There are 3500 bees to the pound (10,000 bees per kg. JL).
So there are about 219 bees in an ounce. Pretty small, isn’t she!
A worker bee weighs about 130 milligrams, but can carry a load of nectar back to the hive that weighs an additional 80 milligrams. If you are a woman that weighs about 130 pounds, can you carry home a weight of 80 pounds and fly? Bees are remarkable!
It requires 12 bees their entire life to gather just one teaspoon of honey! Since a bee only lives about 42 days in flying weather, and only goes out searching for nectar about the last 23 days of its life, it take an awful lot of bees for them to make a honey yield for you of 100 pounds of honey!
Now do you understand why success in beekeeping is for you to provide the aids to help the bees build a huge population of foraging bees ready at the start of a nectar flow!
This is what your job is!
Select the queen and provide the late winter stimulus for her to lay the eggs which will produce about 40,000-60,0000 worker bees “chafing at the bit” to gather nectar!
Why mark your queen?
Nobody, can really tell one queen bee from another, unless they are of different races. They all look alike.
Hence, is the queen you saw in your colony on july 4th the queen that you bought for $14 in april? Or is the queen that you see on october 15th the same queen that was in that big swarm that you caught in may?
If you can’t tell, are they new queens? Did they mate with italian drones, carniolan drones, “mongrel” drones, healthy or sick drones, or just one drone or 15?
If your valuable queen has been superseded by another queen, did she come from a three day old larva or an 18 hour old larva, and hence is she any good?
You can’t tell and don’t know what kind of bees an unmarked queen is going to produce in your hive!
During the past 20 years, bee scientists have done a lot of research on the supersedure or death of queens because of the mites and chemicals in use, and the shortage of drones for mating. Even they were surprised to find that in some instances, over half of all new queens are being superseded during their first year in a colony!
Use only marked queens, so you know what is going on in your colony; and mark them with testor’s model paint that lasts a lifetime.