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Author Topic: How do queens find drones on mating flights?  (Read 2098 times)
LEAD PIPE
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« on: August 24, 2005, 01:01:49 AM »

I recently lost a queen and to my surprise the hive made a new one. I found her after I bought and installed one Sad
I only have 2 hives that are registered in my town. How many flights will a queen make to find drones to mate with and how does she find them?

Thanks
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Joseph Clemens
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2005, 01:07:08 AM »

She can go on one or several mating flights and mate with about 20 different drones. She doesn't have to find them, they find her.
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Joseph Clemens
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LEAD PIPE
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2005, 01:13:11 AM »

I thought there was some kind of drone staging area 200' in the air and the queen locates them and mates. Say on her first flight she only finds 2 drones to mate with will she go back out to mate again?
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stilllearning
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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2005, 07:37:11 AM »

if she feels the necessity to mate again she will take more flites,
you may have the only registered hives in your town, but who
knows how many empty buildings or trees have unregistered hives.
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Wayne Cole
Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2005, 10:25:17 AM »

>I only have 2 hives that are registered in my town.

That you know of.  I bet there are many more feral ones around.

>How many flights will a queen make to find drones to mate with

Anywhere from one to several.

> and how does she find them?

I don't think anyone knows for sure, but the drones have "flyways" that tend to follow tree rows or roads to a Drone Congregation Area (DCA).  The queen seems to follow these, but flying lower and flying further.  The drones usually fly about 1/2 mile to a DCA.  The queen usually flies 1 1/2 miles to a DCA.  In this way inbreeding is usually avoided.  My guess is the queen catches a wiff of the pheromones on the flyway and follows them to the DCA.  The drones catch HER pheromones and chase her.  If you take a helium ballon on a string and put a caged queen on it and "troll" for drones you can sometimes find a DCA and you'll see a "comet" of drones following the queen.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
leominsterbeeman
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2005, 12:28:13 PM »

The drones will find her.  That is what their  big eyes are for.

MB wrote:

Quote
If you take a helium ballon on a string and put a caged queen on it and "troll" for drones you can sometimes find a DCA and you'll see a "comet" of drones following the queen.


What a neat idea!
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2005, 01:00:00 PM »

We did this at the Master Beekeeper's workshop in Mead Nebraska in June.

It was very neat.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
bassman1977
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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2005, 01:05:56 PM »

Do DCAs change locations often or do bees tend to get it in a similar area?
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LEAD PIPE
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« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2005, 06:04:54 PM »

What do the bees do while the queen is out? Today at about 430pm I saw a lot of bees swirling around the hive. They would go up into the trees and comeback down. Some landed on some leafs 30' up. It was like they were trying to help her back home.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2005, 06:24:45 PM »

>Do DCAs change locations often or do bees tend to get it in a similar area?

The drones pick them for reasons based on the landscape.  Year after year they will pick the same place as long as the landscape stays similar.  If a tree row gets cut they may change.

>What do the bees do while the queen is out? Today at about 430pm I saw a lot of bees swirling around the hive. They would go up into the trees and comeback down. Some landed on some leafs 30' up. It was like they were trying to help her back home.

I've observed what you observed.  I don't know what their purpose is, but helping her get back would make some sense.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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