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Thread: Dead drones

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Randolph County, Indiana
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    693

    Default Dead drones

    I was looking at my hives today, and noticed lots of dead drones in front of the hives. They seem otherwise healthy, but a pile of dead drones is something I've never seen this time of year. After watching for a while, I noticed that the workers were attacking them. Why are they killing drones this time of year?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
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    3,828

    Default

    Have you recently treated with thymol? That could be part of it if you have...

    Hives need to have good stores of open nectar, some sealed honey is good, and good pollen stores are needed. A good strong population of nurse bees are needed as well. A nectar flow is needed also. Any of the above missing could be the issue. Varroa mites will enfect drone brood over worker brood as well, so if you're getting elevated mite infections it might be the cause also.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Randolph County, Indiana
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    Default

    I haven't treated with Thymol sinse the spring. Flows are on hard right now, lots of nurse bees, lots of brood. Mites might be the issue, but again, I treated in the spring. This is a VSH line of honeybees, so it might be that they are fighting the mites. I'll wait until the end of the flow then treat again, hopefully that will take care of it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Sacramento,California,USA
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    Default

    OK, I have VSH x MHI queen here, but have not raised drones from her yet. I've been told by Sue Cobey and others that the VSH line of bees are overly hygenic, but that would be cleaning out more larvae than was needed, not dumping adult drones.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Randolph County, Indiana
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    Default

    Hmmm, besides a possible mite problem that you mentioned, I'm at a loss then. Guess I'll just treat when the flow stops.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Asheville, NC
    Posts
    232

    Default

    all drones have been removed from my hives.

    I suspect the lousy fall honey flow is the reason.

    Bees are conserving the most they can as they expect not to get too much more!
    When your ship comes in, make sure you are willing to unload it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Montreal,Quebec,Canada
    Posts
    36

    Default

    I've noticed the same thing with my hives today.
    I'm always on the lookout for crawling drones. They usually have wing problem which usually indicates a mite overload. It might not seem like it at first glance but if you study them closely, especially when the problem begins, you'll often find a wing, in my case, one of the smaller wings, to be slightly crippled.
    I've visited over 300 colonies that have been on pollination services since the beginning of the summer. I'm at the very begging a deformed wing epidemic.
    Two symptoms alerted me.
    First, the proportion of drones with their messed up wings compared compared to workers. 75% of the them were drones with crippled wings. Not all apiaries had the same amounts of dying bees, but I still needed a couple minutes to collect +/- 50 dwv bees which means I had to search for them. Some apiaries were easier to sample when clear spots of soil are near the hives. The sick bees usually hang around and die in crowd in these kind of open spots.
    Second, the odor... I found a couple of hives that were dwindling a bit more than the others. The brood was not uniformed and some larvae were on the sidewalls of the cell. A paratized hive has a smell that is comparable to a mixture of american foulbrood and a dying drone layer hive. It is not a pleasant smell to deal with, especially when hives become heavely infested.
    The honey on my hives will be pulled off tomorrow. Colonies will receive a formic acid flash treatment and an empty super. I will probably treat again the next day, just to make sure mites won't be a problem till mid September cause we are still in July and the next possible treatment will be in 45 days

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