Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Virgin Queen

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I've done a bit of reading about the swarm I captured, and I've come to the conclusion that I don't have a mature, fertile queen. What I've got in an as-yet un-mated Virgin Queen.

In the spring, when bees are preparing to swarm, the colony prepares a number of "swarm cells" into which eggs will be laid, that will develop into young queen bees. Usually what happens is that the existing queen flies off with about half of the colony, and then the first queen to emerge from her cell tears open the other cells, and kills the other queens. Once in a while, a young queen will not murder her unborn sisters. They'll be born, and as soon as they can, they'll fly away, to start their own colony. This is called an afterswarm, as opposed to the prime swarm, which contains the abdicating queen.

I've been referring to our swarm hive as the Gloriana hive, in homage to history's most famous Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I of England.




I was telling Robb about all my reading, and he suggested that the fleeing queen might be more analogous to Mary Queen of Scots. If she hadn't flown, the ruling queen would surely have had her killed.

6 comments:

Gothknits said...

you two are just wonderful!

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

We're such geeks!

Anonymous said...

Geeks are good and I, for one, appreciate all the information, pictures and other stuff you share.
Thanks.
Zoemomma

Anonymous said...

Ummmm, the ruling Queen (Elizabeth I) did ultimately kill Mary Queen of Scots. And Mary was NO virgin having had 3 husbands, given birth to James the VI and I (of England) and miscarrying twins by Bothwell!! I hope your hive is MUCH more fortunate!

Christine said...

Long live the Queen, whichever one she might be!

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Anonymous -- of course the analogy isn't perfect.

Neither Elizabeth nor Mary breathed through their skin, had five eyes, or lived in total darkness with tens of thousands of their daughters and sons.

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