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Author Topic: Rain and the queen's mating flight  (Read 1508 times)
tillie
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« on: March 31, 2009, 11:45:04 PM »

I've been wondering about the queen on a mating flight....mostly because we've had such rain in the last week.  I put a frame of brood and eggs in a queenless hive on March 8.  If, according to Iddee, they found a 4 day larvae and turned it into a queen cell, then the queen would be out on March 20.  She would take a couple of days and then go on her mating flight - right in the middle of four continuous days of horrible weather in Atlanta......so what's a woman to do?  Will she hang around for a sunny occasion to take flight?  Does she suicidally take off in the pauses between storms?  What happens if she waits?  How does this affect the survival of the hive?

Linda T in Atlanta
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JP
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« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2009, 11:49:09 PM »

Well, she won't be flying in the rain. She'll get out when there's a break in the weather.

A girl has to do, what a girl has to do.

When she comes back in, she'll be a lady. grin


...JP
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indypartridge
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« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2009, 06:32:44 AM »

A spell of bad weather may keep her from making a mating flight. Or it may result in her being poorly mated. Waiting 4 days may not be big deal. Keep counting days and keeping an eye out for signs of a laying queen. I've had hives where my plan for them to requeen themselves resulted in them being queenless. Do you have a queen supplier lined up just in case?

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tillie
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« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2009, 07:18:23 AM »

No, but I do have a good hive ready to combine should that be the need.  I guess the poorly mated thing would be that not too many drones would be foolhardy enough to be caught in a rainstorm??

Linda T in Atlanta
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BjornBee
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« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2009, 07:48:25 AM »

Can someone define "poorly mated"?
How is a queen "poorly mated" and what are the effects or seen consequences?
Thank you.

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annette
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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2009, 12:09:36 PM »

Can someone define "poorly mated"?
How is a queen "poorly mated" and what are the effects or seen consequences?
Thank you.



I thought it was when she did not mate with enough drones or have enough sperm inside her. Lets hear from others as well
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indypartridge
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« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2009, 06:17:32 AM »

Can someone define "poorly mated"?
How is a queen "poorly mated" and what are the effects or seen consequences?
Thank you.

I thought it was when she did not mate with enough drones or have enough sperm inside her. Lets hear from others as well
That's my understanding as well. Most of the research I've read indicates that "promiscuous" queens produce healthier hives. Multiple 'fathers' produce sub-groups within a colony ("patrilines") that not only provide the hive with genetic diversity, but affect division of labor, swarming, selection of queens in supercedure, etc.
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tillie
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« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2009, 08:55:07 AM »

Reminds me of the wonderful EB White poem:
http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2008/02/in-honor-of-valentines-day-eb-whites.html

Linda T in Atlanta
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dpence
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« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2009, 12:16:50 PM »

Can someone define "poorly mated"?
How is a queen "poorly mated" and what are the effects or seen consequences?
Thank you.

I thought it was when she did not mate with enough drones or have enough sperm inside her. Lets hear from others as well
That's my understanding as well. Most of the research I've read indicates that "promiscuous" queens produce healthier hives. Multiple 'fathers' produce sub-groups within a colony ("patrilines") that not only provide the hive with genetic diversity, but affect division of labor, swarming, selection of queens in supercedure, etc.

I agree.  Certainly weather can cause problems with mating of queens. 

David
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annette
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« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2009, 02:55:43 PM »

Reminds me of the wonderful EB White poem:
http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2008/02/in-honor-of-valentines-day-eb-whites.html

Linda T in Atlanta


OH yes Linda I just love that poem. I wish you well with this queen. I will say a little mating prayer for her.

Take care
Annette
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2009, 07:54:47 PM »

>She would take a couple of days and then go on her mating flight

Actually she will take a week or more.

> - right in the middle of four continuous days of horrible weather in Atlanta......so what's a woman to do?

She won't fly if it's raining.

>  Will she hang around for a sunny occasion to take flight?

Yes.

>  Does she suicidally take off in the pauses between storms?

No.

>  What happens if she waits?

If she waits much more than three weeks or more she will end up a drone layer.

>  How does this affect the survival of the hive?

If she ends up a drone layer, I think you know the answer...
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Cindi
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« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2009, 08:27:44 PM »

Had that same issue last year.  A split I made because there were queen cells and they were gonna swarm.  I moved the queen, brood and alot of food to a new location, bad weather, emerging queen inability to get out to mate -- the outcome, laying workers, it devastated one of my strongest colonies.  Remember that picture I posted about the laying workers?  I noticed too late to do anything good with the colony.  It was a sad thing because this colony had been around for many years.  Beautiful day in this great life, health.  Cindi
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tillie
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« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2009, 11:57:42 PM »

The weather is supposed to be much improved by the weekend - we are in what seems like a rainforest after years of drought.  I drove in rain so heavy on the Interstate today that once I couldn't see anything even as the wipers passed over the window - very scary.

So I'm hoping the queen was rational and not too anxious and has made wise decisions about when to fly.  I'm checking on Saturday to see what is the situation in the beehive.  I'll let you all know.

Linda T in Atlanta
« Last Edit: April 06, 2009, 02:10:20 PM by tillie » Logged

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tillie
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« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2009, 02:08:40 PM »

To follow up:  All my worries are almost all gone.  We inspected the hive that I gave the opportunity to make its own queen.  I decided (as per Brian Bray's lesson) to look first in the medium box where the frame was with the queen cell.

Sure enough on the frame next to her birthplace, we saw HER MAJESTY.  I immediately closed up the hive.  She may or may not be laying - I'll find out later, but for now I was thrilled to see her in all of her glory....

If she's laying, (and isn't a drone layer, as Michael warned about) the best of all outcomes has happened.  The supplier made good by providing us with another queenright nuc, now the hive beside the one that was queenless; the bees got the success of creating their own queen and are calm, collected and queenright, and I had the joy of succeeding in my beekeeper role of engineering the whole thing.

WOO HOO as my kids would say.

Linda T in Atlanta
Note:  Blog sideshow of the whole thing:  http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2009/04/blue-heron-actual-inspection-finally.html
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