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Gaining a following

The first sign of an entourage even though the queen is probably still a virgin

Although I’m almost certain she hasn’t mated yet, the queen in the observation hive seems to be attracting a following.

The picture (left) shows the first signs of a retinue forming, but it is a bit sporadic and not a permanent feature. Nonetheless, the workers are doing all the right things by touching her with their antennae to pick up some of her pheromones. There is no sign of harassment, although some workers show her no deference!

I suspect she will mate tomorrow when the sun is forecast to be shining all day.

For the moment, she promenades around the hive frequently going through the motions of egg-laying without actually laying anything. And every time she passes an old queen cell, she takes a lot of interest in it — just checking for rivals,  I suppose!

(Please forgive the photos — I am looking for a light tent to minimise the reflections.)

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