2.4.1. Colour-marking queens

Not only does marking the queen helps in finding her in the hive, but a queen which has been marked and recorded can be ‘dated’ by reference to the hive card or record book. It also makes it possible to ascertain if and when she has been superseded, or if she has attempted to leave with a swarm, in which case she is usually lost. Generally, queens are marked before being introduced, but they can be marked at any time.

A wide variety of markers have been used to assess insect population dynamics, dispersal, trophic-level interactions, and other ecological interactions. The ideal marker should persist without inhibiting the insect’s ‘normal’ biology. Furthermore, the marker should be environmentally safe, cost-effective, and easy to use (Hagler and Jackson, 2001). Colour-marking code