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I know they sell pens specifically to mark the queen bee, but is it ok to use other paint? Specifically the non-toxic acrylic paint you can get at the craft store? I've tested it on a couple of bees and they seem to do fine and it dries quickly. I already have the queen marking tube to put her in so she doesn't get damaged. (I tried to mark her last year while she was just standing on a comb, her entourage had that paint off her back before I could set the brush down...wished I had filmed that one as it was quite comical).

I'm trying to get her marked so I can find her more easily in the next couple of months when I am doing splits. When is the best time to mark her? Tomorrow, when it's supposed to be sunny and 68 and I plan to look through all the bars? Or wait until the end of March, just in case something goes terribly wrong? I know there are fresh eggs in the brood nest, and we've already seen drones around here, so is this weekend ok?
 

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I mark all my queens with POSCA PC5M marker since I started beekeeping. I start to mark in spring when start thorough inspections and operations ( if some unmarked or where paint is lost).
 

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I've used the posca markers for years with good success. The mark isn't as durable as other types of paint. Over the past two years, I've switched to the Sharpie oil-based pen markers because they are cheaper, last much longer, and are readily available at local craft stores. Others here use oil-based testors model paint. I have not seen any problem using oil-based paints.

I never attempt to mark queens while they are walking on the comb. For me its simply too risky. I suggest you get comfortable handling drones and work into queens.

I would also recommend not marking queens this early in the spring until you develop better skills.
 

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>I know they sell pens specifically to mark the queen bee, but is it ok to use other paint? Specifically the non-toxic acrylic paint you can get at the craft store?

Usually that is the POSCO markers and usually that is what the bee supply places sell...

> I've tested it on a couple of bees and they seem to do fine and it dries quickly. I already have the queen marking tube to put her in so she doesn't get damaged. (I tried to mark her last year while she was just standing on a comb, her entourage had that paint off her back before I could set the brush down...wished I had filmed that one as it was quite comical).

I find the testors enamel pens work well, are readily available and the paint seems to last longer. Of course you let it dry before you put them back. Many things can go wrong which is why I would mark a couple of hundred drones before I try a queen...

>I'm trying to get her marked so I can find her more easily in the next couple of months when I am doing splits. When is the best time to mark her?

When you see her. I would not spend my time finding her for no other purpose than to mark her. It's not only a waste of time, but unnecessary disruption.

> Tomorrow, when it's supposed to be sunny and 68 and I plan to look through all the bars? Or wait until the end of March, just in case something goes terribly wrong? I know there are fresh eggs in the brood nest, and we've already seen drones around here, so is this weekend ok?

Why not keep the marker and equipment in your pocket and mark here when you happen to see her?
 

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There is not a paint pen made specifically for marking queens. I am just saying that so that newbies do not get the idea that there is a pen out there that is specially formulated to be safe for bees. they are paint markers that are commonly purchased in any craft store. I have read that some use tester model pains. I personal use nail polish. there is nothing special about what is used to mark queens. it is color and it sticks that is about it. I think I woudl have to get pretty far off the beaten path to find something mare risky than model paint as far as fumes etc.
 

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Not to highjack the thread, but I read somewhere that marked queens are superceeded more than unmarked. The rationale' is that the other bees think she is damaged and superceed her.
Any truth to this?

I have noticed that two of my marked packaged queens were superceded wtihin the first month while the swarm queens did not.
 

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>but I read somewhere that marked queens are superceeded more than unmarked.

I have had four year old marked queens many times. I seriously doubt that.

>I have noticed that two of my marked packaged queens were superceded wtihin the first month while the swarm queens did not.

Package queens are superseded VERY often. Swarm queens less often, but they get superseded also often enough. A well mated young queen (marked or not) does not get superseded so often.
 

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...I read somewhere that marked queens are superceeded more than unmarked.
I think this is like, "I never had my bees swarm until I retired (and was home to see it)". A marked queen supercedure is much more likely to be noticed.

deknow
 

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Not to highjack the thread, but I read somewhere that marked queens are superceeded more than unmarked. The rationale' is that the other bees think she is damaged and superceed her.
Any truth to this?

I have noticed that two of my marked packaged queens were superceded wtihin the first month while the swarm queens did not.
I have one marked from 2010. and several from 2011. yet alive and kicking..

But You answered yourself about reasons of supersedure - low quality of queens in these packages: " I have noticed that two of my marked packaged queens were superceded wtihin the first month while the swarm queens did not".
 

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Well.... there ya go.
I know where I'll be purchasing my queens from now on.
Once I also asked one experienced beek where to buy great queens. He answered me immediately - the best queens will be that you rear by yourself..
 

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>A marked queen supercedure is much more likely to be noticed.

That's true both ways. You probably don't notice when an unmarked queen gets superseded. On the other hand having a lot of old queens around that were mared four years ago is pretty good evidence they don't get superseded a lot.
 
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