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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Always wait until they are mated. If you accidentally get paint on the wings, they may not be able to fly and get mated. Once they ARE mated and have eggs in the hive, if you damage her you won't loose the hive. I was out catching and marking queens today. Got the queens in six overwintered nucs marked with a nice big green dot. The one-handed queen catcher I got from ML does a fantastic job. I am not able to grab the queen bare-handed, although I have no qualms about grabbing the worker bees. Perhaps it is a fear of clumsy fingers and a squished queen?
 

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I’ve gotten pretty comfortable catching and marking our queens by hand - with nitrile gloves to be exact. (I do all the bee work with the nitrile gloves for the superior dexterity.)
As seen on plenty of videos - I gently catch the queen with my writing hand, hold my non-writing hand index finger to the queen, let her grab the finger, and then gently hold her legs with index finger and thumb. Then mark with pen, place in queen cage for paint to dry, then open cage and watch her crawl back down between frames.
My heart would race when I first did it (for fear of damaging her) but it’s not a big deal any more.
 

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Always wait until they are mated. If you accidentally get paint on the wings, they may not be able to fly and get mated. Once they ARE mated and have eggs in the hive, if you damage her you won't loose the hive. I was out catching and marking queens today. Got the queens in six overwintered nucs marked with a nice big green dot. The one-handed queen catcher I got from ML does a fantastic job. I am not able to grab the queen bare-handed, although I have no qualms about grabbing the worker bees. Perhaps it is a fear of clumsy fingers and a squished queen?
Just make sure she is not trying to escape with her head sticking through one of the slots in the flexible strip whey you retract it for release. I had used it quite a few times before this happened to me; A very dark moment.
 

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Moderator - In Memorium
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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6,881 Posts
Just make sure she is not trying to escape with her head sticking through one of the slots in the flexible strip whey you retract it for release. I had used it quite a few times before this happened to me; A very dark moment.
I had been forewarned of this problem and was paying attention. It would be very easy to do. If fact, one of the workers who decided to join the queen in the marking tube did get decapitated. Oops.
 

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My heart would race when I first did it (for fear of damaging her) but it’s not a big deal any more.
I use a marking cage, and I think I've probably marked 10 queens in my life/career thus far. It still terrifies me, even though I don't think I've ever damaged one.

The closest I came was when I left a drop of paint on the cage, and she stepped in it and got stuck. A little persuasion with a pine needle freed her, and she was laying a few weeks later, so all was good.

I had another scare when I took the queen clip and marking cage to my shed, 30' away, to get away from some angry bees. I botched the transfer, and she flew! I was lucky enough to be able to watch her fly back to her box, and I picked her up again from the lid.
 
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