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Thread: too many drones

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Silver Springs, Nevada, USA
    Posts
    4
    I guess I should have caught this before now. Installed 4# package a queen the 1st weekend in April. Hive checks showed they were drawing comb, (on foundation ) and the Queen was laying. It has been over a month and a half. I noticed there weren't as many feild bees coming in and out, so I opened the hive this AM. Over half of the bees are young drones, maybe more. All the capped brood is drone capping. I found very little other larve and that was scattered, no real laying pattern. So the Queen is there laying, but producing mostly drones.
    I believe I need to requeen before the workers just die off. The drones are eating up all the stores the feild bees are bringing in. I have been feeding them sugar water from the start, but very few frames are drawn out.

    Now my question is. When I get a new Queen should I put a few frames of bees with brood from one of my other hives that I know is doing fine, to help restart this hive. Should I try to trap the drones first and eliminate them also?

    Ah the joys of the new beekeeper.

    Thanks everyone.

    snits

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    michigan
    Posts
    393

    Post

    I am putting my money on laying worker if everything capped is drone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    oneonta al.
    Posts
    848

    Post

    Have you found the queen?,If you have I'd contact the breeder & let them know you have a drone layer,they should send you another queen.I would also give the hive more brood.If you cannot find the queen & you think you have a laying worker the only way I've ever solved it is take & shake the bee's off in the grass about 15-25 yard's in front of the hive.(you may want to put a queen exc-infront to keep most of the drones from reentering the hive).I've heard some people that don't like doning it that way,But for ME that's the only way I've ever done away with a laying worker.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,809

    Post

    My guess is an infertile queen. I've gotten a package like this before. The drones will drift off to other hives eventually. Anything you give them will help. I'd go for a frame of honey and pollen and a frame of emerging brood.

  5. #5

    Post

    I too am a new beekeeper, I hived two packages the end of April...today I inspected a hive I hadn't been in for two weeks and found gigantic black bees that reminded me of horse flys (I hived caucasians) and I couldn't find the queen but workers are bringing in pollen...now, I know I need to requeen, and I am looking into how to get another caucasian...when/if I can get one, I'd like to get rid of alot these drones...so my ?s are:

    1) can you buy an entrance excluder to prevent the drones from returning, shake out some of the frames,and insert the new queen cage and basically start over? or

    2)could I use my nuc hive, put in a couple of frames of workers & brood from my other hive (which has a nice large queen, laying worker cells, calmer hive than the other, I love going into this one) and the new queen cage, then clean out the drone hive and put the nuc frames in it?

    hope these aren't dumb questions... I'm glad now I started two hives in order to have comparisons.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,809

    Post

    You don't say why you are requeening. Is it because you have a drone layer? Were there lots of bullet shaped caps?

    Assuming you had a drone layer and now have a hive full of drones there are few things you can do if you like. You can put a queen excluder on the bottom board so the drones can't get into the hive and shake out the hive (brush or shake off all the bees on the ground in front of the hive) and then the drones won't be able to get back in. The problem is you probably still have a lot of drone brood that will hatch and they can't get OUT. After all the drone has hatched you can try this. After a week or so the drones will have dispersed to other hives because they can't get in here. You can also by an entrace gaurd and do the same thing. Brushy Mt and Walter Kelly have them. It has the advantage that when you're through with it, you can just remove it instead of having to move all the boxes back down to the bottom board to take the excluder off.

    Personally I probably wouldn't do anything but requeen and maybe feed the hive to ease their burden. The drones will wonder off eventually anyway.

  7. #7

    Post

    yes, I think the present queen is a drone layer, most of the brood are bullet shaped, and have been since the get go...but since the bees have only been in the hive <2 months, until the first batches hatched, there was still far more workers, and the queen was easy to find, by the way, this queen is smaller than the queen in my other hive, which has flat brood cappings, I don't know if that means anything...now, when I look over a frame, I see so many large mostly black bees, I haven't seen the queen since now bees are hatching out of cells, and seem to be mostly drones, the workers are smaller and black/tan striped....it's amazing how just two hives can be so different.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,835

    Post

    If you had laying workers, you would see clear evedence of it, may eggs/cell.
    I would add a frame or two of capped brood and feed them up a bit. don't worry about the drone population, I don't see any harm in them, The queen will balance the worker drone ratio with in a few weeks.

    Ian

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