Here is an unusual sight, one I’ve never seen before. This virgin queen, with severely deformed wings, was spotted by beekeeper James Burge in Santa Barbara, California.
James explained that he was doing a trap-out for a friend. He used brood, eggs, and worker bees from another hive in the trap box so the bees could begin raising a new queen while the trap-out was in progress. He said everything went according to plan except the workers raised a queen with deformed wing virus.
As you can see in the photos, her wings were totally useless. Needless to say, she could never fly or mate or be queenly in this condition. When James went to requeen the colony the next day, he couldn’t find her again. He wrote:
“I am not sure as to her demise but am pretty confident she was no longer in the hive. My best guess is she either died attempting her mating flight, workers pushed her out, or died because she was weak and had the virus. I am bummed I couldn’t find her because it would be interesting to have her for closer observation.
“When I added the new queen the workers seemed very receptive and happy to have her, but I guess you never know until you see eggs. I will check Monday and make sure they are all getting along.”
James also noted that he has not seen any deformed wings on the workers, but he plans to do a mite count as soon as the colony is strong enough.
Thanks for sharing your photos, James. This is a great catch and I’m so glad you shared it with us.