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Author Topic: Why mark queens?  (Read 10323 times)
BjornBee
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« on: July 09, 2010, 07:11:52 AM »

Leaving the whole discussion of tainting your queen, the products offered over the years from supply houses that come with warnings of health/cancer/pregnancy concerns, and possible negative impacts of queen health and even increased supercedure, let me ask why one seeks a marked queen.

I will also suggest or state the best reason I had heard was from those in AHB areas.  But lets just keep it to someone outside of AHB areas, even though this may shine some light on the fact having marked queen is a moot point for most when it comes to their own operations.

So a new beekeeper gets a marked queen. This sets in motion a few actions seen over and over again.

1) The new beekeeper will look for the marked queen upon almost every visit into the hive. See eggs, see larvae, see everything else....does not matter. The inspection is not complete until the queen is found. After all, with a marked queen, it is supposed to be much easier...right?

The downfall is that stress, damage, and likelyhood that the queen will be damaged, is increased significantly with every full blown frame by frame inspection into the hive.

2) So you find a queen not marked in your hive. Now what? Most I know, do not automatically pinch an unmarked queen. And I certainly am not suggesting such. So what is a new beekeeper to do?

Lets assume you see an unmarked queen in your hive. Do you now evaluate the new queen? See if she is a good producer. Make sure she is laying. Sounds reasonable. What did you gain from having the first queen marked and now you have a queen not marked? Some will suggest that going from a marked to unmarked queen at least allows you to know a new queen is present and allows you to monitor the new queen. But shouldn't you be monitoring the queens production and performance anyways, regardless of a marked or unmarked queen in your hive? Afterall, why did you go into the hive anyways?

So what was gained by having a marked queen if your not willing to automatically pinch any found unmarked queen? I don't see much to be gained.

You hear posts like this from time to time......."I went into my hive and found a new unmarked queen. What should I do?" Basically the advice is "Monitor her and make sure she is mated well and has a good pattern" or at least something along those lines. But isn't that the same advice whether going from a unmarked queen to a unmarked queen, or an marked queen to an unmarked queen? The reason you went into the hive to begin with was hopefully to see if everything was ok and evaluate the queen by seeing eggs, brood, etc. You should be doing that everytime you go through your hives anyways.

I see some promote marking queens by suggesting "There is no excuse for unmarked queens". I think it has more to do with "There is no good reason to mark queens".

To me, marked queens is a weak rationale for beginners, who would be better off knowing how to read a frame of brood and other signs in the hive, as compared to a single factor such as "Yep..there she is. Same queen. Same mark. Ok, lets close up the hive. I found what I needed to see".   But see the marked queen for what reason?


I'm willling to listen. Tell me the dynamics of your management, your IPM, or anything in regards to keeping bees, that require a marked queen.

I know some mark queens for record keeping and breeding. Although I may be myself hesitant of buying tainted queens as I have no idea what most mark queen with.

So tell me...why did you buy a marked queen? Was it because someone said it was a good idea? Because you thought you could find a queen faster?
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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2010, 08:10:00 AM »

My Italian queens are not marked and not clipped, I believe this "might" or "could" have a negative affect on her.  Why do something to her, it is not done in the wild.  I look at the brood pattern, check for missed spaces, make sure it is filled out and not jumped around the frame.  I was told that this was the sign of an old or bad queen and I should replace her if I see these laying signs.  Even the new sales catalogs talk about feeding your honey bees a medicine to reduce stress, what could be more stressful to the most important bee in the hive than being caught, marked, and possibly clipped.  Terrible in my amatuer opinion.  Thanks. Wink
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« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2010, 08:54:58 AM »

I have decided to mark my queens just as a means of keeping track of all the changes in my hives.  I originally purchased a marked queen from a very reputable source due to being queenless.  After a few weeks, I saw a queen that was not marked.  The other bees could have chewed off the mark or the bees replaced the marked queen, I don't know.

By marking the queens, it does help me find them easier to be sure.  However, it also lets me know when the bees supercede the queen and replace her.  I trust the bees instincts by and large.  I have purchased four nucs this May.  I have also acquired six other hives but doing cutouts and capturing one swarm.  My feral bees run the gamit of slow layers and slow to build colonies yet some of these feral bees have queens that are laying machines and the colonies grow by leaps and bounds.
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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2010, 09:31:16 AM »

i just don't see the point.  the above reasons aside, the only thing that matters is the performance of the queen.  you can have a new queen that performs poorly, or an old one that is fantastic.  why mark the queen and distract yourself from what you really should be looking for?

it's also very important that a beekeeper be able to spot the queen when they need to.  marked queens are a crutch.

