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Swarm.... now is this the Virgin Queen?

Hi Guys,

Long time reader, first time poster! We had a couple swarm catches a couple days ago and now we’re in the process of re-organising our hives.

First swarm Queen was found, nice amber colour.

Second swarm we were unable to find her but they’ve stayed in the hive nonetheless.

Just curious as when moving through photos and documenting the new hives we found a strange coloured somewhat queen shaped bee in the pics, were thinking it’s the queen (virgin) but would love some pro help to confirm?

The one right in the middle…

Ps. Sorry I might not have posted in the right section…

Please & Thank you :pray:

If I’m looking at the bees I think you’re talking about… Just looks like a normal bee to me, not a queen of any description.

Out of interest, do you use plastic foundation?

Yes we do a mix of yellow and black foundation, only on newer hives though (personal preference),

:+1: Cheers. I thought that’s what it was but wasn’t sure as I’ve never seen it in person.

That’s okay, dang I thought I was just lucky enough to have a photo of a virgin queen. She’s a very different colour and her rear seemed more pointed. sigh well hopefully there’s one on the way or I just didn’t see her.

I can see that virgin queen. It’s more obvious when zooming in on her. She’s the only one with outstretched wings facing the left. Outstretched wings because they move around quite vigorously compared to the rest.

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Golly gosh @JeffH I’ve never been more happy! Also the husband can now stop repeating that he was sure he was right lol (because he was)! Thank you so much! It puts my mind at ease knowing they’re on the right track to a buzzing healthy hive!

& Also that taking lots of quick photos of a hive for inspection time can result in seeing something I couldn’t before!

Again you’re a legend @JeffH

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Hi Jessica, thanks for those kind words. Just be aware that virgin queens as well as newly mated queens can be vulnerable to getting “balled” & killed by the colony during inspections. With that in mind, keep inspections to a minimum during that period is my recommendation based on personal experience.
cheers

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well done Jeff! she does seem to have less defined striped than all the others… but I’m not sure I would have picked her for a queen… I try to look for the splayed legs that are so different than regular bee legs.

I agree that she has less defined stripes than the rest. I looked at that closely, wondering if I made the wrong call or not. Then I noticed the outstretched wings which from memory is typical of a virgin queen rapidly moving around compared to the rest of the bees.

My theory is that they move around quickly as a self preservation tactic while a colony is under stress (stress caused by a simple inspection). I think that they can sense the colony is under stress, so therefore they get on the move before the colony balls & kills her.

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Just for those playing along at home… are we talking about this girl circled? If so, I would have never picked it…

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Yes, she is the one. Probably a virgin because her abdomen is not very enlarged yet.

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Yes Fred, she’s the one I’ve identified as the virgin queen.

We should publish a book similar to ‘Where’s Waldo/Wally’, but with the queen bee. It should be mandatory reading (searching) for new bee keepers. I’d introduce it to my kids book collection. :rofl:

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There’s a very good book out there already. QueenSpotting by Hilary Kearney available online and in book shops.image

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I just read it- it’s a great book.

I showed the above image to my beekeeping friend who is a queen catching master- and she says, ‘that’s a worker- I am sure’. :wink: she says if she had to bet money she knows where it would be.

I must say- my first impression was that it was just a worker. Then after Jeff said it’s a queen I thought well maybe it is- I have heard that queens are harder to spot when they are virgins… I tried to look at it’s legs to see if they are splayed like a queen but couldn’t really tell… But then I remembered watching virgin queens hatch- and they do like like queens- distinctly so:

Jeff: if you had to bet money- would you? How confident are you/?

EDIT- I’m not trying to cause angst- just curious :wink:

From my observations, they don’t really start to splay until the abdomen enlarges. Almost like the weight of the abdomen pushes the leg out. Just my humble opinion. :blush:

Hi Jack, I asked my mentor (W) to take a look at the top photo (not the marked photo). She pointed straight to the one that I reckoned was the virgin queen, within only a few seconds. She’s normally pretty good at finding queens.

I’m going by her appearance up close, plus her stance. She looks like many virgin queens I’ve seen readily on the move.

hi Jack Jeff just asked me to put this up. Can you spot the car?
Wilma.
Ps that is a virgin Queen

I’m not a betting man, however I’d bet that Wilma is right… After she spotted the queen, she then asked me to find the little car in this image.
image
cheers

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@JeffH I wish I could give you more “likes” for saying that W is your mentor. Please give her a huge hug from me.

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I wish Dawn lol. Apparently he has hinted in the past about his mentor. So funny, but then I guess we learn from each other. Hey did you find the car, Wilma. Ps hugs to you too. We have been thinking of you