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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Albany, OR
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    Default Drone Congregation Areas

    Has anybody ever seen one? If so what made you notice it? What else was in the area? How would I find one? I am interested in whatever knowledge you have about drone congregation areas.

    I realize this might be a difficult thing to accomplish, but does anybody have a picture of one?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    OKC, OK USA
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    Default Re: Drone Congregation Areas

    how is anyone suppose to see something 45 to 50 feet off the ground the size of a bee??
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  3. #3
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    Jul 2008
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    Limestone Co, Alabama
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    Default Re: Drone Congregation Areas

    Bees mate far above our heads. Maybe a football field or more above us. I would think that the only way to recognize a drone congregation area is by watching for falling queen and drone bees. I think the term is called "comets." At any rate, to me it sounds like a piddling business, and more than a little voyeuristic.
    Scrapfe---Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.--Otto von Bismarck.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Drone Congregation Areas

    I haven't seen one myself, but have heard them described. Apparently, once established, they are historically persistant and geographically definable. At an ABF Conference I saw pictures of one in Texas, if I remember correctly. It was found years ago and monitered for years and is still used by bees.

    They aren't so high up to be unobservable by eye, if you are lucky.

    Michael Bush probably has something about this on his website. Otherwise you may need to broaden your search.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,119

    Default Re: Drone Congregation Areas

    >Has anybody ever seen one?

    Yes.

    >If so what made you notice it?

    We were trolling for it with a helium balloon and a cigarette filter soaked in "queen juice".

    > What else was in the area? How would I find one? I am interested in whatever knowledge you have about drone congregation areas.

    A University of Nebraska Lincoln student did a study on them and you might find that online somewhere. Short version is they tend to be where things like tree rows and other obstructions converge.

    >I realize this might be a difficult thing to accomplish, but does anybody have a picture of one?

    There is a picture in "Bee Sex Essentials" by Larry Connor. I was there when the picture was taken...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
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    532

    Default Re: Drone Congregation Areas

    I've seen queens mating a couple of times the last time was the most interesting because it happened in my home mating yard and it was weird because they were really low to the ground, so low that when a drone caught the queen they would all tumble into the long grass in the paddock and then in an instant be up and running again.

    So it's not really an answer to your question but thought I'd mention it anyway.

    frazz

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Albany, OR
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Drone Congregation Areas

    Trolling for drones, fantastic!

    I had no clue they were so high up. Frazzled, why do you think the mating queens you have seen have been so low?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
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    3,956

    Default Re: Drone Congregation Areas

    Such congregation areas are obviously used by a lower class of bees and might even be called dives.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
    Posts
    532

    Default Re: Drone Congregation Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by Noah View Post
    Trolling for drones, fantastic!

    I had no clue they were so high up. Frazzled, why do you think the mating queens you have seen have been so low?
    I dont know for sure but my guess is that the mating yard is actually really close to a drone congregation area because its in an ideal spot at the start of a narrow valley before it opens out to the plains.
    The yard itself is right at the foot of a hill with the hill behind it and the plains directly in front of it which is known to be a good area for drones to congregate.

    Or maybe it's like Vance said and we have a lower class of bee!

    I was having smoko at the time I saw it and the weird way the bees were flying and diving caught my attention I didn't know what it was so I went and looked and it was happening in front of me about 3 meters away,
    It was a relly interesting thing to see.

    frazz

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    27,064

    Default Re: Drone Congregation Areas

    Me too frazz. I saw this happening in a bee yard and thought at first that it was dragonflys going after drones. But it wasn't. My theory is that either the DCA is quite close to the yard or the drones that were close to the yard were really attracted to a returning queen. Or something like that.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, California
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Drone Congregation Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by Noah View Post
    Has anybody ever seen one? If so what made you notice it? What else was in the area? How would I find one? I am interested in whatever knowledge you have about drone congregation areas.

