Can anyone tell me if the colour and markings on my bees mean they are from different drones or is it just natural variation.
Hard to tell, but as a queen can mate with 10-25 different drones, it may just be that they are half-siblings!
Agree with Dawn.
As the queen mates with different drones you will get half sisters.
Sisters from the same drone are closer to each other than they are to the queen.
Sisters from different drones are even more distantly related to each other though, of course, their relationship to their mother is the same.
Also if you have another hive nearby you will get drifting.
Every gamete from the queen is a random set of genes from the pairs that the queen has (she is diploid and the gamete is haploid). So full sisters can have different coloration genes from the same mother. Every gamete from a given drone is identical because the drone is haploid and has no pairs of genes, just a single set. So which is more likely to cause differences in color? The two pairs of the queens genes can cause two colors or the genes from different drones can cause different colors, so both.
@Woodside_Beehive I know my Queen mated with at least 1 native Black bee in Wales where she emerged, about 25% of my Bees are Black. She is an F2 Carniolan (A m Carnica) which are paler than and almost grey brown where Italians (A m Ligustica) bees are more golden.
Native Black Bee here is on the decline
Lots in Cornwall/Scotland and Wales. Do you want some?
They are a tad defensive
@Dee But are they good Layers, Collectors and over winterer’s
I’d like to try Bucky’s and Bringing back the native Black Bees can only be good.
I’ve nor read Br Adams yet - Did he throw Black Bees into the Buckfast mix??
I’ve no idea sorry. He was a long time ago though.
Buckfast is a mix anyway. Some of the genes come from Cyprus Superbee, depends who is breeding them.
Our native bees are hardy, suited to a smaller box and do overwinter well. They will not give you the honey crop of Carnis/Italians or Buckfast
So if I have Bucky’s I will hopefully get a nice mix of Mongrel, Carni, Black and Italian