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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I did a thorough check of one of my newer hives yesterday (purchased in May) pulling each frame and making notes on what I found. I noticed that on some of the frames the bees were really small, while on other frames the bees seemed much larger. My question is: are the new bees the nurse bees? Are they just smaller than the older forager bees? Also, I noticed the bees were different colors as well, ie., some lighter brown and others with darker stripes or even black bodies. Any insight?
 

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I've also noticed a difference in size and always figured that house bees are quite a bit younger than foragers. Anywhere up to 18 days younger.
Even when they graduate to outside duty Fanning or guarding they are a bit smaller. At that point they are approx. 10 days younger than those that just took their orientation flight. While I have bees taking their first flights just about everyday every three weeks or so there's an explosion and a
few hundred bees will hit the sky just like clockwork. I'm expecting that to slow down a bit.
Right now there's as many bees gathering water as anything else. I can't get near the little fish pond on our back deck though they don't seem to much mind me. The bird baths and water gardens are just humming.
 

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I did a thorough check of one of my newer hives yesterday (purchased in May) pulling each frame and making notes on what I found. I noticed that on some of the frames the bees were really small, while on other frames the bees seemed much larger.
Bigger bees == Drones?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, GB - I was thinking that was the case. And since the larger bees seemed to be more on the other frames (other than the brood frames), I didn't think they were all drones...however, I did spot a drone on one of my other hives that really stood out among the rest. He was a lot larger. At first I thought I had spotted the queen for that hive (affectionately called Gummy Bees) but he was not just longer and thinner...he was just big and fat!:p

But, back to the first hive I was mentioning with the little and big bees...I did have my first ever royal sighting. I have four hives and this was my first peek at a queen. She was from the hive called Sticky Feet (Okay, so I name my hives...so what!) Queen Sticky Feet. What a gal!
 

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Well I could be crazy, ya know? But i spend way too much time watching them from outside and there is definitely a difference. (And I can recognize a drone when I see one.) Beekeeping for Dummies has a wonderful outline of the honeybee lifecycle along with the duties of the bees from birth to death as they mature. May sound romantic but I imagine them flying off into the sunset on day 42.
Either that or the newly hatched kids throw their dead lifeless butts out of the hive on day 43.
 

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Brac is right. The queen will mate with a dozen or more drones and she doesn't care what race they are. In a class I took, I learned that as the queen draws sperm for fertilizing eggs, large areas of a frame may be brood from eggs fertilized by one drone, while another large area of brood may be the result of breeding with another drone. Often, these will be very noticible in color and size. And so it goes with mutts.

I never read anything to confirm this, but in the same discussion, it was brought up that, while the queen is non-discriminatory, the workers are and will intereact differently with their siblings of races other than their own.

Wayne
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wayne, thanks for the info on the queen. While I did know the queen mated with as many drones as she could for her short "time out on the town", your note explains perfectly what I saw on my frames.

And thanks, Brac. You are right. She is a floozy, as most of us are!:p
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Oldtimer - you know, I checked each frame on this hive and saw not one varroa mite. Is that unusual? It is August in North Florida and I thought I would see mites and hive beetles, but saw nary a one! I looked very closely. I was checking the hives alone without any help from my family which means I was able to take my time and not rush through because they thought it was too hot, or it was taking too long, etc. So I stood there and examined the frames, looking for things to cue me in on what was going on. Does this sound implausable? No mites or beetles?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Oldtimer - Actually, I pulled each frame and checked carefully for varroa mites and hive beetles but found none. Is this possibe? I have read that they are probably everywhere. But I saw nary a one.
 

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Brac is right. The queen will mate with a dozen or more drones and she doesn't care what race they are. In a class I took, I learned that as the queen draws sperm for fertilizing eggs, large areas of a frame may be brood from eggs fertilized by one drone, while another large area of brood may be the result of breeding with another drone. Often, these will be very noticible in color and size. And so it goes with mutts.

I never read anything to confirm this, but in the same discussion, it was brought up that, while the queen is non-discriminatory, the workers are and will intereact differently with their siblings of races other than their own.

Wayne
Ok. So what you're telling me is that when you buy a package from a reputable apiary ( in this case R. Weaver ) who quarantees the genetics of the bees and the queen, they're just blowing smoke?:scratch:
 

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... they're just blowing smoke?:scratch:
Not necessarily. I don't know about BWeaver, but I bought instrumentally inseminated carnis from a breeder and the hatching brood is pretty uniform in size and color. Let a daughter queen go on a mating flight though and all bets are off. Purity of the genetics will last one generation in the wild.

Wayne
 

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This is a first year package and queen. In the 3 years I've been here I've only seen 6 or so wild honey bees. Of course there's that package that absconded one of the hives last year. Then again they're the same genetics as these.:lpf:
 
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