Procedure for paint marking

1.a. Hold onto the legs or thorax of the queen with one hand (Fig. 3 bottom)

1.b. Alternatively, introduce the queen in a special ‘marking tube’.

The queen is inserted through the open end of a glass tube and carefully pressed upward with a soft plunger against a net on top of tube. This holds the queen stable during the marking process, thus facilitating it.

2. Dab the marking stick in the paint.

Only the minimum necessary amount of paint should be transferred onto the stick in order not to smear too much material on the queen’s thorax and other appendages.

3. Mark the queen by quickly dabbing the paint on the dorsal side of her thorax.

The mark should be small, so that it does not cover any other part of the queen and impair her behaviour.

4. Give paint ample time to dry before the queen is released into the colony.

Fig. 3. Step-by-step marking of a queen with numbered plastic disk. Top left – queen with Opalith disks. Bottom left, the marking stick is dipped in glue and touched to the queen’s thorax. Top right, the marking stick (the end opposite of the glue) is moistened and touched to the numbered side of an Opalith disk. Bottom Right, the Opalith disk is affixed to the thorax and held in place by the glue. Photos: J Wilde.