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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    St Catherine, Jamaica
    Posts
    29

    Embarrassed Drones in supers

    Hello all! I should probably know but I may have a problem so I'm asking for help. The honey flow has started where I am and they bees are certainly finding food. The problem is that quite a few of the supers are scattered with drone cells. I read somewhere this happens if there is no queen. Should I be worried?
    To Bee or not to Bee...That's the question!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,285

    Default Re: Drones in supers

    It is a bad sign. Do you have brood being sealed up that is not irregular and domed up? Regular brood looks tan to dark brown and more or less level. If you have that, you don't have laying workers I don't think. If you have a jumble of domed up capped brood, you don't have a good queen and it can be hard to get such a colony to take a new queen. If you have more colonies, I would shake this one out on the ground if they are queenless and let them beg their way into your other colonies.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    St Catherine, Jamaica
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Drones in supers

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    It is a bad sign. Do you have brood being sealed up that is not irregular and domed up? Regular brood looks tan to dark brown and more or less level. If you have that, you don't have laying workers I don't think. If you have a jumble of domed up capped brood, you don't have a good queen and it can be hard to get such a colony to take a new queen. If you have more colonies, I would shake this one out on the ground if they are queenless and let them beg their way into your other colonies.
    Thanks for the response Vance. I do have perfectly sealed brood - dark brown, in the upper brood chamber. The ones that give concern are creamish...almost white, and domed up like you say and I suspected what you say. Would your suggestion still apply if this is a 3-super colony... the best of my colonies?
    To Bee or not to Bee...That's the question!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,572

    Default Re: Drones in supers

    Since well used brood comb is to hard for the bees to easily make drone cells in, they often put drones in honey supers when they want a large crop. You will also probably find a number of drone larvae between boxes in burr comb.

    There are several way to handle this. First, make sure you are not going into swarm mode, it sounds like you have a good honey flow starting up, and this is when bees decide to make more colonies. You will need to make sure you have plenty of space for the queen to lay -- you may need to put some empty drawn comb into the brood nest to keep the bees from shutting the queen down in preparation for swarming. There are other things you can do, search on this site for swarm prevention.

    As far as drone production, bees always make extra drones in whatever they consider "spring" -- that is to say, when swarming is going to occur. Drones are normal, but unless you provide enough space for the bees to make the number of drone cells they want, they make they were they can, as in your honey supers. We get them along the bottom row of cells in three or four frames in the center of the lowest super in the spring along with between the top bars and the bottom of the frames above. You can help them out by putting an empty foundation less frame in the brood box or boxes two frames in from the outside, at the edge of the brood nest. If you do this now, or next year a couple weeks earlier, they will draw out that foundationless frame quickly, with a good portion of it drone sized cells. This time of year they will promptly have the queen lay it full of drones for reproduction, and then once they emerge fill it with stores. The next time they want drones, they will use that comb again instead of scattering them all over the hive in fresh wax. Doing this lets them raise all the drones they need while keeping your honey supers free of brood, or at least with less brood up there.

    If you have a good brood pattern, scattered drones really only means they want more for some reason. Scattered drones in the main brood nest would mean your queen is failing, and it's time for a new one. If you had NO worker brood, you probably would be having laying workers, which is a more severe problem, but since you have a nice pattern of worker brood, it's most likely just a crop of drones.

    Peter

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    St Catherine, Jamaica
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Drones in supers

    Thanks you so very much for taking the time to write this detailed response Peter. It sounds like reasonable. I will act on it
    To Bee or not to Bee...That's the question!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,763

    Default Re: Drones in supers

    If you have a lot of worker brood in the brood nest, then I wouldn't worry about it. Bees need a certain number of drones, and as Peter said, they can rebuild wax foundation, or comb with no cocoons better than they can tear down and rebuild brood comb with cocoons in it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    St Catherine, Jamaica
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Drones in supers

    Thanks Michael. For what its worth I will keep the thread updated on developments. I'm learning!!!
    To Bee or not to Bee...That's the question!

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