Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Marked or Unmarked?

That is the question?

Once I started bee keeping, I discovered that for me personally, having marked queens was best.  I started with two hives, one marked queen, and one unmarked queen.  My thought process being that the marked queen would help me learn to identify the unmarked queen.

That never happened.

My unmarked queen has been a huge pain.  I have gone months without seeing her.  This making me nervous, putting me in a panic, and causing me to bug the heck out of my bee school instructor.  As you know, if you have been reading the last few posts, it has also caused me to kill a new queen.

Or, at least, that is how I would like to be able to look at it.

The truth, I have no one to blame but myself.  I will say, that for someone who has publicly stated that I never want another unmarked queen, I will now have three.  I have one old, unmarked queen.  I also have two hives that will raise their own queens.  Unless I decide to mark them on my own, which I find doubtful, I will have to get much better at finding them.


I did find a little bit of information regarding marking queens that I thought was interesting.  Apparently, there is an International Queen Marking Color Code.  The color of the marking indicates the year the queen was born.  It goes like this:

Color            Year Ending
White                  1 or 6
Yellow                2 or 7
Red                     3 or 8
Green                  4 or 9
Blue                    5 or 0

So, as it plays out, I have a queen with a yellow mark.  She is from last year's hive.  I also have a queen with a red mark.  She is the surviving queen shipped earlier this month.

Working my new hives earlier, I was able to get a picture of the new girl in town.  I thought you might like it.

As you can see, she has a red dot on her back.

Take a closer look at the worker bees around her.

See that they form a circle and they are all facing her?

This is the Queen's Court.

No.  I am not kidding.

They are her attendants.

All they do is take care of her.

Whatever she needs.

I have no desire to be royalty, but, can I just say...this would be nice on occasion.

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