Does a mated Queen that swarms need to do orientation flights once in her new hive?

Hey All

I have a few hives & recently one of them swarmed to a nearby branch & I was able to collect them into a hive box which they accepted as their new home.

5 days later I was watching the entrance & I saw the Queen flying around the entrance & close-by & eventually went back into the hive.

My assumption was that this Queen would already be mated as she came from one of my older hive colonies. Mated Queens are thinned down in weight by the colony so they can fly off correct?

So my question is: Does a mated Queen that has swarmed, and then re-homed into a new hive box, need to do any orientation flights? Or because she is already mated, therefore has no need to leave the hive & mate, so therefore she has no need to do orientation flights?

I would just like to be sure this Queen I mention is definitely the mated Queen from the old hive & not a Virgin Queen from somewhere else!



Mated queens are very photophobic (hate light). They do not do orientation flights once fully mated. They don’t even do cleansing flights - the nurse bees keep the queen’s butt clean. :blush:

When they swarm, the queen follows within the cloud of nurse bees. Queens don’t decide where to go next, usually the scout bees do that, and the swarm cluster follows. If the queen tires and lands for a rest, they all wait with her, but that doesn’t mean that she decides where they go, only when they have to rest. The only time the queen decides where to go is when she is looking for a DCA (drone congregation area) for mating. She is the only one who decides that, and she has to orient before departing for the DCA, so that she can find her way home.

I highly recommend Tom Seeley’s book “Honeybee Democracy” if you are interested in this kind of thing. It is very readable and immensely eye-opening. :wink: