Colony losses due to social parasitism in the form of reproductive workers of the Apis mellifera capensis clones results from the production of queen-like pheromonal signals coupled with ovarian activation in these socially parasitic honey bees. While the behavioral attributes of these social parasites have been described, their genetic attributes require more detailed exploration. Here, we investigate the production of mandibular gland pheromones in queenless workers of two sub-species of African honey bees; A. m. scutellata (low reproductive potential) and A. m. capensis clones (high reproductive potential). We used standard techniques in gas chromatography to assess the amounts of various pheromone components present, and qPCR to assess the expression of cytochrome P450 genes cyp6bd1 and cyp6as8, thought to be involved in the caste-dependent hydroxylation of acylated stearic acid in queens and workers, respectively. We found that, for both subspecies, the quality and quantity of the individual pheromone components vary with age, and that from the onset, A. m. capensis parasites make use of gene pathways typically upregulated in queens in achieving reproductive dominance. Due to the high production of 9-hydroxy-decenoic acid (9-HDA) the precursor to the queen substance 9-oxo-decenoic acid (9-ODA) in newly emerged capensis clones, we argue that clones are primed for parasitism upon emergence and develop into fully fledged parasites depending on the colony's social environment.