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Author Topic: Queen Marking and Clipping  (Read 3862 times)
ZuniBee
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« on: March 24, 2007, 12:41:17 PM »

My queens are not going to be marked or clipped. After I hive them should I try to mark and clip the queens on the first inspection? Marking them might be easier if I can find them but I'm not sure about clipping them...
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« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2007, 12:47:18 PM »

i wouldn't clip them, it's torturing! also if your beekeeping methods are correct, good you really don't need to clip them, it's not that big a of a deal to lose a swarm or to now is it? it's really not fair to them. plus it might be illegal, it is around here.

about marking, there's been talking about it latelly, check the last 2 pages of treads, or do a search, one said he uses ink
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« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2007, 12:58:10 PM »

Good. If it is not something that is recommended to do I certainly don't want to try to do it. I just keep seeing clipped and marked queens and thought it might be something that should be done.
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Cindi
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« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2007, 07:55:17 PM »

If you have had practice catching a bee, then I would say to catch and mark the queen.  If you have not had the opportunity to try and catch a bee to hold it by its wings -- holding it still and gently enough to place a mark on its body, then you should practice before you try to catch a queen, she is precious and needs to be treated so.

Practice catching drones if you want to become good at "bee catching", then move onto catching workers.  When you become proficient with the worker, then catch the queen and mark her, if you feel the need.

I think that it is plain and simply really good experience to just get used to being able to find the queen in amongst her retinue without her having a big bold mark.  It is worthy experience in my own mind's eye.  Best of the days.  Cindi
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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2007, 08:09:09 PM »

I always mark,  but never clip.  Without marking, you will never know if your queen has been superseded.
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« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2007, 08:10:56 PM »

I am not a fan of clipping, however when you put a queen in a hive and then she flies away, sometimes I wonder if she could just take $50  from my wallet instead.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2007, 08:20:23 PM »

Robo, now this is why the forum is so great.  Right, makes sense, regarding supercedure, now I am heading off in a different direction, probably gonna do the queen marking.

I became pretty good about catching bees when I was performing some BVT on my sister's knee and elbow last summer.  I feel confident that I could catch the queen and be gentle enough to not cause harm.  Best of the day.  Cindi
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« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2007, 02:05:25 AM »

>After I hive them should I try to mark and clip the queens on the first inspection?

I'd mark the queen before I release her (and I would release her).  I have a queen muff which lessens the chance of her flying off.  (See Brushy Mt.)  You can buy a marking tube and a paint pen and mark her and then after you shake the package in release her into the hive from the marking tube.

> Marking them might be easier if I can find them but I'm not sure about clipping them...

If you want to, clip one wing about a third off the end with manicure scissors.  If you don't want to, don't bother.

If you don't have a queen muff and a marking tube, start by marking some drones.  Take your index finger and point at the drone (later the queen) on the comb.  Pin him with the tip of your finger against the comb.  Now that he's immobile, slip your thumb to one side and your index finger over to the other and grasp her thorax between your thumb and finger.  Put him on your left (if you're right handed) index finger.  He will grasp it. Pin all three legs on one side firmly between your thumb and index finger.  This now frees your dominant hand to do the marking.  Release him onto the comb.  After you've gotten good at it, try a real queen.  Smiley  If you're brave, try marking a worker.  Smiley  The technique for a worker has to be a bit different as they WILL sting you.  If you do the same except instead of hading it off and holding the legs, hold it by the head and thorax with your thumb and finger on the sides and the back exposed between them.  In other words your fingers are parallel to the bee.
 
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ZuniBee
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« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2007, 07:27:17 AM »

Quote
after you shake the package in release her into the hive from the marking tube.

You are saying to release the queen directly into the hive without being in the queen cage. The bees wont kill her? Or is this because they have been in the package long enough to accept the queen?

Thanks for the great detailed instructions. I won't be holding a worker for a while! However, this is also a great way to make sure you learn the difference in what is a drone and what is a worker. One mistake and I'll immediately know.
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« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2007, 08:24:28 AM »

I don't know why but when I look at drones their eyes are so big it reminds me of the shades on the helmets of fighter pilots!
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« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2007, 09:06:31 AM »

Michael, excellent lesson on queen marking.  Don't have a queen muff, nor a marking tube, so guess it will be done the "hard" way.  Pretty clear.

Ken, you're right that dude does look like a drone's head.  Best of this day.  Cindi

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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2007, 09:48:16 AM »

I also always mark but never clip my queens. I like the ease of finding her when I need to. The drop of color really makes her jump out at you on the frame. Hope that helps you decide!
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« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2007, 10:26:52 AM »

Often the marking material will wear off. If you haven't clipped, then its hard to tell if the queen is original or new.

