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Or should you wait until they are mated and laying?
I read somewhere that what what makes the queen easier to spot for the beekeeper also makes her easier to spot for predators such as birds, so better to wait until she makes it back safe and sound from her mating flight to her home hive and starts laying before making her easy prey...

-fafrd
 

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Just a tip that a week later after the mating flights and some egg laying, they can still fly away as you are trying to mark them :doh: trust me.....I'm still trying to find her. Maybe she'll come home by herself.:cry:
 

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That new Queen Muff can pay for itself real quick! Don't ask me how I know... :doh:
 

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Getting a virgin queen in a muff will be easier said than done. I think that one way to find a virgin is to look for the fastest running (half flying) bee on the frame. I have marked queens that looked like a virgins but were probably recently mated.

I have tried marking others and just gave up trying to grab them as they fly/run across the frame. I have had them fly off of the frame and land on another mating nuc to be met by bees from that hive that didn't appreciate the visit.

I have decided to mark about a week after mating when I start seeing eggs/larva.
 

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I have marked virgins and the acceptence rate was not as good. i think it is better to wait a week or two after she starts laying and then mark her. if you have one that gets in the air (flys) close the hive up right then and walk away. most of the time she will go back in the hive.
 

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The muffs are cool and all, but if I'm marking a nervous queen a spare hat/veil combo works well too.
 

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The muffs are cool and all, but if I'm marking a nervous queen a spare hat/veil combo works well too.
Outstanding idea (an pretty obvious too, but I had not thought of it on my own :))

-fafrd

p.s. the other reason I only mark mated queens is to make it very easy to seperate vigins from proven layers. If marking really does not interfere with mating, then I guess you could always use a special color for virgins, but this would mean marking twice (and once is enough for me!)
 

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The muffs are cool and all, but if I'm marking a nervous queen a spare hat/veil combo works well too.
That was second part of my plan, try to trap a queen as she flies/runs around the adjusting strap inside the hat while keeping the veil closed :doh:
Some day she will be old and slow, then I'll mark her.

Oh and those acrylic marking pens from the craft section of Walmart are working good for me. White one to mark old queens and blue for this year new queens. The 7 I painted on a toenail is holding up well, now I'll have to write MAY on the other toes!
 

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The muffs are cool and all, but if I'm marking a nervous queen a spare hat/veil combo works well too.
That was second part of my plan, try to trap a queen as she flies/runs around the adjusting strap inside the hat while keeping the veil closed :doh:
Some day she will be old and slow, then I'll mark her.
 

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I have had a half a dozen fly off on me while trying to mark them. They have, so far, always come back. I just sit still and they usually come right back to the frame or my hand. Last week one flew and kept coming back but woudn't land. Finally she landed on the outside of the nuc and walked right in.:applause: I just closed it up and marked her this week. But these weren't virgins. They had always been laying before I marked them.

I read somewhere that you can take them out of the cocoon a day before they are to hatch and mark them, then put them back! Never tried it tho.
 
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