Apologies if I’ve posted this in the wrong place.
I wondered if it would be okay to use a “queen marker pen” on bumbles? The idea being, if they’re safe for honey bees, they’d be safe for bumbles.
The pens in question are Uni POSCA pens. Enter that into ebay, rather than look specifically for queen markers, it somehow makes them cheaper! :D
I am just curious to identify possible “regulars” in our garden.
Although this is not something I’ve done yet, I’ve marked honey bee queens with quick drying paint many times: and I know that such marking activity is frequently a part of BB practical scientific work. Humbrol paints for painting plastic model ship/aeroplane kits are supposed to be useful here, and applied sparingly with a matchstick.
Holding the bee in a Queen Marking Cage would be a useful help.
I don’t think you would have any problems as long as you don’t press too hard and don’t let the marking fluid get on the wings; and let the paint dry before releasing the bee !
There is quite a bit on marking bumblebees on the Bumblebee pages website, so I suggest you take a look there.
You could also take a look at The natural History of Bumblebees, by Kearns and Thomson - an American book. This has quite a bit on techniques.
At Rothamsted in the past they marked bees with pigment powder, by making them walk under under a small hopper with a fine mesh bottom (against which the bees had to squeeze). The hopper contained either yellow, blue, pink etc pigment powder alternatives - so they got dusted in colour. That way they could see which bees working a crop were from which colony ! (ie. the Red Colony, the Blue colony, the Pink colony etc.)
I hope this helps !
Many thanks Clive. Interesting reading. I just need to pluck up the courage now!! I couldn’t bare it if I hurt, or damaged one.