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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Wilson, Wyoming
    Posts
    17

    Default odd color of workers?

    When I have time I enjoy just watching the goings-on at the hive and I've noticed that a good number of the workers are quite pale in color. They stand out in flight and even more so on the landing board, and it finally dawned on me that this color was quite out of the norm, in my limited experience.
    So, I got in close for a better look, and these particular bees are 'missing' their dark stripes on the body. On some, the black bands are simply not there or are so pale as to be virtually invisible. Then, on others, these bands appear on one side but fade away, or are barely visible at the tail end of the bee but fade away within two or three 'spacings' of the stripes. Some appear almost 'white', or the lightest of pale gold color. No stripes at all.
    The hive seems strong, doing the usual spring thing and these pale bees act completely normal. In my most recent inspection (the first of the season for me) I even noticed one of them dancing, and getting plenty of attention while she did so.
    It's an odd situation, something I've never noticed before. A mutation? Younger bees, just becoming field bees? Mostly I'm curious, as the hive does seem otherwise very normal and healthy.
    Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Libertytown, MD, USA
    Posts
    134

    Default Re: odd color of workers?

    cordovan?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    watertown,wi.,USA
    Posts
    473

    Default Re: odd color of workers?

    Andrew- Ha, I have the same question. Some of my bees looked like that as well. Mine are Italians? So, I hope we both get an explanation. juzzer

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,855

    Default Re: odd color of workers?

    Cordovan refers to a color mutation that the bees lack most of the black pigmentation. Even their legs are brown and not black.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Wilson, Wyoming
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: odd color of workers?

    Well then, that could be it, "cordovan". Their legs are lighter, too. I did notice that. I'll do some more watching and check legs more closely to note exactly what color I'd call them, but this sounds right. Thanks.
    Any problems or further thoughts on "cordovan" bees? Or, is it simply an oddity that occurs from time to time?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    HARNETT CO. N.C.
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: odd color of workers?

    Are your drones this color also? Most of the bees i have are of the cordovan coloration.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,855

    Default Re: odd color of workers?

    Andrew, it's mainly associated with Italians, but technically any bee can carry the recessive cordovan color trait. People generally think they brood well and are easy to work with.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Wilson, Wyoming
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: odd color of workers?

    I would have to go and watch for a drone in particular, so right now I couldn't say if they're 'cordovan' or not. I can say this hive is extremely docile and easy-going. Though I smoke for inspection, I end up doing it once, on opening, and don't have to bother after that. They are busy doing their thing and hardly notice me. I inspect without gloves and have had no stings this year, or last.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: odd color of workers?

    Taber once sold Cordovan bees but he is gone. I will bet others do. Just an oddity some beeks like I suppose.
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    218

    Default Re: odd color of workers?

    My ligurians have this too, I like to sit and watch and see which mutation is currently dominating, as that indicates which drones sperm is currently being used by the queen... Not that it really tells me anything though, it's just fun.

    And yes this hive is the gentlest, the other one which didn't seem to produce any cordovan type workers was always just a hint hotter.... That hive is in the process of re-queening so I'm keen to see what the result is.... :-)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: odd color of workers?

    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Wilson, Wyoming
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: odd color of workers?

    Ligurians... that's a new one on me! And I will check out that link, julysun. This has been an interesting 'conversation' for me, thanks to everyone who's added comments. Today it's been rainy and stormy so not much opportunity to check out the hive. Tomorrow, perhaps...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    218

    Default Re: odd color of workers?

    Ligurian are the Italian ones we have in Australia, so you have them too from all those packages we send over each year. I'm not too sure about the origin of the name, but I suspect there is a region in Italy with a similar name.....

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