Any thoughts on colors or patterns to paint on top of my hives?

Q: I am returning to beekeeping at the age of 65 after having been mentored by a General Practitioner, Dr. Andrew Mance, in Oakland Maryland when I was 14 years of age. I continued in my childhood home’s backyard until college and then restarted the hobby in my 30s. The advent of Varroa and hive beetles and a desire to not use chemicals drove me to quit several years later. All that aside, as I retire and begin with new equipment (wish I had not given away my Kelley’s extractor, wax melter and storage tank to the local bee club in Greensboro.)

I have thought about bees’ color recognition. I have thought that with my new relatively small apiary, I would paint a stripe of red yellow orange (cannot do infrared) on the top of my hive top and a similarly painted disc of varying shape on the bottom brood chamber, thinking circular, square, roman numeral I either vertically or horizontally, maybe a roman number II. Any thoughts on this? Of course I will not place my hives immediately adjacent to each other in a row. Thanks. Laurence R.

A: Since bees do use color recognition and / or designs to recognize their home, it’s a great idea to give them unique, identifying markings. That combination of varying colors and symbols will probably prove helpful. Welcome back to beekeeping. Let us know how it goes.

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