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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    248

    Default Too late to mate?

    My first, one and only backyard hive that I started from a package last spring had a varroa and APV problem that I picked up on too late in the fall to treat. The original queen died or was failing and got superceded very late in the year. I did a couple of late inspections to make sure there was only one queen (there was) and in the hope of seeing some eggs but did not. We have had some warm days so I took a look and found more bees than I expected (large grapefruit cluster) and the queen but no eggs or brood. I am assuming she never successfully mated in the fall so will she resume her attemts to find drones and mate now or is that a drive that exists only in the first few weeks of her life? I did not notice any drones in my hive but there are managed hives within queen mating flight range.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    26,174

    Default

    Been keepin' bees for more than 30 years and the APV term must have slipped by me. What is APV? An all purpose vehicle?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    248

    Default

    Sorry. It is actually referred to as ABPV in the Beekeeping Basics handbook from MAAREC (Penn State). It is accute bee paralysis virus. It is one of the maladies that is spread by the varroa mites as they feed on the blood of the bees. My colony had the symptoms described in the book to at "T" including my mistaken belief that there was a persistent robbing effort taking place. This distracted my attention and effort while the varroa and virus problem was getting worse.
    Last edited by Carl F; 03-07-2009 at 09:38 AM. Reason: accuracy

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    196

    Default

    You asked the question
    <I am assuming she never successfully mated in the fall so will she resume her attemts to find drones and mate now or is that a drive that exists only in the first few weeks of her life?>

    There is a time limit for mating to occur naturally, which I have heard quoted as 23 days, so it is reasonable to assume she is not going to mate now. But depending upon your seasons she may not have started to lay yet.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Southern Oregon
    Posts
    1,162

    Default

    This period is often cited in the literature and is very debatable. I have had virgins take there mating flights this late (day 22 and 23) and the mated just fine. If one has had 23 days of mostly nice weather and still no eggs or larvae the virgin is defective and may become a drone layer only. If mating is delayed by 22 days of rain or foul weather then there is a reasonably good chance the queen will still mate; at least that has been my experience.
    Last edited by JBJ; 03-07-2009 at 03:33 PM. Reason: specificity
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Lebanon.PA
    Posts
    136

    Default

    Carl
    I'm not that far from you I live in Lebanon county Pa.

    With a colony like you described you may not see much brood or eggs yet.They just don't have enough bees to keep brood warm and may hold off until the weather gets warmer.At this time no eggs or brood in your colony would not indicate an unmated queen.

    An unmated queen would be a drone layer and will have eggs and brood when warm enough to do so but they would be all drones.

    For comparison I was in a colony on Sunday probably 7+ frames of bees and I saw no brood just one section on a frame with some eggs.

    As other have said, no a fall queen if unmated will not mate in the spring.


    Good luck with the bees!
    Last edited by Dragonfly130; 03-10-2009 at 03:13 PM. Reason: adding to post

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