|Positive Benefit||Neutral Effect||Negative Effect|
|Marked queens are easier to spot. New beeks love trying to find the queen, and it's really easier to find her when she's got a big bright dot on her back. Also, being able to find her easily means there is less chance of accidentally crushing her.||Although seeing the queen is fun, it's not really necessary to find her. As long as you see stick eggs standing straight up in their cells, you know that she was there laying eggs within the last 24 hours.
Also, one of the main ideas behind TBH management is that one should not disturb the brood too often, so TBH beeks really shouldn't be looking for her with every inspection anyway.
|You can track your queens and know how long she's been in the hive.||If you see a queen that isn't marked and don't see the marked queen, you automatically know that she's been superseded or that the colony swarmed.
In any case, whether you have marked or unmarked queens, open queen cells are kind of a dead giveaway that there has been a change in management.
|The dot is tiny, so it makes no difference to the queen.||The dot is tiny to us, but percentage-wise, it covers quite a large part of the queen's body. I could be anthropomorphizing, but I don't think I'd like to be covered with a blob the size of a dinner plate.
Also, I don't know enough about bee biology, but I always wonder if their exoskeletons absorb chemicals the way that our skin does.
|Marking a queen is cheap and easy to do.
(Listing this as neutral rather than positive because it still take some time and money.)
|I'm sure most of the guys who mark bees have the process down pat and never touch the queen's abdomen. However, my experience with bees has been that if something can go wrong, eventually it does. Marking a queen means additional handling, which introduces an unnecessary risk of injury to her delicate body.|
Either way, I don't think it matters whether one uses marked or unmarked queens. I know people with marked queens, and they seem to be fine. Ultimately, this probably just comes down to personal preference.
What about you? Do you mark your queens, or do you prefer unmarked queens? What's your reasoning?