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When hiving two swarms I found 2 unmarked queens. Maybe that means they are wild, or maybe that means they swarmed from someone else's hive without having been marked.

So the question is, should I mark them? If so which color? It is unlikely that they are this years queen, but they may or may not be last year, or perhaps the year before. Is there a special color or method for marking queens of unknown time origin?

Anyone have a preferred marker they like?
 

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If you have two queens, you could split the colony into two nucs and perhaps get two mated queens out of it.

If you read the recent post on here regarding marking queens from swarms they are known to be incredibly flighty and can easily be lost - especially if you're new to handling queens.

It's always a good idea to let a swarm begin laying to where the queen will fatten up and be a lot easier to handle.

I say don't mark them until they are at least laying. The color doesn't matter unless you want to keep track of the year of the queen. This year is white. I mark certain lines of bees the year's color but also mark differently depending on the line I'm working with. It doesn't matter if your goal is only to keep track of that queen. If one day you look in there and there isn't a marked queen, she swarmed or was replaced. This is the only reason I mark.

But if you're good at finding queens and only have a few hives I wouldn't risk marking them. There are countless stories on here of people losing their queen, killing her, or having a pen explode all over the queen. You will have issues and anyone who marks can attest to that.

But the pens is question are the POSCA mediums. I hear the Competative Advantage pens work even better.
 

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Teal is for my unknown years.

Then I have purple, pink, gold and silver for daughters of specific breeders. First year breeders get marked the year of color.

Then I just keep good notes of what number hive is marked what. It also really helps with swarms. If I get a pink marked queen I can track back which hive it came from.
 

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I mark all of my queens green because it is easy to see and I keep track of the age in my notes. I know it is not standard, but with a few (<5) hives it is easy enough for me to keep track.
 
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