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Author Topic: Queen Marking Question... Mark is gone!  (Read 1123 times)
jeremy_c
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« on: June 06, 2009, 05:14:22 PM »

Ok... I know the first idea is going to be that it's a different queen, however, I don't think that's the case. Here's the story...

This Monday I purchased a Carniolan queen to put into my queenless hive (indeed was queenless w/o doubt). The hive is currently Italian. Thursday I checked to make sure she was released. She was and I saw her crawl out of her queen cage onto the brood comb. At that point, there was a green dot. Today I did an inspection looking only for the queen. I found her no problem, as she is the only black bee amongst the whole bunch however she has no green dot! I would buy the idea that maybe I missed an emergency cell or something except that this queen is a big queen. The new queens I have seen have been small. This queen is every bit as big as every other queen in my other hives. Of course, she's Carniolan as well. I'm aware that an Italian can have a Carniolan bee depending on who she mated with but I still am doubtful.

So... When I picked the queen up, she was unmarked. The supplier marked her for me right there, put her back in her cage w/a few attendant bees. I took her home. Thursday I saw the spot, today there is no hint of it.

Could it come off is my question or is there another explanation? Am I correct in thinking that a non-mated, non-laying queen is much smaller and that as she lays for a bit she plumps right up? That is what makes me so sure this is my purchased queen, she is plump.

Jeremy
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theriverhawk
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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2009, 05:27:02 PM »

Workers cleaned the dot off.  Happens all the time. 
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hankdog1
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« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2009, 05:36:30 PM »

Could have been cleaned off.  There is no way that a queen could have emerged and mated in that time??  Just curious but it could be eigther one.
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jeremy_c
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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2009, 06:05:12 PM »

Could have been cleaned off.  There is no way that a queen could have emerged and mated in that time??  Just curious but it could be eigther one.

I don't think the emergency cells would have hatched for another 2-3 days. But my real thinking was that this queen is plump and Carniolan. The fact she is Carniolan is quite a conicidence (what I purchased and the hive is all Italian) and then that she is so plump. I thought the plumpness only happened after she had been laying for a while?

Jeremy
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2009, 08:20:48 PM »

Many a hive that is assumed queenless has a virgin in it.  You can have no eggs or brood for 28 days and it's just them raising a new queen who promptly starts to lay.  But I've also seen them clean the paint off.
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jeremy_c
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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2009, 08:42:45 PM »

This hive I saw eggs 2 weeks ago, last week I saw emergency queen cells, no eggs, no larva, no queen. The emergency queen cells were capped but since I saw eggs 1 week prior to that, I assume that they were *just* capped. There were comments on the picture of being very new cells as well, based on their color/texture. I'm not sure how there could be a queen in that situation, but I may be wrong.

It's quite a coincidence also that the queen I found today was the same breed as the queen I installed.

Jeremy
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BjornBee
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« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2009, 09:40:13 AM »

Of course they cleaned it off. Depending upon the material used for marking, it contains everything from Xylene to cyanide. Does not matter what the paint pen contains, it is a foreign smell that inhibits the natural pheromones and communications of the hive. I bet if I threw a bucket of paint on you, you would try to get it off.... Wink

Beekeepers need to get over the impulse of finding the queen upon every visit and become competant enough to find the queen without the aid of a big nasty irritating paint spot on the back of the most important bee of the hive.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against marking queens. But at the present, the bee industry uses whatever can be pulled from the shelf of the "hobby shop" or from the bathroom cabinet. Nail polish, toxic paint, and a host of things you would not want on your back. But the bee industry itself sells, turns the other way, and at the end of the day complains about all the supersedure, bad queens, etc. Below is an article based on a product being sold in bee supply companies, and comes with carninegenic warnings and harmful reproductive claims.

Below is the article I recently wrote for the state newsletter in Pennsylvania....

