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Marked vs unmarked queens- what’s better?
This is largely a question of preference. It doesn’t generally hurt a queen to get her marked, but it does cost extra, since beekeepers have to find a queen, pick her up, and mark her. It is far easier to find a queen once she has been marked! If you are a long time beekeeper, and don’t have any trouble finding a queen, it’s not necessary. But, if you are new, finding a queen can be very frustrating, and a mark can make all the difference in the world!
If you are an experienced beekeeper, you can mark your own queen using a marking pen. Gentle pick her up between your pointer finger and thumb, and carefully paint her thorax. Hold her for about 20 seconds while the paint dries, and then place her back on the frame. Some hives can remove the dot, while others never do. Practice on drones first to get comfortable with marking queens.