Marking the Queen

I received my package this morning! So, I put the queen cage at the bottom of the frames and shook as many bees out of the package as I could. They naturally bunched up on the bottom so I gently set the middle to frames on top and then put the lid on. I’m hoping I can come back later and the two frames sitting on top of the “swarm” will have settled down.

My queen came unmarked. At least that’s what I said when I ordered the package a few months ago. As I said, I put the queen case in the bottom of the brood box this morning. My question is, when would be the best time to mark her? Should I come back in a few days, hope they haven’t released her and mark her and release her myself or should I just wait until she’s released and pray I can actually identify her and mark her?

Thank you!

Hopefully it is not too cold still at night where you are and the queen won’t be too cold if most of the bees cluster at the top of the box and she is stuck in the cage on the cold floor. Normally the queen cage can be suspended between a couple frames at the top of the box.

You should go back in soon and make sure all the frames are in and pushed “shoulder to shoulder” because the bees will be eager to build comb.

You will need to feed your package and check in 3 days or so to see if she is released. If she is not, you can probably safely direct release her.

As far as when to mark - it is good practice to look for the signs of the queen instead of always looking for the mark - so not sure that marking her is necessary. It is convenient to know when your old queen isn’t in there anymore (because she swarmed or was superceded) so in that sense it is good to recognize an unmarked queen (when you know your old one was marked).

But I would leave her be for at least a few weeks to let the hive start gaining some momentum, comb, eggs, brood, etc.

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Thank you for the information! I just looked and it is going to get a little chilly tonight and tomorrow (39 & 42, respectively) but after that it’s in the 50s and 60s at night. I’ll go back in later today and suspend her cage and make sure the frames are in and pushed together tightly.

Thanks again!