My bees seem to always be darker in the winter, turning more Italian colored in summer. They are all caught swarms or splits therefrom so I guess they're mutts, but their color does change throughout the year.
Here is the darkest queen I have. She was late in season and late emerging compared to her siblings. She was mated, came back and laid a frame in Oct, then shut down when everyone else did.I was curious what you guys thought about dark bees...?
Right there with you Vance, that's the reason I mark them, even virgin queens. If I lose a few to predators because they are marked then so be it, they are very difficult for my old eyes to locate.I like dark bees generally but that coloration often makes queen locating difficult for my deteriorating old eyes!
Never once considered the heat angle.being able to absorb as much heat as possible would be an advantage
I thought that was just me. I had an Italian I couldn't tell from the brown Russians and I thought I had moved the nuc. Turns out she was just darker than I remembered.My bees seem to always be darker in the winter, turning more Italian colored in summer.
I don't what to tell you. I have Russian bees that I work with no smoke.I think it's safe to say that Carniolan/Caucasian/Russian queens are generally dark striped to black. Being able to handle colder weather, being able to absorb as much heat as possible would be an advantage and evolution seems to agree.
Lighter colored bees tend to be from slightly warmer climates with "less harsh" winters. It's interesting to think why evolution pushed them toward being more yellow, of all the colors they could have been.
I have Italian Cardovan queens in my yard that make beautiful yellow bees, almost perfectly blonde. I also have carniolans which are almost entirely black. As all our queens in the states are mutts we can breed for certain cosmetic traits but it seems the traits most often bred for come from all kinds of different lines.
And as far as Russian bees go? They have NO place near me. I made the mistake of trying them once and I could care less what positive traits they had because they chased me and my family around the yard, waited for us to come out of the house to dive bomb us...even the dog couldn't go outside. If I didn't know they were Russian I would have taken them for African. I had to wear 3 pairs of pants and duct tape my waist and sleeves to kill that queen!
According to the bee morphometry sources - there are, indeed, seasonal changes in the bees.My bees seem to always be darker in the winter, turning more Italian colored in summer