Lousy Queens

George Imirie’s PINK PAGES

In spite of my continuing disapproval of the use of UNKNOWN queens in contrast to purchasing a good queen from a reliable professional queen breeder and marking her(so you can identify her), there are still some beeHAVERS living in the “days of Daddy” who don’t requeen,and probably do not know how. Now the evil mites have again caused a major problem to the life of the bees – lack of drones for breeding of virgin queens. Researchers have PROVEN that the nuptial flights of a virgin queen might take two or even three days and she usually receives and stores the drone semen containing up to about 4 million sperm from 10-15 different drones. Unlike humans, the queen bee has a special sac, the spermatheca, that maintains these millions of live sperm, a few of which are released to fertilize each egg-destined to be a worker bee as the egg is laid. Virgin queens do not mate with her brothers – she must locate drones from other colonies.

Most beeHAVERS do not understand that the queen of prime swarm is probably an old queen who will be superceded in a month or so after swarming. You should understand that rarely is the new queen resulting from supercedure of much value and the colony suffers or dies! Starting a few years ago, but increasing each year since, I hear of more and more queens, even some purchased marked queens, become drone layers! This could only happen as a result of poor mating and hence receiving an inadequate supply of sperm! By the time you detect this, “kiss that whole colony bye-bye, and you have lost another year!”

This LOUSY breeding of queens is primarily due to the lack of drones because of the mite kill of almost all feral bees, as well as the large number of unskilled (non-listening) beeHAVERS who have given up bees in favor of pigeons and fish. Every part of our 48 States has both mites, tracheal and varroa. Mites have changed everything, not only the killing bees, but the lack of pollination of our human food supply which could effect not only what we eat, but the cost of our food, and surely the mites are requiring that anyone interested in keeping bees UPGRADE their knowledge about all facets of fundamental beekeeping.

Now I have given you even more reasons to purchase “pedigree”, marked queens from a proven professional queen breeder, and preferably, requeen EVERY year (particularly Carniolans) and surely never less than every two years.

I titled this article “Lousy Queens”; now, think about this fact. A queen breeder’s income depends on how good his queens are. Hence, he purposely raises thousands of selectively bred drones near his queen nuc yards to almost guarantee a queen being bred by a selected choice of drones. Certain breeders work to build large yards of drones of the race and stock of bees they are selling to almost insure that your queen has been well bred and that her bees will inherit a desirable “pedigree”. Isn’t a $8-$10 investment for a young, marked, pedigreed queen worth the death of a colony, lousy honey production, nasty bees, and predictable style because you selected the race of bee to fit your needs?

George Imirie
Certified EAS Master Beekeeper

Scroll to Top