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Is my queen a drone layer?


Wondering if it is possible to work out if my hive has a drone laying queen.

This is the split that had emergency queens emerge on the 19th October - (no later), from a split started on the 1st October.

After I saw no evidence of a queen, I gave the hive fresh eggs and brood on three occasions over two weeks. On the last occasion queen cells were started and then abandoned.

I was in the process of doing another complete search of the hive today using an excluder to find the elusive dud queen, when I found a number of single eggs in some cells today the 13th November.

Photo attached - it is the best I could do.

It has been about 25 days from emergence of the queen to the eggs I saw today. There were no young grubs that I could see but I suppose the eggs could be a few days old.

Is it likely she is a drone layer? Has she missed the successful mating window? If you click on the image it should enlarge to show the eggs. Some other photos if you want to see if you can see a queen but I reckon she is down between the frames.


No missed window. I have waited six weeks for queens to lay. If you have eggs you have less than a week to wait :wink:
Mark the frame you found them on and look again.
Drone cells are usually extended out well before the larva grows to any size so to me they look fine.


Nice photos. I agree with @Dee, 25 days is perfectly acceptable. The eggs are nice, single and centrally placed. Several of them look to be at least 2 day eggs, as they are beginning to lean over sideways. I would give her another couple of weeks, letting her ovarioles continue to develop, and hopefully you will see a beautiful brood pattern with a “ripper” of a queen. :wink: You have plenty of bees in that box right now, so I think you can afford to wait.


Thanks @Dee and @Dawn_SD :smiley:


I agree, now she is laying give her a chance.



I am trying to research this issue further just as a matter of interest, and have found an article that makes reference to a unmated queens not starting to lay eggs until they are between 40 and 60 days old (Koeniger 1976 and Mackensen 1947).

Does anyone know if that is days from emergence or days from when she was an egg?



They say when she’s 40 to 60 days old, so must be emergence.


Right - so if you see eggs in the hive prior to the 40 days, you must have a mated queen and therefore not a drone layer.

Seems too easy?


Of course. Nothing is simple or invariable in nature and biology! :smile:


-it is amazing what scientific evidence and literature is at our fingertips with google scholar public search function.


It is also amazing how much science is modified, contradicted or retracted when exposed to the test of time. :blush:

Even Newtonian physics is now considered a vast over-simplification. Electrons, protons and neutrons are no longer the smallest subatomic particles. Cancer still isn’t routinely curable, as several members of our family are discovering. :wink:

Anyhow, we can make small steps in our knowledge, and along the way, we will lose some good old knowledge too. Archimedes probably discovered calculus long before Newton, for example. We will all make mistakes and assumptions, and we will be wrong in what we do. But sometimes we will do what others say is wrong, and we will have a great outcome. Beekeeping is no exception. I think we all need to keep an open mind, or at least have an “openable” mind, so that we can learn from others and enjoy our journey through life.


Agree with all of this of course, When I see more than the usual vagueness ( like the time a queen has to mate or when she will actually lay eggs unmated), I sometimes try and find some evidence and studies where people have done the tricky work and use that as a reference point and balance that against the field evidence such as this forum. I can’t find the Yates study that someone referred to when he found 26 days as the time a queen has after emergence to mate, but it was interesting to find the reference in those old studies about the time it takes for an unmated queen to lay. Of course one can look to see if the old papers are being cited by whom and how, to get an indication as to their persistent relevance.


And nature finds a way.
I have had queens mated well past their official window and we have such bad weather here that our native bee has developed Apiary Vicinity Mating where the chance of mating with her own brothers is much higher. But she does and manages at least to pull her hive through the winter before the bees replace her.


… I just took this photo of the brood from the new emergency queen who is the subject of this post.

Does it look ok?



Beautiful. Nothing more to say. :blush: