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Author Topic: Why mark queens?  (Read 9996 times)
Irwin
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« Reply #60 on: July 11, 2010, 10:37:26 AM »


Bjorn has a lot of great knowledge to share, and is willing to share it, even if his mode of delivery is questionable at times. I think the resulting rewards are well worth the pain of receiving the info.

Sort of like a bone marrow transplant  tongue
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BjornBee
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« Reply #61 on: July 11, 2010, 10:55:32 AM »

That made me laugh..... grin
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Jim 134
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« Reply #62 on: July 11, 2010, 10:57:59 AM »


Bjorn has a lot of great knowledge to share, and is willing to share it, even if his mode of delivery is questionable at times. I think the resulting rewards are well worth the pain of receiving the info.

Sort of like a bone marrow transplant  tongue


           LOL


     BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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« Reply #63 on: July 12, 2010, 09:04:41 AM »

Ok, lets talk about affects of marking queens.  You say that it is bad, but why?

Smoking causes health problems that were obvious but not acknowledged.  But an occasional pipe or cigar doesn't cause any problems. (or I hope not, I inhale a lot of campfire smoke!!)

Excessive pesticide and fertilizer use on lawns causes problems (runoff problems mostly that I'm aware of) even if not acknowledged.  But occasional and responsible use of pesticides has no ill effects, except for the wasps or the earwigs I'm trying to exterminate.

What are some of the side affects of marking queens are you saying that there is from the chemical use? (other than bumbling beeks crushing queens or queens flying off) 
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Rick
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« Reply #64 on: July 12, 2010, 09:28:44 AM »

Scads,
It's not about proof that damage is done. It's about not knowing if damage IS being done.

I listed some of the ingredients in one of the marking pens sold on the market on a previous post in this thread. Look up some of those ingredients, and then tell me how safe it would be just based on the ingredients. I would double-dare you any day to allow these product to come in contact with your skin (or nails...your choice) and be applied for the rest of your life.

I looked at the ingredients, I asked for the MSDS for the products, and discussed this with the manufacturers. Not one will suggest that it should be applied to the backs of queens.

It's not about proof that damage is done. I don't have a million dollar lab to look into this. And to date, these products have not been tested or approved for bee application. So we just do not know what, or if, damage is happening.

But I find it amazing the rationale of some, who think nothing of applying everything from acrylic paint to superglue to the backs of queens. On the surface it seems wrong. Not knowing it to be safe and tested, may suggest caution, or at least a discussion into the possibilities may seem worthy.

We certainly know today, as compared to just a few short years ago, that the beehive is a complete working organism being effected by compounding issues with chemicals. Chemicals build up, possible coming in contact with other chemicals (and some out of our control), making the possibilities endless in what effects bees, with some combinations deadly.

Instead of beekeepers asking "show me proof that damage is being done" we should as beekeepers be demanding from the products we purchase.."Show me proof that NO damage is being done".

We have had studies and clear proof that the use of Coumophos is detrimental to queens. And yet, the product is still being sold to beekeepers. So just because it is on the market, you should not put blind trust in the marketing or previous "manufacturer" testing of products. We are a small sliver of an industry. We lack the resources, funding, and ability to look into some of these issues. So we will continue to be sold known detrimental products, until we either educate ourselves better to what we are placing in our hives, or change the products by simple supply/demand dynamics of the market place.

One of the paint pen manufacturers was very proud of the number of units sold via bee supply houses. Only when I asked about testing and if they openly would go openly on the record about their products being as such, did they get very defensive and the conversation ended abruptly. The last thing I want to do is possibly cause detrimental damage to another beekeepers hives, by being a surrogate salesmen, pushing such products, by the very nature of promoting marking queens. What has happened over the years is the casual promotion of the procedure of marking queens, to boost the sales of products through bee supply companies, which are out to make a buck.

Like I said, show me a product with proof of it's safeness, and I may very well promote marking also. But as it now, beekeepers are left buying a host of various products, and none tested or shown to be safe.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2010, 11:12:19 AM by BjornBee » Logged

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« Reply #65 on: July 12, 2010, 12:25:16 PM »

When I first read about plasticell foundation, I thought, you gotta be kidding.

I'm a strategic planner in the water industry (municipal potable and wastewater) and my boyfriend is a geneticist working in EPA research. In fact, EPA doesn't begin to do enough (my opinion, not my boyfriend's!). There are an estimated 80,000 chemicals being released into ground water that haven't been tested in any sort of meaningful way. We actually don't even know how many. But the good news is that probably less than 1% are a problem. LOL. It's like the old marketing question, "I know that half my marketing is useless, but I don't know which half."

So to the subject at hand. We have no idea if the ink is a problem. It could be a big problem or none at all. Of course, what about the plastic bags we use to feed? Look up PFOAs and BPAs. Those are probably pretty bad chemicals--human healthwise--and have actually made it to the EPA's chemicals of concern list (after LOTS of studies--the head of the National Science Foundation says she doesn't have enough evidence to declare that BPAs are cancerous, but she doesn't use plastic in HER microwave anymore). Ziploc advertises that they don't have BPAs, but generic brands are questionable. And the resin on the nails I use to assemble hives? I'm adding all kinds of unknown chemicals, most of which I'm sure are harmless. But none of which are likely to be tested. As a country and a species, we are rapidly contaminating our ground water (which can't be remediated except at astronomical cost) so odds aren't good that we're going to spend much money or time studying chemicals we put on bees.

My BF studies insects a bit, so I asked him about safety of the glue I was using to hold in my popsickle sticks. He didn't know. I figured Elmer's was safest--kid glue. But keep in mind that humans are a species that is incredibly resilient to toxins. Frogs are not. And it seems that bees are not, but maybe they are just being exposed to something really bad that we have not yet figured out. Maybe it's in the hive, maybe it's outside the hive, or maybe it's a combination of too many changes in too short a time period?

Still, I'm marking my queens. I'm one of those newbees that takes out every frame and takes pictures. I'll argue that I need to because I don't know what I'm doing, and looking at the pictures later that night is important. And if my queen is bad, I want to know if she's new or not. If the ink is the problem (which seems unlikey), I'll stop. But until then, perhaps I should focus on getting less glue in the hive.

Oh and I now feed with short glass jars (inside the hive). But the caps are either lined tin, with high BPA's,  or metal that rusts and corrodes. Or both. I can't seem to find a safer feeder (e.g. glass only). And my hives are new and one has no honey stores.

So I have chemicals galore. And I got into this to try to have a more organic honey supply. Oh well.
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kathyp
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« Reply #66 on: July 12, 2010, 12:32:16 PM »

Quote
And if my queen is bad, I want to know if she's new or not.

i am curious about this statement.  not for the sake of argument, but because i'd be interested in knowing why the age of the queen would be important to you if she's bad. 
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« Reply #67 on: July 12, 2010, 01:06:47 PM »

Only to find out if a bad queen has already been superseded. That is, am I looking at the bad queen or is this a new queen? A new queen with a world of (possibly misguided) hope attached to her.

I have a problem in one of my hives, I'm about to post on that. I thought the queen wasn't laying much, but after looking at pictures, she is laying like mad. But there may be some other issues.
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #68 on: July 12, 2010, 01:28:18 PM »

What I would say to that is:

Any damage done to a queen from marking or painting would manifest itself later in the queen's life.

In a hive where it is advocated to keep young queens, to requeen every one or two years (for reasons from laying vigorousness to swarm control), any damage done by marking chemicals would be minimal.  Any contamination in the hive would be negligable, unless you accidentally tip the bottle over into the hive  rolleyes.