In our breeding program, any queen being evaluated is clipped and marked. This way, we can be sure that the queen we're potentially selecting is the queen we put into the hive. Funny, I find it eaiser to clip queens than to mark them. I use very small, sharp, light, cuticle scissors.

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2007, 11:14:01 AM »

>You are saying to release the queen directly into the hive without being in the queen cage.

Yes.

>The bees wont kill her?

Unless they made up the package yesterday, probably not.  If they've been in shipment for several days they are pretty much focused on this one already. Waiting for her to get out of the cage will set the hive back another four days or so.

>Or is this because they have been in the package long enough to accept the queen?

Exactly.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2007, 11:46:17 AM »

Often the marking material will wear off.

I've never had much of a problem with that,  sounds like you need to find a better marker substance.

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« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2007, 05:18:54 PM »

Keep it simple don't worry about marking the queen relax
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« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2007, 04:43:56 AM »

if you don';t have drones to practice with, try the newly emerged nurse bees....they can't sting yet.
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« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2007, 05:59:39 AM »

Michael ,

I went to the brushy Mt. website. They do not have an image of this queen muff. What does it look like and how does it work?

Sincerely,
Brendhan

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« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2007, 07:49:16 AM »

It's a tube of screen wire about 16" long with cloth mesh with elastic on each end.  You put the queen in there with whatever tools you need and do your thing.   The queen can't get out if she flies.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2007, 08:39:35 AM »

Brendhan,

I just use my veil.  Although not foolproof because I don't get a perfect seal around my hands, it works well.  I have never had a queen get out.  If they do get loose, they tend to crawl up, so I try to keep the opening down.

BTW,  use the veil before you put it on your head tongue
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« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2007, 01:49:22 PM »

Brendhan,

It's in Brushy Mt's catalogue. Odd that it's not on their site. It's a handy device but I've had equal results using a window in a dark room; mask the window to allow a small opening for sunlight and open the queen cage. The bees cluster at the light and you can pick up the queen at your leisure, discard the attendants, etc. Or put them all back. They won't go anywhere.
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« Reply #21 on: March 26, 2007, 09:11:33 PM »

>I've had equal results using a window in a dark room

True, but the window in a dark room is a couple of hundred yards from the beeyard in my back yard and 60 miles from my outyard.  Smiley
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2007, 09:07:31 AM »

I've never had much of a problem with that,  sounds like you need to find a better marker substance.

I've used various materials over the years and find that with whatever material used, some marks do wear off. If inseminating, we use glued-on discs, and they stay pretty well. What marking material do you have good luck with?

If you clip AND mark, and the mark wears off, at least you know if the queen is original or new.


Adam
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ZuniBee
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« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2007, 10:08:10 AM »

I bought this little plastic tube like device with a plunger that has a spounge that pushes the queen up to the large mesh sou you can mark her. After reading Michaels post I also bought the queen muff. The muff looks like a real good way to work the queen.

I really want to mark the queens so I can find them easier and know if the original queen is still there. I have the Yellow color marker for 2007. I plan to put the queen in the queen muff, pick her up and gently mark her. Then release her directly into the hive with the new package. Since I am getting 4 packages I'll have to do it 4 times. While I am not really scared of being stung (I consider it a fact that it will happen) I am just curious how ofter queens sting. If I put the queen in the queen muff and pick her up how likely am I to be stung?

Also, I read that sometimes there are a few workers in the queen cage. If that is the case things could become a little more difficult!
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« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2007, 10:18:30 AM »

Zunibee, now that is a good question about the queen stinging.  I wonder too.  I don't think that she can deliver as hefty a sting as a worker cause of the length of her abdomen and the ability to grasp the flesh with the hind tarsi to get a grasp to sting.

I know she can sting cause she kills other queens.  Best of this great day.  Cindi
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« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2007, 08:05:41 PM »

>Zunibee, now that is a good question about the queen stinging.  I wonder too.  I don't think that she can deliver as hefty a sting as a worker cause of the length of her abdomen and the ability to grasp the flesh with the hind tarsi to get a grasp to sting.

I've been keeping bees for 33 years and have NEVER been stung by a queen.  I handle them a LOT as I raise queens.  I won't say a queen cannot sting you, but Jay Smith, who reared thousands of them every year, said he was only stung once by one and that was on a spot that he had previously squished a queen.

