Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
490 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We’ve made some new queens this year (mostly from swarm cells) and some queens are distinctly smaller than what I’d consider a mature queen. I’ve heard people refer too “runty” queens and I think some of ours would fall into that category.
But when would a queen normally reach her full potential (size-wise)? I’ve seen newly emerged queens that are small and attributed the size to their being new (and often not laying yet). But today we saw a queen that was definitely on the small side but laying what appears to be a good egg/brood pattern. Would a newly laying queen still have some growing ahead of her?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,649 Posts
Just like everything in nature, nothing is uniform size. The smaller Q’s deserves a chance, the bees’ll supersede her of she’s inferior.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
490 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just like everything in nature, nothing is uniform size. The smaller Q’s deserves a chance, the bees’ll supersede her of she’s inferior.
For sure. I'm not judging the book by the cover - I'll let her other traits (laying pattern, etc.) be the true deciders.

But I'm curious around the development cycle of the queen. For example, is the queen about as big as she's going to be once she starts laying? Or does her size fluctuate throughout her life? I've heard she "slims down" when preparing to swarm - is that the primary time a mature queen changes size?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,935 Posts
Within 7 days after the mated virgin begins to lay she will be as large as she will ever become. If she is of a race that reduces egg laying during a dearth, then her abdomen will usually shrink slightly until nectar is again being gathered and the nurse bees return to feeding her at the normal rate. When preparing to swarm the bees reduce the queens food supply and her abdomen shrinks to the point that she can fly well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
490 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Within 7 days after the mated virgin begins to lay she will be as large as she will ever become. If she is of a race that reduces egg laying during a dearth, then her abdomen will usually shrink slightly until nectar is again being gathered and the nurse bees return to feeding her at the normal rate. When preparing to swarm the bees reduce the queens food supply and her abdomen shrinks to the point that she can fly well.
Thanks AR Beekeeper. That's exactly what I was looking for - I'll store that away for reference.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
892 Posts
Within 7 days after the mated virgin begins to lay she will be as large as she will ever become. If she is of a race that reduces egg laying during a dearth, then her abdomen will usually shrink slightly until nectar is again being gathered and the nurse bees return to feeding her at the normal rate. When preparing to swarm the bees reduce the queens food supply and her abdomen shrinks to the point that she can fly well.
I agree with the above, good info
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,773 Posts
Arky's post is right on, and you might want to add a pollen substitute patty as well. I use Megabee, available from Dadant & Sons. It is the original and still the best. It is not yet perfect, but it sure helps a lot. Colony strength stays strong enough through the Winter that they almost always survive. I've had some incredibly small swarms survive Winter with Megabee, and develop into powerful colonies. The pollen sub' signals the queen to keep on laying, and she usually appears largest when she's well-fed and laying.

You can learn to watch the pollen band around the brood nest on a frame - it can tell you a lot about the conditions inside the hive. Some pollen missing right nest to the brood is normal - they are feeding the larvae (and even the older eggs). Very little pollen and few eggs indicate a pollen dearth - brood is cut back until more is coming in. First victims are the drones, who are a luxury at any time. Pollen close to the brood and missing along the outer part of the pollen band is a sign that pollen is now being stored after a dearth. Egg laying should resume some time soon. There are plenty of other signals going on in the pollen band. Learn to take photos when something other than normal is happening. You'll see lots of indicators in the pollen band.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top