Painted workers?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Tyro, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. Tyro

    Tyro Member

    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    I have a hive that is currently infected with a pretty good case of chalkbrood. I am waiting for a queen to replace the existing one.

    However, I have noticed that many of the workers in this hive have white on them. The white looks exactly like the paint that we use to mark queens. It is usually a single spot on their thorax or abdomen - which can be centered on the body or off to the side. Occasionally, I will see multiple spots around the body.

    Does anyone know what this is? Alfalfa is still blooming here and I have read that jewelweed produces a white pollen. I have also considered that it could be the chalkbrood fungus growing on the workers - but I don't know if that is even possible.

    Whatever it is, it is BRIGHT white - just like queen marking paint (it makes it REALLY hard to find the queen!).

    Thanks for any insights.

    Mike
     
  2. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

    Messages:
    2,683
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    It is common for bee reasearchers to mark the workers when they are in the field to identify bees as they come and go. You may have someone studying bees in your area and marking them thinking they are comming from there hive. A long shot but possible
     

  3. Tyro

    Tyro Member

    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Well - I am fairly certain that it isn't research. I am the only one doing any research out here (ironically, that is my job, only I work on mammals). I would know about any other projects.
     
  4. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

    Messages:
    3,708
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    How about catching one and examining it close up? I would guess it will turn out to be white pollen that they are picking up and bringing home. You could also open up and examine the hive to see if they are bringing in white pollen.
     
  5. Bsweet

    Bsweet Member

    Messages:
    474
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Hummmm, painted ladies :eek: you might check tonite and see if they have a red firefly tied to the landing board and a lot of drone traffic :lol: You may need to read the good book to them girls, or raise the taxes on the hive. Jim Sorry can't help myself
     
  6. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

    Messages:
    1,249
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    :goodpost: :lol:
     
  7. Tyro

    Tyro Member

    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16

    I don't see any white pollen coming in through the entrance, mostly yellows and grays.

    I will try to get a photo today.
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    some bees have been reported (seen pictures in very dated ABJ) to harvest paint chips primarily during the time of the year when they turn toward heavy propolis production.