    I realize this might be a difficult thing to accomplish, but does anybody have a picture of one?
    I found this interesting
    ....
    Drone Sky Fishing Video on YouTube

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Crenshaw County, Alabama
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    2,001

    Default Re: Drone Congregation Areas

    When I first saw that video I thought "Now how cool is that!!".

    Neat that he's educating the kids at the same time...

    Ed

  13. #13

    Default Re: Drone Congregation Areas

    There used to be one (probably still is) just off an exit on I75 in Perry GA. My old eyes would never spot them in the air but the parking lot of the Chic-fil-a was littered with dead drones. I was going to check it again this spring but the parking lot was closed off and the restaurant was undergoing a major renovation....probably a result of customers complaining about all the bees....
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    9,465

    Default Re: Drone Congregation Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by mattyv View Post
    I found this interesting
    ....
    And they say you can't learn all about bees on the internet... I think communication technology is why learning happens at a much faster rate then ever before and this is just one of many, many instances that proves it.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,365

    Default Re: Drone Congregation Areas

    Interesting that the drones only seem attracted to the pheromone when the trap is aloft. Too bad he dosent give a little background about bees in the immediate area.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
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    2,970

    Default Re: Drone Congregation Areas

    I see so few bees in my area I am honestly wondering how much of a DCA there can be here. I know there are some out there. But when you can look at entire flower gardens and not see one bee. It is sad.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Crenshaw County, Alabama
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    Default Re: Drone Congregation Areas

    Newbee thoughts about pheromone...

    From what I understand pheromone is very weak in a virgin queen and the other bees in the colony pay little attention to her *until* she begins laying. I don't know if there is a difference there between a mated queen and a drone-laying queen, though. In making swarm lures from pinched queens it has been stated that using virgins and queen cells doesn't work because of lack of pheromone. So, in her mating flights is "sight" more important than pheromone to the drones???

    In regards to the drones disregarding pheromone at lower altitudes (if indeed pheromone is a factor) could it be that pheromone at that level is considered by the drones to be issued from established queens?

    Would a virgin with strong pheromone cause a swarm or cluster to form around her/follow her on her mating flights???

    We know that drones will chase a rock thrown into the air. Does the balloon in the video draw their interest from a distance (sight), drawing them closer until they spot the "queen"????

    Ed
    Last edited by Intheswamp; 05-22-2012 at 04:50 PM. Reason: spelling

  18. #18
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    Jul 2011
    Location
    Perry, Florida, USA
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    226

    Default Re: Drone Congregation Areas

    My drones dont care if it has pheremones or not. I raise roller pidgeons and the drones will chase them as they come in to land. Mine is in my bee yard in a thirty foot tall cabbage palm. I assume they are there because there are no other bees within eight or ten miles and maybe further. All our ferals have been wiped out due to aireal spraying for mosquitoes carring west nile virus and probably varroa mites as well. I like it here because I can control the drones doing the mating.

    psisk

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Stevenson, Washington, USA
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    181

    Default Re: Drone Congregation Areas

    I had to dig this thread up, because I saw a congregation are today! Ive got six nucs and two hives in my yard, and while mowing, I stopped to watch the bees heading out of one hive, across some contrasting shade.

    I noticed about 50 feet uo. Where two rows of fir trees intersect, along a couple driveways and empty acreage, were hundreds of bees, doing a weird jigging flight straight up, and then dropping back down to the 50 foot level, before repeating. Just to be sure, I went over and poked around, and found several dead drones on the road!

    Closer to my hives than I expected, and were it not for the late afternoon sun/shade contrast, I never would've known!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
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    1,058

    Default Re: Drone Congregation Areas

    Quote Originally Posted by NasalSponge View Post
    how is anyone suppose to see something 45 to 50 feet off the ground the size of a bee??
    We should write a govt grant to study drone congregation areas and report on ways to tax them. Know anybody who can write a grant?
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

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