So let me perhaps not convince you either. But let me mention some points for others to ponder.
Have a kid? I have three. If you don't have a kid, maybe you can volunteer yourself. You see, I'm looking for a few volunteers to allow me to test a known carcinogenic material. It does not involve much. I need clean subjects and the younger the better!
Here is the product information as per the manufacturers label...
"Caution! FLAMMABLE. Contains petroleum distillates and xylene. Fluorescents contain alcohols. CONTENTS AND FUMES MAY CATCH FIRE. Keep from heat and open flame. Use under well ventilated conditions. KEEP FROM SMALL CHILDREN. Conforms to ASTM D-4236 For emergency health information call 1-800-222-1222 WARNING: This product contains a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.
What I want to do is this....paint a few people with a big circle on their backs with a product described above. You get to walk around with this paint spot on for the rest of your life. The test will be to see if any harmful side effects will come to you. Disregard any previous claims. Afterall, people use this product all the time anyways, without a second thought. But we are wanting to ramp up the amounts to well over anything previously tested.
By now, and for those who have heard me talk about such stuff before, you probably have guessed I'm talking about the standard issue paint pen used on queens, and sold at many of the supply companies.
Keep in mind.....
No, previous testing of painted queen has even been accomplished.
No product has even been manufactured for the sole use of marking queens.
Testing of some chemicals since CCD has hit, has shown that 4 parts per billion for some chemicals, can cause entire hives to crash.
If you paint the equal amount of your back, as compared to the queen as she is marked, I would think about a 1 foot round paint patch would be sufficient. Do you think this would be a good thing? Anyone willing to give it a try?
The bee industry as far as I am aware, has never produced a safe PROVEN product for marking queens. The industry has always been more than willing to grab anything off the shelf, and slap a queens back in marking her, and suggests that "it never hurt in the past!" But how is one to know?
The above warning is right off the packaging of the pen sold to me this past week. Yes, I keep one around for those who absolutely want this service. But I also mention that the smell given off from painting the queen could be reason from anything from supercedure to balling. And it certainly is not natural, organic, or healthy in my opinion.
I had one situation where a beekeeper marked queens, placed the queens back into the nucs, and then drove a hundred miles with some, as I can only assume, very ticked off bees. The phone call a couple days later about the queens being balled and supercedure cells really makes me wonder. I now strongly discourage others from this procedure.
So why does the industry assume that paint off any shelf is good for bees? We know that some chemicals can cause bees to die at 4 parts per billion. But yet so many are willing to paint the back of the very lifeline of the hive, the queen, with a foreign, and highly toxic material.
My own state of Pennsylvania is now considering "Good Beekeeping Practices" which outlines procedures to take once AHB are a potential problem. And I actually think marked queens is a great thing, since knowing if your queen has been insurpted/superceded is a good thing. But as it is now, for the state, or industry, to DEMAND queen marking, when no testing has been presented, is foolish. It's something that beekeepers should be talking about. It's something that should be researched.
You will never convince me that slapping a paint spot (or glue with a numbered disk) on the back of a queen is healthy.
Ok...who wants that first paint spot on their back.... :-D