!

    I guess the upside is that she is VERY EASY to spot... Even a year later, she still has one blue wing.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,191

    Default Re: Killing queen after Marking?

    I am not experienced and I don't know if this really makes any difference or not. I put a drop of the marker paint on the top of a frame where a lot of bees are, I then isolate the Queen, mark her, take off the cover and place the marker tube on the frames while the paint dries. That way the bees seem to be more used to the scent of the marker.
    What is a Queen muff and how is it used? Ahhh...Brushy Mountain carries them...ordered one. Now all I need is to raise a Queen
    Last edited by WBVC; 05-08-2014 at 01:27 PM.
    Janne....first hives April 2013, 19 hives, treat, plant zone 8b, at sea level, latitude 49.13, longitude 123.06

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,556

    Default Re: Killing queen after Marking?

    Testor pens...

    Green Eyed Lady, lovely lady, Strolling slowly 'cross the combs...


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    905

    Default Re: Killing queen after Marking?

    A queen muff is a soft, portable "cage" made of a cylinder of screen material like your veil is made of, about 9" long and about 7" diameter (big enough for both hands to operate queen tools, get it?) with ends made of net cloth with elastic-gathered openings for your hands. The purpose of a queen muff is to contain her while you work on her so she does not escape.

    Put the marking plunger tool, the paint container or pen, and a queen cage inside the queen muff. Catch the queen in your queen catcher clip, put the clip with the queen in it inside the muff (BOTH hands in the muff => elastic gathers closed around your wrists), open it up on the foam of the plunger and let her majesty walk onto the foam. Quickly but carefully direct the plunger and queen into the tube, move it up and try to get her thorax lined up with a hole. You do have to GENTLY squeeze her against the top. Mark her with paint. Let her dry, put her in the queen cage, take the queen cage out of the muff and return her to her home. Presto! You still have a queen - she didn't fly off and land on your nasty neighbor's tree 20 feet up, or off to Diego Garcia Island, or wherever...

    Also - try to NOT paint her rear end. If it gets painted closed, she's out of business for a long time, if not for good (the paint dries and "glues" her egg-laying end shut).

    Ray - Is that parody of Elton John's song, "Tiny Dancer"?

    Burns375 - kudos on your idea of keeping a supercedure situation supplying you with decent queen cells, but watch that they don't get laying workers. It can happen with a weakening queen...and it is a VERY undesirable situation. Mama can also go drone layer on you. No big scare, but do watch carefully.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 05-08-2014 at 12:01 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,474

    Default Re: Killing queen after Marking?

    I like to let the paint dry a bit, with the queen away from her bees for a couple of minutes, before I put her back. I do this mostly to prevent her bees from trying to remove the mark while wet. In your situation, it sounds to me that this queen was near the end of life, so this marking could have been enough to take mild unhappiness to the next level.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,379

    Default Re: Killing queen after Marking?

    > I put a drop of the marker paint on the top of a frame where a lot of bees are

    I guess I do too, although I'm just trying to make sure the pen works right...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,347

    Default Re: Killing queen after Marking?

    Thanks for all the feedback. I used paint pens often work. Pre-wetting is definitely a must to resaturate the tip.

    I found her rather quickly in about 3 minutes without much unsettling to the hive. Plucked her off a frame by the wings and dabbed her thorax with a small twig with a dot of paint. Blew and waited about 1 minute then released her back into the hive.

    No problems with the method, it was easy. Im just wondering if the marking will cause the bees to kill newly mated queens. Is there anything I can to do curb the behavior. Is the testors paint too strong a smell? Should I wait 2 minutes. Or is the an isolated event since the queen has been due for superseder

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,474

    Default Re: Killing queen after Marking?

    I've never seen a queen killed as a result of marking. I have seen workers jump on the paint and try to remove it, again, which is why I like to let it dry a bit. Sometimes they are successful at getting most of it off, particularly the water-based paint (Posca markers). I don't have any experience with the testors paint, but I know that lots of folks use it and I haven't heard of any problems. My guess is that this was an isolated issue, but perhaps feedback from somone using the same paint would be helpful. Currently I'm using the Sharpie oil-based markers, because they are cheap, locally available, and last well. I haven't seen any issues with these markers.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,347

    Default Re: Killing queen after Marking?

