Queen Bee Identification

Striped Carniolan Queen

Over the past few months we have been sampling and assessing colonies throughout queen breeders operations. We looked at colony size, weight, brood pattern, bee color and queen status. I had a chance to photograph some different Italian queens (Apis mellifera ligustica) and Carniolan queens (Apis mellifera carnica).

Italian Queen

Cordovan Italian Queen

Carniolan Queen

Both species are usually gentle and can be kept in areas with people without problems. There are many differences between the two subspecies of bees; some say the Carniolan queens are better for colder climates. Despite these differences, queen breeders generally breed for some of these characteristics below. I have also included photographs of some of these queens.

Gentleness
Spring Buildup
Pollen Hoarding
Honey Production
Temperament of the queen on the frame
Brood pattern
Colony size out of spring
Resistance to Varroa and tracheal mites
Resistance to disease
Uniformity in worker size

Italian Queen

Cordovan Italian Queen

Striped Carniolan Queen

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About Rob Snyder

I currently work out of the Butte County Cooperative Extension in Oroville, CA as a Crop Protection Agent. I received my B.S. in biology from Delaware Valley College, PA. There I attained a majority of my entomological knowledge from Dr. Chris Tipping and Dr. Robert Berthold. After graduation, I was an apiary inspector for 2 years at the Department of Agriculture in Pennsylvania. In my third year there, I still inspected some colonies but I mainly focused on The Pennsylvania Native Bee Survey (PANBS) where I pinned, labeled, entered data and identified native bees to genus species. Leo Donavall assisted me in learning the basics on positive Identifications of the native bees. Around the same time I began working on coordinating kit construction and distribution for the APHIS National Honey Bee Survey. I was also fortunate to conduct many of these surveys with fellow co-worker Mike Andree and Nathan Rice of USDA/ARS throughout California. All of these experiences have led me to where I am today, working to assist beekeepers in maintaining genetic diverse colonies resistant to parasites while reducing the use of chemical treatments in colonies. The BIP Diagnostic Lab at the University of MD is in an integral part of this process by generating reports in which we can track change and report to beekeepers vital information in a timely manner which may influence their treatment decisions.

8 thoughts on “Queen Bee Identification

  1. I’m currently getting familiar with the bee business as I’m helping this humane bee removal service get some exposure on the internet and ran across your post. I’m wondering what the #22 is on the bee in the middle of the above picture? Is this a tag of some sort or is it just something super imposed onto the picture?

  2. The number on the back is used by some queen breeders as an identification number. The tag is glued to the thorax of the queen. Not all queen breeders use this system, some use color codes to mark queens.

  3. My husband wants to get into beekeeping and I want the the fresh honey and he wants help for our garden pollinating flowers for vegetable. What do you suggest as a way to get started and who is someone reliable and trustworthy to get starters and bees. Do we mix the types of bees or start with one type? When you say diverse what do you mean? I would love to get invloved in a program to learn more and aid in the research of bees – they are very important to cultivation of agriculture…I am an earth Science teacher.

  4. Keep pluggin Aggie!

    I also learned most of my ento knowledge from Doc B and still miss his energetic personality and also his drone eating show. Strange how I could have easily taken your career course since I also worked for the PA Dept of Ag as a Bee Inspector, but veered off and now work for PADEP.

    Keep up the good work!

  5. It has been an interesting path to say the least! I also miss Doc. B, he is a great teacher. Glad to hear of your success of working for PADEP.

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