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Drones leave with virgin queen?


#1

Has anyone seen a virgin queen leave the hive to go on orientation flights or mating flights?

Does anyone know if she is accompanied by any drones from the hive, either on an orientation flight or mating flight? I’m wondering if she leaves with say a dozen or more drones?

Thanks.


#2

Hi Dan, this is only what I was told by one of my mentors nearly 30 years ago. He told me that a virgin queen outruns the drones from her own hive so that she mates with drones from other hives. He thought that was to avoid inbreeding. If this is true & she does outrun those drones, that would indicate that they left after her in chase.

He may not have been familiar with drone congregation areas in those days. Therefore drones from her own hive could be present at those areas, and thus compete equally with other drones for the chance to mate with her.


#3

Thanks Jeff.

My daughter saw a gathering of bees (say 20/30) swirling in the air outside her room for minute or so- she heard them first through a closed window actually - and I suspect it was the virgin queen being escorted from the hive by some noisy drones. It wouldn’t be any of my hives swarming as I have been thorough at trying to prevent it - plus too few bees.

I pre-emptively split a hive on Sunday the 1st October. On Friday the 6th October, I checked the queenless split and found some emergency queen cells, as expected. The smallest cell had been capped, but the other larger ones were still open. I have seen different opinions on whether or not to kill that first closed queen at that stage, but decided to let the bees sort it out. I calculated the queen to first fly today (18th) or tomorrow (19th) - so yesterday (17th) was a little earlier than I expected. Perhaps they rushed making that first one or perhaps it wasn’t her at all.


#4

Hi Dan I think it’s hard to estimate how long before the queen emerges, because we really don’t know the age of the egg or larvae that the bees converted into queen cells unless we propagate them ourselves.


#5

In my observation, sometimes they escort the queen and sometimes they don’t… sometimes there are a lot of drones sometimes it’s more workers.