Here in my part of the world temperatures have drop to max 57-58 F during the day and 45-47 at night for a week or so. Goldenrod and Joe pye weed are still in bloom. It is a bit colder than what we are use to for this time.
So I went to check my hives this morning and saw several drone pupae att the front of the 4 hives. I know that when season is ending, drones get kicked out of the hives by the bees, but I didn't know that they were taking out drone pupae as well. Is it common or is it a sign that I may have a problem ?
Forecast for the next 5 days: sunny but only 58-60 max. I am beginning to think that I will give my winter feeding earlier ...
Have you checked the mite population? Did the drone larvae have any mites in them?
I've checked te mite population 2 weeks ago and got 3 mites per day (natural fall) for the worst hive. And didn't see any mites on the drone pupae that are in front of the hive.
A fellow beekeeper from my place noted the same thing on his hives: drone pupae on the front...
It sounds like the hives are getting ready for winter. I've seen hives remove drone brood and this should be normal. It could be other things also.
1. low food stores
3. drone laying queen
You have already checked for mites what about the others? Most of my hives have very few drones now. I'm sure they are getting ready for winter.
actually, I am opening the hives and inspect it touroughly today, since it is probably the las warm day of the season. Since the weather has been bad almost all summer, it could be a problem of food store. But the last time I checked it (about 3 weeks ago), they still have 6-7 frames full of honey (for my stronger hive). The two others, wich I also found dead drone pupae in front, are fed with a Miller feeder 24/7 since their installation in mid-july. So it probably is not a food store proble (at least for those two hives).
Could it be caused by the low 40's temperatures that we got at night ? and could it be only the drones that are bred in the burr comb in the very bottom of the hive that died because of the coldness near the entrance ?
Anyway, I will keep you in touch later tonight to tell you wht I found today.
Thanks for your replie
With the cold weather it could be that the bees are clustering at night leaving the drone brood exposed to the low temp. what you see is dead brood that the house bees are removing.
The drone massacre has started here in New Hampshire.
Couple of days ago Frankie got a new bed and it came in a large cardboard box.
We cut the box up and put it in front of some hives for weed control.
we checked the hives today and there were a couple of hundred, fully
developed but quite dead drones on the cardboard. No larva was seen.
Goldenrod, purple loosestrife and asters are blooming still.
Haven't gotten that sour smell yet that usally comes with the fall bloom.
[This message has been edited by The Honey House (edited August 31, 2003).]
Raising drone brood is a function of the right environment which means both ample nectar and also pollen. They will stop laying drone and also kick them out in the summer dearths but this time of year it is more likely a reaction to the upcoming winter.
I had a check yesterday on my hives, and found no dead drone pupae anymore. It was sunny and warmer than the previous week. Everything in the hives look pretty normal, so I guess that the pupae I saw were dead because of the coldness of the nights.
I will take out the honey supers in 15 days, and winter-feed. For one of the hive, I fed it 1:1 syrup for june and july (I had to make it build comb fast !), and extracted the honey super that was on it afterwards. I gave it back to the other hives. So all there is in the new honey super I put on should be real honey. But in the second brood chamber, I noticed yesterday that there was more honey than before. Frames that were partially used for syrup storage are now full and capped. So I suppose there is not only honey in those, but a part of it probably is sugar syrup.
Can one extract those kind of frames (and have a small % of "sugar-syrup honey" in the real honey and consume it ? I don't intend to sell it or give it away, since there will be about only 10-20 pounds. I will not give it back to the bees either, because of our long winters... Goldenrod and aster honey tend to cristallize faster, and it brings dysentery problems to the wintering bees.