"a queen will never sting anything but a rival queen. I might qualify that statement by saying a queen never stings anything but a queen, or what she thinks is a queen. I was stung by a queen once but I insist it was a case of mistaken identity, for she thought I was a queen. It happened thus: I had been requeening some colonies and in removing the old queens I killed them by pinching them between my thumb and finger. I had wiped my thumb and finger on my trouser leg. A virgin queen circled me a few times probably to adjust her bomb sights then mad a pin-point landing on the spot where I had wiped my thumb and finger, and planted her sting in my leg. Yes, she thought I was a queen. While greatly appreciating the compliment, I would much prefer she would show her appreciation in a less militant manner." --Jay Smith, Better Queens
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesbetterqueens.htm#The%20Worker%20Bee%20as%20Fully%20Developed%20a%20Female%20as%20the%20Queen
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« Reply #26 on: April 02, 2007, 08:24:51 AM »

Queens don't have barbs on their stinger, do they?  So, it doesn't rip out and they don't die of stinging.  At least that's what I understand, correct me if I'm wrong!  Smiley
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ZuniBee
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« Reply #27 on: April 02, 2007, 08:47:32 AM »

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I've been keeping bees for 33 years and have NEVER been stung by a queen.  I handle them a LOT as I raise queens.  I won't say a queen cannot sting you, but Jay Smith, who reared thousands of them every year, said he was only stung once by one and that was on a spot that he had previously squished a queen.

I have four queens to mark. If I handle the first will the second "smell" the queen? Or does it only apply to squished queens? I am going to video the procedure so I will have to be calm so I don't look too foolish!  cool
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« Reply #28 on: April 02, 2007, 09:46:01 AM »

Ann, 100% correct, no barbs on the queen's stinger.  Another trivia, when worker bees sting other bees (and other such things as insects, etc.), the stinger is not left behind.  It is only in the "fleshy" parts of the higher forms of life that the barbed stinger gets stuck within, with the end result of the death of the bee in the loss of the sting apparatus that has been ripped out of her body.  Have a wonderful day.  Cindi 
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« Reply #29 on: April 02, 2007, 11:46:18 AM »

Another trivia, when worker bees sting other bees (and other such things as insects, etc.), the stinger is not left behind.  It is only in the "fleshy" parts of the higher forms of life that the barbed stinger gets stuck within

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« Reply #30 on: April 03, 2007, 10:16:20 AM »

Jerry, oh ya.  Right.  I remember seeing this documentary on the AHB and they had a hunk of leather that they were using to demonstrate how many stings could be imbedded in the leather from these infuriated workers.  It was astounding to see hundreds upon hundreds of stingers in such a small area.  It could be used as a population control I suppose.  LOL.  Have a fantastic day.  Cindi
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« Reply #31 on: April 04, 2007, 07:02:51 AM »

>I have four queens to mark. If I handle the first will the second "smell" the queen? Or does it only apply to squished queens?

I mark one after the other all day often.  So did Jay Smith.  I've never been stung by one.  Apparently he was only stung by one and he raised MANY more queens in a year than I have in my life.
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« Reply #32 on: April 04, 2007, 09:24:02 AM »

Michael.  That thing about Jay Smith.  Now that makes total sense.  Why on earth would a queen sting anything other than the other female that she wants to put to death?  She is not a guard, the only guard activity that she performs is one that guards the fact that there can be no other mature girls in the hive that could take her own very life.  LOL.  Have a beautiful and awesome day.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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« Reply #33 on: April 06, 2007, 10:15:52 PM »

this reminds me of a funny incident one day when i was marking queens. i had marked about 18 already and when i got to the 19th box, i proceeded the normal way of trapping the queen between my fingers and pressing her down gently on the comb so i could mark her.  after placing the spot on her thorax, i opened my fingers and instead of running away as they normally do, she curled up and rolled to her side!

my jaw dropped and my assistant and i stared at her in disbelief. i prodded her with my finger but she wasn't moving so i figured she must have died from fright. her attendants kept licking her but nada....she looked dead as a doornail.

i put the comb lying sidedown and made preparations to merge her colony with another one.  when we had set up the newspaper and box over the other colony, i went back to get the queenless colony.  i took the comb and gazed down sadly at the queen, silently given her a eulogy {alas, i knew her well and she was a great queen!}.  suddenly she gave a convulsive jerk and i almost dropped the comb in atonishment.  she stretched out and stood up and calmly went to a cell and layed an egg like nothing had happened!

i named her Drama queen and she went on to lay for a year more before she died.  since then i've developed a phobia for marking queens lol....

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« Reply #34 on: April 07, 2007, 09:07:35 AM »

I never mark my queen before. Thinking to try once but can I use lipstick to mark them? grin
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« Reply #35 on: April 07, 2007, 09:12:24 AM »

I've seen queens faint before.  It's good to give them time and see if they fainted or you killed them. Smiley

Jay Smith has a theory on that too:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenrearingsimplified.htm
Search for "The Question of Cataleptic Queens"
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« Reply #36 on: April 07, 2007, 09:35:03 AM »

Tig, I have read something about the queen doing this.  The author of the book called it queen cramping.  Good thing she finished her faint, cramp, whatever it was and carried on to do her duties.  Yeah!!!  BEst of the beautiful day.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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