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I got this story from my buddy. A long time beekeeper called him today and told him that he had just heard/read some research that said that virgin queens go on 5-8 mating flights before they start laying and then they continue to leave the hive and go on mating flights up to once per month during their first year. I have never read anything like that. Anyone?
 

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Brad Bee - I don't think the second part is correct at all. Yes a good queen may go out several times to mate with many drones which makes her a better queen in the end. However that's where her flights end in most cases as her abdomen grows larger and she cannot fly like that any longer. Even when an existing queen swarms she must quit laying for up to two weeks in order to slim down to flying weight. I don't believe the research is right at all there.
 

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I'm sure queens make flights for several days for mating. I'm also sure the queens at least sometimes, do leave the hive after egg laying, as I've seen it in my own yard. Queen mates, is laying, I move the hive and put different in it's place, then I find the queen from hive I moved back into the mating nuc/hive I'd put in it's place. Only way that happens is the queen left after laying and flew back to her place or orientation. I doubt it goes on for a year, but I've learned not to move a fresh laying queen hive, for at least a month after she's been laying.
 

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>that said that virgin queens go on 5-8 mating flights before they start laying

Yes.

>and then they continue to leave the hive and go on mating flights up to once per month during their first year.

Never heard that and seriously doubt it. Once they start laying they are too fat to fly more than a few feet. They would never make it to a DCA.
 

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This is not true at all on the second part of the story. If it is true then I won't have to cage this nice big fat
drone laying queen from last Fall. I supposed that she ran out of King juice in the middle of this early Spring.
So if she continue to lay good worker bees like the story said then I am a happy beekeeper now.
But a virgin will continue to mate within her mating window of 2 weeks time until she started laying. Her
abdomen will be 3x bigger and heavier after her last mating flight that forced her to stay inside the hive. A
heavy queen cannot fly too far to 3-5 miles to mate again.

Just take a look at this drone laying queen I have now:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
All I knew was that I had never read anything that would suggest that a queen would or could fly from the hive after mating, not counting swarming. I read a whole lot about beekeeping but I sure haven't read it all.

So now with the replies to this thread, I do have a question that I need to know the answer to. Does a newly mated queen start laying eggs once she has mated once, but before her mating flights are finished, or does she do all her mating then start laying eggs? I guess that's the correct way to ask that. The answer to that question will help me determine when I can safely move my mating nucs....
 

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I don't know exactly the answer to your question. After she hatched she will need 7 days to harden. After that
another 7 days for her mating flight depending on the weather. And how lucky the virgin is to find a DCA with many drones waiting.
But I would wait until she finish the last mating flight judging by how big her body size is compared to before when she was still a virgin.
Two days after her final mating flight she will start to lay. See pic below! Look at the white spot on her end. I am able to track this one from hatching to final mating and laying. After the initial 7 days, this queen took another 3 days to finish her mating flight. I was able to caught her on her final flight to took some pics and a vid of her flying off the frame I was holding. And 2 days after that she started laying for a total of 5 days.
I would guess that she is preparing to harvest new sperm while the old ones are being mature and stored. There are limits on how much she can store in there. The beekeepers doing II or AI know about this amount to use.
So if you waited until you see some eggs in the cells then it is safe to move your nucs. I don't see any new eggs before her completed mating flight or prior after her first flight whenever that may be. I am still waiting for
this part on the first queen that emerged 6 days ago from the second queen batch. Everyday I would check on the nuc for signs of a completed mating flight. Nothing beats hands on experience I guess. Because everything is from my experience I do not have
any scientific paper to prove what I said. Going by the queen rearing calendar is very close for her mating flight pattern.
The timing is pretty close on a normal mating flight within the 7 to 14 days mating window. Some beekeepers had experienced different timing for their queens though.
 

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Sorry for that. I got too excited to share that I forgot to change my SD card and left her pic out.
You really cannot see this drone laying queen that I caged her already. I checked on her
everyday to make sure she is not dead yet. The worker bees still feeding her.
I sometime wonder if it is possible to do an artificial insemination on her again?
Hate to see a good queen go. But she does keep the hive calm for now while a new qc is in development that
should hatch either at the end of this week or early next week.
The 2 new queens got mated today that I checked on them. This is their first round of a successful mating flight. They got
hatched on 4/30 exactly 7 days ago. They took their first mating flight yesterday that the butt thingy still attached but
all dried up now. Probably in a day or 2 that they will do their second round. It is fun to be able to track them this closely with or without pay.

Here is the caged DL queen:
 

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Humm, if I have the right equipment and the training I would try.
Have none of the above for now. But you tube has vids for the II part.
I wonder has anyone perform such an experiment before? Maybe the
queen is too full for this already.
 
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