Russian Queen Bee

Photo by Allan Liu

RussianQbyAllenLieuRussian Queen Bee efficiently manages resources.

An Italian, Carniolan, or other bee colony can be re-queened using Russian Queens. The detailed process is explained in the research paper below.

It takes sometimes up to 10 days to introduce a new Russian queen bee into the colony.

  • The first hive inspection is to see if the  queen is laying. This may take up to two additional weeks after the introduction.
  • It is very difficult to locate the Russian Queen once she is released into the colony even when she is marked and/or clipped.
  • Often times an inspection will depend upon finding eggs rather than the queen.
  • Russian bees produce more supersedure cells than other breeds. This is normal and is not a sign of a weak queen.
  • A virgin queen will emerge from its cell on day 16 like other breeds, however, a newly mated and egg producing Russian queen can take another 20 days to start laying. From egg to egg laying is approximately 36 days.
  • A distinguished characteristic of the Russian Queen is her ability to shut down egg production when resources are low and dramatically increase egg production when resources are plentiful.

David R. Tarpy, Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University and Jeffrey Lee, Commercial Beekeeper, Lee’s Bees, Mebane, NC has a detailed paper written on the differences between Russian and Italian honey bees. Steps to re-queen are on page 3. The paper outlines the steps to re-queening an Italian colony with a Russian queen. (Next Early Season Management)