I am going to spend today marking the rest of my queens. Since I am doing this by myself, I cant take pictures.
I marked my first queen last night. I decided I would try one of the nucs (small starter hives). This way, if I screwed up, it isn't that big of a loss. I was very nervous about handling the frame without gloves and then grabbing the queen out of the middle of the workers without gloves. My heart was going a million miles a second in anticipation of getting a bunch of stings on my bare hands, or hurting the queen.
I found her in the second hive body and set the frame aside. I took off my gloves and went for it. I got her with my dominant hand, let her grab my left thumb then gently pinched her legs (minus the front leg so I wouldn't damage her front leg. Queens measure the cells with the front leg. If it is damaged, she wont lay). I carefully dabbed some blue paint with a Sharpie paint pen on her thorax. I then blew gently on her to dry her off.
All that was great until I went to return her. They balled her and tried to kill her! I had to throw my gloves back on and dig her out of the pile of bees. I put her on a frame with honey and corralled her with a push in cage. she had 2 very young bees to tend to her. I put that frame back in the middle and closed everything up for the night.
I came back today and let her out. The bees were so happy to have her free. I guess the smell of my fingers, me blowing on her and the paint made the workers think she was a foreigner.
Today's nuc trial went better. I donned my neoprene gloves and tried again in a different nuc. I got the queen, marked her with my gloves on and then put her on a frame with a push in. I let her dry in the shade for 10 mins. I came back and let her loose. The bees were just fine with their newly tattooed queen.
Now I need to do this with 5 more hives....
I need to get a hairpin roller style queen cage to let her dry in so I stop damaging the comb and brood with a push in cage.