Thursday, September 9, 2010

queen marking

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.

1 comment:

  1. I think it is the smell of the paint which bothered the bees. I put the newly marked queen in a little pill bottle for a minute or 2 before I release her into the hive. That way the paint has a chance to dry (I don't blow on her either - bees don't like CO2).