Virgin Queen

The season is a little delayed in the UK this year but the bees are now swarming at last. Whether by accident or design, beekeepers will be finding new virgin queens in some of their hives. Before mating the queen is a little shorter than she will be after successful mating. She’s also more likely to be running around the frames and other woodwork, and not sitting quietly on the frames containing brood – so check that queen excluder thoroughly before putting it to one side! It’s not advisable to mark a virgin queen – let her mate and start laying first.

Listen out for the piping of virgin queens trying to find each other. Some may even pipe from inside their cells before emerging.

Here’s a video clip of a newly hatched virgin queen making her characteristic piping noise.


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