Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

Queen bees have way more sex then we thought



I thought this idea of supersisters promoting their own as queens had been investigated several times and not been found to stand up?

Also isn’t it the virgin queen that swarms and then mates, not the other way around…


Nope. The mated queen usually swarms alone when we are talking about a primary swarm.

However, she may have virgins with her - one of my local commercial beekeepers has video of tens of queens being “balled” by a mega swarm after they had chosen their preferred queen. Unusual, but it happens.

“Cast swarms” may have a mated queen, but usually they are virgins.


This is the para in the article that i am referring to;

“Once mated, the queen will either return to her original hive where she will replace her mother, or take a swarm of worker bees from her original hive to start a new hive.”

The first part of the sentence refers to supercedure but i dont believe the second part is correct.


If you can link it, that would be helpful. A lot of old data is now thought to be incorrect. I am just trying to work out the dating of that article. :blush:

Ah OK, it may be a journalism error. I love journalists, but they are human. I see it on the New Zealand media web site.


Actually the first post contains a link to the actual article (full text).

Ok the swarming error is seems to be a journalism error as it doesn’t appear in the actual scientific article.

The scientific paper is quite dense and difficult to read but what it seems to say is that the queen mates more often that previously suspected but some drone matings produce very low numbers of larvae (so previously they wouldnt be detected by surveys).
However, when it comes to producing emergency queen cells, supersisters select larvae of these drones to make into emergency queens. This doesnt apply to supercedure queen making or to normal swarm queen making, only emergency queen making.
It sounds very interesting but would need to be firmed up by other scientific teams.
One question occurs to me; if these are a very rare line (larvae from these drones) how come they have a supersisterage strong enough to promote them?