+ i am heavily into lazy beekeeping and cheap beekeeping.   grin
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2010, 11:03:22 AM »

I see some promote marking queens by suggesting "There is no excuse for unmarked queens".


Deja Vu all over again.....  Haven't we been through this about 5 or 6 times already?    I guess I'll respond one final time since this is obviously a shot at me.

My personal experience has been that supercedure/emergency queens can be inferior queens.  Once I eliminated them from my hive management I have had much better wintering success,  far less superceding,  and overall healthier hives.  I know you will want to dissect that last sentence and try to put a bunch of words in my mouth, but I'm just sharing what works for me.  I have no scientific proof, nor do I claim anyone else should solely rely on it.

Yes I'm sure you can get fine supercedure/emergency queens, but once again, my experience has been that even a poor supercedure/emergency queens can look super and have a terrific brood pattern when the weather is great.  But when Fall comes, that is when the good and the poor queens are separated. That is also evident by following the post on this forum. It is also the hardest time to get a replacement queen.  My first goal in beekeeping is overwintering success.

So the bees decide that their queen is inferior for some reason and decide to replace her.   So they raise a new queen from an egg of the failing queen.  Any chances that the queens inferiority is passed to the new queen?

My preferred method to identify if a queen has been replaced is by marking them.  I know some claim it increases supercedure,  but as I stated before, my supercedure rate has decreased overall since I eliminated emergency/supercedure queens,  So my experience is that if it does increase the rate, it is less than with keeping inferior queens.  I regularly have queens that have been marked with paint for 3 years and still functioning fine.  I usually don't let them go beyond that, but after 3 years, seems that the bees don't mind having a marked queen.

I now use numbered disks to keep better records and have had no issues with them either.

We see a lot of folks that try to be so-called "natural", 'low-impact", "organic", or however  they classify themselves, doing walk-away splits.   Well hate to say, that is not natural either, and although the bees are capable of raising an emergency queen,  that doesn't mean it is proficient.  In fact,  I tend to believe supercedure/emergency queens happen far less in feral colonies than most people assume.

I know a large factor in folks using supercedure/emergency queens is the cost.  I'm not suggesting that anyone should buy queens in my statements either.   Hobbyist beekeepers can rear their own queens quite successfully,  that is what I do.

I'm not looking for "good enough" queens.  http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/can-you-afford-emergency-queens/

So I just shared my methods and rationale that work for me.  I'm not trying to convince anyone what they should do, just offering up options to think about.  So go ahead a pick it apart like you do every other time.  I can only say it works for me and I'm sticking with it and will continue to share it with people who want to listen.

For those folks that are relatively new to the forum,  you will find that Mike likes to stir the pot on issues he disagrees with like small cell and marking.  I obviously don't want to speak for other members, but if you look at the members that have been here the longest and/or who are the most active over time, you will see they have learned over time not get involved with Mike's post anymore as they don't like his modus operandi.  It seems that Mike is not content accepting the fact that people have different opinions and methods than he.

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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2010, 11:09:46 AM »

Dang Robo can't believe you fell for it Wink grin evil
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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2010, 11:58:10 AM »

I'll do as the member in question would do, and say "SOMEONE" in the forum, it seems to me that is running out of places in beekeeping forums that will put up with his behavior - I've lived with him not responding to anything I have written him for a long time now and accept that some people are just rude and unappreciative of a venue to interact with others, interesting how patient I am about his lack of common sense. I don't know how many forums someone needs to be booted from or how many places you go from moderator to member - that is usually a bad sign when (for whatever reason) you reduce rank in forums.

I see the "tone of the context" written is often harsher than the "wording" itself - lucky that it is carefully constructed, obviously lots of thought goes into not getting trapped by your own words. But some people are good at shoving JUST hard enough to keep their selves safe according to a forums rules. But I hope that people understand that COLLECTIVE ATTITUDE ISSUES IN POSTS do add up, it doesn't have to be a single violation of rules that get people chopped in any forum, sort of how a single poop doesn't fill up a cesspool, but a whole lot of them do  grin Speaking generally there of course. Not to mention, we (nor any forum need reason to ban any member) the big difference here is we like our members, deleting them does little good unless that is what they truly strive for.

I don't understand why someone can't construct a post without pointing fingers at people they disagree with? Just write your posts, what is so hard about that. As Robo had said elsewhere recently, if you have comments concerning a posts, REPLY in that post - don't start a new one, just to admonish the post that starts a debate. That's kind of a no brainer to me.

Agreeing to disagree is fine, passionate debate is awesome, but aiming your cross-hairs at other members... not a good idea here.
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tandemrx
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« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2010, 02:09:36 PM »

I guess I kinda started this with my question a couple days ago, so I will respond (feel a bit attacked for considering marking some queens . . . "tainting" my queen . . . although I appreciate parts of the post for some useful aspects of hive management).

I am the "new" beekeep who is being discussed (3rd year), but given that . . . I do not search every frame for the queen on my inspections.  Far from that.  I am quite happy to see eggs with good brood pattern and close up the hive as soon as I can to not disturb the hive any more than I need to.

Some times I would like to find the queen or will find her incidentally while I am making sure a hive is queenright and haven't seen eggs/larvae yet, but run into her before I do find those eggs and larvae . . . and when I do, I have interest to know when and where she came from as I have limited opportunities to get new queens when one is being replaced, so I can't time my queen replacements to exactly when I see a bad brood pattern or am queenless.  I really don't need the queen to be marked to find her, I only have interest in marking some queens for monitoring purposes.

In this one example I had a poorly laying queen.  Wanted to replace her but it took some time to get a new queen (some times it takes a long time to get responses from queen producers  Smiley).  I don't really like to pinch the old queen, and wanted an option to move the poorly-producing queen back to the original hive if the new queen is rejected, so I put old queen in a nuc box (Michael Bush recommended this on his web site and I thought it was a great idea, some brood production better than none).

So I get new queen and put old queen in nuc.  Check nuc a week later and all the sudden I have a full frame laying pattern (albiet with some double eggs in cells)

So, I am wondering, did I put the old queen in that nuc or was the old queen superceded and I am dealing with a new queen. 

Only real question is how much resources in time and effort do I want to put into this nuc hive or any queen that I am evaluating.  I am a hobbyist, so whether or not I want to invest time in what was a poorly producing older queen (would not put much effort into her) or new possibly good producing queen is important to me and in this case markings on the old queen may have answered the question for me.

I am also a pharmacist and have spent a good bit of my career evaluating animal toxicology studies.  So I certainly understand animal toxicology and am sensitive to chemicals that may harm animals and to dose response.  But I also know that all items with carcinogenic potential do not produce cancer.  Nor will all chemicals that cause health or pregnancy concerns cause relavent toxicity in all applications (tylenol can easily kill a person and many people die from tylenol toxicity every year, does that mean I won't personally ingest it if I have a headache?).  So I feel comfortable in personally evaluating what I might mark a queen with and the safety of that maneuver to my queen.

Do the natural beekeepers on this forum never smoke their hives?  Tell me there are not toxins and potential adverse effects of spewing smoke into your hive.  There are certainly carcinogens in that smoke.  Certainly many chemials that could cause health and pregnancy concerns.  I do try to limit how much smoke I use, but I will still smoke my hives when I need to.

I appreciate the opinions of the experienced beekeepers on the forum, but don't really like to be attacked for being a beginner beekeeper or being told what I should or shouldn't do based on someones personal evaluation of a products toxicity.

If nothing else I gained great information on handling queens by asking the question and I can see a lot of great use for this infomration whether or not I am using it to mark a queen or just move her to an appropriate place at the appropriate time.

So thanks for all the responses.
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« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2010, 02:53:06 PM »

Don't feel bad...I will be marking one of my queens this weekend (and all of mine are marked), not cuz I'm lazy or careless or whatever...I just like to know where my queen is if I happen to pull a frame with her on it, how old she is, whether my hive has changed queens, whatever.  I found a swarm a month ago...I knew it was one of my queens.  I also was able to tell which of my hives had swarmed...so it helps me with information.  I also noticed another hive that had an unmarked queen so they likely either swarmed or superceded.  I record this stuff in my inspection notes and I think it helps me evaluate the hives and I often learn something.  I probably looked for the queen too much at first, but I was learning and enjoying my bees.  It's my hobby, I try to learn and improve at what I am doing and learn what the bees are doing...so it makes my hobby more enjoyable when I randomly see the queen or when a visitor wants to look at the bees and I can easily show them a queen and explain what they are doing. I use two colors so I just alternate and that helps me keep track of their age, by knowing which color was in there last year.  It certainly isn't absolutely necessary (bees can be bees without our intervention), but I don't think it hurts either.
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« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2010, 02:59:27 PM »

