Acrylic paint pens for marking the thorax of your queen. Marking a queen with a dot of paint on her thorax is important in several ways. Queen marking makes the queen easier to find in a colony, particularly in a large populous colony, and sometimes when a queen hides. The color code indicates the birth year of the queen (see below). When an unmarked queen appears in the colony, the beekeeper knows queen replacement has occurred, which could be one of the “big four”: swarming, supersedure, sudden death or usurpation of the former queen.
There are five queen bee marking colors that follow the recognized color sequence – as queens do not typically live more than five years, the color code starts over in the sixth year.
A common mnemonic to remember the colors is "Will you raise good bees".
White – years ending in 1 or 6
Yellow – years ending in 2 or 7
Red – years ending in 3 or 8
Green – years ending in 4 or 9
Blue – years ending in 5 or 0