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Antipodes 

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Can anyone please share information about the size changes to a queen bee during her life?

It seems to me that a newly emerged and unmated queen is not too much bigger than a worker (the initial size depends somewhat on how well the larva was fed), once mated however, she is somewhat larger in the abdomen, but how much...compared to her initial size? Then can anyone explain her size increase over time as she ages and becomes fully operational in a strong colony? To prepare for swarming she is slimmed down...but by how much etc.? What is it inside the queen that is changing size?
Thanks
 
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I don’t think a queen is slimmed down for mating. She is a virgin, and still naturally small and agile. She is, however, slimmed down for swarming - partly because she slowed down laying, and her abdomen will shrink as a consequence, and partly because the workers actively try to slim her down be feeding her less, and by chasing her around to get her fit for the swarming flights.
 

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I don’t think a queen is slimmed down for mating. She is a virgin, and still naturally small and agile. She is, however, slimmed down for swarming - partly because she slowed down laying, and her abdomen will shrink as a consequence, and partly because the workers actively try to slim her down be feeding her less, and by chasing her around to get her fit for the swarming flights.

Whoops, typed mating instead of swarming...I'll fix it. Thanks!
 

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Mellifera...thanks too for information about the chasing. So do you know if all the organs and other things in her abdomen shrink, or are there fat cells there too that are reduced with the exercise?
 

Erichalfbee 

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Mellifera...thanks too for information about the chasing.
The workers are quite relentless. They stand on her and shake her too. It’s a bit similar to the “wake up there’s work to do” that workers do to each other. You can see a lot of that on the frames when there’s a flow on especially
 
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Mellifera...thanks too for information about the chasing. So do you know if all the organs and other things in her abdomen shrink, or are there fat cells there too that are reduced with the exercise?
My understanding is that the queen's ovaries shrink when she is not laying, or producing eggs - therefore her shrinked size before swarming. I don't think the slimming is due to reduced fat cells sizes or rather, fat bodies. Fat bodies have a different function in insects to what human fat cells have for us - but I'm not a biologist! I rely on Celia Davis's book, 'The Honey Bee Inside Out', for my information.
 

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Yeah...that's the bit. I'm assuming that is correct? Perhaps her size depends on how many she has "collected". He went on to say that the queen approximately doubles in size after mating. I'm not sure if that size increase is immediate or if it takes some further time in the hive. He has a some good stories later too....

I took this photo of a queen in one of my hives yesterday and then realised that I couldn't tell if she had mated or not...from her size. What do people think please?IMG_20201007_112744617_HDR.jpg
 

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My understanding is that the queen's ovaries shrink when she is not laying, or producing eggs - therefore her shrinked size before swarming. I don't think the slimming is due to reduced fat cells sizes or rather, fat bodies. Fat bodies have a different function in insects to what human fat cells have for us - but I'm not a biologist! I rely on Celia Davis's book, 'The Honey Bee Inside Out', for my information.
Fab...thanks.
 

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Can anyone please share information about the size changes to a queen bee during her life?

It seems to me that a newly emerged and unmated queen is not too much bigger than a worker (the initial size depends somewhat on how well the larva was fed), once mated however, she is somewhat larger in the abdomen, but how much...compared to her initial size? Then can anyone explain her size increase over time as she ages and becomes fully operational in a strong colony? To prepare for swarming she is slimmed down...but by how much etc.? What is it inside the queen that is changing size?
Thanks
The size of the queen, is a fascinating subject matter and one that sometimes makes you think there is another queen in the hive if it wasn't for the fact that she is marked. I had one in a nuc that I thought was on her way out and then they started feeding her. She became quite beautiful and plumb again - she was 2yrs. I am of the opinion that size matters and a virgin should not be the size of a worker ever. As a virgin she should be long and slender and have that side to side gait. The number of ovarioles a queen has is determined by nutrition at the larval stage and temperature of the brood nest during that time. If this is not correct you will end up with an intercast queen which will be rejected by the bees. The ones I have seen has a drone like shape to them. During the first three days after emergence, the queen lives of the proteins released from the fat bodies into the hemolymph. She also feeds herself with some nectar as the workers do not know she is there, as she is as yet not producing any pheromones and is thus largely ignored. After this time she is being fed Royal Jelly by the workers and is ready to go on mating flight from day 5-6. As mine mated I noticed she got fatter after mating flights over the two days. I do believe it is thought that the act of mating activate the ovarioles of the queen (150-200 per ovary) and this will increase her plumpness as well as the swelling spermatheca. A slimmed down queen ready for swarming looks like a virgin and if you AS one of those keep the QX on until she plumps up again. The queen's ovarioles degenerate as the queen ages which will make her less plump and well as her general condition.
 

