Re: Do queens take cleansing flights this time of year?
- Curiously, queen "poop" is taken care of by nurse/house bees that are
serving as queen attendants. The queen, in this regard, is treated as
--- On Mon, 12/15/08, pgmrdan <pgmrdan@...> wrote:
I think I lost my queen late in the season and this queen replaced
her too late in the season to mate. This colony started acting
really strange in September.
It would help in answering questions if people were to include their general location when asking questions such as above. A lot of answers are dependent upon location. December 15th is a lot different in southern Alabama where I live than in middle Michigan - lower peninsula, and different than southern Arizona. Get my meaning?
Most of the time, in most locations, trying to mate a queen at this time of year is a lost cause. About the only colonies that will have drones are ones that are queenless themselves. At this point in the season, you can only hope for the best in most locations as the bees are in their winter cluster.
But, here in LA (Lower Alabama) last Saturday I noticed my bees flying vigorously with high activity going in and out of the reduced entrances. And.... some of the incoming bees were carrying loads of yellow pollen. Where they were getting the pollen I can only speculate. I have seen some mustard blooming all along this fall and early winter. But, seeing bees busy bringing in pollen gives me great hope that they are busily raising a new generation of brood. That happens here in this location. We normally have flight weather one or two days almost every week, and sometimes most of the week.
I can't answer if the bee in question was a queen going for a mating flight. If it was, I would guess that unless you are in the far south with relatively long periods of flight weather, that the chances of having a successful mating are nil and none. There might be others on the list that will argue the point. I won't. Each situation is different and there are always exceptions to the rule, especially with bees. They don't read the books, you know. LOL Best of luck with the colony in question and hope that it comes through with flying colors. If it does survive the winter, keep a close watch on the brood pattern. BTW You can really tell if there is brood being raised by watching the incoming bees. Lots of pollen being brought in is almost always a sure sign that the hive is thriving and raising brood. You don't have to pry off the cover.
Mike in LA (Lower Alabama) and having a week of very mild day time temperatures, albeit damp and rainy weather.