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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    Lincoln, RI
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    171

    Default What is happening to these drones?

    Hi all,

    I have observed over the last 3-4 days what appears to be aborting and ejecting of drones from one of my hives. Workers are pulling them out of the hive, some alive but not fully developed, and dumping. At first I thought a few casualties, but now think there is something more to it. Some of the bees are clearly not fully developed, while the rest are covered in fur (young).

    I have heard bees will evict drones in the late fall before wintering, but these are very young and in some cases, aborted drones.

    Is this hygienic behavior to verroa? Is it something else? Otherwise the hive is doing exceptionally well.

    The picture was taken from casualties found on the ground outside the front of the hive.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    syracuse n.y.
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    2,028

    Default Re: What is happening to these drones?

    drones one and two from the left look like they have DWV, have you checked for mite levels?
    mike syracuse ny
    I went to bed mean, and woke up meaner. Marshal Dillon

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lincoln, RI
    Posts
    171

    Default Re: What is happening to these drones?

    I am running a screen capture for last couple days. I will pull it tonight and get a 24 hr level.

    I am uncertain as to whether they have Deformed Wing Virus or was it more that they were removed from the cell early and had not developed their wings.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Ash Grove MO. USA.
    Posts
    535

    Default Re: What is happening to these drones?

    This typically means swarm season is over in your area. When the bees think they have enough drones they evict some and abort some to get to the level they want. They will keep a few and even raise a few but there won't be as many as early spring.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lincoln, RI
    Posts
    171

    Default Re: What is happening to these drones?

    Ran a drop test of mites for 3 days. One of the days was a no fly day due to a massive rainstorm. Used Petroleum jelly on the screened bottom board insert.

    22 mites total or ~7/day.

    There are roughly 3 brood boxes and 2 honey supers (all 8 frame mediums) - or 24 medium frames of brood/bees and 12 medium frames of honey.

    For this time of year, what would be a reasonable number to shoot for (other than zero) for this number of bees?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lincoln, RI
    Posts
    171

    Default Re: What is happening to these drones?

    I went and checked in front of the hive this evening when they quieted down - found another ~10 drones in similar condition. I also watched a worker jump on a drone that was moving slowly by the hive entrance (young one) and pull him by his wing and dump him over the edge.

    I placed these drones in a jar for possible testing - no visible mites on them. Out of curiosity, I added a few drops of honey to the bottom of the jar and watched them suck it up pretty quickly. Maybe Wolfer is onto something and this is population control?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Pottstown, Pennyslvania, USA
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: What is happening to these drones?

    I would do a sugar shake, or alcohol roll, to truly assess the mite load. If you guess wrong, you could be headed for trouble.
    Dan Boylan, When it doubt "It's mites".

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    960

    Default Re: What is happening to these drones?

    Those drones are exhibiting DWV. That is good evidence that mites have exploded. You need to get ahead of the mites now.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lincoln, RI
    Posts
    171

    Default Re: What is happening to these drones?

    I will try a sugar roll tomorrow to get another data point. The hive was started from a packaged in April. With the natural brood cycle break from starting from a package, I had hoped I would ease into mite management.

    Not jumping to conclusions yet, but just thinking of my options based on the sugar roll test.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Chesterfield, NH
    Posts
    504

    Default Re: What is happening to these drones?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zbee View Post
    Ran a drop test of mites for 3 days. One of the days was a no fly day due to a massive rainstorm. Used Petroleum jelly on the screened bottom board insert.

    22 mites total or ~7/day.

    There are roughly 3 brood boxes and 2 honey supers (all 8 frame mediums) - or 24 medium frames of brood/bees and 12 medium frames of honey.

    For this time of year, what would be a reasonable number to shoot for (other than zero) for this number of bees?
    IMHO...

    From everything I understand if you have natural drop of 5 to 7 mites in 24 hoursThe Hives heading for trouble. Personally I would be treatment now.
    you also asked about drones the population will be going down this happens around the end of June where I live in Southwestern New Hampshire.


    BEE HAPPY Jim 134
    Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA.
    http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
    Posts
    1,281

    Default Re: What is happening to these drones?

    You need to treat for VARROA.
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 32 hives==== T{OAV}

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    960

    Default Re: What is happening to these drones?

    I'm always one to support hard data. In this case, however, DWV is the killing virus, and the mites are its vector. If one sees the virus expressed at high levels (and multiple dead drones represent that), one does not need to delay --- the killing agent is epidemic. Modern virulent DWV is a Varroa-dependent agent (per elegant research in Hawaii), and treatment for Varroa may alter the course of the DWV spread.

    The human metaphor -- If you see folks succumbing to bubonic plague, you do not need to census the rat population.

    There is likely recovery time before winter, if the Varroa can be brought under control now. The DWV resolves with rapid response to Thymol/Formic and/or Oxalic. That level of DWV going into winter bee production dooms the hive.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: What is happening to these drones?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zbee View Post
    Ran a drop test of mites for 3 days. One of the days was a no fly day due to a massive rainstorm. Used Petroleum jelly on the screened bottom board insert.

    22 mites total or ~7/day.
    Our first year with bees, we did sticky board drop tests for mites, 2 colonies counted exactly zero, one colony counted exactly one after 24 hours. We debated, but eventually I put a treatment in the hives (was in late August), and did another 24 hour drop tests. When I pulled the sticky boards, I lost track of the count somewhere north of a thousand mites.

    My conclusion from that exercise, very low drop counts on the sticky board means, strong healthy mites that are not falling down.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Millbury, MA, USA
    Posts
    1,876

    Default Re: What is happening to these drones?

    drones the population will be going down this happens around the end of June where I live in Southwestern New Hampshire.
    Was in my hives today in Central Mass. Lots of drones flying. no eviction here yet.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
    Posts
    1,281

    Default Re: What is happening to these drones?

    Quote Originally Posted by grozzie2 View Post
    My conclusion from that exercise, very low drop counts on the sticky board means, strong healthy mites that are not falling down.
    I agree.
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 32 hives==== T{OAV}

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lincoln, RI
    Posts
    171

    Default Re: What is happening to these drones?

    Performed sugar roll test - 4 mites/300 bees, or 1.33%.

    Method:
    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/sick...oring-methods/
    http://www.ent.uga.edu/bees/disorder...aMites_155.pdf)


    With this data, I am not planning to treat. I look at treatments as a last resort. Although I am perplexed with the drones being culled like this, I do not want to overreact. I am not convinced what I am seeing is Deformed Wing Virus. Might it be hygienic behavior and bees pulled before their wings were developed?

    I am considering a brood break come August with the introduction of a new Russian Queen to knock down the mite levels. This new queen has been in a NUC on top of the hive separated by a DSB for a couple weeks now and is laying eggs and doing rather well. With the brood break, I am planning a vigorous powder sugar treatment regiment.

    I will also plan to do a drone brood trap/freeze if they decide to lay more drones in a drone frame.

    Thank you all for your thoughts and suggestions. I really do appreciate the different perspectives. Notwithstanding what I see outside the hive (poor drones),it is one of my best hives in terms of production, volume of bees, temperament, etc.

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