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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Van Nuys, California, USA
    Posts
    24

    Default pile of dead drones

    Hello beekeepers,
    Here is what's a mystery to me:
    My bees are been pulling out drones from the hive and dropping them in front, which sometimes resulted in what looked like violent struggles on the ground. By now there is a pile of at least 150 bodies, which all look healthy to me. Some have managed to crawl away, so there are actually many more dead ones. This has been going on for at least two weeks! One week ago a swarm left the hive, and on the day after that I opened up to see what was going on. Plenty of capped brood on most of the frames, some of them drone cells, one full frame of honey and more honey on the brood frames. Things look o.k. to me. But there are some varroa, which I have seen on a wax paper left under the sbb. The bees have also pulled out two (that I saw) wax moth larvae.
    This colony has stayed in one deep super all last year, even though they had an empty deep super on top.
    Could somebody please tell me what is going with them getting rid of the drones? Is there a problem I am not aware of? I am quite worried. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: pile of dead drones

    I don't claim to be the expert, but I'd say your hive is getting their affairs in order after the recent swarm. Upsets in brood cycle can cause drone expulsion, and as they may now have a new laying queen, they may be organizing themselves more effectively due to her pheromonal influence.

    Nothing you say they are doing is harmful, and more likely it is beneficial to the operation of a hive getting on its feet.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,620

    Default Re: pile of dead drones

    We've also got cold weather moving down from up north. The bees are cleaning up and tossing out the drones after the swarm and with colder weather coming in. With warmer and then colder weather patterns in the spring, bees will build up during warmer spells and then toss drones or larva when the colder weather moves back in, for efficiancy in clustering warmth. You're doing fine, just check on them in a couple or three weeks, after the weather turns warmer and they've had a chance to get your new virgin mated and laying.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Van Nuys, California, USA
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: pile of dead drones

    Thanks so much for your information and optimistic assessments of the situation! Actually, as I was composing the first post they swarmed yet another time, just about one week after the first time! I am going to try and get this one off the tree since it isn't too high up and put it in another set of hive boxes I have ready. And then, I guess I'll just wait and see what's going to happen. That, for me, is kind of the fun of having this hive. The observing and trying to figure out what's going on in the smart little heads, and maybe there will even be some sweet honey for the breakfast table this year. Thanks again!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: pile of dead drones

    Well, get out there and do it!

    They won't stay there forever.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Van Nuys, California, USA
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: pile of dead drones

    Yup, that's what I did. It was a bit messy, because the tree they were in has lots of little branches. Anyway, they're in the hive and humming. Ski-...I mean Bee-Heil!

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