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  1. #1
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    Jan 2005
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    Southern Oregon
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    I have read recently that the mating flight of a queen is usually at least two miles, and that drones will fly the same distance. In the past I had heard that queens fly further than drones to avoid inbreeding. Any one care to comment?
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    tulsa, ok usa
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    Where did you read it?
    Home of the ventilated and sting resistant Ultra Breeze bee suits and jackets
    http://www.honeymoonapiaries.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    oneonta al.
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    848

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    I've also heard that,But don't remember where.
    Be interesting for other's comment's.
    Mark

  4. #4
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    Jan 2005
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    Southern Oregon
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    “ As a general rule, drones tend to fly to DCAs close to their hive while queens go to DCAs two or more miles away” p120 Dewy M Caron, Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping. This statement contrasts one made by Laidlaw & Paige in Queen Rearing and Bee Breeding on page 91, “The queens and drones fly about the same distance, and are attracted to the same mating area.” These two statements seem to contradict each other. A better understanding of this aspect of bee biology would help in the selection of mating yards. I have heard tales of queens getting mated in extreme isolation from drones a great distance away…4 to 8+ miles away. I suppose somebody could determine the flight speed of a queen and drone, measure the flight time, and then calculate flight distance; excluding certain variables such as weather and terrain. This process could be enhanced with genetic analysis to accurately determine where the drones came from. I know of credible reports that drones can fly up to 7 miles. So the big question for me is how close do my mating yards need to be to the drone source colonies?
    JBJ
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Langley, B.C. Canada
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    410

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    >>Dr. Taylor discussed in some detail. For several years in collaboration with others, he used radar and drones traps in an attempt to discover how these “flying gametes” behave in order to find queens. Their activities center around what are called drone congregation areas or DCAs.

    According to Dr. Taylor, drones show strong directional fidelity to DCAs and visit many during their daily flights. Older drones fly longer distances from DCAs, which helps contribute to maximum genetic diversity. DCAs are often found associated with structural landscape features; they do not form in featureless terrain. In the final analysis, drone availability is a function of distance and number, Dr. Taylor said. But although DCAs are important entities in their own right, ironically and surprisingly, few if any actual matings take place in them.

    Terry

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
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    2,157

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    --In the final analysis, drone availability is a function of distance and number, Dr. Taylor said.

    Here’s some interesting reading:

    http://www.biologie.uni-halle.de/zoo.../KNSCH2003.pdf


    “So far it has been assumed that the number of drones
    rather than their individual mating success was most
    significant for colony male success “

    “In our experiment the ‘fit’ colonies seem to have
    produced males which not only out-competed males
    from other colonies in mating, but also were more
    successful in post-mating competition.”

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
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    751

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    A lot depends on what the bees are actually doing when mating! In the UK, we have a distianction between the classic distant assembly mating, which tends to occur during spells of hot settled weather in summer, local assemblies, which are close to apiaries, and can occur during short spells of good weather, and apiary vicinity mating, which is near the hive, and can take place in fairly bad conditions. The reality may, of course, be a continuous spectrum rather than distinct types. Can we be sure that every comment on the distance flown refers to the same behaviour?
    RSBrenchley@aol.com
    Birmingham UK

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Central Square, NY, Oswego County
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    814

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    Most of my books on AI and general queen breeding states 'several miles'. Now If I understand the word several is more that 1 but less than 7. Seven mile to me sound extensive but bees are adaptable creatures. I have looked up in ABC-XYZ in Bee Culture, Laidlaw 'Instrumental Insemination', also Contemporary Queen Rearing, First lessons in Beekeeping, Bees & Beekeeping by Roger Morse, just to name a few from my library. They all give a vague number. Guess we need some research done in this. I do know that drones can and will go into different hives to 'crash' for the night or even live there. This is quite evident when you have a queenless hive and/or a virgin in the hive.
    Sorry I could not give you an exact mileage that they might fly. Some how in 'The Speedy Bee', ABJ, or Gleenings, I remeber something to 5 miles but I can not prove that or disprove.
    Dan

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Richardson, TX, USA
    Posts
    375

    Default Re: Mating flight radius of drones and virgin queens

    JBJ, so how did you end up setting up your drone yards in relation to your mating yards? I've been wondering about this same question for a while but can't seem to find an answer.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Chardon, Ohio
    Posts
    253

    Default Re: Mating flight radius of drones and virgin queens

    I have read an average time on a mating flight is 20 minutes. A queen flies say 12mph. She has to fly to the DCA and back to the hive and she has to spend some time getting mated with ten drones give or take. So, say it takes her 5 minutes to get mated that leaves 7.5 minutes to fly each way to and from the DCA. Her straight line flight distance would be 1.5 miles. Now, does she fly a straight line to the DCA when she does not even know where it is? I doubt it. So a 20 minute round trip probably limits her to flying under a mile. I would bet on even less if that 20 minute time is right.

    I see no evidence at all that my queens have any significant mating with bees from another apiary two miles away over pretty dense woods. But, dense woods keep bees from flying more than about a mile tops and then only when there is an open non wooded path to fly.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2,460

    Default Re: Mating flight radius of drones and virgin queens

    As far as I know there are no other bees either kept or feral within any reasonable range of my bees. Queens and drones come from the same yard. I am at the edge of a glacial feature and extended tree line so it would reputedly be a natural Drone congregation area anyway. There are reports that many queens are mated within a few hundred yards of their apiary.

    I will buy what Richard is promoting in post # 10 I doubt if the queens keep their legs crossed till they get a few miles from home or that they have rear view mirrors!
    Frank

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    51,064

    Default Re: Mating flight radius of drones and virgin queens

    >I have read recently that the mating flight of a queen is usually at least two miles, and that drones will fly the same distance. In the past I had heard that queens fly further than drones to avoid inbreeding. Any one care to comment?

    In the end they do whatever they want. I've always read that drones TEND to fly shorter distances. That does not mean that their total range is that much different than a queen's, just that they tend to be closer. The queens TEND to fly further. That does not mean that a queen might not mate above her own yard, just that the odds are she will fly further than the drones. Both can fly some extreme distances if they need to or may not fly far at all if they don't want to. The problem with nailing all of this down is they do whatever they want and that is no consistent.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Liberty Hill, Texas
    Posts
    320

    Default Re: Mating flight radius of drones and virgin queens

    I asked my queen just now, she said she flew to where the tall green tree was and then about 2 minutes North to hook up with a bunch of Dudes that wasn't my family.

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