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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Clinton County, Michigan USA
    Posts
    301

    Default Drone brood everywhere

    Just inspected my strongest hive, was my strongest anyway. Two weeks ago all seemed well. Lots of sealed brood, 2 frames of drone brood, lots of honey and pollen, didn't see queen but this is a three deep and intidatingly strong.

    Now it's filled with drone brood everywhere. I didn't notice bullet brood but I may have just overlooked it.

    So, what shall I do? Give a frame of eggs larvae? I will probably have a varroa problem soon.

    Thanks for your help.
    9th year beekeeper, about 20 hives.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sebastopol, Ca.
    Posts
    307

    Default Re: Drone brood everywhere

    Drone is normal, up to a point, at this time of year. Don't know about Michigan, but it could either be a laying worker or they are about to swarm. Over 70% capped? Then swarm soon. All drone and NO other brood type? Then laying worker. Don't look for the queen, just the type of brood. When was the last time you inspected? Around here, in California, it's about every 9 days. Your parts may vary. No harm in giving wet brood and hope she doesn't find it or she will dispatch potential queens. Or you could purchase a new queen. Or if you have ANY wet brood, make a split with them and regular brood so they will become her entourage. You need another look, and a careful one at that.
    All this is simply on what I've read and learned, as it's hard to diagnose 2,000 miles away without seeing. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Clinton County, Michigan USA
    Posts
    301

    Default Re: Drone brood everywhere

    How many frames of drone brood would be typical for a swarming colony? If I were to guess, I bet I would have the equivalent of 10 frames of drone brood, both sides of frames.
    9th year beekeeper, about 20 hives.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Wayensboro, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    147

    Default Re: Drone brood everywhere

    Quote Originally Posted by muskratcreekhoney View Post
    How many frames of drone brood would be typical for a swarming colony? If I were to guess, I bet I would have the equivalent of 10 frames of drone brood, both sides of frames.
    That sounds like a huge amount of drone brood to me. The swarm season is really starting to amp up here and in my strongest hive I would guess I got about 2 deep frames total of drone brood.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,257

    Default Re: Drone brood everywhere

    Sounds fishy to me! Do you have any capped worker brood? I would guess that your queen is shooting blanks! In any case, unless you are rearing queens professionally, cull any frames of just drone brood. They will just disrupt the hive anyway in large numbers. Give them some eggs and larvae from another hive and in three days if you have queen cells you will know for sure! Then either get a replacement queen or let them raise one. But get rid of the bulk of the drones for the good of the queenless colony

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Clinton County, Michigan USA
    Posts
    301

    Default Re: Drone brood everywhere

    Thanks for the help guys! What should I do about all the drones that have already emerged, which is many thousands? I think I have more drones than workers. I still have sealed worker brood but that should be all hatched out in a few days.
    9th year beekeeper, about 20 hives.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,149

    Default Re: Drone brood everywhere

    It's one of your strongest hives? Let them go forth and multiply those good genes. What else can you do?

    I've had a lot of drones in my strong hives too this year - I think it's because of the extremely strong pollen "flow" we've been experiencing since Feb.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Clinton County, Michigan USA
    Posts
    301

    Default Re: Drone brood everywhere

    Well, nasty wind today but I went ahead and broke-up the hive. I gave each deep a frame of open brood with eggs. I fully inspected the bottom deep which had about 4 frames of sealed worker brood, and about two frames of drones. The strange thing is that I found a small patch of young larvae, but I suppose they could be drones. It will be interesting to see what happens.
    9th year beekeeper, about 20 hives.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    barry co., Michigan
    Posts
    317

    Default Re: Drone brood everywhere

    i had a very strong NWC hive with lots of worker brood present. About three weeks ago I was worried about swarming so I went ahead and broke up the brood nest with a few empty frames in the top two mediums. Well I inspected on sunday and noted that the empty frames i added were now drawn out with drone comb and there were a lot of orderly laid drones which are now capped. There were about 15-20 empty queen cups on a few cells. I did see some nice banding of larva in worker size comb. I am not sure what to do but i am pretty sure this hive will swarm one way or the other. Any suggestions?

    btw i am near grand rapids

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Clinton County, Michigan USA
    Posts
    301

    Default Re: Drone brood everywhere

    Hey neighbor,

    That sounds very similar to my situation. I also found empty queen cups in the center area of the frames, none were on the bottoms. My drone brood was also very orderly. If you were to guess, how many frames of drone brood do you have?
    9th year beekeeper, about 20 hives.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    barry co., Michigan
    Posts
    317

    Default Re: Drone brood everywhere

    i run 3 mediums for brood nest and probably have 5 newly drawn out frames of drone comb/brood. (i took one out to sample for mites) so 6 medium frames total. I will try and inspect a few more hives this week. I am going to let this drone brood hatch as this was a strong hive with good honey production. I will be trying to raise a few queens this year

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Shoshone County, Idaho
    Posts
    567

    Default Re: Drone brood everywhere

    They sound like they are preparing to swarm!?
    If there is swarm cells present, I would try to find the queen (can be difficult in such a large hive) and remove her and 2-3 frames of bees and brood and place in a nuc box or other hive box.
    Also go thru parent hive and remove all frames with queen cells on them except for one frame of queen cells should be left for your new queen.
    Take each frame with queen cells and place in individual nuc boxes with 2-3 frames of bees and brood for additional starter colonies (ie. nucs)
    (once they get the swarming mode going they will swarm eventually, also while you have that old queen in your hands clip 1/8"-3/16" tip off of one of her wings with a scissors and you don't have to worry about losing your swarms and do the new queens once they start laying as well )
    If the hive don't have swarm cells then you could have a laying worker or they are just building up there spring drone supply and then I would open up a few drone cells and check for mites!
    Best of Luck! Mtn. Bee
    Hugus Creek Honey Farm: St. Maries, ID / Lewiston, ID
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