Unfortunately I don't believe that any of the nurse bees with the queen are Cordovan. She was introduced to this colony to change that situation.Joseph Clemens
Are those worker/nurse bees in your picture cordovan? I thought they would be ligther as well. I should have looked a little closer at both your pictures..... I do see light workers.
I retrieved a swarm with a Cordovan queen also. She is the first I have ever seen and she was off by herself below the swarm on the other side of the spruce tree the swarm was on. I wasn't even sure she was a bee but grabbed her real quick with the vacuum just in case.The Queen in my picture produces mostly non-cordovan workers, I have some light workers but they are the minority.
... She came with a captured swarm.
Reviving an old thread, but I too suspect that bees can be homozygous for the cordovan trait, and still come in different shades. Color is affected by a multitude of factors, some more than others, and there's no reason to think that a single gene can have total control over the appearance of the bee. For example, even if the cordovan gene had total control over exoskeleton color, I doubt it has control over quantity, length, and color of the pilosity, which directly affects what the bee looks like, even if it doesn't directly affect the color of its exoskeleton.Very nice photograph of a beautiful queen, but, I've got to say, I raise Cordovan Italians and your photo seems to show a queen that is not homozygous for the Cordovan trait. Some of the queens I produce, even though they come from Cordovan mother queens, do not exhibit the Cordovan trait, so not all queens produced by Cordovan mother queens are automatically pure Cordovan.
Unfortunately I too have received several queens from commercial Cordovan producers, that were not pure Cordovan. I have several customers who use my queens, some even prefer those queens that are only half Cordovan (half of their drones are Cordovan and potentially half of their workers/queens will be Cordovan, if their drone father is also Cordovan).
Queens that have both Cordovan genes (those that are homozygous) will have no dark coloration in any of their body parts. They will look like this (notice the thorax and head, they appear light brown, no dark coloration, at all):
The workers with the queen are not all Cordovan, but most (though not all) of the workers in the next photo are homozygous Cordovan Italian.
Curiously, one of those commercial Cordovan producers has argued that they have Cordovan's of several shades, some darker than others. But if that were true, why would I want a Cordovan queen that didn't look any different from a non-Cordovan queen.