I have been looking for drones before making split and the hive is four deeps high in preparition (mostly foundation on top) but the only drones I have seen were drug out dead and dieing two days ago. I examined one for varoa, with magnifier, and saw nothing. I understand it is not so much my drones that are important to fertilize my new queen but I am wondering what is going on. This hive is looking very good and very strong.
Strictly guessing here, but is it possible that the last time you were in the hives, some of the drone brood ended up outside the brood nest? Then they would die, and they would throw them out. Does the hive have drone brood capped and ready to hatch?
Your weather in Conn. couldn't be any better than in Pa. Last couple weeks were wet and below normal temps. I just got back from looking at a weak hive that over wintered but I put a new queen in one week ago. Now the hive has starved to death in the past week. Looks like they started some nice brood but this probably excellerated the honey consumption. I did not feed and now kick myself.
Based on what I found, perhaps honey flow is weak or non-existant. They might just feel the need to cull the drones. For what ever reason, the bees usually know best. I would not worry about it. Be happy, this limited drone production is why you probably have a low mite population.
As far as the split, I would think there would be drones by this time of year. It's really not your drones you're concerned about. Your hope should be that they will find drones somewhere else or they will be inbred.
Well I found 2 drones crawling in the grass in front of the hive today and one had a lot of pep left but the rear legs seem to be paralyzed and of course they are not flying. I am wondering if they are just crawling out of the hive before they are ready or maybe they have been stung. Anyway I am watching the weather very closley and I'm going to go ahead with the split. Maybe it is a good thing if my drones aren't flying as long as the rest of the drones in town are.
Well I did the split and set the hives next to each other in the same spot as the original and started feeding on top of the inner covers. Then 3 days later I noticed most of the field bees were gravitating to the sunniest hive so I switched the locations. 9 days after I made the split I inspected the buisyest hive (still the sunniest one) and found nothing unusual(some eggs and brood at all stages)didn't see the queen. Next day I inspected the other hive and found 5 beautiful queen cells and about twice as much honey stores as the other hive so the next day I moved the buisy hive (this is the hive with the old queen)7 feet away to the South,its permanent location, and added a frame of mostly sealed brood with a few rows unsealed brood to the hive with the new queen cells. Almost all of the field bees switched to the hive with the new queen cells which is in the location of the original hive so it is jam packed every night and very buisy during the day.
I am thinking all is well so far, what do you folks think?
I wish there were a few more field bees working out of the hive with the old queen but I know they will come along and the new hive will need the help while the new queen grows, mates and starts the new brood nest
Oh yea, there are some drones flying around now also.
[This message has been edited by Rod350 (edited June 02, 2003).]
As long as the one with the old queen isn't too sparsely populated things sound fine.
I decided I needed to spread out the population so I switched the hives one last time 15 days after the split. This seems to have worked but there still isn't many foragers working from the new hive, maybe after the new queen takes over. I have heard that the bees work much harder when there is brood to be cared for. The new queens should be comming out soon so I plan to stay out of this hive for a couple of weeks and then check for eggs.
Thanks for the advice Michael.