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Well, thanks to some more experienced beekeepers who raise queens and mark them, I have switched to Posca fine tip acrylic markers (a water based paint). I also mark them by holding them gently in my fingers, rather than the marking tube. Though I still sometimes use the marking tube. I immediately noticed that the Posca paint went on easily and gets almost no adverse reaction from the bees once the queen is reintroduced to them - the finger nail polish had quite the opposite effect.

At first I thought it would be nice to mark the virgins to then see how they completed their matings and etc. Now, after having worked at marking about one dozen virgin queens, I believe I am done with marking virgins, at least for now.

Virgin queens are way too energetic and take flight way too readily :no:

I am probably just spoiled by all the mated/laying queens I have handled these past few years, but I have decided to only mark queens that are already mated/laying, which will help me to identify queens that are mated/laying vs virgin queens.
 

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At the UGA beelab they marked virigin queens for their queen breeding program. They needed to be sure that the virgin queens they started in each hive were actually the mated ones they were evaluating later.
They mated just fine after marking. They are much more difficult to mark than the mated queens.
 

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we are raising virgin queens in an incubator. i imagine that newly emerged they are not likely to fly, and perhaps this is when they could be marked effectively? we don't mark our queens (virgin or mated), but if someone wants to try it, i'd be happy to supply a newly emerged virgin to someone local that wants to try (i'd be interested in how it works out).

deknow
 

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right...they look "dusty" and "wobbly" when they first emerge...not very coordinated. i don't know...perhaps the paint won't stick until they are hardened?

each cell is placed with the tip down in the mouth of a 3 dram glass vial...the queen cuts her way out and falls to the bottom of the vial. i then squish the cell shut (so she does not go back inside) and put a little honey on the outside of the cell...then lay the vial on it' side.

the glass should prevent the virgins from picking up any hive scent, plastic scent (from a cage), or scent from one another. so far they seem to march right into the colonies without being noticed (so far they are queenless nucs that are smoked heavily before introduction).

deknow
 

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Interesting. So, why aren't you just putting the cells in the nuc to begin w/?
3 reasons:

1. we have a heavy market schedule this year (5 days a week), and the incubator allows a bit more flexibility (and you never use up a mating nuc with a cell that doesn't emerge).

2. there is a long history of requeening with young virgins (without first pinching the queen).

3. we wanted to make virgins available for requeening by others that want to build on the genetics in their apiaries/areas rather than replace them (with mated queens).

that said, i'll be placing some cells set to emerge tomorrow in some queenless nucs today, simply because of scheduling and the outyard is far to get to.

deknow

deknow
 

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each cell is placed with the tip down in the mouth of a 3 dram glass vial...the queen cuts her way out and falls to the bottom of the vial. i then squish the cell shut (so she does not go back inside) and put a little honey on the outside of the cell...then lay the vial on it' side.
Is there any excess royal jelly in the cell when you squish it? I placed 16 cells into an incubator last weekend and when I returned on the day of emergence, I noticed the virgins feeding on the excess jelly in the cup. I thought it was an interesting observation. Although when I have seen virgins emerge in a colony they seem to jolt out of the cell, and I don't think they return to clean up the excess jelly, but I could be wrong.
 

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one of the reasons for squishing the cell shut is that the queen can sometimes crawl back in to get some food, and get stuck.

deknow
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Update:

This morning I realized that in order to complete my "experiment", I needed to finish marking the last two or three virgin queens from that batch. So, I opened one nuc, where the queen cell should have finished emerging and discovered that the queen cell had been destroyed, and after further investigating found that the virgin queen from the next nuc over (who was marked the day before), had moved into that nuc and destroyed its queen cell - she was well accepted there, and after a thorough examination of her original nuc to confirm the diagnosis, I gave that nuc, which was now again queenless, a new ripe queen cell from my cell builder colony.

So, already I have learned things by my endeavors to mark my virgin queens. Things I had suspected, but now had visual confirmation.
 
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