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Offline Honeyeater

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Queen age
« on: June 23, 2020, 10:02:44 am »
Hi there. I was wondering whether there is a way to tell, or guess, the age of an unmarked queen.

Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: Queen age
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2020, 12:36:47 pm »
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2 pics of Cordovan queens: one queen is fours years old? The other is 1 year old.  I can?t tell the difference in age.  I can distinguish between the two queens, the one year old has two spots on her throax.

Van
I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: Queen age
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2020, 12:37:22 pm »
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This is Alpha, my four year old queen.
I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Offline Hops Brewster

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Re: Queen age
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2020, 01:38:33 pm »
My mother taught me to never ask a lady her age  :wink:
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Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: Queen age
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2020, 07:43:57 pm »
My mother taught me to never ask a lady her age  :wink:

Or weight,,,
I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Offline Honeyeater

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Re: Queen age
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2020, 08:26:11 pm »
Hey Van and Hops, I'm not asking her the age, I'm asking you. :wink:

Ok, so queens age gracefully it seems and can't tell the age.

So, Alpha the four year old Cordovan still a ripper Van?

Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: Queen age
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2020, 10:39:07 pm »
Honeyeater, Alpha was slow laying her 4th year.  I added capped brood comb due to my fears Alpha would be superseded.  I placed eyes on Alpha in April and it appeared she was laying very well.  In May, I grafted larva and Alpha produced some beautiful Cordovan queens for me.  I grafted again twice in early June, all of the queen were Italian.  I am concerned Alpha has been superseded.  Alpha would be 4.4 years old.  The hive containing Alpha is packed full of bees,20 of 20 frames with tight spaces between combs.  No way to remove a comb without rolling bees.  I know, I realize I am going to have to look for my precious queen, soon.

In a way, I don?t want to know the truth.  Ya see, honeyeater, Alpha and I have been buds for over 4 years.  That is a long time for an insect.  She has produced 100s of Cordovan queens for me which I give away at no charge to folks that drop by.  I have had several beeks travel a hundred miles to get their hands on Alpha Cordovan queens.  I have beeks place request for queens a year in advance.  Several beeks wanted to see for themselves the hand wave test on Alpha gentle hive of honeybees.  Ya know, take your glove off and pass your bare hand over the bees after the lid is removed.  Not a single sting to this day on a hand wave.  Oh, almost forgot, there is no need for smoke on Alpha hive.

So Honeyeater, one day, I will muster up the nerve and go find the presence or absence of my beautiful Alpha queen.  She is or has been a real jewel.

Cheers

I have been around bees a long time, since birth.  I am a hobbyist so my answers often reflect this fact.  I concentrate on genetics, raise my own queens by wet graft, nicot, with natural or II breeding.  I do not sell queens, I will give queens  for free but no shipping.

Offline .30WCF

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Re: Queen age
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2020, 01:17:57 am »
See the crows feet around the four year old?s eyes?

Offline Honeyeater

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Re: Queen age
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2020, 06:00:49 am »
That was very good Van. Thanks!!

Online TheHoneyPump

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Queen age
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2020, 01:48:00 pm »
Hi there. I was wondering whether there is a way to tell, or guess, the age of an unmarked queen.

Not by looking at her, that I am aware of.
Thus is a reason for marking to the year colour code standard.
Mostly, performance degrades with age.  Egg laying slows.  May still be a great pattern.  Just noticeably slower.   The old queen hive is healthy and fine, but nowhere near as big or as fast as the young one next to it.  3 to 4 boxes high vs 6+ boxes next door.   If you do not run big hives, or in a climate that does not promote vigour - you probably would not notice the difference. 
Brood may get spotty with age as she runs out of sperm.  However, this also can happen with a young poorly mated queen.  So, pattern is not a reliable age indicator.
Age can show in wear.  Hair loss, tattered wings, worn foot pads (reduced pheromones).  Again, these can show up in a freshly mated virgin if she started life out surviving a battle royale or if the drones were rough or narrowly escaped a predator.
Want to know how old she is?  Mark her at the outset with the correct colour.   Otherwise, just monitor for performance and not care her age.

Hope that helps. 
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Offline Honeyeater

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Re: Queen age
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2020, 05:09:51 am »
Thanks Honey Pump.
Thus is a reason for marking to the year colour code standard.

I know. I just don't have the confidence yet to catch the queen by the wings and do the business.

Age can show in wear.  Hair loss, tattered wings, worn foot pads (reduced pheromones). 

Was hoping these would be reliable markers, but they're not.


Thanks, I must get around catching a queen as gentle as can be.

Offline Oldbeavo

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Re: Queen age
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2020, 06:16:59 am »
Honeyeater
Try catching some drones as practice.
I don't catch/hold the queen to mark but rather just hold/pin her on the frame so she can't move and mark her.

Online TheHoneyPump

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Queen age
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2020, 09:32:00 pm »
Catching by the wings is likely to injure her as she struggles.   Best way is to pick her up by the thorax.  Thumb one side finger other side, follower her along then pin her down and pinch ever so gently to pick her up. 
Then you can reposition her and your fingers to mark her.
Practice on drones.   Mark 100 drones to refine your skill, then go for the queen. Want to mess with your neighbours?  Mark all of your drones  blue - 2020 color
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Offline Honeyeater

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Re: Queen age
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2020, 06:42:53 am »
I think I have go practice on drones. I saw some videos and i cringed watching the guy grabbing the queen by the wings, they must be very fragile.

 
Want to mess with your neighbours?  Mark all of your drones  blue

Yeah. Good idea messing with my neighbour's head and paint some drones blue.  :cool:

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Queen age
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2020, 10:34:11 am »
I agree with HP grabbing the queen by the wings if off limits in my opinion. It would seem the wings would be to delicate and easier to damage?

I was timid when it came to marking queens. I did not want to damage one.  I first bought one of those Queen catchers. Though they do work, I found it frustrating when I would let a queen get away thinking I had her but not being able to tell as the queen was usually with a group. I searched YouTube, ask questions here, etc. one day I just reached down and grabbed her. I have been doing so ever since. Never a problem. I lay the frame down on the top of the open frames and pick her up and mark her. Lol

Oldbeavos method sound good also though I have not tried it.
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Offline JurassicApiary

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Re: Queen age
« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2020, 12:52:16 pm »
Catching by the wings is likely to injure her as she struggles.   Best way is to pick her up by the thorax.  Thumb one side finger other side, follower her along then pin her down and pinch ever so gently to pick her up. 
Then you can reposition her and your fingers to mark her.
Practice on drones.   Mark 100 drones to refine your skill, then go for the queen. Want to mess with your neighbours?  Mark all of your drones  blue - 2020 color
Hahaha, now that would be funny!

And drive me batty during the next inspection!  ;)


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