Hooray ! The queen from my early queen rearing exploits has been mated and is laying. My first (purposeful) queen-reared queen. My first green queen of the year, marked and clipped. She has a big golden abdomen,  far larger than last week when she was still a virgin.

Quick sideline – queens are marked in relation to their year. I mark mine the year they were born, others mark them for their first full year, i.e. the year after they are born. As long as you are consistent in which you chose its not a problem.

Year ending :

1 or 6 – White
2 or 7 – Yellow
3 or 8 – Red
4 or 9 – Green
5 or 0 – Blue

As it is 2014, my queen is marked green.

You can remember the order by the memnomic “When You Read Good Books”.

Actually talking about marking if you buy a ‘queen marking pen’ from a bee equipment vendor, you will pay between £4.50 and £6 for one pen. If you search for exactly the same pen by its brand name (on ebay, Amazon, Google etc) then you can get one for £2.10 to £2.50. Better still you get more choice of what colour, for example I have a lovely light green which shows up in the hive far better than the standard dark green and similarly with the blue. So search for “Posca 5” and save, getting about 50% off. No, I am not on commission,  I am just annoyed at people bumping up the prices on beekeepers for things.

Anyway,  I have a new queen and a super calm hive so I’m happy. More good news is the colony she came from had to be artificial swarmed today so I am going to have a few more of these lovely ladies by harvesting the emergency cells and bringing them on in mini mating hives.