Queen pheromones interfere with worker reproduction in social insects. However, there is still an unresolved question as to whether this pheromone acts as an “honest” signal for workers, giving a reliable indication of the queen’s reproductive value, or as a suppressive agent, inhibiting worker reproduction independent of the queen’s reproductive capacity. In honeybees (Apis mellifera), the queen’s mandibular gland secretion, a mix of fatty acids and some aromatic compounds, is crucial for regulating the reproductive division of labor in the colony inhibiting ovary development in workers. We quantified the mandibular gland secretions of virgin, drone-laying, and naturally mated queens using gas chromatography to test whether the queens’ mating, ovary activation, or the reproductive value for workers correlated with the composition of the secretion. Although the absolute amounts of the “queen substance” 9-oxo-2(E)-decenoic acid (9-ODA) were similar among the three groups, the proportions of 9-ODA decreased with increasing reproductive quality. Furthermore, the ratios of queen to worker compounds were similar in all three treatment groups, irrespective of the reproductive capacity. A multivariate analysis including all six compounds could not separate drone-laying queens from naturally mated ones, both with active ovaries but only the latter ensuring colony survival. We suggest that the mandibular gland pheromones are unlikely to function as reliable indicators of queen reproductive value and rather operate as an agent to suppress worker reproduction. This does not exclude the possibility that other “honest” pheromone signals exist in the honeybee colony, but these would have to arise from other semiochemicals, which could be produced by both the queen and the brood.