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Author Topic: Mating Flights  (Read 445 times)
Farm 779
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« on: July 19, 2013, 12:32:24 PM »

1. Typically, how many different mating flights will a virgin queen make?

2. If you are the only known apiary within 20 miles, or more, and have ten plus hives with varied drone genetics and population, what would be the chances of a queen being mated from my apiary?
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Farm 779
Lazy Mountain, Alaska
JWChesnut
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« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2013, 01:06:25 PM »

Roberts in 1944 recorded 1 to 4 flights.   Queens must orient to their hive like other bees, and need test flights to learn the landmarks, but have active mating on 1 or more flights.  
Read the article "Causes of Repeated Mating Flights"  available for download at: http://jerzy_woyke.users.sggw.pl/causesmat1964.pdf

Honey Bee mating is *obligate* out-crossing.  Inbred mating with related drones cause shot-brood (50% of the larvae are lethal) and unusual diploid drones (that are also lethal).   There are multiple sex alleles to ensure outcrossing -- a Julian Adams paper measure 19.  The outcrossing alleles are unfamiliar to mammal genetics, but these obligate mechanisms are common in plants, etc.   Read the Julian Adams paper-- http://www.genetics.org/content/86/3/583.full.pdf

A local population of 10 hives with freely mating queens *may* have enough variation to avoid inbreeding issues.  The brood pattern will show you.  If there are shot-holes (failed larvae) then the genetics have gone bad, and you need to import new stock to increase out-breeding.

A paper on observations in Germany reports 1-3 mating flights in their queens  SEE:  http://www.researchgate.net/publication/220022996_Multiple_nuptial_flights_sperm_transfer_and_the_evolution_of_extreme_polyandry_in_honeybee_queens/file/9fcfd50c7a48fbaaaf.pdf    This paper also reports 14% of the queens failed to return after the flight.  This is similar to my (unquantified) experience on loss of queens from walk-away splits.


A more recent paper (not yet available without cost) is:
No Behavioral Control over Mating Frequency in Queen Honey Bees (Apis mellifera L.): Implications for the Evolution of Extreme Polyandry.
David R. Tarpy and Robert E. Page, Jr.
The American Naturalist
Vol. 155, No. 6 (June 2000), pp. 820-827
((contact me if you want to review).
« Last Edit: July 19, 2013, 01:49:31 PM by JWChesnut » Logged
Finski
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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2013, 01:35:01 PM »

.
Queens mate on average with 16 drones. Queen makes mating flights inside 1-3 days. Mostly durin 2 days.

Queen flyes only under 1 km to the nearest drone swarm. Drones may fly long distances.
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sterling
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2013, 07:25:40 PM »

.
Queens mate on average with 16 drones. Queen makes mating flights inside 1-3 days. Mostly durin 2 days.

Queen flyes only under 1 km to the nearest drone swarm. Drones may fly long distances.
How does queen know where drone swarm is?
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don2
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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2013, 07:47:15 PM »

So this one of those mixed messages. I have read recently that drones fly a short distance and queens a longer distance.
I don't think it matters as long as she get's mated. As far as no other Apiaries with in a certain distance and you have more than one colony I would not worry too much about the negative out come. If she lay's a good solid pattern and the bees are good honey makers and relatively gentle that would be enough for me.  Smiley d2 
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GSF
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« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2013, 07:52:27 PM »

I've been reading a book called "First Lessons in Beekeeping" by Keith S. Delaplane out of the University of Ga. He mentions that swarms of drones from different colonies takes daily afternoon flights along the same route. He also suggested that a queen will mate with as many as "up to" twenty drones.

I have found when dealing with something new to you as is beekeeping is to me, it's always good to read the written word then ask someone who's been doing it for years and see what their "experience" is.

When we first started pressure canning, everything we read said "not" to pressure can summer squash(yellow crookneck). So I asked a friend of ours who grew up in hard times. He said they canned it every year in the pressure canner. So we did it too and lived through it.
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L Daxon
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« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2013, 09:33:54 PM »

Sterling,

The drones find the queen by her pheromone.  There is a great video on YouTube of a guy who put some queen pheromone on a cotton ball, placed it under a net attached to a large helium balloon and let it float up a 50 to 100 feet into the air in the middle of a park. It was amazing how fast and how many drones swarmed into that net to get at "the queen."

And as far as how many mating flights a queen takes, weather can have a lot to do with it, but it is usually more than one up to about 5.  Usually the more drones she mates with the better. You don't want a "poorly" (i.e. not much sperm) mated queen.
 
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linda d
JWChesnut
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« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2013, 09:49:16 PM »

Nice paper using radar to map drones in Arizona -- they not only congregate, but use narrow flyways to move from node to node.  Drones also produce a pheromone which the queen may detect, other drones definitely do.  The drones make a characteristic "drone" sound, and the queen is likely to sense this as well.


  Source:   Honey Bee Drone Flyways and Congregation Areas: Radar Observations
Gerald M. Loper, Wayne W. Wolf and Orley R. Taylor, Jr.
Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society
Vol. 65, No. 3 (Jul., 1992), pp. 223-230
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GLOCK
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« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2013, 07:59:57 AM »

I have been making my own queens for 2 years now and I think I'm the only beekeeper in a around a ten mile range and so far everything is working out well . I have re queened  9 out of my 10 hives and 7 are laying all great patterns  and 2 I have to check it's been about a month since I pulled the queens .
I think you'll do well and have a lot of fun .
I have 13 nucs I have made with all the queens I have been making the last two year  it's not hard.
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Farm 779
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« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2013, 11:05:04 PM »

Thanks for the links Finski. Good reading.

I have one very large yellow queen, I'll know pretty soon, if one of my natural raised queens mated with this queen's drones. My bees are mostly black, fuzzy and small.

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Farm 779
Lazy Mountain, Alaska
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