I don't know if there have been studies done, but based on prevalence of the process, I'd say that there isn't much difference in performance, if any.  If people noticed that the queen was under performing, I'd say it would have been an issue by now.  If she is underperforming by a small factor, then probably the tradeoff is worth it.

My point to this is that we usually have bigger issues facing our hives, from natural (birds, skunks, dearth, AFB, swarming issues) to the unnatural (bumbling beeks, chemicals on surrounding farms, chems we put in the hives), that the issues of a tiny acrylic dot on one of the bees (albeit the most important one) is probably in the category of problems NOT to lose any sleep over.

But if you want to run a trial, I'd be more than happy to sell you a marked queen for $500.... tongue grin
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Rick
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« Reply #69 on: July 12, 2010, 01:36:03 PM »

But if you want to run a trial, I'd be more than happy to sell you a marked queen for $500.... tongue grin

I'd rather pay you $500 to step up to the plate and allow me to paint you with the same product.  grin

You mention a "tiny" acrylic dot. On the same equivalent percentage, I'd say an 18 inch disk would be just right for a much larger human compared to the queens dot..

Let me know if you are interested. After all, it just a tiny dot...... rolleyes

BTW....I don't have ANY of the problems you mention except one. Seems when you pay attention to the smaller issues, some of the other larger issues seem to go away also.  Wink

All the straws, whether large or small, played a part that broke the camels back.   Wink
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« Reply #70 on: July 12, 2010, 01:47:35 PM »

Have you ever used paint?  Spray paint, latex, etc?

I don't know about you, but I HAVE had MORE than enough paint, superglue, mineral spirits, pine sap, lighter fluid, gasoline, motor oil, pesticides, fungicides, bactericides  (even some nailpolish) etc on me over time to cover far more than an 18 inch plate!!  One tiny dot and splotch at a time. And that is far less damaging than the other stuff in my life (stress and weight).

There are a lot of beginning beekeepers here, and I was one of them at one point.  I remember wanting to everything just right, try all the stuff, and was worried about everything.  I've read of beginner beekeepers starting out with one hive willing to let them die so they don't have to treat!  It is bad enough to lose a hive, then to be worried about every little thing.  I can even see somebody out there with a knife trying to scrape the dot off the queens back!  That would be far more fatal than the little bit of paint....

It is a good question, but be real about the threat.  The threat of the paint is extremely minor, if not non-existent compared to all of the other things that can go wrong.  The threat in some cases is way overwhelmed by the benefits in other cases.
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Rick
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« Reply #71 on: July 12, 2010, 02:22:11 PM »

It is a good question, but be real about the threat.  The threat of the paint is extremely minor, if not nonexistent compared to all of the other things that can go wrong.  The threat in some cases is way overwhelmed by the benefits in other cases.

I have stated over and over again, we do not know.

Your statement is "extremely minor or nonexistent". Could be either one, but you do not know either.

That is my point.

Don't get upset. You choose, and it's your option, to not worry about the little things. Good for you!

I do not see anyone trying to scrape off a paint dot. But I may be a little less dramatic. What I see, is many people perhaps questioning the repeated logic of marking queens, with unapproved and untested materials, and perhaps considering the ramifications of many influences playing off each other.

It is easy to dismiss it that is for sure. I heard that about many things in the bee industry. And while I can not control many outside influences placed upon my bees, this is one I can consider, ponder, question, justify, or even dismiss. But it certainly will not be because a conversation such as this is twisted with a justification of beginners scraping off painted queens.

I applaud many new beekeepers who buck the trend of the traditional wisdom on prophylactic treatments, regular strip treatment, and many other tidbits of wisdom handed down and repeated for decades now.

As for your "observation" of beekeepers not treating and losing hives, I actually find the losses of those with IPM procedures in place, and getting off the "treatments" as you say, with lower annual kill than those who seem to treat with everything coming down the road. But maybe that is just me. I certainly hear many stories of perhaps not perfect operations, but beekeepers who are certainly far off better than the old-school crowd of treat, treat...or you will lose your bees!

