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coloured frame ends

How can beekeepers tell how old the queen bee in a hive is or the age of the frames in it ?

Or wondered what the coloured dot on the queen is for ?

Apiarists (beekeepers) use a five year system of colours, each year having a different colour to tell how long a frame has been in the hive, and which year the queen was hatched.

For years ending in 0 or 5 the colour is BLUE
For years ending in 1 or 6 the colour is  WHITE
For years ending in 2 or 7 the colour is YELLOW
For years ending in 3 or 8 the colour is RED
For years ending in 4 or 9 the colour is GREEN

This colour is added to the back of the queen bee so that she can be easily identified in the hive and the Apiarist can tell how old she is. We also use the same colours for the plastic ends on the frame with their purpose being to tell us how old the frame is and also to space them at the correct distance apart in the supers.

A queen marked red: year 3 or 8

A queen bee marked white: year 1 or 6

queen marking kit  queen marking paint
We can use coloured dots glued to the thorax of the bee or a small dab of coloured paint

We try to replace all our brood frames at least every couple of years to prevent pests in the hive so use the coloured frame ends to help us.  



red frame end
A red frame end in place on the frame.


brood box
Here we have a brood box with white ends. In this case from 2001. Note that the frame ends form spaces on bees width apart. Known as the bee space.