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  1. #1
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    Feb 2006
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    I've noticed in early spring my TBH starts making a lot of drone comb and the queen starts laying in it. It makes sense to assume that in about 30 days or so the bees will begin swarming. I reason this because it dosen't make sense for virgin queens (who develop fastest) to sit around and wait for the drones ( who develop slowest). The bees want the air to be filled with young drones when the queens emerge. Observing this will help to give you a "heads up" for when to look for swarm cells in your other hives.

    {someone might have posted this before?}
    Live Removals & Local Honey in Austin, Texas. www.austinbees.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Bees will do what they want. I've had an overcrowding swarm as early as March here, which is crazy. I've seen late swarms as late as September. I'd say prime reproductive swarming is usually about two weeks before the main flow hits, but they may swarm anytime they are crowded enough or the brood nest is clogged enough, even when they don't have enough bees or drones.

    On the other hand, they never seem to swarm if I keep the brood nest open and don't let them get that crowded.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
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    Jan 2004
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    Berkey, OH, USA
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    Baloo

    Interesting observation. But are you assuming that the drones will mate with their own queen?

    I think the production of drones does not necessarily relate to swarming.

    The bees want to carry on their genetic material so even if they don't swarm they are still sending out their drones to mate.

  4. #4
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    Feb 2006
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    Blanco, Texas
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    Of course this is not a infallible rule. Or any rule at all for that matter. Bees will definitely do what the want, when they want. I don't think that the drones would inbreed with their own queen. I just assumed that the other bees in the area would be on about the same time frame. (this is an assumption only) Which would put their drones out at roughly the same time frame. It pretty much held true with my hives. It just seemed to be one of those subtle things that the bees do that means "winters' about to be over and spring is going into full swing". It is a heads up of sorts. Winters in Texas are extremely mild so the change of seasons is not that great.


    (If you use langstroth hives with foundation you don't see this in as dramatic a way. That is where it would come into value the most. When you have a tbh alongside your langstroths.)
    Live Removals & Local Honey in Austin, Texas. www.austinbees.com

  5. #5
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    >If you use langstroth hives with foundation you don't see this in as dramatic a way.

    I agree.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    Beverly, Mass
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    Would this mean that TBH´s are more likely to have a higher ratio of the Drones to workers an thus more Varroa?

  7. #7
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    Baloo - ok, good point.

    Mobees - I think the point is that you are morre likely to see it in the TBH rather than in the Lang. I don't think there are more varoa in the TBH.

    In fact I have found actually a lot less varoa in TBH. I have not treated my TBH and still going strong. This would be a good study for someone. I have no proof, just from what I see...

  8. #8
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    Feb 2006
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    Varroa will go for drone brood first. (I am pretty sure of this) If there is more drone brood the varroa will kill those without effecting the work force (drones do no work).?.?(speculation) My bees in general don't seem very effected by varroa. They have them but I rarely see that many of them. All of my hives are feral though.
    Live Removals & Local Honey in Austin, Texas. www.austinbees.com

  9. #9
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    Baloo you are right they go in the drone brood. If you scrape it off you will find the varoa there on the larvae. but just becase there is more drone brood doesn't mean there is more varoa. I think there is less varoa in a TBH because it is natural size cell. In other words, small cell.

  10. #10
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    Jul 2004
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    I guess what I am getting at is, that is a higher ratio of drone brood cells the varroa have better opportunity to reproduce due to thier favoring the cell size and longer hatching time of the drone. Is this true?

    In my hives I have noticed the lowest varroa drop in the fall treatment period of the hives with the lowest number of drone cells. They seem to have the highest number of bees going into winter.

    Is there such a thing as small cell drone brood? Is so what size?

  11. #11
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    >>I guess what I am getting at is, that is a higher ratio of drone brood cells the varroa have better opportunity to reproduce due to thier favoring the cell size and longer hatching time of the drone. Is this true?
    You would think, but my tbh did the best out of all my hives. All dealing with varroa.. Go figure. I think it has something to do with the small cell theory. Also the bees do what they want in a tbh. They don't want varroa. They don't seem even bothered with it.
    Live Removals & Local Honey in Austin, Texas. www.austinbees.com

  12. #12
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    <Is there such a thing as small cell drone brood? Is so what size? >
    Not sure but I doubt it. THey all make the drone cells outside the foundation or in the case of TBH wherever they want to. Might be a good project for a small cell beek: measure the size of the drone cells in a small cell hive v. a Lang with regular foundation.

    My guess is that they will all be the same. But the more I think about it the more interesting the question is. Maybe post this question over in the biological site and see what those SC beeks say. I would be interested to hear it

  13. #13
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    I HAVE measured a lot of drone cells in small cell hives. They seem to vary even more in size than in large cell hives. They run all the way from 5.9mm or so up to 7.0mm or so. The drones also vary greatly in size from very small to huge space alien looking creatures.

    It's difficult to say what size they are when they vary so much.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
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    I have some NWC and they huge almost like a bumble bee. I wonder what African drone comb size is. You would think a smaller drone would be more agile to mate with a queen. Has it been investigated, the relationship of drone size to efficiency of mating?

  15. #15
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    >Has it been investigated, the relationship of drone size to efficiency of mating?

    It is mentioned a lot as an advantage the African drones have, but I am not aware of specific research on the subject of African drone size. There is some research that says they go out earlier and stay longer at the DCAs. One wonders how much of that is the stamina of a smaller more aerodynamic drone.

    I have heard of, but don't know the source of, research on size and mating success, much of which seemed to indicate that smaller drones tend to mate with smaller queens. Perhaps Joe knows the source.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  16. #16
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    I HAVE measured a lot of drone cells in small cell hives. They seem to vary even more in size than in large cell hives. They run all the way from 5.9mm or so up to 7.0mm or so. The drones also vary greatly in size from very small to huge space alien looking creatures.
    Interesting Michael. So do you think the size of the drone is a result of the size of the cell?

    Any thoughts as to why there is such a variation? I wonder if the bigger drones are raised in better conditions - good nectar flow, etc.?

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