Thinking Outside The Box    #2

I’m looking for a few volunteers. I’m looking for willing participants who do not care about their health, don’t want to get caught up with health issues or warnings, and those who just want to have some fun. If you have children, perhaps you can get them involved also. If all goes well, you may even get your name in a written article in one of the bee magazines. And wouldn’t that be so neat?

So what I want to do is this. I want to take a product that has always been assumed to be safe. One that has been used, with seemingly no known side effects, no known long term impact, and no long term concerns. I want to take this product and paint a 18 inch disk on your back. If we have families participate, we can have family members paint their backs with different colors. White, Blue, Green, Yellow, and Red, seems like great colors. But once marked, you will carry the spot for the rest of your life. So pick a good one.

So after being marked, we want to see if rashes develop, whether long term health concerns can be seen, and if even other chemicals would interact with the paint spot. We hold the right to hit this paint spot with a splash of formic acid, maybe some oxalic acid, and a few other chemicals of our choosing. But do not be concerned. You see, others have gone before you, and never has their ever been one complaint.

Like any good study, we must have transparency. So I add the following jibber-jabber and nonsense for those who want to read it. Those participating in the study can just skip the next paragraph or two. No sense wasting your time reading this. The paint product for the study contains such chemicals as VMP naphtha, Ethyl Benzene, Xylene, High Boiling Aliphatic Hydrocarbon, Anti Flooding Agents, Diarylide Yellow pigment, and Copper Phthalocyanide pigment. We’ll mention them, but just disregard comments on the label such as “contains a chemical that causes birth defects” and “known to cause cancer”. Probably just a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo anyways. Labels…what good are they really for anyways?

And just to cover our bases, cause you never know what may be brought up later, we contacted the company for the MSDS on the product to be used. (Material Safety Data Sheet). After all, we want this to be a first rate study. But who wants to get caught up in details? Yes, the MSDS mentions things like “Primary routes of Entry” for contaminates as “Inhalation and skin contact”. Yes, it says to not have it come in contact with your skin. But how are we to conduct a study, let alone use the product as it always has been, if we were to take such written warnings with any real reality. So just disregard all that. Probably just government lingo garbage anyways. Oh, and yes…that discussion with the company representative where we asked if they knew the product was being used by beekeepers? The one where they almost seemingly giggled with delight and said they were quite aware of their product was used by beekeepers….Just disregard that also. That’s the conversation where they commented that they never ran any testing on using their product on humans, let alone other things, like Bees! And when I said since they knew it was being used for things like bees, if they would go on the record as promoting such use, they avoided that answer as if all of a sudden, there could be a problem. I remember as we ended the conversation, something along the lines that “we do not recommend, advise, or promote, the use of our product other than what the label indicates and the product has been approved. We do not advise it be use on human, animal or insects.”

Now wait one moment here! This was the same product that was sold in some bee supply companies, and advertised for marking queens. But now I read and hear, that the stuff is carcinogenic, not made for insects, never approved or tested for such use, and it’s starting to have me wonder a bit. And it has me asking some questions.

Is it really as safe as some beekeepers suggest, since they never seem to have any problems marking their queens? Yes, everyone says the queens of today are not good as they once were, but that can be easily answered by using the excuse, that queen quality and even hive loss is due to other things. After all, we have a whole list of things to complain about, including neonicotinoids, coumaphos laced wax, etc.

I do not mark my queens. I do not use chemicals in the hive. I don’t know which one’s may be “safe” but made “unsafe” if in contact with another chemical. I guess if we get some beekeepers to volunteer to have paint spots painted on their backs, we can always throw some formic or oxalic acid on the spots and see what develops. My money will be on a rash developing or some severe skin irritation, if it had not developed by just the paint spot alone. I just hope we do not lose any beekeepers during the testing phase. “Superceding” beekeeper volunteers would slow the results, lessen productivity of the test, and could even spell disaster for the research.

