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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    546

    Default Can Drones smell or detect Virgin Queens

    According to my calculations and the fact that I had nurse bees cutting open the ends of some of the queen cells yesterday, my queen should have started emerging today.

    My hive has a small 3/16 side vent with screen in it. This is due to the box has slots for a devider and we notched through the handle grooves when I cut the slots. So I screened it over and they can close it or not as they like.

    Well this morning it was in the mid 50s and the bees were very inactive for most the morning. As temps moved into the 70s the drones were out in force and all swarming in the air around the small slot. Some were entering the hive thru the bottom entrance and I didn't see any being driven off by workers, but man, they were is swarm in the air around that vent (one on the down wind side of the hive). None bunched around any opening, just there.

    Maybe love in the air (and maybe I might get a mated queen before winter).

    I am new at this but sure seemed like something in that section of the hive had them attracted. Does anyone know if the virgin queens emit a lure to make drones chase them.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    St Louis Missouri
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Can Drones smell or detect Virgin Queens

    Hello I am new to the site.. like you question, hope to learn more

    Chris

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Heavener Oklahoma
    Posts
    928

    Default Re: Can Drones smell or detect Virgin Queens

    I thing you got it right the drones smell the virgin queens.

    In my mating nucs don't hardly have any drones then when. queen hatches you will find several drones that they had not had.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    5,712

    Default Re: Can Drones smell or detect Virgin Queens

    From the University of Illinois:
    HOW DRONES FIND QUEENS: ODORANT RECEPTOR FOR QUEEN PHEROMONE IDENTIFIED

    The mating ritual of the honey bee is a mysterious affair, occurring at dizzying heights in zones identifiable only to a queen and the horde of drones that court her. Now a research team led by the University of Illinois has identified an odorant receptor that allows male drones to find a queen in flight. The receptor, on the male antennae, can detect an available queen up to 60 meters away.

    http://news.illinois.edu/news/07/0830queenbee.html
    Graham
    --- Victor Hugo - "Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education.”

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    546

    Default Re: Can Drones smell or detect Virgin Queens

    Thanks Radar - Maybe I am in luck, the drones were buzzing like crazy in force again today.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,256

    Default Re: Can Drones smell or detect Virgin Queens

    Sure the drones can smell virgin queens. Have you ever seen the trick of creating a drone comet by hanging a queen scent from a helium balloon? Maybe Orley Taylor has a video online.

    But what about the drone's huge eyes? "All the better to see you my dear"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    305

    Default Re: Can Drones smell or detect Virgin Queens

    Drones’ antennae have 30,000 olfactory plate organs, about 10x the number found in workers.

    These antenna and eye characteristics (up to 8600 facets as opposed to 6900 for workers) are presumably important in
    visual and olfactory orientation for finding and mating with virgin queens.

    From The Biology of the Honey Bee by Mark L. Winston


    Tony P.
    There must be a harder way to do that... let me find it for you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default Re: Can Drones smell or detect Virgin Queens

    Nothing like a good video, Fishing for drones.

    http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=...070EF53C8B1570
    Enjoy,
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,560

    Default Re: Can Drones smell or detect Virgin Queens

    Strong mating nucs seem to attract drones. I take it as a sign there are plenty of drones in the area.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,256

    Default Re: Can Drones smell or detect Virgin Queens

    I see the same thing. Mating nucs with no drone brood but full of drones. Must be the drones follow the virgins back to the mating yard and go into the nucs.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    lee county, fl, usa
    Posts
    815

    Default Re: Can Drones smell or detect Virgin Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by marshmasterpat View Post

    Well this morning it was in the mid 50s and the bees were very inactive for most the morning. As temps moved into the 70s the drones were out in force and all swarming in the air around the small slot. Some were entering the hive thru the bottom entrance and I didn't see any being driven off by workers, but man, they were is swarm in the air around that vent (one on the down wind side of the hive). None bunched around any opening, just there.

    I am new at this but sure seemed like something in that section of the hive had them attracted. Does anyone know if the virgin queens emit a lure to make drones chase them.
    Same exact thing happen at my new queen castle on Monday and I had the same question. So glad you asked!
    "Rule Three of beekeeping...Never cease to feel wonder" Laurie R. King--
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    305

    Default Re: Can Drones smell or detect Virgin Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    I see the same thing. Mating nucs with no drone brood but full of drones. Must be the drones follow the virgins back to the mating yard and go into the nucs.
    I've been wondering if the drones also start visiting a hive before or just after the queen emerges from her cell.

    Tony P.
    There must be a harder way to do that... let me find it for you.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    546

    Default Re: Can Drones smell or detect Virgin Queens

    Toekneepea - I will watch for that this next spring/summer cause I plan to bee raising some queens.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    905

    Default Re: Can Drones smell or detect Virgin Queens

    A great Bee Club project is going out in the Spring and identifying DCA's - Drone Congregating Areas. It takes some driving around, but it helps identify where is good for random open mating and where is good for a controlled mating area with no drones around for 10 miles, if you are going to attempt drone flooding.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    546

    Default Re: Can Drones smell or detect Virgin Queens

    Kilo - how do you locate these areas, with binoculars, putting queen lure out, seems like that would be tough so I am looking for clues.

    Seems like my feral mutts are small cell and dark. Would not mind finding some of those drone areas and seeing if I could place some mating nucs in the back of someone's yard near a drone congregation area. Seems like it would be the easy way to reduce the chance of a virgin either getting eaten or lost. Would also increase the chances of mating quickly and successfully.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Taylor County, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    713

    Default Re: Can Drones smell or detect Virgin Queens

    Quote Originally Posted by BEES4U View Post
    Nothing like a good video, Fishing for drones.

    http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=...070EF53C8B1570
    Enjoy,
    I don't know if I've ever seen anything more amazing. Wow.
    Try it. What could happen?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    905

    Default Re: Can Drones smell or detect Virgin Queens

    A virgin queen in a cage and plenty of helium balloons. A fishing rod helps a lot in releasing and retrieving the balloons. Binoculars are a great idea - I hadn't thought of that. You can usually spot the black comet of drones. The DCA's are often 30 to 100 feet above ground, but sometimes higher.

    A map with a grid marked over it is important. A few teams in cars can cover a county in a month if they hustle. Note the "dry areas" (with no drones around for miles) as well, these are the places to set up a "semi - controlled" open mating yard.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,842

    Default Re: Can Drones smell or detect Virgin Queens

    Anyone have a source for the net they are using? I found the other stuff fairly easily.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: Can Drones smell or detect Virgin Queens

    It is commonly used seine to sample river fish populations, Elver fishing, minnow colllecting, etc. The name of that configuration escapes me, however. Catfish farm suppliers used to have them 40 years ago.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    546

    Default Re: Can Drones smell or detect Virgin Queens

    Looked like a mini hoop net within very light weight hoops.

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