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The size of the queen, is a fascinating subject matter and one that sometimes makes you think there is another queen in the hive if it wasn't for the fact that she is marked. I had one in a nuc that I thought was on her way out and then they started feeding her. She became quite beautiful and plumb again - she was 2yrs. I am of the opinion that size matters and a virgin should not be the size of a worker ever. As a virgin she should be long and slender and have that side to side gait. The number of ovarioles a queen has is determined by nutrition at the larval stage and temperature of the brood nest during that time. If this is not correct you will end up with an intercast queen which will be rejected by the bees. The ones I have seen has a drone like shape to them. During the first three days after emergence, the queen lives of the proteins released from the fat bodies into the hemolymph. She also feeds herself with some nectar as the workers do not know she is there, as she is as yet not producing any pheromones and is thus largely ignored. After this time she is being fed Royal Jelly by the workers and is ready to go on mating flight from day 5-6. As mine mated I noticed she got fatter after mating flights over the two days. I do believe it is thought that the act of mating activate the ovarioles of the queen (150-200 per ovary) and this will increase her plumpness as well as the swelling spermatheca. A slimmed down queen ready for swarming looks like a virgin and if you AS one of those keep the QX on until she plumps up again. The queen's ovarioles degenerate as the queen ages which will make her less plump and well as her general condition.
Excellent Beeno. Thanks.

Do you think the queen in my photo is mated?
 
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The size of the queen, is a fascinating subject matter and one that sometimes makes you think there is another queen in the hive if it wasn't for the fact that she is marked. I had one in a nuc that I thought was on her way out and then they started feeding her. She became quite beautiful and plumb again - she was 2yrs. I am of the opinion that size matters and a virgin should not be the size of a worker ever. As a virgin she should be long and slender and have that side to side gait. The number of ovarioles a queen has is determined by nutrition at the larval stage and temperature of the brood nest during that time. If this is not correct you will end up with an intercast queen which will be rejected by the bees. The ones I have seen has a drone like shape to them. During the first three days after emergence, the queen lives of the proteins released from the fat bodies into the hemolymph. She also feeds herself with some nectar as the workers do not know she is there, as she is as yet not producing any pheromones and is thus largely ignored. After this time she is being fed Royal Jelly by the workers and is ready to go on mating flight from day 5-6. As mine mated I noticed she got fatter after mating flights over the two days. I do believe it is thought that the act of mating activate the ovarioles of the queen (150-200 per ovary) and this will increase her plumpness as well as the swelling spermatheca. A slimmed down queen ready for swarming looks like a virgin and if you AS one of those keep the QX on until she plumps up again. The queen's ovarioles degenerate as the queen ages which will make her less plump and well as her general condition.
I need to learn more about bee anatomy. Is there a book you could recommend?
Thanks,
Emily
 

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What a sweet thought of queens mating under the moon and stars.............or am I wrong in thinking that she's tucked up in bed at that time of night....;)
 

drex 

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Having dissected both virgins and mated queens, all I can say is that a mated queens abdomen is virtually filled by ovaries, unlike a virgins
 
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... Perhaps her size depends on how many she has "collected". ...
... I couldn't tell if she had mated or not...from her size. What do people think please?
The sperm she collected during her mating flight would probably have an immediate impact on the size of her abdomen after the mating flight (but I'm guessing) - but not later in her life. Then, I think, her slimmed-down, or fattened appearance depends on her ovaries - and that depends on whether she's laying and being fed.

I can't tell whether your queen is mated or not!
 

Little_bees 

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Yeah...that's the bit. I'm assuming that is correct? Perhaps her size depends on how many she has "collected".
You say the guy in your clip talks about the queen 'collecting penises'?
He's probably talking about the mating sign?
The drone's endophallus is everted, leaving the mating sign in the queen.

There's an interesting NHS video on Queen mating on YouTube (mentioned the other day in another post).
Specific clip at 50:12 mins in, but the whole video is well worth a watch when you get some time.

 

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