hethen57, i think you are right.  mark 'em if you want.  some people have been taught that they must have marked queens.  some people are totally against it.  guess i fall in the middle.  if you are really in need of tracking your queen, you should do it.  most people don't need to and there have been many posts on here about lost/damaged queens while the attempt was being made to mark them.
not worth it to me....maybe worth it to others.
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« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2010, 03:20:07 PM »

tandemrx,
My comments were not about anyone in particular, even though some may think that. Conversations go in every direction on certain threads, and many times they initiate thoughts or comments that merit separate threads. You did mention marking queens. But anyone could of passively made mention to marking queens. But just as the question "What color should I paint my hives", the nature of any forum is not anything to do with past conversations, but rather active participation and discussions from current dialog and interaction. Otherwise, we might just all shut up and scan the archive for every repeated question and answer. I thank you for bringing this to the forefront once more. I think my asking "why" one marks queens, is a far cry compared to past discussions.

Thank you for responding.

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« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2010, 03:32:52 PM »

I'll do as the member in question would do, and say "SOMEONE" in the forum, it seems to me that is running out of places in beekeeping forums that will put up with his behavior - I've lived with him not responding to anything I have written him for a long time now and accept that some people are just rude and unappreciative of a venue to interact with others, interesting how patient I am about his lack of common sense. I don't know how many forums someone needs to be booted from or how many places you go from moderator to member - that is usually a bad sign when (for whatever reason) you reduce rank in forums.



Oh John, you certainly have me at a disadvantage. If I respond, I open myself up to attack. If I keep quiet, it drives you crazy and you bring up matters that you asked me not to discuss on this forum. Certainly you have me between two rocks.

But lets get a couple things straight here, even though I think this is a bit personal for the board.

1) I have NEVER been booted from ANY forum, let alone the number you suggest by making it sound as if I am running out of forums. My membership was striped after I came here and refused to go BACK to the Beesource forum as they asked me to do. Not really the picture presented.

2) Yes, I was stripped from being a moderator on another forum. Know why? Because among other things listed, I was posting HERE on beemaster, and did not post enough over there. What a HOOT! I got busy with business and my posts dropped off. And so they came here and actually counted my posts on beemaster, and made that an issue. And now you use that small detail against me. I am laughing my butt off. I lost moderator status on another forum because I was posting on your forum, and you use that against me.... lau

So please, you want to send me a PM, I'll respond. But keep the false comments off the forum. I think it may make more than me look bad.
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« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2010, 03:49:47 PM »

I respectfully reject your premise.

I AM a new beekeeper.
I DO maintain Marked queens.
---however---
I do not do inspections for the sole purpose of finding the actual queen.  Nor is an inspection complete when she is located.  Each frame that is pulled is evaluated for health & productivity.  I wear glasses and look at the percentages of eggs, larva, pupae, drones, pollen, & honey & where they are all located.  Population size, brood pattern, and all queen cups are noted as well; as is condition of equipment.  Plus anything that looks odd or is new to me gets written down too.  

If i don't see the queen i make a note of it then move on to the next hive.  I read somewhere that the bees tell you what they need if you listen close enough.  I never read that marked queen are bad or that once you've found the queen go ahead and ignore everything else.  They never taught us that in the beginners bee class.  Thankfully so...
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« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2010, 04:08:39 PM »

Gee.. Bjorn DOES see my posts after all, who'da thought it.

Interesting how you suggest my generic use of "SOMEONE" infers you - I'd probably get the same vibes though if I were you. Your use of Stripped and Removed are indeed awful semantic of banned or outcast or shunned or tossed away or many other words and phrases. Gee, I'm honored that although you won't talk to me (which I understand is my fault too) you still choose to use our forum, even if it gets you stripped and as a mod and as a member elsewhere because of you undying allegiance to us - thank you for that, I never knew how dedicated you are - oooops wait a minute, I think I need to lay on my back and laugh a little too  lau

I'm sure there were no other reasons involved, nothing that YOU may have been responsible for or at least RAILROADED in some fashion? Gee, coming here sure has a heavy burden for some.