Forgive me if I promote something more than what has gotten us to this place in the bee industry. I think up till now, it's nothing to hold up as a model moving forward.
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« Reply #72 on: July 12, 2010, 03:03:50 PM »

Your statement is "extremely minor or nonexistent". Could be either one, but you do not know either.

That is my point.

My point too.  But I'm very sure it is one of the two.  Either one don't worry me. I don't mark my queens, but if it helps beginners or those in AHB areas, go for it, the paint won't hurt anything.  Guilt free.

If you can do with out it, go for it.

Be ready to do do something if anything happens to the queen, that can happen easily, she'll be killed in an inspection before she dies from paint toxicity (done that).  She'll leave in a swarm before she dies from paint toxicity (had plenty leave!).  Drone laying (had one), injury, supercedure (several)...they all happen to queens without paint and queens with paint.  And I don't mark my queens.

The worst that will probably happen is that the other bees will chew the paint off and you'll have lost a buck for marking. rolleyes
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Rick
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« Reply #73 on: July 12, 2010, 03:35:16 PM »


  All I can say is.... what a ride this has been!  grin

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BjornBee
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« Reply #74 on: July 12, 2010, 04:15:17 PM »


The worst that will probably happen is that the other bees will chew the paint off and you'll have lost a buck for marking. rolleyes


I think it should read.."The BEST that will probably happen......."   grin
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« Reply #75 on: July 12, 2010, 05:39:07 PM »

Mike,  I'll take you up on that $500 offer to paint a circle on my back. Smiley   I'm a printer by occupation and most days I really am up to 50% covered in inks that our supplier "assertates" that are "perfectly safe" to be in contact with human skin  (the same vendors wash off all ink immediatley with soap and water upon contact with "their" skin), along with uch ethel alcohol, ethel acetate, ethel glycol.  Etc..   I'm fairly certain I'll die of liver/kidney/somekind of disease or other, so why not add your ink to the mix. Smiley 


I also do not paint my queens, mainly because I can spot eggs.
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Charla Hinkle
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« Reply #76 on: July 12, 2010, 07:08:22 PM »

Fanning the flames evil

IMO the toxin argument does not hold water. It is very unlikely that a spot of paint does harm to the queen if it is well placed on the pronotum.  The exoskeleton is made of chitin (not keratin the mammalian equivalent as mentioned above), and when set in a calcium matrix and covered in wax as in an adult insect, it is extremely resistant to water-based compounds.  

The reason toxicology of queen marking it isn't studied is because it would be a waste of taxpayer $. Marking paint is water based, the bug is water proof, end of story.

As mentioned, the act of painting her carries some risk. For that reason I'm with Bjorn! My queens are precious few.  
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« Reply #77 on: July 12, 2010, 08:32:01 PM »


The reason toxicology of queen marking it isn't studied is because it would be a waste of taxpayer $.

I hope you are joking, unless you have the time to listen to all the taxpayer money that is wasted every day, it is staggering. That is NOT the reason there has been no studies, that argument is a non starter.
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« Reply #78 on: July 13, 2010, 02:13:27 AM »



This queen has lived for ages without getting any problems with her health.  She was born in 1926, and has thus got a white dot.  I'm really glad for this dot.  Without it, it would be pretty difficult to find her in the UK I guess.  No swarming so far either.
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« Reply #79 on: July 13, 2010, 10:58:18 AM »

As far as testes,they make model paint,why would they wish to prove it safe for bees.
Yipes! What IS this thread about, anyway?  grin

Great thread! I see no problem in bringing up questions related to beekeeping on a beekeeping forum. If it annoys those who disagree or who have already beat this horse, then ignore it.

I am enjoying the thorough debate. I don't mark my queens. I am learning how to find them this 2nd year (before they were killed by a bear). I had a fellow newbie beekeeper friend kill a queen during the marking process. That's all I know about the topic.
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