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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been marking my queens according to the WYRGB cycle (so far only blue, this is my first season of keeping bees), I marked a queen on Saturday (blue) and this morning I realised it is now 2021.. but it seems arbitrary to mark a queen that is only a few weeks older than another with another years colour. Do Southern Hemisphere beekeepers use the first year of the season for marking colours?
I am quite new to living in the Southern Hemisphere, I’m realising how Northern Hemisphere biased lots of things are..
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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If you are not selling the queen, it really does not matter what colour you use. As long as you know what it means. When I started marking in 2018, the only colour I had was white. I knew they were 2018 queens. I bought a red Posca pen later that year. Now the really important question, in the northern hemisphere, we mark the queens on the back of their thorax. Since you are in the southern hemisphere, you marked her on the underside of her thorax, yes?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I agree, what makes sense to me, makes sense for me, I will be continuing using blue for this season. I’m just curious what breeders and larger scale keepers do. And yes, we do mark our queens down under..
 

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If you are not selling the queen, it really does not matter what colour you use. As long as you know what it means. When I started marking in 2018, the only colour I had was white. I knew they were 2018 queens. I bought a red Posca pen later that year. Now the really important question, in the northern hemisphere, we mark the queens on the back of their thorax. Since you are in the southern hemisphere, you marked her on the underside of her thorax, yes?

I suggest white when I sell to new beekeepers. The color system is fully explained and it is their choice, but personally we think white stands out.
 

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I'm SH also, and the color code is an issue down here, although some people slavishly follow it anyhow. Me, if I have to mark a queen it is white.

Thing with the NH color code sytem is that down here, you get a queen marked with this year, it could be a young queen, or it could be from last season. Fact is, depending on time of year it could have anything up to almost two seasons under it's belt, so in my view, the system is a waste of time, I don't bother with it.

There is an argument to design a different color scheme that would work better in the SH, but nobody has had the pulling power to organise one and have it universally adopted.

I can't see your flag that well RKT, what country are you in?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for your replies. I was given a queen that had been marked white and I found her allot easier to spot than the queens I have been marking blue. I may rethink my own system, I assumed the NH standard was universally used here, even though the white queen I was given was definitely not five years old.. hmm.

Oldtimer; I am in Australia, North eastern NSW. I must admit, I have been lurking for a while and it was quite recently that I realised your flag wasn't Australian! Something else to get used to being here..
 

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If you are not selling the queen, it really does not matter what colour you use. As long as you know what it means. When I started marking in 2018, the only colour I had was white. I knew they were 2018 queens.
I mark off of mine bright green because it seems to stand out the best. I am not selling them though so I don't really care about the "standard" colors
 

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From what I have read and heard from some more experienced folks, queens are not lasting as long as they used to. There may be times where it is more important for me to find them fast since they are not going as long. Of course genetics, care and several other factors also play a roll, this varies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Bright green does sound good. I'm definitely going to rethink my marking colours, the blue I have been using is not really helpful with finding the queen.
Edzkoda, what do you mean when you say queens are not lasting as long? You mean hives are superceding queens more readily or? How long do you expect a queen to last?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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This is my take...The old school of thought was that a queen could live for around five years. Now, one is lucky to have the queen remain productive for a two full years. This of course varies, but many successful beeks recommend requeening every year. Between swarming and supercedures, I doubt any of my queens are older than two years and most are from last Summer. The blue Posca pen I got from ML last year made it really hard to spot the queens quickly, way too dark. Next go round I will be using a light blue paint. Same for the other colors, pink and light green. The white and yellow I don't have a problem with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've been marking with the same blue Posca.
That's a good idea to use the lighter versions of the standard colours. I'm annoyed as I was looking at the light blue Posca but I thought, "No, the dark blue is what you've seen in photos.."
I am aware that people are requeening more regularly in more recent years, but I thought this was to do with evolving management practices and swarm avoidance. It's quite possible of course that management practices are not just improving, but are evolving alongside the bee. My immediate thought on what could be causing such a change was varroa, but as I understand it, Australian beekeepers almost all requeen every year or two as well.
 

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I dont use red since I can barely see it. Virtually red color blind. I have use hot pink which works good. For green which I am weak on too I use neon green. Bargain store nail polish!
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Wow, I just looked and the PC-5M Posca pen is available in 49 colours.


Finding those colours may be another matter. Michaels has them for 3.99, about half of what I just paid at Kelly's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have an illustrator friend who uses them extensively. You can likely find a wider range at an art supplies shop.
 

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From what I have read and heard from some more experienced folks, queens are not lasting as long as they used to. There may be times where it is more important for me to find them fast since they are not going as long. Of course genetics, care and several other factors also play a roll, this varies.
I don't have long term experience but I keep loosing my queens to mites, drone only laying queens (not mated) or squishing them :(

All of mine that I have now were new this spring/summer/fall. I think I had one last 2 seasons
 

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The discussion is frustratingly off topic. The question is a very good one and deserves thoughtful contribution. I have seen a little discussion in the past from New Zealand beekeepers, who have (rightly in my opinion) decided to change queen marking colours over in winter (ie June). This then indicates queen age in seasons rather than have the same coloured queens having one or two seasons of age. The only tricky bit about this is do you change the colour scheme over 6 months early or 6 months late?
I'm in Australia and since I feel we in the Southern Hemisphere are in advance of our Northern colleagues, I change colour 6 months early.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the reply awootton, I think there is very good sense in that, it does require national consensus to be most useful, especially if some are changing late and others early. I think it makes sense as you suggest, changing early.
 
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