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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Umatilla, Florida
    Posts
    9

    Default Can Queens lay only drone eggs?

    I had a queen that was made late this year and i was worried she wouldn't be mated. she hadn't laid an egg for almost 2 months after she was born. I went out today and noticed all kinds of different stages of larvae and some capped brood. I was told by several beeks that if a queen does not lay after about a month she then lays drone eggs because they are infertile.... The more I thought about it, the more it doesn't make sense..I thought it was the size of the cell that determined what the gender would be, and second, how can something form from an infertile egg. Chickens don't hatch from infertile eggs! Can anyone explain this to me? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    adair county, kentucky, usa
    Posts
    455

    Default Re: Can Queens lay only drone eggs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Deuce View Post
    I had a queen that was made late this year and i was worried she wouldn't be mated. she hadn't laid an egg for almost 2 months after she was born. I went out today and noticed all kinds of different stages of larvae and some capped brood. I was told by several beeks that if a queen does not lay after about a month she then lays drone eggs because they are infertile.... The more I thought about it, the more it doesn't make sense..I thought it was the size of the cell that determined what the gender would be, and second, how can something form from an infertile egg. Chickens don't hatch from infertile eggs! Can anyone explain this to me? Thanks.
    I don't know exactly how to explain it to you, but no drone eggs are fertilized. A queen that has never mated can lay drone eggs. Even worker bees can lay drone eggs under certain conditions. A drone is 100% of the queens genes, while a worker bee is made up of genetics from both the male (drone) and the female (queen) bee. Hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    386

    Default Re: Can Queens lay only drone eggs?

    For bees, an unfertilized egg becomes a drone. A fertilized egg becomes a worker (or a new queen).

    An unmated queen that starts laying, will produce only drones.

    If all of the capped brood in that hive are drones, she is a dud, laying eggs that are not fertilized. If the capped brood is worker brood, then she is mated, and laying fertilized eggs.

    I have had one queen turn into a drone layer over the winter. Her hive was doing just fine in the fall, but when we opened it up in april, a full frame of nothing but drones. That's a queen that ran out of sperm over the winter.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,439

    Default Re: Can Queens lay only drone eggs?

    Deuce,

    Some organisms can live in diploid and haploid state. Diploid is two sets of chromosomes, which is usually the baseline. Some insects and plants etc.... can be haploid though and only contain a single set of chromosomes. For bees, drones are the haploid version, workers and the queen are diploid. Not to say all progeny from unmated eggs are haploid though, on rare occasions it's been observed that unfertilized eggs can be diploid and a new queen raised from it which is parthenocarpy.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Ritchie Co, WV
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Can Queens lay only drone eggs?

    your correct on cell size. under the correct conditions a queen will only place unfertilized eggs in drone size cells.

    but if she is not mated or infertile she doesn't know sperm is not being passed and will lay the unfertilized eggs in worker cells.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    3,969

    Default Re: Can Queens lay only drone eggs?

    Was the capped brood drone or worker brood?
    Dan

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,606

    Default Re: Can Queens lay only drone eggs?

    An unfertilized queen results in what is called a Drone Layer. She is not capable of producing anything but drones. I have not heard of the Diploid egg from an infertile female before. I have seen laying workers attempt to rear a queen from their own eggs though. the result was a drone that simply developed in a queen cell. One of which emerged alive and seemingly perfectly healthy.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,624

    Default Re: Can Queens lay only drone eggs?

    My observation agrees with Huber's. A never mated queen never lays. This is obvious when a queen emerges with crumpled wings and cannot mate. A LATE mated queen becomes a drone layer. An old queen that runs out of sperm becomes a drone layer also.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Mirabel, Québec, Canada
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: Can Queens lay only drone eggs?

    Cell size has an effect on the queen, not the egg itself. It determines if the queen will release sperm from her spermateca or not in order to fertilize the egg she's laying. In large cells, she will not release sperm, so an unfertilized haploid egg will be layed, which will result in a drone. In smaller cells, she will (try to) release sperm from her spermateca, but if she didn't mate, it will be empty and nothing will come out, resulting in an unfertilized haploid drone egg in a worker cell. Alternatively, if there was inbreeding, she could also lay fertilized diploid drone eggs in the worker cells, which workers usually destroy rather quickly.

    To clarify what some others have said, bees are not like chicken, nor humans. Unfertilized eggs can and will result in living organisms (drones).

    While humans have only the X and Y chromosomes to determine sex, bees have a whole lot of loci, estimated at about 14 in the United-States. Only individuals heterozegous (having non-matching pairs) at the sex loci will become female, while those who have no opposition at the sex loci will become males, be it because they only have one (normal haploid drone) or because they have two of the same (diploid drone). This is why normal haploid drones have 100% of their genetic material come from the queen, while only containing 50% of her genetic material.

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