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I recently let one of my hives re-queen themselves after they swarmed. The hive was created with a package that came with a Carniolan queen and Italian workers. The Italian workers have been slowly expiring and the dark colored Carniolans have been taking over. The old queen was producing black colored brood as would be expected for a Carniolan queen. Here is the interesting part. I just inspected the hive and located the new queen for the first time. To my surprise she did not look Carniolan. She was as light as my Italian queens with only a touch of pigment on her lower abdomen. Is this normal? What could have caused this? The only possibility I can think of is that the Carniolan queen I bought was half Italian and had been open mated with Carniolans and Italians. So most of her brood would look Carniolan but some could look Italian. That fact that she came with Italian workers could have tricked me so I didn’t notice she was producing some Italian brood. I did see a few Italian colored drones but very very few and I assumed they had drifted from my Italian hives next to this hive as drones have been know to do. Any other insight as to what may have happened here?

By the way when I say Italian and Carniolan I am referring to coloration only and not pure genetics. If they did mix then they are hybrids with only coloration matching a particular breed.
 

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I have Carniolan and light Italian. I notice that there are always a few odball bees -- dark ones in the light hive, light ones in the dark hive. I too had marked it up to drifting, but I suppose that genetics is a prefectly valid explanation. All the queens are open mated.
 
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