Honeybee queens are usually marked by the beekeeper, both to make it easier to find them in the hive and to be able to tell how old the queen is. Each year the new queens are marked with a specific color indicating that the queen hatched in the respective year. This color-coding is international practice: Queens hatched in a year ending with:
- 1 or 6 are marked with white. For example bees that hatched in 2011 and 2016 will be marked with white.
- 2 or 7 yellow
- 3 or 8 red
- 4 or 9 green
- 5 or 0 blue
A simple way to remember it is "Will You Rear Good Bees" (White, Yellow, Red, Green, Blue) To mark the queen special pens or paint is used. This can be bought in beekeeping equipment stores.