    Thank you for the feedback. I will mark away this weekend, have about 15 to do.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    905

    Default Re: Killing queen after Marking?

    A+ Burnsy! Way to go.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Marshall county, AL
    Posts
    756

    Default Re: Killing queen after Marking?

    Quote Originally Posted by burns375 View Post
    Thank you for the feedback. I will mark away this weekend, have about 15 to do.
    How did the marking go? I want to give it a try, but as usual am concerned about screwing something up.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Lottsburg, Virginia USA
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Killing queen after Marking?

    Hi guys,
    marked a few hundred queens over the last 4 years, had an occasion to mark a new laying queen on one of my hives where I had removed the queen when they went into swarm preps, well after catching the queen and getting her into the marking tube, after marking her she sort of died on the plunger. I felt sick this is the first queen that I have killed while marking. Well on with the inspections so I left her on the frames and closed up. Hours later I went back and opened up the hive and did a search for the dead queen, found her busy on one of the frames much to my relief. Would you believe marked a new young queen this morning and the same thing happened so left her on the frames and will check the hive out in the morning and hope for the same results. this kind of stuff gets real hard on your nerves
    Johno

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,336

    Default Re: Killing queen after Marking?

    If you are worried about them balling the queen after you mark her. Put her in a queen cage for the night then let her out. You don't need to do that typically but it does help with them balling her. I have had them ball her since the smell had changed and they were testy that day.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,379

    Default Re: Killing queen after Marking?

    >well after catching the queen and getting her into the marking tube, after marking her she sort of died on the plunger

    On the topic of fainting queens, here's what Jay Smith says:

    "The Question of Cataleptic Queens.

    "In handling queens, many beekeepers have observed that once in a great while a queen suddenly becomes unconscious and sometimes dies. The reason assigned is that she took a cramp or had a cataleptic fit.

    "The author has observed this for the past twenty years. Some seasons it would occur but once; during others half a dozen times or more. In my mind there has always been some doubts whether or not the queen was cataleptic. One season, the loss was heavier than usual. One day two were lost. I say "lost" as the queens were always discarded after having a "fit," for previous experience had made me believe that they were permanently injured by having these "spells."

    "The day the two queens were lost, I observed how very similar was the action of the injured queen to the one that had been stung by another queen. There was a sudden collapse, then a slight quivering of the legs. In one case this lasted for over half an hour, when the queen slowly revived. In the other case, the queen quivered four about the same length of time and then died. It seemed certain to me that in some mysterious manner these queens were getting poison from a sting. Could it be that the poison on my fingers from worker-stings was causing the mischief? Investigation failed to substantiate this. I noticed that in one case the queen had taken hold of the top of her abdomen with a front foot, which might indicate that she had received a slight prick in the foot from her own sting. I therefore watched carefully and soon this belief was confirmed. The queen in taking hold of the tip of her abdomen exposed the sting. Then, in trying to get hold with the rest of her feet, she would strike right at the point of the sting. In this manner she undoubtedly received some of the poison. Since that time we have taken great care that a queen is not allowed to take hold of the tip of her abdomen, consequently no more queens have been afflicted with fainting spells. "

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenrearingsimplified.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Lottsburg, Virginia USA
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Killing queen after Marking?

    That bit by Jay Smith was quite interesting and I wonder how they held the queen for marking way back. I wonder what they used for marking, I cant remember Doolittle mentioning marking but I would think that the queen was hand held either by the wings or thorax. Using a marking tube the queen is held flat between the foam and the net of the marking tube and I don't believe that the queen could accidently sting itself anywhere in this position ,does anybody disagree with that statement
    Johno

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Lottsburg, Virginia USA
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Killing queen after Marking?

    Well checked those hives where the queens sort of died while being marked, both are alive and well and laying like gangbusters
    Johno

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