When to mark queens
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    104

    Default When to mark queens

    Just made a few splits a week or so ago. Can I mark the new queens before they are mated? Or should I wait a couple more weeks until they are mates and laying?
    4 years, 5 hives, zone 7B

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Bellflower,Montgomery County, Mo
    Posts
    82

    Default Re: When to mark queens

    This may be why the saying: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. I would wait until they mated and returned. Also they could make new queens if the hive decides to supersede.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    104

    Default

    Good point. I am probably just dying for an excuse to use my new queen catcher again!
    4 years, 5 hives, zone 7B

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,972

    Default Re: When to mark queens

    Always wait until they are mated. If you accidentally get paint on the wings, they may not be able to fly and get mated. Once they ARE mated and have eggs in the hive, if you damage her you won't loose the hive. I was out catching and marking queens today. Got the queens in six overwintered nucs marked with a nice big green dot. The one-handed queen catcher I got from ML does a fantastic job. I am not able to grab the queen bare-handed, although I have no qualms about grabbing the worker bees. Perhaps it is a fear of clumsy fingers and a squished queen?
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Enfield,Ct.
    Posts
    705

    Default Re: When to mark queens

    Virgins and newly mated Qs are smaller and tend to run.Wait until she's been laying a while and I think you will have an easier time finding her.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Greenville, SC USA
    Posts
    488

    Default Re: When to mark queens

    Iíve gotten pretty comfortable catching and marking our queens by hand - with nitrile gloves to be exact. (I do all the bee work with the nitrile gloves for the superior dexterity.)
    As seen on plenty of videos - I gently catch the queen with my writing hand, hold my non-writing hand index finger to the queen, let her grab the finger, and then gently hold her legs with index finger and thumb. Then mark with pen, place in queen cage for paint to dry, then open cage and watch her crawl back down between frames.
    My heart would race when I first did it (for fear of damaging her) but itís not a big deal any more.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,470

    Default Re: When to mark queens

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Always wait until they are mated. If you accidentally get paint on the wings, they may not be able to fly and get mated. Once they ARE mated and have eggs in the hive, if you damage her you won't loose the hive. I was out catching and marking queens today. Got the queens in six overwintered nucs marked with a nice big green dot. The one-handed queen catcher I got from ML does a fantastic job. I am not able to grab the queen bare-handed, although I have no qualms about grabbing the worker bees. Perhaps it is a fear of clumsy fingers and a squished queen?
    Just make sure she is not trying to escape with her head sticking through one of the slots in the flexible strip whey you retract it for release. I had used it quite a few times before this happened to me; A very dark moment.
    Frank

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Bristol,Indiana,USA
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Your location

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,972

    Default Re: When to mark queens

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    Just make sure she is not trying to escape with her head sticking through one of the slots in the flexible strip whey you retract it for release. I had used it quite a few times before this happened to me; A very dark moment.
    I had been forewarned of this problem and was paying attention. It would be very easy to do. If fact, one of the workers who decided to join the queen in the marking tube did get decapitated. Oops.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Palos Verdes, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,277

    Default Re: When to mark queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt_inSC View Post
    My heart would race when I first did it (for fear of damaging her) but it’s not a big deal any more.
    I use a marking cage, and I think I've probably marked 10 queens in my life/career thus far. It still terrifies me, even though I don't think I've ever damaged one.

    The closest I came was when I left a drop of paint on the cage, and she stepped in it and got stuck. A little persuasion with a pine needle freed her, and she was laying a few weeks later, so all was good.

    I had another scare when I took the queen clip and marking cage to my shed, 30' away, to get away from some angry bees. I botched the transfer, and she flew! I was lucky enough to be able to watch her fly back to her box, and I picked her up again from the lid.
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Posts
    485

    Default Re: When to mark queens

    I hurt one marking it a couple weeks ago, and they superseded her, a $50 OHB Saskatraz queen, see video if interested. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9dBhAVCUkI
    NCSBA Certified Beekeeper 2nd yr 15 hives
    https://www.youtube.com/c/BackyardBeesNC

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Posts
    485

    Default Re: When to mark queens

    I just tore off a wing marking one, **** may be best to just leave them unmarked.
    NCSBA Certified Beekeeper 2nd yr 15 hives
    https://www.youtube.com/c/BackyardBeesNC

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
    Posts
    1,686

    Default Re: When to mark queens

    I practiced on Drones for quite a while before moving on to Queens. I was still nervous.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Posts
    485

    Default Re: When to mark queens

    Yeah, guess I'd better do that, I did just load my first queen cage with the queen and 3 workers
    NCSBA Certified Beekeeper 2nd yr 15 hives
    https://www.youtube.com/c/BackyardBeesNC

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