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How will I know if my Queen has mated successfully?
11:17am Wednesday 18th April 2012 in News
Virgin Queens leave the hive and travel to designated drone congregation areas to be mated by several drones. They then return to the hive and will usually begin laying eggs in two to three days.
Knowing whether your Queen has mated successfully or not can be more about luck than actual bee keeping skill in the initial period. After a Queen has successfully mated with a drone, the drone detaches himself, leaving a portion of his penis in the sting chamber of the Queen. This is known as the 'Mating Sign', and if you are lucky you may notice it on a timely inspection of the hive.
The queen may remove the 'mating sign' before or after entering the hive, or her attendants may do it for her. So remember not seeing the 'mating sign' in the queen does not mean she has not been mated!
Inspect the hive closely, making sure that eggs are continually being laid, and that these are in worker cells, as only a functioning queen with remaining sperm stores will be able to lay fertilized eggs (those that will become workers or queens), rather than unfertilized eggs (that will become drones).
So really the most certain way to know your queen has mated successfully, is to wait and watch your colony progress. Queens that have been successfully mated should last for 2-3 years, as they have the ability to store around 6 million sperm.