Marking stingless bees
Marking stingless bees is a way that we can gather information for future stingless bee keepers. What we know today about how long a queen lives for in Australia is because of this method.
Here is a video showing how I mark my bees.
Why mark bees? Marking bees has been an age old tradition with honey bees and has allowed generations and generations to gather data regarding bees and their behavior. I have used various pigments and dusts in the past to gather information on bulk bees but marking with a fine tipped paint pen is definitely better if you need a more permanent option. I have been able to find out which bees enter the workforce and when and also observe drift happening between hives. Really exciting stuff.
Marking bees tips and tricks
- Making sure the paint markers you use are water based and free from solvents will prevent you from killing your bees.
- Writing the date that you marked your queen on the viewing panel of your hive will have you remembering when that queen first started.
- Using an aspirator or pooter can aid in removing specific (workers or queens) gently enough without disturbing the colony too much.
- A smaller aspirator container has more suction but a larger one but a larger one will be more gentle on the bees.
- Painting a bee’s face or abdomen can hurt the bee, be very careful and accurate with placement.
- Always suck the queen bee from head first. This is good practice for both queens and workers.
Where to mark your queen or worker bee
As shown above it is really important that this is done right. Red arrows indicate locations not to mark your bees, these have a high chance of killing your bees. Blue arrow indicates the only safe place to mark your bees unless you choose to use a bee friendly marking pigment or dust.
If you would like to give this a go with your bees you can also buy aspirators. I am in no way affiliated with this company. But I do like the quality of products they make.
I would love to hear what people find out in the comments below if anyone undertakes this exercise and what they are using it for.