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Do Queens keep growing?

1032 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  JConnolly
While checking one of my hives I find the Queen... but she's clearly bigger than when I first loaded the Package. And the thought crosses my mind - "Is this a different Queen?" Part of the question stemmed from the fact that she was missing almost all of the paint dot I had put on her as a new did she outgrow it or just rub it off?

I am curious if anyone knows do the Queens continue to get bigger even though they've already mated? And when does it stop if they do get bigger?
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My take, maybe someone else knows better, but a queen that is caged and not laying will slim down a bunch. Once she is out of the cage and in full production mode, she will regain her full size.

Marking paint wears off and sometimes the bees clean it off. Recently sold a nuc that had a marked queen, well she was still marked the week before I sold it. On inspection the day of the sale, she was completely devoid of paint markings. Pretty certain it was the same queen.
I agree, packaged or banked queens are smaller than laying queens. When you marked her did you give her 20 seconds or so for the paint to dry? Attendants have been known to groom fresh paint off.
It also may be possible, however unlikely, that you started with an unmated queen somehow (poor QAQC), which are significantly smaller.
The queen's thorax and head don't, but her abdomen does change size.
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