During her one nuptial flight, the queen will mate with a dozen or more partners, leaving a trail of dead drones in her wake. Mating flights in general last from 10 to 30 min (Ruttner, 1954). When the virgin queen arrives to the congregation area, the drones locate her by visual and olfactory cues. All bees ended up back in the hive. It wasn’t until the 1940’s that a scientist who was studying queen bee mating behavior discovered that queen bees take multiple mating flights. This occurs in a series of mating flights which typically occur over a day or two about five or six days after the queen’s emergence as an adult. About 60% of the queens perform two mating flights and 10% fly out more often (Woyke, 1964). Any drones that remain around the hive in the fall will be unceremoniously driven from the colony before cold weather sets in. (2005a). A queen bee’s individual mating flight lasts approximately five to thirty minutes, depending on how quickly she encounters drones, and on the weather. Unlike organisms that mate again and again for the production of each offspring, the queen honey bee mates but once for a lifetime of egg laying. A drone’s mating flight averages 20–25 minutes, before he must return to the colony to refuel with honey. I have been managing this hive to (hopefully) prevent swarming by removing 3 non-adjacent drawn frames with eggs/capped brood … What charicterizes a mating flight as opposed to a swarm is the flight altitude. Until the middle of the 20th Century, scientists believed that queen bees took only one mating flight in their lifetime. This hive's brood occupies 2 deeps and the center frames of the lowest medium, the top mediums are nectar/honey. Queen Bees Really Get Around . A virgin queen bee will never mate inside of her own hive as she needs to take flight to mate. Of course the queen also needs drones, but I have heard from several local beekeepers that they have spotted drones in their hives and since our swarm season is just starting up, I would have thought that this means that there are drones available by now. a swarm usually stays about thirty feet from the ground. By mating during flight, a queen bee is able to increase the odds that she will mate with drones that did not originate from her own colony, and thereby minimize the chances of inbreeding appearing in the next generation. A mating flight takes place about 100 feet above the ground, does not settle, builds in intensity and slowly dissapates. Bees never grouped or departed as in a swarm. October 1, 2014. No queen excluder in use. I had the good fortune last spring to watch a mating flight at a DCA. In experiments of Tarpy and Page (2000), however, only 27% of the queens (8 queens out of 30) had more than one mating flight. Warmer weather usually means that more drones are flying, so the queen may stay out flying longer if the conditions are favorable . Similar results were published by Schlüns et al. Mating of the honey bee. This event lasted ~ 20 minutes. While at the site, the drones fly around passively, waiting for the arrival of a virgin. Any wisdom on minimum temperatures for queen mating flights would be appreciated. Mating takes place about 20 to 50 feet in the air, well above the normal flight path of worker honey bees, which is about eight feet above the ground. Distant Assembly Mating In a very interesting paper on the black bee published in 2005 the authors used DNA microsatellite markers to investigate the distance traveled by drones on mating flights in two adjacent but isolated valleys (Eden and Hope) in the Peak District, Derbyshire, England. Workers are antagonistic toward all foreign queens and will attack and ball any queens they encounter outside of their hive.