Well, if you are not "running out of forums" and I know there are many out there, then at least your numbers have been marginally reduced by faults "outside" your own doing. Glad you enjoy our little chunk of cyber space - I wonder though what percentage of posting here vs. elsewhere was needed to "strip you" I never thought (nor do I still) think anyone involved to be that shallow, if it is true (and not just your perception of what happened) then that is indeed sad. Everyone in our mod staff belong to all the big forums, I like to think of Beemaster as one of the big ones, but surely not the biggest, but I have NEVER EVER gone post counting to see if anyone has contributed elsewhere and even if I had SURELY I would never even THINK to hold or use that against them - wow.

I don't know Mike, stranger things happen on this planet than I will ever imagine in my wildest thoughts, so I surely can't discount your recount of events - obviously you should know the occurrences concerning your status at forums better than anyone - but usually the guy who gets a bar of soap for Christmas isn't receiving it because people think he collects soap, its because he stinks. Not saying you stink, I've never met you, but maybe, just maybe your charming personality differs from how you perceive it to be.

Thank you for the clarity on the above, Sorry it is "our fault" in "both cases" that you were STRIPPED ( I promise not to use the banned or lowered in rank ever again) I must have used words that inappropriately explained both situations, my bad. Was the outcome the same, seems so though. If you were wronged by other forums (and in one case I surely believe so - but I rarely go to other forums, staying close to home is always a safe bet for me) people often misinterpret my words as sarcastic or Michael Anthony like from Julius Caesar - but these are HONORABLE MEN, so I must say, I too may be wrong and the things I say are meant to jab a little, often in a light-hearted way to the members who follow such soap-operas as these posts tend to be.

Glad though that you could see my post, I was beginning to thing my POST button was broken  grin

BTW

I think marked queens are great to have, especially if you have non-beekeeps looking at your bees. To them (and you) it saves a lot of time searching and pointing and I'd rather a newbee know which is the queen effortlessly than to make them feel bad they can't spot the little lady! JMHO!!
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« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2010, 04:23:00 PM »

I like marked queens, but like Kathy am too cheap and lazy to mark them, and they seem to be doing fine without it.
-I would like to know if the queen is replaced
-It is still easier to find the queen when necessary (not very often necessary)

I am not afraid of the toxicological implications.  Plenty of marked queens doing just fine.  Plenty of unmarked queens doing terrible in the world.  I'm not sure what a "tainted queen" is, but if it meant a little spot of paint on her, that don't bother me.

So I'm in the "go for it if you want to" camp.

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« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2010, 04:47:34 PM »

John,
Your correct. I had no problems being a moderator. No riots in the street or anything else. My posts are all recorded for all to see. But since you seem not very convinced, it went like this....

I stopped posting.
They asked me if I was upset with anything.
I said I was extremely busy.
I posted here and there three times over a three week period in late May early June.
I went to post one day, and was not a moderator. I was shocked.
They said I must of been upset with something since I was not posting like usual.
I said, "I wasn't till now".
They mentioned I still was posting on beemaster.
I said that was crap to monitor members on another site. My being a moderator on one site had nothing to do with another.
I clarified I posted there and here on the same three days in late May/early June .
They said that may be true, but I had posted a topic "So tell me what will happen" in regards to a slimed SHB colony. They suggested that would of been better served being posted on their forum as I was a moderator at the time. I said this whole thing was crap. They invited me back as a moderator if I wanted too. I declined and moved on. I'm not playing that crap. And if by being a moderator I give up rights elsewhere, they can have it.

If you need me to clarify the beesource fiasco, I'll be more than willing to discuss. I was temporarily banned for one day. I came here. They asked me back with certain "conditions" in some attempt to support their moderator that screwed up and caused the whole thing to begin with. I said I would not return until I had full privileges. I said in the meantime I would be lending my...cough cough, services to bee master. That I would "consider" coming back at a later time when my limited ban was lifted. That is when it got nasty and they banned me. They did not like the whole "I'll let you know when I'm ready" crap. Seems they forgot the people make the forum, the forum does not make the people. a message every forum owner should repeat. And it's not like you did not benefit from the many folks coming over and the whole crap that was happening at that time. Many people left beesource. not because of me, but for the same reason as me... Wink

And please do not ever underestimate any members allegiance to this or any other forum. I only ever posted on one forum for five years, and had never even considered coming to this forum. Some come and go, and post on many forums. I tend to be old school. I am loyal to one site, until I'm unfairly attacked or can't stand the crap any longer. You may find that a bit hard to swallow, but I bet you have many members who feel that way.

