What does an unmated queen look like?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by onehorse, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. onehorse

    onehorse New Member

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    First year beekeeper and we did a cutout at the beginning of August and they have been working on getting themselves re-established. I went into the hive tonight to check things out, first time in 2 weeks, and saw something strange. I saw a bee that was built like a drone, but had the coloration of a queen? Is this a un-mated queen? There were a couple of cells that looked like supersede cells, one capped, but I also saw the queen for this hive too, so I am not sure what they are doing?
     
  2. Robo

    Robo New Member

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    Virgin queen look nothing like drone. Drones can come in many sizes and colors in a hive, but their eyes will distinguish them from queens and workers.


    VIRGIN
    [​IMG]

    MATED
    [​IMG]
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    one horse writes:
    I saw a bee that was built like a drone, but had the coloration of a queen?

    the eyes and abdomen of a drone vs a virgin queen would be quite different. a drone developes from and unfertilized egg so he should in regards to color directly reflect the current queen in the hives. he is essentially genetic wise an exact clone of the queen herself.

    a virgin queen looks a bit like a small wasp or yellow jacket. prior to mating and laying her adbomen will look small and invariable they are quite skittish and will move quite fast.
     
  4. onehorse

    onehorse New Member

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    Shoot, shoot, shoot, why do I have a virgin queen? And what should I do about her? She looked a lot like the virgin picture, but I also saw the mated queen that was in the cutout yesterday too? Sorry, lame excuse, but I wasn't wearing the glasses, so couldn't see a lot of the detail, regretting it now, I was just planning to clear out un-used frames! But the thorax coloring was definitely queen and she was built much heavier then the workers! Worse case scenario, she is 7 days old and we have loads of clear weather, so she should still be able to mate yet, right? But, the drone count in these hives have been dropping? And she needs to get out and back before she will fight with the current queen, correct? Sounds like I might need to do some hive manipulations in the morning, as I would like to save the current queen incase the virgin has issues. The current queen was laying 2 weeks ago, but I couldn't see anything yesterday to tell if she still is, but I wasn't too worried about it as the hive was quiet and I was planning to check again this weekend due to the queen cells and the odd bee. Bugger!
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a onehorse snip..
    And she needs to get out and back before she will fight with the current queen, correct?

    tecumseh:
    well actually NO. the fightin' begin soon after the virgins emerge and this dispute is between sister. it is not absolutely uncommon to have two queen in a hive and typically they are mother and daughter. if they were two daughters one would have to go (quite typically in a small swarm).

    another onehorse snip..
    But the thorax coloring was definitely queen

    tecumseh:
    the color indicates nothing... most especially the throax which is usually black. the adbomen color does somewhat indicate origin/linage of the bees. it is the shape of the abdomen that should discriminate drone from worker from unmated queen from mated queen.

    last with an unmated queen in the hive you may desire to limit manipulation somewhat to absolutely. with two queen in the box this indicates that the old queen is failing and excessive manipulation (most especially if there is little uncapped brood in the hive) can results in the workers murdering the young queen. my suggestion... let it rest a spell and peek (quickly) back in in a week to 10 days.
     
  6. onehorse

    onehorse New Member

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    Good, bad, indifferent, I did pull the queen out of that hive (before I read this), but I don't plan to do any more manipulations or checks for a week. Luck would have it that the queen was in the top box when I check, so I pulled the box and closed up shop. What I think happened (tell me if I am wrong, please) is that when we did the cut out, not having any drawn comb, we had to use the comb from the hive, so we have pieces rubber banded into frames in 5 mediums. We have been using queen excluders to try and get the bees to consolidate these resources, but this queen has an incredible knack for winding up on the other side of the excluder then where we want her or expect her (and it wasn't just us first timers that are having this problem with her, the mentor was here the one day when we moved it and she still was on the other side when I checked!). She wound up in the bottom most box when there was fresh eggs in the top most box, 5 mediums away. I don't remember moving any queen cells when we did the cut out, but I count 3 - 4 in the top box of the hive the other day. I'm not sure if this queen is failing. Thank you!
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I suspect one horse that you have learned one lesson which is 'the girls' are not so set on following 'our' rules or ways.

    it also likely show you that queen excluders are not absolutely bullet proof as the starter box I am now 'attempting' to rear a few queen cells out next to my shop quite plainly shows.

    my prior warning in regards to manipulation is 'as general' applicable to small hives (nucs) with no laying queen and an unmated queen with no (or extremely limited) green (meaning unsealed) brood in the box. there is little danger to an old established queen but with an unmated queen you do risk the hazard of stirring up the hive and having the workers murder a brand new queen. anyway when I do realize that I have an unmated queen in a box I try to get done what is essential and then to close 'er up as promptly as possible.

    good luck....