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.

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

16 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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