A friend of mine, Jessie, who works the bees at Chinook Honey near Calgary, spotted this unusual queen. Jessie took the pictures on this page. As you can see, the queen has very little colour.
What might cause this apparent lack of pigment? This is not a fuzzy new bee/queen but rather a queen which seems to have been around the block a few times. Yet, I don’t thing she’s hairless in the way a robbing worker or a very old bee might be. Besides, there are some similar drones. Something else is happening here.
A drone, also pictured, would seem to be her brother or son. I think that either is possible, though he’s more likely an offspring. Her male progeny would be a haploid and have genes only from the white queen in the picture.
Has anyone else seen a queen or drone with such lack of colour? Is there a racial subgroup which consistently produces this pale complexion? I have seen perfectly golden ultra-yellow Cordovan queens. Very dark (almost black) Caucasian queens also abound here in western Canada as they tend to winter well. But this is the first whitish queen I’ve seen.
That’s all I know for now. Your thoughts, added below, are welcome.