Marking One of the Queens

This week my queen marking cage and pen arrived from Dadant, and I was excited to get into the hives and see if I could get the queens marked.

We opened the white hive in the yard at my house first, and found they still haven't taken much syrup from the baggie.

Maybe they don't need the syrup? Maybe they don't want it? Maybe the white hive is holding out for jars instead of the baggie method?

Later this week I might stick in a jar of syrup next to their baggie as sort of a test to see if they take any from a jar.

Anyways, they seem to be a little slower at drawing out their foundation, and haven't touched any frames in the second deep yet, despite my moving a frame full of bees up there last week.

We saw at least two frames that had larva and eggs, although we didn't see the queen. So we moved another frame of bees up to the second box, and then closed it up and moved over to the colored hive.

The purple and blue colored hive have finally taken some of their 1:1 syrup. They took about 2 1/2 quarts over the past week.

This is in contrast to the hives at my dad's house, who have taken more than 5 gallons of syrup so far, using the hive-top feeder method!

The colored hive have been more active, and drew out several frames in the second brood box. They also have a fantastic brood pattern going!

If you want to see a larger/closer version of the frame, click here.

As it turns out, the queen in the colored hive had moved up into the second brood box, running out of room in the box below, and had laid eggs on two frames.

Since the majority of the bees were still in the lower box, she was pretty easy to spot.

I wasn't quite brave enough to take off my gloves and catch her with my hands, so instead, I took the plunger out of the marking tub, placed the tube in front of where she was walking on the frame, and she walked right into the tube.

I was able to replace the plunger, and gently lift her to the top where the mesh opening was and mark her using our white colored marker.

Once she was marked, we lowered the plunger slightly, and let her sit in the tube for a few minutes to allow the paint to dry. If we had replaced her on the frame immediately, the worker bees would have cleaned the wet paint off of her.

As I watched her in the tube, she was trying her hardest to stick her head and legs through the mesh in the top of the tube. She wanted out bad!

We finished our inspection, re-arranging the frames in the top box to encourage them to continue to draw out the foundation, released the queen and closed up the hive.

We'll try to catch and mark the queen in the White hive, and the two hives at my parent's house this upcoming weekend.

Comments For This Post: (1) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Linda T says...
Date:   May 24, 2011, 2:19 pm

If there isn't a nectar flow, the bees won't draw comb. It's probably still early in Missouri and you may not be in a heavy nectar flow yet.  The bees also won't take syrup if a nectar flow is ongoing, but since yours aren't building comb, I'd guess that there isn't yet a good nectar flow.

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