A learning experience

Mystery insect

Mystery insect

Here’s a weird insect I found dead outside a hive.

Can you identify it before you click on “Read More”?




She’s a queen bee. Note the wings are shorter than the body, which is elongated more than a normal worker’s. The colour is quite different to the drak workers from this hive, too.

The hive had been losing vigour: it never  built beyond the five combs they built within a few days of arriving. And its workers seemed to gather less pollen than my other hives. In retrospect, this should have alerted me and I should have investigated this further, with a full inspection.

This was a swarm I was given a few weeks before which was the 2nd or 3rd swarm to come out of Sarah’s hive – in other words, it’s a virgin queen. Looks like she never mated or was sterile, and the workers got fed up with her.

Line up. I didn't have a dead drone to hand, but this chap was co-operative. Note how he has no sting.

Line up. This is the same queen, in the centre. I didn’t have a dead drone to hand, but this chap was co-operative. Note his round bottom – no sting.




I waited a week to see if this hive regenerated. But they came from a cast, with a virgin queen – they had no eggs at all. Their numbers dwindled and I united them with another colony using the newspaper trick, which went smoothly (no fighting).

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