Queens lose markings?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by beewitched, May 7, 2012.

  1. beewitched

    beewitched New Member

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    In two of the four packages the queens (once marked) have no markings. It's only been two weeks. I'm quite certain these are the same queens that came with the packages. There hasn't been enough time for the young ones to hatch out. I went googling and read somewhere (unfortunately I didn't save the page) that workers who practice really good hygiene can and sometimes do remove the queens mark. Is this true?

    -Bee
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Yes, it is true. If they can get it off, they will.
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I myself think so and have notice the same thing many times. sometimes just the outside edges of the dot are visible. it also seems to me that some colors are more likely to be removed than other colors.
     
  4. beewitched

    beewitched New Member

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    ok, great, thanks Iddee and Tecumseh. That's good news. Part of me knew that must be the case but I was still a little concerned. I have pics of the queens when I first got them and these are identical. It's interesting because the other two Russian queens I have are a different color with stripes. Anyway, these are all black, cept that they use to have that bright white mark.


    -Bee
     
  5. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    If I had a chunk of nail polish the size of a dinner plate on my back I'd try to remove it too! ;D
     
  6. beewitched

    beewitched New Member

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    :lol: Omie, I wonder if it's really necessary to get them marked in the first place. They weren't too hard to spot.
     
  7. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    beewitched,
    russian hybrid's will fastidiously remove the mark on the back of the queen......:grin:

    it is not necessary to mark a queen, it is a personal preference. i do not mark my queens. for new beeks it does help to have them marked.
     
  8. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    I think that because i never marked my queens, I gotten pretty good at finding them by eye.
    If you don't become dependent on looking for a bright color spot, your eyes become better trained to spot the 'big cigar' queen body and the movement of the cluster of attendants that are usually circled around her or following her. We learn to find what we train our eye to search for.
     
  9. Medic1259

    Medic1259 New Member

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    Being new only going into a hive twice... I would have been lost without the Big Yellow mark... In my first inspection I passed right over her... and didnt finder her till I was worried that she was gone and re checked the frames again
     
  10. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    in time and with experience you will medic.

    omie said:
    "If you don't become dependent on looking for a bright color spot, your eyes become better trained to spot the 'big cigar' queen body and the movement of the cluster of attendants that are usually circled around her or following her. We learn to find what we train our eye to search for."

    well stated:grin:
     
  11. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Most of us know whether the queen is there by looking for eggs, not by looking for the queen. Sometimes i see the queen, sometimes I don't. The only time i feel I really need to find the queen is when I'm making a split or nuc or want to change queens. If you don't find your queen during a normal inspection, no big deal- if you see eggs, then you know you have a queen and that she's been laying in the past 72 hours. You'll get better at spotting queens over time.
    Though it's good to practice looking for the queen while you are looking at frames anyway, you should not keep inspecting over and over until you find her. Just look for eggs. Keep in mind that opening the hive every few days is disruptive to the bees and will slow them down from what they are trying to do. Also, every time you pull out a frame there is a slight risk of losing or damaging the queen.
    It's good to have more than one hive as a beginner. That way, instead of opening one hive every week, you can alternate hives and give the other hives a period of no disturbance that they need.
     
  12. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I purchase queens both marked and unmarked. for new beekeeper who buy nucs from me I like to paint the queens just to assist them somewhat in spotting the queen. there are definitely some seasonal manipulations I myself do where a painted queen make the task soooo much easier/quicker.
     
  13. beewitched

    beewitched New Member

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    I look to find the eggs before looking for the queen. Since I'm still new, I feel like- if I don't see the eggs, I don't know if she's really there. If I don't see a queen mark that pops out at me, I'm going to be looking for her body shape. I'm pretty sure that once the colony grows I'll have problems finding her again (mark or no mark). I always have an extra set of eyes and hands along with me though. :wink:

    -Bee
     
  14. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    A great discussion here on marked and unmarked queens. I will refer to omie’s post, and won’t repeat it, I wholeheartedly agree… and to tecumseh’s post about marked queens for those who are new to keeping bees, or to complete certain tasks, divides, nucleus hives, marked queens does make one’s work go faster. new keeps have so much on their minds about the bees, the ‘confidence’ to find the queen is not there, but does come in time.

    For myself, I learned to find the queens when they were not marked. This is how I learned.

    My philosophy is that any frame removed in a brood box may contain the queen, so I lift that frame, always held over the hive, with this thought in my mind, my queen is the ‘heartbeat’ of this hive, and if I kill, roll and damage her in the process of lifting the frame, then I am creating a set of problems for myself and for the bees in the hive.

    This is how I find an unmarked queen, if need be, amidst the bees on a frame in a hive, (like omie’s statement about training our eyes to look for.) one step further I look for but not look for her; if that makes sense, and you will find her. I look for the activity and the behavior of the bees.

    When I lift a frame over the hive, I sort of scan quickly, from left, to top, to right, to bottom of the frame, before searching in a circular pattern the center of the frame. If the queen is on or near the edges of that frame she will move quickly to the other side, out of the sun light, and will take a little bit longer to move to the other side of the frame if she is somewhere in the center of it, rather than near the edges. Look over the edges first, then the center, then flip the frame and do the same.

    I find that frames that contain the queen are very, very calm. I don’t know how to explain this…look for the behavior and activity of the bees, and you will find an unmarked queen. As the queen walks or scurries across the comb, her daughters will part to let her pass, and when she pauses, they will face her. A good laying queen is ‘confident’, and’ graceful’, she does not usually ‘scurry’, but just a general guideline. (don’t know how to explain this either). A ‘running queen’ is different; (a younger queen) she will be the ‘long cigar’ (as omie described) running over the tops of her daughters to avoid the light, and you will see this quick motion, that differs from all other activity of all the bees on that frame

    I am probably talking ‘gibberish’, but for those who are newer to keeping bees, and have marked queens, and find her, or accidentally stumble across your queen, marked or not,I would encourage you to pause for a moment and take the time to look at, take in and observe the activity on the frame you found her on…..this will help you understand what I am saying, just my way, or how i learned to find a queen.:grin:
     
  15. DLMKA

    DLMKA New Member

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    I'm new at this too and I have three hives, one with a marked queen (yellow) and two without. That yellow dot throws me off every time. I find the unmarked queens are easier to spot. But I will say I've not seen the queen on my swarm hive yet, they're getting wax drawn out and she'll be laying and hopefully she'll be easier to see now. I don't know how people find the queen in a swarm.