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Author Topic: Italian Queen Size  (Read 614 times)

Offline jeremy_c

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Italian Queen Size
« on: May 09, 2009, 07:50:10 PM »
I installed my first two hives about 3 weeks ago and installed two more today. All four hives are Italian. With the first two hives, the queen bee was the only bee in the queen cage and she is very noticably larger than the other bees. With the two I installed today 4-5 bees were in the queen cage (cork and candy were still intact) all all of them were the same size to my untrained eye. I did see one that had a slightly different abdomen. I had to look quite a bit to see if I could find the queen amongst 4-5 bees inside the queen cage!

I am curious, is this normal? I've done 3 inspections (once a week) on my old hives and I have been able to easily identify the queen when looking in the hive. In fact, the first inspection we did my 6 and 9 year old girls found by themselves w/o any issue.

Are my 2 older hives abnormal and they just have large queen's? Or are my two new hives abnormal and have tiny queens? Or did I just fool myself into thinking a queen was there after looking for 2 minutes to try and identifer her?

Thanks for any input,

Jeremy
Bee section of my blog: http://jeremy.lifewithchrist.org/category/bee-keeping.html ... has stories, pictures and videos of a new beekeeper.

Offline TimLa

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Re: Italian Queen Size
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2009, 08:18:33 PM »
In my very limited experience, I've never seen anything other than a queen in the queen cage until I opened it.

Do you see eggs (one per cell)? Larvae? Brood?  That's the best way I've been able to tell that there's a queen....

-T
Some days you just want to line them all up and start asking questions.

Offline jeremy_c

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Re: Italian Queen Size
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2009, 08:23:28 PM »
In my very limited experience, I've never seen anything other than a queen in the queen cage until I opened it.

Do you see eggs (one per cell)? Larvae? Brood?  That's the best way I've been able to tell that there's a queen....

T, I just installed the 3# package today, so the queen is still in her queen cage and no comb built in the new hive yet either. As for my two other hives, they have 4 frames built out, some honey store (capped and uncapped), pollen, plenty of capped brood, uncapped larvae and of course eggs.

Jeremy
Bee section of my blog: http://jeremy.lifewithchrist.org/category/bee-keeping.html ... has stories, pictures and videos of a new beekeeper.

Offline TwT

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Re: Italian Queen Size
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2009, 08:37:05 PM »
depending on the queen producer you are using it could be those queens just aren't large enough for you to tell yet, this is the busy time of year and if you order from a producer that is behind because of weather those queens could still be young and haven't layed much so they will be smaller, sometimes they will ship a queen when they see a few eggs in the nuc. give them some time and see what happens and if nothing happen call your queen producer, oh and one of the best hives I had for a couple years had a small looking queen, you want a large queen but sze doesn't always matter....

when I raise and sale queens they are almost a month old before I ship because I only want to send top quality queens (THATS WHY i CHARGE MORE  ;) ), I cant sale like a major producer does doing this, they are good about sending good queens though, sometimes the queens aren't that good but you have top wait and see about yours, still too early for you to tell yet....
THAT's ME TO THE LEFT JUST 5 YEARS FROM NOW!!!!!!!!

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Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Italian Queen Size
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2009, 03:17:47 AM »
I installed my first two hives about 3 weeks ago and installed two more today. All four hives are Italian. With the first two hives, the queen bee was the only bee in the queen cage and she is very noticably larger than the other bees. With the two I installed today 4-5 bees were in the queen cage (cork and candy were still intact) all all of them were the same size to my untrained eye. I did see one that had a slightly different abdomen. I had to look quite a bit to see if I could find the queen amongst 4-5 bees inside the queen cage!

I am curious, is this normal? I've done 3 inspections (once a week) on my old hives and I have been able to easily identify the queen when looking in the hive. In fact, the first inspection we did my 6 and 9 year old girls found by themselves w/o any issue.

Are my 2 older hives abnormal and they just have large queen's? Or are my two new hives abnormal and have tiny queens? Or did I just fool myself into thinking a queen was there after looking for 2 minutes to try and identifer her?

Thanks for any input,

Jeremy


A queen that hasn't started laying yet looks a lot like a worker bee, the main difference being the queen has a slightly sharper abdomen that is also slightly longer than a worker.  It is hard for the untrained eye to see the difference. 
Once a queen has bee laying for a few weeks her abdomen is much larger that the workers and it is easier to tell the difference. 
The difference is normal and due to the development stages of the respective queens.
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