I just finished raising 4 Cordovan Italian queens from mother queens that appear to be pure mated (their workers and the 4 virgin queens are all Cordovan colored). Two of these virgin queens are in full-size hives and two are in nucs (I introduced them by inserting mature queen cells). I am fairly confident they will only have local drones to mate with so their workers should appear pretty much like my other local bees and only their drones should all show Cordovan coloring.

My local bees have always been fairly nervous types, running on the combs and queens hiding, sometimes somewhat defensive (especially between flows), the new colonies of Cordovan Italians are quite a contrast. I open their hives, no smoke, none fly up to greet me. I lift their combs and they are practically immobile. I can work my way through the hive and the queen is even calmly laying away (simple to locate). What a delight. Next year I will see if they can produce and tolerate the mites like my local bees.

To produce some open mated Cordovan queens is a test I'm doing to see how the "Mutts" can produce and what other traits they will keep from their mothers. At least the queens are still a beautiful golden color. The fact that their workers won't be should make finding the queens, when desired, even easier.