Swarm Question

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by brooksbeefarm, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    As we all know, the old queen leaves with the swarm, and many times there are after swarms with virgen queens. My question is, when a virgen queen emerges, she is ignored because she isn't bred and does not have a pheromone to attract the workers, Then why would workers form an after swarm with a virgen queen??? I have caught many swarms that had more than one queen (the old queen and sometimes one or two virgens) i have watched the workers run the virgens out of the swarm hive in preference of the old queen,( with a pheromone) so what makes them after swarm with a virgen without a pheromone. (and don't tell me she's younger and prettier :mrgreen: ) Jack
     
  2. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Jack that is a dandy question that I have no answer for, anybody else know??
     

  3. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    I have seen after swarms and occasionally a primary swarm which usually happens when the old queen has been clipped or is unable to fly issue with a new virgin queen. I am not so sure and dont recall reading or seeing anywhere that a virgin queen does not have queen pheremones. Interesting question
     
  4. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    I have read (don't know where) that queens don't have a pheromone until they are bred? I have seen over the years in nuc's that i have made up from queen cells, that when i checked to see if the queen had emeraged. I found a virgen queen (hard to find and usually runners) on frames with the workers and the workers not paying any attention to her,and treated like another worker and some times chasing her.Which brought to mind my question on why would they swarm with a virgen queen. :confused: Jack
     
  5. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    Maybe the bees like to be prepared in case the original queen dies before they find a new home and get established again?? Those little bugs have surprised me more than once with how well they plan....I guess they could just be trying to make sure that the swarm has a plan b queen on reserve.
     
  6. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    Excellent question, and I won't claim to know the answer.

    In Larry Conner's Bee Sex Essentials, he notes that virgin queens produce very little pheromones (page 70). On pages 126/127, he has an interesting discussion on who is really in charge. He notes that workers control which queens get released from queen cells, and often keep queens imprisoned in queen cells. In the case of after-swarms, he says that the workers may release multiple virgins to fly with the after-swarm, and then "down-select" to a single queen after the swarm reaches a new home. So the virgin queens are not releasing pheromones to attract the swarm go with them, rather it's the workers leading the way, selecting virgins who will travel with the swarm.
     
  7. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    If were not carefull, we could start an argument on wether a bug thinks and reasons, or just acts on instinct. :confused: . Jack
     
  8. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    Queens have multiple phermones, they may not have one while still having another... or they may posess all of them but not in large quantity.
     
  9. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Bens-Bees, is this before they are bred or after. :confused: Jack