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Thread: Drone Cells

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Pompano Beach, FL
    Posts
    37

    Default Drone Cells

    Greetings one and all,

    Is anybody seeing drone cells in thier hives yet?? IF not is it normal to see them this time of year? I live in South Florida and for the last several months there had been drone cells in both my hives. These drone cells are on the sides of a couple of frames about 56ish or so per box. One box is natural and PF105s the other has standard plasitic frames. ( im tyring first hand to see the difference between SC and LC for myself, love the passion on both sides of the arguement)

    I did my bi weekly inspection and saw both queens, and there were fresh eggs/larva in all stages. Laying pattern looked good, and minimal SHB. NO mites seen..

    My main concern is there are 3 queen cells in the middle of two frames on the hive with the standard frames, Which appear to be supersedure (at least I hope). The other hive with the drone cells appears to be normal. Is this an indication that they might swarm or just unhappy with the queen? This box also did this about 6 months ago, with the queen cells not sure if its the old queen or the current queen is the daughter of the old one. Another beekeeper one county North of me, said in his 10 hives he has no drone cells. His hives are working a lichie (sp) field though.

    My hives are in a city and harvest off the flower beds and other stuff around my house. the hive with the drone cells and queen cells is a single deep, 8/10 frames built and a supper with 2 frames capped 8 frames being built in various stages. Any input would be greatfull.

    Regards

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    966

    Default Re: Drone Cells

    I saw my first capped drone cell of the season here in New York during an inspection yesterday.

    If you have plenty of room in the brood chamber for your queen to lay in, the bees probably recognize something about her or her condition that warrants her replacement. I'd let them, and when the new queen queen's brood starts to emerge, see how you like them. If you like them, you've got a nice locally produced queen that cost you nothing.

    If you don't, buy a new queen then and replace her. There should still be plenty of queens available next month.

    You could take out the supercedure cells, and some might counsel you to do that. But if you do and the queen fails as the bees apparently think she might, you'll have a queenless hive, a $20 + shipping expense, and a week or three to wait for a new queen to be shipped and arrive.

    I tend to respect the opinion of the bees, who have been doing this for a few thousand years longer than any of us on the forum.

    of course, you could also pull the frame with the queen cells and start a nuc. If your present queen doesn't fail, you get another hive or reserve queen!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,492

    Default Re: Drone Cells

    Sounds like a normal supersedure to me, and I'd not interfere. If the cells are on more than one frame, you could also start a nuc with no problems, but make sure you have at least two cells left in the original hive. A poor queen could stagger through the summer and fail in the fall if you don't let them make a new one.

    I have at least one frame of capped drones as of a week ago. None flying yet, but spring is REALLY early here (dandelions in bloom at least a month early, our average date of last frost is April 15th!).

    Peter

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Appling, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    216

    Default Re: Drone Cells

    I'm not just seeing drone cells, but drones in the hive and flying in as well. Not a whole lot, dozen live or so, but normal amount of cells. Hives are booming! split yesterday, queen cell almost capped. With drones here already maybe another couple of splits this year! Am ordering Russell SKC's for new splits.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,349

    Default Re: Drone Cells

    My colonies have been keeping their populations of drones at a fairly high level, and appear to be recently increasing the drone populations even a little bit more, these past few weeks.

    BTW I see drone cells in my hives all the time (they are just a cell size), sometimes even entire frames of nothing but drone cells. I think you meant to say, drone cells occupied with drone brood or just, "drone brood".
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 03-19-2012 at 08:08 PM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Newark, Ohio
    Posts
    117

    Default Re: Drone Cells

    i inspected 12 hives today. live drones in one and drone cells in the others. I made early splits =( everything is honey bound already no room for the queens to lay. Its gonna be trouble !

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL, USA
    Posts
    2,297

    Default Re: Drone Cells

    You're in FL. We have drones year round usually, although they may kick some out if it's a colder than normal winter or you didn't leave enough stores on them to feed the colony.

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