I have seen big black drones and then some like this.I notice that not only have your queens become darker so have your worker bees. Changing genetics, a good thing. May be feral drones. Or may be another beek nearby with Carniolan bees, if so you should have noticed very large dark drones.
Yes, she sure does. Cordovan coloration is expressed by an absence of "black" in the exoskeleton. Lighter colored bees, such as Italian will be a golden brown color, aging in a year or two to a darker brown. If you look closely at the queen's thorax in good light, you will be able to discern that it is brown and not black. I have yet to see a queen with Cordovan coloration, to have a thorax that is actually, truly black. So, a careful examination of the thorax is a good indicator, for me, of Cordovan genetics.. . .
Does this look like a Cordovan Italian
It isn't so much, what drones the darker queens have mated with, as which drones their mother mated with, and which drone is their father. In all the cases of darker queens from a Cordovan Italian mother queen, the darker daughter queens will need to be fathered by a non-Cordovan drone. Only when a female (queen or worker), receives a Cordovan gene from both their mother and father, that they too appear Cordovan in color. That's called being homozygous for the Cordovan trait.What would the darker Queens be mated with?