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Queen Bee colour coding


Around the world, apiculturists (beekeepers) employ a series of colour codes to identify queen bees and indicate their age. A smudge of harmless quick-drying paint is applied to the thorax of the bee so that it stands out within the hive's population.  It seems the origin of this colour coding derives from the work of the Nobel Prize-winning Austrian zoologist Karl Von Frisch, who researched the language, orientation and direction-finding of bees as well as their senses of hearing, smell and taste. The queen bee colour coding system operates as follows:

  Colour       last digit of year    example  mnemonic
   White               1 or 6         2006
     Will
  Yellow               2 or 7
       2007
     You
    Red
              3 or 8
       2008
     Raise
  Green
              4 or 9
       2009
     Good
   Blue
              5 or 0
       2010
     Bees?

A number of bee-keeping journals change their jacket cover annually to match.