I guess I’ll continue to ask questions. I’ll wonder how I may be forced to mark queens in the future if we ever have problems with AHBs and we are forced to comply with such things as “Best Beekeeping Practices”. I feel real uncomfortable being forced to put unapproved chemicals in my hive, let alone paint queens with such items.

Maybe it’s time for the beekeeping community to demand bee safe products. Maybe we should look at how chemicals play off each other and actually see if marked queens are being damaged. Maybe we need to take a step back up sometimes, take a look at everything in our industry, and ask questions.
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the kid
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« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2009, 02:42:45 PM »

This will be my fourth year that I've had hives .    As far as finding the Queen  ,   ,, I think if you start with a marked Queen ,, you look only for the dot not the Queen ,,.   the first year I could have cared less if I found her or not , I looked for eggs ,  but about a third of the time ,she would be found ..    now most of the hive checks I do she just shows up .. Never had a marked one ,,  ..  ...  I'm more  with finding eggs , and making sure there in the middle of the cell ..  I think that's why I find the Queen is because I don't really look for her .     
 this year is the first , that I've seen her lay eggs ,,, but have seen her doing that twice already ,
this year ..
the second year  , I found two Queens in one hive and even heard one pipping ..


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jeremy_c
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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2009, 02:48:01 PM »

My 5 other hives do not have marked queens. Most of the time I can spot the queen pretty easily, but they are all Italian. This one is Carniolan. Right now it's cake to spot her amongst a hive of Italian workers simply due the the color changes, but I am concerned once the hive is filled with Carniolan bees as there is not much color difference between a Carniolan Queen and Worker, is there? With the Italians, you see the bald spot, the large abdomen and the fact the abdomen doesn't have any real stripes.

As for spotting eggs, larva, capped brood... I have a checklist and those are of course on my list. When looking for those items, I'll do a once-over the frame and if I spot the queen that check, fine, if not that's OK too. Now, if I didn't see the queen last inspection (the checklist is printed per-date/per-hive) then I look a bit harder. If I do not see eggs, then I look harder as well.

Jeremy
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the kid
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« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2009, 03:03:45 PM »

now that's what I don't do ,that I should start .. I don't write what I see when I open a hive ... 
I mean to start ,, but gets put on the back burner ,,,  trying to remember what was seen in what hive sucks ...   
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shaux
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« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2009, 10:43:00 PM »

I do not have a problem marking my queens in fact I prefer to have them marked.  I would never be able to find her without the mark.  Can't usually find her with the mark depending on what color it is.  I am color blind so when you have thousands of bees that all look the same it makes it difficult.  Now when I go into the hive I don't usually look for the queen, just signs of the queen.  But when I do need to locate that her boy! does that dot help.
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jdpro5010
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« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2009, 04:24:39 PM »

I am now in the habit of marking all of my queens.  I do not mark them to find them!  I do mark them to be sure if that is the queen I put in there (genetics).  Most people would be amazed at how often supercedure happens.  Marking the queen is just another way to keep track of such things.  Finding a queen for most beeks after the first year is fairly easy, knowing for sure that is the queen you put in there without the mark is not so easy!  I do not like using any more chems in the hive than I have to but not tracking your genetics can be just as bad if not worse in my opinion. 
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kathyp
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« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2009, 05:06:41 PM »

there isn't much reason to pay extra for a marked queen unless genetics are important to you for some reason.  most times there isn't a good reason to find the queen.

learning to find her is a skill.  you will begin to notice the behavior of the other bees and eventually, you'll know she's on a particular frame almost as soon as you pull the frame (with the usual exceptions disclaimer). it's a skill everyone should take time to develop, then file it away for those times when you want to off her, or something  smiley

MB is right.  most hives have queens in them even when you think they don't.  after all, they know they can't survive without one.  of course, on that rare occasion when the hive is truly queenless and you are following the logical assumption that a queen is most likely there, you can end up with a laying worker hive, as i did.  more likely, queens are purchased and wasted because people are so afraid of a queenless hive  smiley.
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