The only reason I still post here is that I was told to take everything with a grain of salt from you. One of your moderators told me there are "good days, and bad days". That sometimes you say stuff that perhaps is better left unresponded. Maybe medications were at play...I can not remember the details. So for my own sake, I completely ignored you. But that seems not to have been a good choice as you have now brought up many past things over and over. Nothing good comes out of the room when you put two type a driver personalities in the room.  Wink



Now do you understand?  Wink
« Last Edit: July 09, 2010, 05:08:57 PM by BjornBee » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2010, 05:06:53 PM »

My response about my comments being perceived as attacking Robo, is this.....

Robo, does not have the same opinion as most others suggesting they could care less and that it makes no difference. To each their own. Robo wears on his chest everyday, the signature that "There is no excuse for unmarked queens". That unto itself is attacking in nature, perhaps much more than my original post. But I know, strap me up to the whipping pole. By the very nature of mentioning that quote, I am the one attacking.

So let me say that I find it ironic that it's deja vu, when that message is seen each and every day.

The message is clear....There is no reason for unmarked queens. And yet, if I use this quote, then I am attacking an individual. When you stick it out every day, someone may use it for a discussion.

Robo stands on one side and suggests there is no excuse for unmarked queens. It's there for anyone to read. So to suggest I am pointing fingers is a bit much.

I stand on the other side, suggesting there is no excuse for marked queens.

Many are in the middle.

I simply am asking why those who marked their queen did so.

I didn't pull out some long ago quite and attacked someone. I used a quote that is proudly displayed and repeated each and every day, and I used in the topic for discussion. I can't agree that by mentioning it that it suggests "attacking" anyone.

Of course each person makes their own decision. I think it's the quote "There is no excuse for unmarked queens" that is a statement cast in stone not recognizing and respecting other people's choices.

But maybe that's just me. So crack that whip softly...... beat a dead horse
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« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2010, 05:27:34 PM »

 beat a dead horse

Now where was it that this was referenced before? Oh yeah, I remember now.
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« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2010, 05:35:09 PM »

Just a final thought. I agree on TYPE a personalities and to remind you of the health issue, it isn't medication it is physical - I have seizures due to spiking brain signals in my frontal lobe, medication does stop the spiking, but no ill effects except slowing my metabolism down and making me fat - ugh.

And no one will disagree we had a surge during the times of your coming here, it does fall into our cyclical bountiful growth in Spring thru fall (stating and Wintering hives) but many members from there came here - no one argues that.

Not blowing my own horn Mike, but I like to think I'm fair, and unlike many forums (concerning all kinds of topics) I listen to the advice of my staff (lordy that sounds so possessive - I hate that MY word so much) but the mods here keep me in check, I'm a handful at times, I know that, but when you have a team that works this well, you have to respect it and thank your lucky stars. You sure don't kick them out, force them to leave, give them guff to make them look foolish to the members or anything of that sort - maybe THAT is why you are here - just a thought! Peace and truce flag waving! Now... where did I put my meds?
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« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2010, 05:46:57 PM »

On the topic of marking queens...

in my own little two cent opinion, I don't mark them.

I do indeed practice the "WWFD" (What Would Feral Do) and I have yet to see a feral queen emerge marked.  Either from a swarm cell or a supercedure cell.

Not all queen cells are from failure queens. (failure here meaning to me not laying at all or 'properly')  In the absence or diminishing of queen pheromone  I have not seen 'bad' queens result from them in great numbers  (or small numbers for all that)  unless the genetics in the egg were 'bad' to begin with (back to that failed queen) I see it as a question of timing and nutrition as to the quality of the emerging queens.

All of this to say,  I don't see a reason to mark them except to make locating one more easily.  Now, to be honest, if you want to be able to find your queens more easily, go ahead, mark em, it's your hive. It doesn't matter what I think or anyone else for that matter.

I think that beginning beekeepers try to look for the queen more frequently because it part of that 'newbee' experience.  They want to do all those things they read about in the books and on forums like these.  Once they are comfortable with the inner workings of the hive and that 'newbee' time frame has subsided, hunting for the queen takes on less excitement and is relegated to it's proper interest level.

enjoy the bees

Big Bear

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