Is this a Virgin Queen? or Mated Queen?

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Whitby, Porirua
I'm a hobbyist with 10+ years of experience and am having a few issues with one of my hives.

This hive is a merge from a hive that swarmed multiple times, and one of those swarms (that didn't end up having a laying queen). However this merged hive now has only Drone brood (and plenty of it) and I was thinking Laying Workers but as there so few eggs versus so much drone larva/brood it was hard to tell, just a few eggs to try to use as a clue but they were laid on the side of a cell.

However today I spotted this Queen that seems to me to be slightly short/small for laying queen.

Can anyone with Queen Rearing experience tell me if this looks like a mated or virgin queen?

Now that I've found a Queen in the hive (didn't see her on last 2 inspections) I'm thinking of replacing her (versus not if it was a Laying Worker issue).

I'm stumped - Can anybody provide some sage wisdom of identifying this queen?


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Staff member
A laying worker would have the stripes of a worker bee. I would say your queen has been raised from larvae to be a queen. However, she may have been raised from larvae too old to make a premium queen. A virgin queen has a distinctive walk- more like a waddle, and is a bit faster round the frames.
@frazzledfozzle might be able to give a more definitive answer.

Welcome to the forum.
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Reactions: Timw


Founder Member
Semi Commercial
Not possible to tell from the pic if she is mated or not. Queens that did not mate correctly and have now passed the time window can look exactly like that, also some mated queens can look exactly like that.

The issue here is you have merged a number of hives, one of them queenless. It is possible the queenless one had laying workers and one of the others had a newly laying queen, and all this is now combined. But as no dates are given it is impossible to know if your hive still has some laying workers and also a laying queen. Or, if that queen has only just mated and is about to start laying eggs.

We need some more clues which would be photos of the brood, and the date the hive she was produced in swarmed (if known), and the date of the merge. Also is there any worker brood at all.

About all the adult drones, swarmed hives can have a very high ratio of drones to workers.
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tommy dave

BOP Club
mostly wellington, sometimes dunedin
Regardless, you need a decent laying queen in there. Why now put that one in a nuc to figure out what is going on either her? Then, one way to achieve that would be to dump all the bees out in front of the hive, then add a frame of brood all ages until they start raising queen cells. If, in the meantime, the queen in the nuc starts generating drone brood then merge the nuc back in